Abstract: The study was carried out to investigate the influence of Students’ variables and academic achievement of students in secondary schools in Uruan Local Government Area. To achieve the specific objectives of the study, three (3) null hypotheses were formulated. A review of the related literature was done as a guide in establishing principles for the study. The research adopted a survey research design. The population of the study was made up of four thousand fifteen (4015) Secondary two (SS2) Economics students from twelve (12) public secondary schools. Simple random sampling technique was employed to select five (5) schools from twelve (12) public secondary schools in the study area. A total of two hundred (200) Secondary two (SS2) Economics students were sampled from five (5) secondary schools selected for the study.
The Economics Achievement Test (EAT) was used in collecting data for the study and the data collected was analyzed using independent t-test statistic. The finding from the study showed that male students performed better than their female counterparts. Also, the study revealed that students of the ages 13-15 performed better than students of the ages 16-18 and finally, students who cultivate positive attitudes towards school performs academically better than their counterpart.
Students’ variables and academic achievement of students in secondary schools
1.1 Background to the Study
It is interesting to note that researchers in education and other stakeholders have contributed immensely towards improving academic achievement of learners in the teaching-learning process. Researchers have conducted researches mostly on environmental factors, teacher-related factors, home and parental factors, use of instructional materials and school locations among other variables while students’ variable seem to receive or attract less touch. Students’ variables, according to Meador (2013) include those behavioral patterns that either foster or inhibit the students’ achievement at school. He listed some of the positive students’ variables to include asking questions, hard work, and regularity at class, class participation, seizing opportunities, trust worthiness and being a problem solver. Young (2012) identifies the variables of good students to include being attentive in class, consulting with instructors, promptly turning in assignment and making good use of extra credit hour opportunities.
Students’ variables are compound concept that encompasses the learner’s age, experience, interest, health, beliefs, gender, motivation and previous learning and intelligence (Fakeye, 2012). Apart from the afore factors mentioned earlier which have received much researcher’s touch, Cohen(2013) argued that students’ variables may even impact hugely on academic achievement considering the fact that they learn what is of interest to them. According to the researcher, ‘as a teacher, you can only create the learning environment needed, explain the concept as supposed, use necessary material to facilitate the learning but cannot force the learner on what, how when and where to learn, he learns what is of his satisfaction depending on his personal attitude’’.
Many researchers have come to argue that learning should be learners’-centered. This obviously is a pointer to the fact that students apart from being mere learners but listeners, their variables may go a long way in determining the extent to which they can progress academically.
In Nigeria, in spite of the enormous role that has been set in their respective places to enhance the academic achievement of the students, many factors have contributed to this ugly and unwholesome situation. These factors include students’ health, lack of interest, gender inequality and students’ study habits. Researchers have identified a number of factors that may have impact on students’ interest in specific subjects, researches has been carried out on students’ variable and interest in Economics, basic questions till now are open how to make students’ variables toward economics more favorable and how to increase their interest in the subject, interest has many applications for studying and learning.
It is particularly note worthy that a variety of research on students’ variable also found out that significant gender variation in attitude towards an interest in school with girls losing interest faster than boys in secondary schools. It is also likely a point of interest to note that gender variation were most likely to be connected with a number of variables related to classroom experiences including pedagogical variable. This implies that gender is a very good predictor of learning outcome in economics subjects at secondary school level.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Students’ variables have been found to have a considerable influence on students’ academic achievement. Accordingly, the school system has put in place several rules and regulations to guide the students. For a smooth academic progress in school, students are expected to be law abiding, respectful of school authorities and school staff as well as being regular and punctual to class. Other variables expected of the students include, respect for one another, honesty, hard-work, commitment to class tasks and attentiveness in class.
In Nigerian educational system, policy keeps collapsing from time to time and this has generated much concern from several quarters of the Nation. For instance, Economics is a compulsory subject in all junior secondary schools in Nigeria it should be taught with varieties of approaches to make the learn effectively not minding their gender. Again, children are sent to school, some at a very tender age while some at their advanced age, quite unlike what was obtained in those days. As if this is not enough, parents now let their wards to jump certain classes claiming that the children are of high intelligence.
It has been noted that students who exhibits positive attitudes like regularity in class, active class participation and prompt response to assigned tasks were more committed to learning than students with negative attitudes which includes: poor study habit, irregularity in class, truancy, fighting, disobedience, examination malpractice, lateness to school and general indiscipline; Others include: students abstaining themselves from school and classes using unnecessary excuses, such as being sick when they are not, fake suspension by the school authority or teacher, some of these variables are common among the students who perform poorly in their tests and examination.
Having young, average and advanced ages in the same class, is there any impact on the on teaching and learning processes? If yes, at what age should students be in a particular class? Should children be allowed to jump classes all in the name of high intelligence? What is its impact, if at all there is?
The growing number of failure in both external and internal examinations in junior secondary schools has become alarming and also a cause of concern because of this nagging issue. Educators have been forced and motivated to conduct series of research study with the view of finding a lasting and better solution to the problem of teaching/learning of Economics. This study seeks to investigate the possible answers to this problem.
Students’ variables and academic achievement of students in secondary schools
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study was to examine students’ variables and academic achievement of students in secondary schools in Economics in Uruan Local Government Area.
Specifically, the study sought to:
- Determine the effects of gender variation and academic achievement of students among secondary school students in Economics in Uruan Local Government Area.
- Determine the effects of age variation and academic achievement of students among secondary school students in Economics in Uruan Local Government Area.
- Ascertain the effects of attitudes and academic achievement of students among secondary school students in Economics in Uruan Local Government Area.
1.4 Significance of the Study
- Counselors will find it useful to discuss with the learners and possibly guide them on the need to improve on those variables that can impart on learning.
- Parents will appreciate the need of sending their wards at a tender age of life to school.
- Parents will realize whether allowing their wards to jump classes is a best thing to do for them. Encouraging their wards to develop interest in subjects early.