Abstract: The study examined school characteristic and students’ Academic Performance in Economics in Secondary Schools in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area. Three research questions were formulated to give the study a sense of direction. Survey research design was used for the study. The study adopted simple random sampling technique to select two hundred respondents in the study area. A structured questionnaire was used as an instrument for data collection. The data collected were subjected to statistical analysis using simple percentage. The results showed that school location, class size and school facilities were the most significant school characteristics that affect students’ academic performance in Economics in Secondary schools in the area. A number of recommendations were highlighted one of which is that government should endeavour to provide schools with good teaching and learning facilities to help in accomplishing the major goal of secondary education.
1.1 Background to the study
In Nigeria and the world at large, education is seen as a pivot for human change and development. Hence, education is a tool for global revolutionary changes which has helped to improve all facets of human endeavours. For education to thrive there are key variables that need to be considered. These variables include school location, school environment, classroom size, school facilities and teachers’ characteristics (Ajayi, 2001). According to the author these variables are so important that they can affect the academic performance of students in school.
However, for many years now, educationists and researchers have debated on which school characteristics influence students’ performance. As policy makers become more involved in school reform, this question takes a new dimension since their initiatives rely on presumed relationship between various educations related factors and learning outcome. Glass (2000), suggested that schools bring little influence to bear upon a child’s achievement that is independent on his background and general social context. The author noted that factors like school facilities and other school characteristics may play important roles in students’ academic performance.
According to Inyang (2008), a school is an environment which constitutes all what surrounds the learners in the course of learning. The environment embraces such provisions as well-equipped laboratory, library facilities, well-ventilated classrooms, good roads, electricity and the use of relevant instructional materials among others. Consequently, the issue of poor academic performance of students in Nigeria has been of much concern to the government, parents, teachers and even students’ themselves. The quality of education does not only depend on the teachers as reflected in the performance of their duties, but also in the effective co-ordination of the school characteristics.
Hoxby (2000), cited factors contributing to students poor performance especially in secondary schools to include lack of teachers, inadequate guidance and counseling services, location of the school and the size of the class. The situation is so frustrating in terms of lack of teachers to meet up with the recommended students/teacher ratio for effective teaching and learning. Classrooms and offices are in dilapidating condition and all these have adverse effect on students’ performance. The researcher further stressed that in Nigerian secondary schools, the ratio of class size is about 1:50 which poses a difficult task to the teacher to give equal attention to all the students.
Accordingly, school facilities are indispensable tools necessary for the enhancement of the learning process. They are the vehicle for conveying the curriculum contents (subject matter) to the learners. Moreover, the present research will examine the aforementioned areas of school characteristics as it affects students’ academic performance in Economics in secondary schools.
1.2 Statement of the problem
For sometimes now, there has been a lot of concern about the performance of our students in Economics by patriotic citizens of our society. Accordingly, researchers and scholars have begun to investigate which school characteristics are responsible for the poor performance of students in the subject. Among the factors identified were teachers’ quality, unconducive environment, lack of libraries, wrong teaching methods adopted by some teachers and school management. To ameliorate these problems, government, teachers, parents and some educational agencies and organizations have made concerted efforts to improve on the performance of students in Economics in secondary schools. This has been in the areas of recruitment of qualified and competent teachers to teach Economics, construction of dilapidated classrooms to make the environment conducive for teaching and learning as well as equipping of libraries in schools with modern textbooks to facilitate learning. All these efforts notwithstanding the academic performance of students in the subject is still on the decline.
However, it is on the expectation that other school characteristics like school location, class size and school facilities could also exert influence on students’ academic performance in economics thereby resulting into poor performance in the subject. It is as a result of the above reasons that the researcher is motivated to conduct a study on school characteristics and students’ academic performance in Economics in secondary schools in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area with a view to making recommendations that will ensure better students’ academic performance in the subject both at internal and external examinations.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The main objective of the study was to investigate the influence of school characteristics and students’ academic performance in Economics in secondary schools in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area. Specifically the study will achieve the following objectives:
- As certain if school location affects students’ academic performance in Economics in secondary schools in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area.
- Examine if class size influences students’ academic performance in Economics in secondary schools in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area.
- Assess if school facilities affects students’ academic performance of students’ in Economics in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area.
1.4 Significance of the study
– The study will reveal if the location of the schools certainly affect students’ academic performance and the teaching-learning process in general.
– It will help teachers to gain insight into the quality and quality f learning materials that could be used in a class with specific number of learners.
– The study will also expose the impact of teaching and learning facilities on students’ academic performance.
– It will serve as a reference point for further researchers on school characteristics.