ANALYSIS OF THE EFFECTS OF CLASS-SIZE ON SOCIAL STUDIES STUDENTS’ EDUCATIONAL PERFORMANCE IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN GIWA EDUCATIONAL ZONE KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA

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ANALYSIS OF  THE EFFECTS OF CLASS-SIZE ON SOCIAL STUDIES STUDENTS’ EDUCATIONAL PERFORMANCE IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN GIWA EDUCATIONAL ZONE KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA  

ABSTRACT

This study titled “Evaluating the Effects of Class-Size on Social Studies Students‟ Academic

Performance in Junior Secondary Schools in Giwa Educational Zone Kaduna State, Nigeria”. Three objectives, three research questions and three hypotheses each were formulated for the study. The study used quasi experimental design. The total population of public Junior Secondary Schools students in Giwa Educational Zone was 5449 from which a sample of three hundred and eighty three (383) students were selected using random sample technique. Furthermore, four (4) schools were purposely selected. The study used pre-test and post-test group design. The students were further grouped into two groups (i.e. Group A: large classsize and Group B: small class-size). The main instruments used for the data collection was Social Studies Students Academic Performance Test (SOSSAPET). The pilot study has the reliability coefficient of 0.551. T-test statistic was used to test the null hypotheses at p<.05 level of significant. The study revealed that students mean scores performance was higher in small class size than large class size. There was no significant difference in the mean academic performance scores of male and female students when the class size and sex were considered together. There was no significant effect on students performance based on the school location in small class size and those in large class sizes. Based on the results of the findings, it is recommended that small class size in teaching enhance students learning ability in Junior Secondary Schools. Government should decongest large classes by constructing more classes and upstairs in urban and rural areas so as to encourage students by allowing them to seat 40 or less than that quantity for effective teaching and learning. This will also promote students academic performance in Junior Secondary Schools.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

For many years, educators and people in general have debated on the number of students a teacher can work effectively to ensure students adequate learning. Although most people would agree that having a few student to teacher ratio would benefit the student academically, mainly will also argue that it does not guarantee success and would cost school a great deal or more money. Prior to reviewing the research, a clarification of terms associated with the research context is necessary. Students achievement applies to making sure all students have the necessary skills and knowledge of function in school so that they may also succeed as adult (National Education Association, 2002). But others see a much broader, richer, picture. Three areas that fit into the broader picture are academics, essential life skills and responsibility to the community. Definitions vary across the research spectrum, but for the purpose of this paper, small class size will be defined as classes with approximately 30 students, while large or regular class will be defined as classrooms with approximately 40 or more students (Harris and Plank, 2000). The term average class size is a calculation of the total number of students in a grade level divided by the number of classroom sections in that school or school district.  The major problems schools are running into is that funding for these small class sizes is not available, or decreasing. Many states and school districts dealing with shortfalls in revenue are smaller classes. Advocate of small classes believes that small class size allow teacher to give more individualized attention to students, manage their classrooms more effectively and provide more effective instruction that leads to better students performance. In a smaller classroom, a teacher has more time to get to know each students personality and academic strengths and weaknesses, students receive more attention and are less likely to become discipline problems with less time spent on classroom management, teachers can focus more on classroom instruction and students learning. Patricia A. Wesley of the college of Education at the University of Washington writes “my teaching and research experiences have convince me that both small classes and small schools are crucial to a teacher‟s ability to succeed with student” (Wesley, 2002). Some people are not convenience, however, that reducing class size ensures an academic advantage. Kirk A. Johnson is a senior policy analyst in the center for data analysis, heritage foundation and asks the question, “are class size reduction programmes uniformly positive or does a downside exists to hiring and placing more teachers in its public schools? (Johnson, 2005). Because of state mandate in classroom reductions, schools are required to hire more inexperienced teachers and are suffering from lack of qualified teachers to fill the classroom (Johnson, 2005). Others argue that there is no substantive proof that class size makes a difference in students performance and there may be other influences affecting students performance. Evidence linking smaller classes to improved performance is inconclusive for instance, difference studies have varied in their definition of small class size.

According to Erik Haunshek (2003) of the Hoover Institution, only 15 percent of the studies found that reducing class size has a statistically significant positive effect on performance. Moreover, almost as many studies (13 percent) found that reducing class size has a statistically negative effect on student performance. The remaining 72 percent indicate that reducing class size has no statistically significant effects non performance.

The results were similar in the 136 studies of elementary school class sizes. Only 13 percent of them found that reducing class size increase students performance, and 120 percent indicate that a reduction harms performance. Thus, in the word of Hanuyshek “there is little reason to believe that smaller class sizes systematically yield higher student achievement” (Barcia, and Fredua, Kwarteng, 2008). Evidence linking smaller classes to improved performance is therefore inconclusive.‟

Researchers have long investigated whether smaller classes improve students performance. Their conclusions suggest that class-size reduction can result in greater indepth coverage of subject matter by teachers, enhanced learning and stronger engagement by students, and safe schools more fewer discipline problems (Cohen, Miller, Stnonchill, & Geddes, 2000; Hertling, Leonard, Lumsden, & Smith, 2000; Thompson & Guningham, 2001). Montagna & Toth (2002), have attributed students performance in social studies to a large class room size in our secondary schools. They further listed a number of other factors that can be considered to be responsible for contributory factors to the trend of poor performance of students. These includes:

  1. Work over-load by teachers
  2. Dissatisfaction with the little or no infrastructural materials iii. Experience or disposition of teachers to use child-centered method of teaching iv. Lack of initiative on the part of the teachers-using the locality available materials as an improvisation in the teaching and learning process.
  3. General teaching skills (subject mastery) by the teacher vi. Poor perception and negative attitude of students towards Social Studies vii. Compulsory nature of the subject

For example, Noble (2000), in examining the assumption about the possible course-effect relationship between class-size and students performance, these areas include:

  • Students attitude and readiness to learn.
  • Remediation for ill-prepared and educationally disadvantage students.
  • Understanding of learning styles and processes as well as teaching styles and mind-leading skills.
  • Student motivation and effort and
  • Widespread grade inflation and the watering down of standards, (Nobel, 2000).

In assessing the possible effect of class-size on performance, the issue of a good measure of academic performance has been called into question. The major problem schools are running into is that funding for these class-sizes is not available, or is decreasing (Gilma & Kiger, 2003). The promise that reducing class-sizes can lead to improved teaching and learning is one that most teachers and parents would readily endorse, (Kennedy, 2003); given a choice between a classroom with 20 students and with 30 students, who want to argue that the larger class would be a better learning environment for each student in the class? Nevertheless, the results of studies surveyed conclude that the influence of class-size on performance depends upon the measure of performance and that when measure of knowledge are used the large class-method is as effective as the small-class methods.

However, when measures of transfer of knowledge to new situations, retention of information, problem solving, critical thinking and attitude change or motivation are used, small-class size. The relationship between class-size and academic performance has been a perplexing one for educators. Studies have found that the physical environment and class overcrowding are the variables that affect students performance (Molnar, etal.,

2000). Other factors are school population and class-size (Gentry, 2000 and Swift, 2000). Stated the issue of poor academic performance of students in Nigeria has been of much concern to all and sundry. The problem is so much that it has led to the decline in standard of education. Since the academic success of students depends largely on the school environment, it is imperative to examine the impact variables of class-size and the academic performance of students in junior secondary school.

Large class-size has direct impact of the quality of teaching and instruction delivery. Overcrowded classrooms have increased the possibilities for mass failure and make students to lose interest in schools. This  large class-size do not allow individual student to get attention from teachers which invariably lead to low reading scores, frustration and poor academic performance. In order to better understand the skill levels of students, it might be necessary to evaluate factors affecting their performance. These factor can include: school structure and organization, teacher quality, and teaching philosophies (Driscoll, Halcoussis, Svorny, 2003). The purpose of this study is to examine “the evaluation of class-size on Social Studies academic performance among junior secondary school students in Giwa Zone Kaduna State, Nigeria.

1.2        Statement of the Problem

In recent times, performance of Junior Secondary School students according to report made by office of the statistics in PPSMB 2016, calls for proper investigation of courses of poor performance of students. Probably the high level of students enrolment without adequate provision of corresponding learning facilities in our schools. The National Policy on Education (NPE, 2014) stipulates that a normal class size at JSS should be forty(40) students per class for effective teaching and learning. However, prevailing conditions in most Nigerian junior secondary schools today is that a single classroom has a population of about 80 or more students, yet the same class to teach the class-size of 40 students are also being used in teaching the class-size of 80 students. It would be expected therefore, that the increase in students enrolment would create problems for teachers and effective classroom management. This could be the major reason responsible for the decline of students performance in social studies since population explosion directly affects effective teaching learning procedure.

Although, several scholars have proposed various factors responsible for the poor performance of students, only a little research has been dedicated to the correlation between class-size population and academic performance.

The high rate of failure in public examination is a proof that the education sector is ailing and requires urgent attention. In an attempt to find out the cause of this mass failure, several factors have been identified to be responsible for this situation. One of such factors is the high teacher-students ratio. It has been observed that some schools record book contain eighty or more students in a class. This problem is particularly severe in Giwa educational zone. The objectives of secondary school education is to produce high quality students who should be able to face the challenges of the society and prepare them for higher education. Today, Social Studies students are faced with large class sizes which lead to ineffective teaching and learning of social studies. It also leads to students not being able to understand the subject in the correct way. This results in the decline of students academic performance. Hence, this study is aimed at evaluating the effects of class size on the academic performance of social studies in Junior Secondary Schools in Giwa Educational Zone, Kaduna State, Nigeria with the view of providing remedial strategies to improve the situation.

1.3       Objectives of the Study

The major objective of the study is to evaluating the effects of class size on students academic performance in social studies in Giwa Educational Zone, Kaduna State, Nigeria. More specifically the objectives of the study are:

  1. to find out the effects of class size on academic performance scores of JSS Social

Studies  Students.

  1. to find out the effects of class size on academic performance scores of male and female JSS Social Studies students.
  2. to find out the effects of class size on academic performance scores of rural and urban JSS Social Studies students.

1.4        Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study:

  1. what is the effect of class size on academic performance scores of JSS Social

Studies students?

  1. what is the effects of class size on academic performance scores of male and female JSS Social Studies students?
  2. what is the effects of class size on academic performance scores of rural and urban JSS Social Studies students?

 

 

1.5        Null Hypotheses

Based on the research questions raised above, the following research hypotheses have been formulated to guide the researcher in the study.

H01: there is no significant effects in the academic performance scores of JSS Social Studies students based on congested and incongested classroom.
H02: there is no significant effects in the academic performance scores of male and female JSS Social Studies students based on congested and incongested classroom.
H03: there is no significant effects in the academic performance scores of urban and rural JSS Social Studies students based on congested and incongested classroom.
1.6 Significance of the Study

The study of the effects of class size on social studies students academic performance in junior secondary schools is significant in a number of ways. Some of these are outlined below.

Firstly, the study provides valid research based on the data that brings about improvement in the educational programme. It is difficult to ascertain if the educational programme is doing what it is supposed to do when it has not been formally evaluated as it relate to the current large class sizes. Secondly, the research findings are significant to stakeholders in education like: Government and policy makers. They will find the findings of this study useful as it will assist them to identify, analyse and interpret the negative consequences of large class population on students academic performance in the study area and beyond. This will help in providing the much needed data for planning and evaluation purposes which by looking at the situation to improve special consideration.

To the UBEC and SUBEBS, the study will assist them in the area of providing necessary information about students on small class benefit to enable them refine the various level of educational programmes and reposition them for greater efficiency thereby producing students that will be toast of the society.

This study is significant to curriculum planners and developers who want to evaluate and modify the JSS curriculum, making it progressive for the development of learners in the aspect of cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains. Also, teachers and students can benefit from the findings of the study as it will provide a good guide for effective classroom management. The research also aids in stimulating cordial teacher/student relationship and enhances the teaching/learning process. In addition, this study will serve as a necessary impetus to principals and school administrators to organize workshop, seminars and symposia on the effects of class size on students academic performance in the Junior Secondary Schools. Furthermore, the study serve as a background for other researchers to identify areas for further studies the relationship between class size and students improvement at various levels of educational  programme particularly in secondary schools.

1.7       Scope of the Study

This study is limited to JSS II in Giwa Educational Zone Kaduna State, the Zone has twenty six (26) junior secondary schools. The study is restricted to four (4) public sample schools which includes GJSS Doka, GJSS Hunkuyi, GJSS Kudan and GJSS Tabansani. Used marriage as treated topic from JSS II scheme of work where lesson plan was used. The students were grouped into two (2). A: small class, B: large class. Also, it is limited to evaluating the effects of class size on student academic performance in junior secondary schools. In small class size instruction, the teacher may provide special assistance to groups who request it. The output of this study therefore, explores and illustrates the differences and importance of small class size and large class size and its effect on students academic performance. This work also aims to encourage social studies students on how to improve and overcome social studies related problems and phobia that is associated with the learning of social studies at junior secondary school level.

ANALYSIS OF  THE EFFECTS OF CLASS-SIZE ON SOCIAL STUDIES STUDENTS’ EDUCATIONAL PERFORMANCE IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN GIWA EDUCATIONAL ZONE KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA  

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