Agricultural Science Project Topics

Class Size and Students Academic Performance in Agricultural Science in Secondary Schools

Class Size and Students Academic Performance in Agricultural Science in Secondary Schools

 

ABSTRACT

This study examined class size and students’ academic performance in Agricultural Science in secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area. Three null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The quasi-experimental research design was adopted for the study. The population of the study comprised 816 SS 1 students who offered Agricultural Science in the study Area. A sample size of 120 SS1 students was selected for the study. Multi-stage sampling technique was adopted. The instrument for data collection was “Agricultural Science Achievement Test (ASAT)”. The data collected were analyzed using independent t-test. The result showed that students taught in a small class performed significantly better than their counterparts taught in a medium class and large class. It was concluded that class size significantly influenced students’ academic performance in Agricultural Science. It was recommended among others that small class size should be maintained in schools to allow for effective teaching and learning thereby improving students’ academic performance.

 

Class Size and Students Academic Performance in Agricultural Science in Secondary Schools

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1   Background to the Study

Education in Nigeria is as old as the Nigerian society itself. The western education practiced in Nigeria begins in a formal classroom setting. The importance of classroom in any educational level therefore cannot be over- emphasized.   There is the need for curriculum planning and lesson preparation for any level of education to take into consideration certain classroom factors such as class size among others.

A classroom is not just a four wall enclosure with a seating arrangement and a chalkboard but an arrangement where teachers and students come together for the purpose of teaching and learning (Ekpo, 2012). The classroom provides an effective platform for the acquisition of knowledge and the shaping of attitude towards learning. The basic foundation for educational development and sustainable improvements in teaching standard and learners behavior is best assured when the classroom environment is properly determined, monitored and managed (Ekere and Okon, 2006). Management in classroom is geared towards controlling factors with the learning environment which may affect the quality and quantity of learning.

However, one of the key factors which have direct bearing on students’ academic achievement in schools is the number of students taught together in a class. Within an age of increasing accountability and limited educational funding, providing right ratio of teachers to students in a class is a critical factor for the academic achievement of students in schools. The recruitment of highly qualified and experienced teachers to teach in our schools is inadequate compared to the number of students assigned to a teacher. This is because keeping large class sizes in schools will not only affect classroom management, but the quality of instruction and academic achievement of students (Brown and Martin, 2007). Determining the most effective class size is a debate fueled by necessity. At the heart of this debate is the need for contemporary empirical data to either support or refute the expenditure of additional funding to hire more teachers to provide smaller class sizes.

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In most states in Nigeria, enrolment into public schools exceeds the provisions made by the government to accommodate them in terms of adequate furnished classrooms with chairs, tables and classroom spaces etc. this development results in most parents scrambling for few available places in private schools. Research studies of private and public schools in Nigeria show that students’ achievement in private schools is better than that of public schools (Chike-Okoli and Sarki, 2000). This is because secondary education in the country is poorly funded; hence most of the public secondary schools experience classroom congestion which affects the standard of teaching and learning.

Class size is an important factor to be considered in improving the quality of the teaching-learning process for improved academic performance among students. A large class does not allow for effective teaching and learning process. Controlling and managing students in a large class is often difficult for a teacher. This is because students do not behave in an orderly manner, they choose to go according to their own desires whereas in a small class, students learn to behave as expected because the teacher easily provides guidance on how the class is expected to and indicates limits on the behavior of the class.

Accordingly, understanding if there is a relationship between the number of students in a class and the academic achievement is of paramount importance. Stakeholders at all levels of education need empirical data to ascertain the effect of class size on students’ academic achievement in schools with a view to deciding whether reducing students-to-teacher ratio will bring about the much desired improvement in students’ academic performance in schools. To this and, this study is a step in the right direction.

 

1.2   Statement of the Problem

It is an indisputable fact that secondary schools in Nigeria have been witnessing constant increase in students’ population. The global population increase does not spare education. The awareness of the benefits of formal education is an explanation to the astronomical increase in school population in Nigeria. This development has led to congested classrooms in schools resulting in a situation where one teacher is assigned to very large number of students in a class. The increase in teacher – students’ ratio has a great bearing on the students’ academic performance.

The downward trend in the level of academic performance of students, mostly in external examinations has generated concerns among stakeholders in the educational sectors. Blames have been placed at the door steps of the various stakeholders (Government, managers, teachers, parents and students) for the failure rate which is fast becoming a recurring decimal in the nation’s educational system.

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Most scholars believe that government and other stakeholders have not done enough to address the infrastructural defect in schools which has left most schools with dilapidate buildings with few classroom blacks. Accordingly, increase in enrolment trend in schools sequel to the free and compulsory education policy of government has culminated in more pupils/students struggling for few available classroom spaces in our schools, resulting in congested classrooms which does not augur well for effective teaching and learning. There is no doubt that this development has impact negatively on students’ academic performance in schools.

It is against this background therefore, that this study “class size and students’ Academic performance in Agricultural science in secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area becomes imperative.

 

1.3   Purpose of the study

The main purpose of this study is to examine class size and students’ performance in Agricultural science in secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area. The specific objectives include;

  • to examine the academic performance of students taught in a small class and those taught in a large class in Agricultural science in secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area.
  • to examine the academic performance of students taught in a small class and those taught in a medium class in Agricultural science in secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area.
  • to examine the academic performance of male and female students taught in a small class size in Agricultural science in secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area.

 

Class Size and Students Academic Performance in Agricultural Science in Secondary Schools

 

1.4   Research Questions

The following research questions were raised in line with the specific objectives of the study.

  • To what extent is the difference in academic performance of students taught in a small class and those taught in a large class in Agricultural science in secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area?
  • To what extent is the difference in academic performance of students taught in a small class and those taught in a medium class in Agricultural science in secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area?
  • To what extent is the difference in academic performance of male and female students taught in a small class in Agricultural science in secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area?

1.5   Hypotheses of the Study

The following null hypotheses were formulated in line with specific objectives and the research questions.

  • There is no significant difference in academic performance of students taught in a small class and those taught in a large class Agricultural science in secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area.
  • There is no significant difference in academic performance of students taught in a small class and those taught in a medium class in Agricultural science in secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area
  • There is no significant difference in academic performance of male and female students taught in a small class in Agricultural science in secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area.
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1.6   Significance of the Study

It is anticipated that the findings of this study will be of immense benefit to teachers, educational planners, policy makers, researchers, governments and other stake- holders in the education sub-sector as this will furnish them with a sound basis for examining the effects of various class sizes on students’ academic performance in schools.

It will provide data on the maximum number of students that should be kept in a class for optimal academic performance.

The recommendations of this study will enable educational planners and policy makers to make policies and programmes that will guarantee an improved academic performance among students by ensuring that adequate classroom blacks and seating materials are provided in schools to decongest the existing ones.

This study will add to the body of existing literature on class size in relation to students’ academic performance not only in Agricultural science but other school subjects.

Finally, the findings of this study will serve as a reference material for further research into class size and student’s academic performance when published.

1.7   Limitation of the study

The major factors that limit the scope of this study to Ikono Local Government Area were insufficient fund, time frame for the research and researcher’s academic work-load etc.

1.8   Delimitation of the Study

This study is delimited to class size and students’ Academic Performance in Agricultural science in Secondary schools in Ikono Local Government Area. This study was restricted to only secondary school students offering Agricultural science in Ikono Local Government Area. Both male and female students formed the respondents for the study.

1.8   Definition of Terms

The following terms used in the study were conceptualized by the researcher as explained below:

Class: A group of learners taught together

Class size: The number of learners taught together in a class

Small class: A class that has between two (2) to twenty-five (25) students

Medium class: A class that has between 26 to 35 students

Large class: A class that has more than 35 students.

Academic Performance: The measure of the extent which learners in school acquired set objectives of lessons as indicated by their tests and examination scores.

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