1.1 Background of the Study:
Education is a systematic process that empowers individuals with knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for personal development and societal contribution. It is a fundamental tool for creating a civilized, refined, and cultured society. The educational journey begins in various environments, with the home and school playing crucial roles in shaping an individual's growth and development. A proper and conducive environment is essential for effective learning, with schools serving as significant contributors to an individual's educational experience.
The school environment encompasses various factors such as classrooms, libraries, resource centers, technical workshops, information and communication technology facilities, laboratories, health, physical exercises and playgrounds, conveniences, sanitation, and maintenance culture. These factors collectively influence students' learning experiences and academic performance. The school, being a place where students spend a significant portion of their lives, has a profound impact on their values and development.
The connection between the school environment and academic outcomes has gained recognition in contemporary studies. The physical and psychological attributes of the school environment play a role in students' behavior and academic performance. Understanding the influence of the school environment is crucial for enhancing students' academic achievements.
1.2 Statement of the Problem:
Despite the recognized importance of the school environment in shaping students' academic performance, there is a continuous decline in academic achievements, particularly in subjects like social studies. Reports from examination bodies highlight a substantial proportion of students exhibiting poor performance. Factors such as inadequate school facilities, overcrowded classrooms, and deficient resources are often cited as contributors to this decline.
The problems identified include deficiencies in the physical infrastructure of schools, inadequately constructed buildings, and underutilized or poorly maintained equipment. These challenges pose a threat to the teaching and learning processes within schools. The study aims to explore the impact of school environmental factors on students' academic performance in Eket Local Government, shedding light on the relationship between the school environment and academic outcomes.
The research seeks to address questions surrounding the influence of school location, facilities, and class size on students' academic performance in Eket Local Government. Understanding these factors is crucial for implementing targeted interventions to improve the overall learning environment and enhance students' educational experiences in the region.
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1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to determine the influence of school environmental factors on the academic performance in Eket Local Government in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. The Specific purposes of the study were:
- To determine the difference in students’ academic performance based on school location.
- To determine the difference in students’ academic performance based on class size.
- To determine the difference in students’ academic performance based on instructional facilities.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions were raised to guide the study:
- What is the difference in students’ academic performance based on urban and rural secondary schools?
- What is the difference in students’ academic performance based on large and small class size?
- What is the difference in students’ academic performance based on instructional facilities?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study.
- There is no significant difference in students’ academic performance based on urban and rural secondary schools Eket Local Government Area.
- There is no significant difference in students’ academic performance based on large and small class size Eket Local Government Area.
- There is no significant difference in students’ academic performance based on instructional facilities Eket Local Government Area.
1.6. Significance of the Study
The findings from this study will be of immense benefits to the government, principals, teachers, parents as well as student researchers.
The findings will help the government or the policy makers in formulating effective planning and implementation policies and programmes for improved school academic activities. It will also provide policy makers with intelligent forecast and analysis of future needs of the schools in the areas of building and facilities.
The outcome of the study would provide the school principals the opportunity to improve in school supervision so as to ensure both qualities teaching and learning in the schools. It will enable them appreciate the contribution of school facilities and equipment on students’ academic achievement. The findings will enable the teachers to appreciate the need for proper instructional delivery. It will help the teacher to improve both in teaching effectiveness and increased productivity in the schools.
The findings will help the parents in determining the choice of the type of school for their children. This is because, their wards will enjoy good school learning environment that will lead to quality school products. Finally, it would be of benefit to the student researchers as it will provide a valid working document or literature in investigating other areas not covered by this study. Thus, it will serve as a point of reference to future researchers in the field.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study is delimited to the determination of the difference between school environment and students’ performance of junior secondary students in Eket Local Government Area in 2018/2019 academic session. The content area covers school location, class size and instructional resources as independent variables and students’ performance as dependent variable.
1.8 Definition of Terms
School Environment: This is a compound word which refers to the environment where teaching and learning take place. A school environment is broadly characterized by its facilities, classrooms, school location, class size, school type, school ownership, school-based health supports, and disciplinary policies and practices. It sets the stage for the external factors that affect students.
Academic Performance: This is the degree of students’ accomplishment of their tasks and studies. It is measured by student’s grades which reflect the student’s “score” for their subjects and overall tenure.
School Location: This refers to secondary school sites either in the rural area or urban areas of the state.
Class Size: This refers to either large or small size of student in a school. In this case, 1-40 students in a class was considered as small size, while 40 and above was considered as large class size.
Instructional Resources: These are resources needed to facilitate effective implementation of teaching and learning of social studies.