AN ASSESSMENT OF THE EFFECT OF AGE ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE STUDENTS IN SECONDARY SCHOOL
1.1 Background Of The Study
Academic performance is a composite term that refers to both pupils’ ability and performance. It is multidimensional; it is inextricably linked to human growth and cognitive, emotional, and social physical development; it represents the whole child; it is not confined to a single event, but happens across time and levels throughout a student’s school and working life (Steinberger, 2005). Academic performance, as defined above, is the observable and quantifiable behavior of a student in a certain setting over time. For instance, a student’s academic performance in a school topic such as Economics is comprised of observable and quantifiable behavior at any point throughout or after a course of teaching. However, the amount of academic engagement at which students perform is controlled by a variety of circumstances. Mushtaq and Shabana (2012) argued that variables affecting student performance include communication, learning facilities, effective mentoring, and family stress. In other words, communication, learning facilities, and adequate supervision all have a good effect on student performance, but family stress has a detrimental effect on student performance, albeit the effect is not substantial.
Additionally, Jayanthi, Balakrishnan, Ching, Abdul Latiff, and Nasirudeen (2014) stated that characteristics such as a student’s gender, national origin, co-curricular activities, and enthusiasm in obtaining higher degrees influenced academic performance. Additionally, as compared to alternative techniques, using previous year’s test papers as a learning tool enhanced students’ academic achievements. Similarly, Vigilante, Enose, and Dorothy (2013) highlighted school levies, indiscipline, family difficulties, the kid’s entrance behavior, the girls’ lack of enthusiasm in finishing their work, certain parents’ attitudes toward the female child in comparison to the boy child, and a shortage of needed school supplies such as books as predictors of girls’ academic achievement in both day and boarding secondary schools. In a similar vein, Ahmad and Yusuf (2013) identified poverty, engagement in family chores, investments in boys’ education, early marriage, lack of adequate security, lack of child interest, parent’s death, school distance, disrespect and stubbornness expected of female students, and religious belief as some of the psychosocial variables contributing to female students’ higher dropout rates than male students. However, some of them join school later in life due to personal qualities. The issue of female students enrolling at an inappropriate age was founded on the fact that attaining puberty while still in school may raise the danger of sexual abuse and, in turn, impact female school rates. According to Jabor et al. (2011), students who are older than their peers’ average academic performance in school topics drops and continues to diminish as they age, and even older students are more likely to drop out.
In light of the foregoing, John, Jackson, and Simiyu (2015) lamented that a student’s chronological age had a significant impact on his or her academic performance, such that the youngest student had the potential to outperform the oldest on a teacher-created test. Abubakar and Adegboyega (2012) found a favorable association between age and economics academic achievement across secondary school schools. However, age was found to be insignificant in terms of students’ academic achievement, but age was found to be the greater predictor of academic achievement.
1.2 Statement Of The Problem
The efforts made by parents and the government in the education of high school students are aimed to guarantee that both males and females acquire the anticipated information and skills that will enable them to contribute to their own and larger communities. There is no age discrimination in the admission of students to high schools in Nigeria. This is to ensure that all students, regardless of their age, have equal educational opportunities (Jacob, 2011). Despite the fact that both parents and the government want students (male and female) to succeed academically, strong correlations between age and academic performance persist. Numerous scholars have identified these distinctions (Hanan, 2012, Lori, 2016, Epunam, 2011, and Balakrishnan, 2015). Thus, researchers must continue to focus their attention on the impact of age on academic performance. As such, this research will examine the relationship between age and academic performance among secondary school students.
1.3 Objectives Of The Study
The overall aim of this study is to critically examine the effect of age on the academic performance students in secondary school. Hence, the study will be channeled to the following specific objectives;
- Ascertain whether there is a significant relationship between age and academic performance.
- Determine whether there is any difference in students’ academic performance with respect to their chronological ages.
- Ascertain whether younger students perform better than older ones in the same class.
1.4 Research Hypotheses
The following statements will be validated in the course of this study;
H01: There is no significant relationship between age and academic performance.
H02: There is no difference in students’ academic performance with respect to their chronological ages.
H03: Younger students do not perform better than older ones in the same class.
1.5 Significance Of The Study
This study seeks to make findings into age as cause of the poor performance of students in schools given the huge financial investment by the various stakeholders.
Other researchers have worked on cognitive ability development and factors affecting it but little if any has been done on impact of age. Considering the fact that children at time resume nursery schools at age one. The findings become road map to making useful recommendations and arriving at tentative factual statements.
Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as literature review. This means that, other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regards to the effect of age on the academic performance students in secondary school.
1.6 Scope Of The Study
This study is structured to generally assess the effect of age on the academic performance students in secondary school. However, the study will further ascertain whether there is a significant relationship between age and academic performance, determine whether there is any difference in students’ academic performance with respect to their chronological ages, and ascertain whether younger students perform better than older ones in the same class.
The study will be delimited to some selected secondary schools in Niger State.
1.7 Limitation Of The Study
In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, and the attitude of the respondents. However, the researcher were able to manage these just to ensure the success of this study.
1.8 Definition Of Terms
1. Academic Performance: The cognitive ability of students in terms of passing performing well in continuous assessment / terminal examination.
2. Impact: Effect which is exerted on something by some other agent. It could be positive or negative effect.
3. Age: This is a measure of how old a student is. It is measured in years.