Class Variables and Students’ Academic Performance in Social Studies in Secondary Schools

Class Variables and Students’ Academic Performance in Social Studies in Secondary Schools
Class Variables and Students’ Academic Performance in Social Studies in Secondary Schools

Abstract: This study examined Class Variables and Students’ Academic Performance in Social Studies in Secondary Schools. The study examined three class variables namely teachers’ academic qualifications, teachers’ experience and teachers’ good organization of work and the academic performance of students in Social Studies in Obot Akara Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. The population of the study comprised of all the JSS3 students in all public secondary schools in Obot Akara Local Government Area with a population of 1145. Data were collected from a sample of 300 students from five (5) public secondary schools. It was a survey study with two researcher-developed instruments-Class Variables Questionnaire (CVQ), and Social Studies Achievement Test (SSAT) which were used in collecting data for the study which were computed using t-test statistical method and was tested at 0.05 level of significance.

In pursuance of the study’s objectives, three research hypotheses were formulated to give answers that guided the study. Results of the analysis revealed that two variables-teachers’ academic qualifications and experience showed significant influences in the academic performance of students while teachers’ good organization of work does not. Based on the findings of the study, it was recommended that class variables could be improved through seminars, in-service training and workshops to upgrade their per-entry qualifications.

Class Variables and Students’ Academic Performance in Social Studies in Secondary Schools



1.1   Background of the study

Education is a means where the societal needs and inspirations of the individuals could be attained. An individual in any community must possess skills, knowledge and abilities that are needed for him to operate successfully in the community. Such virtues when possessed are highly measured and are transmitted to younger generations for the sake of the continuity of the society. The process of acquiring these virtues in education is through the reflections of these virtues in the school curriculum.

A lot of scholars consider education as a veritable tool to build up individuals who are knowledgeable and intelligent, capable of sustaining themselves in meaningful activities, and at the same time, making conscious efforts to assist their environment and the society to develop skills acquire from education. Such education liberates the individuals from the shackles of poverty, ignorance and diseases.

Umoren and Ogbodo (2001) conceived education as the aggregates of all the processes by which a child develops abilities, attitudes and other forms of behavoiur which are  of positive values. Imogie (2007) and Whawo (1991) opined that education  would help equip the students with skills, aptitudes and positive values that would help them to grow and contribute meaningfully to the development of the society, better than what they came to meet.

In Nigeria, the aims of education are highlighted in the National Policy on Education (FGN, 2004). The policy targets at the inculcation of the right types of values and attitudes for the survival of the individual and the Nigerian society. This means, the training of the mind, in the understanding of the world around him, and the acquisition of appropriate skills, abilities and competencies, both mental and physical as well as equip the individuals with skills to live and contribute to the development of the society.

The quality of education and the training which the students are able to receive depends to a large extent on the class variables; the centre point of it is the “teacher”. Morris (2004) defines a class as a set, collection, group, or configuration containing members having or thought tohave at least one attribute in common. In the class, the teacher helps to increase knowledge and change behaviour through learning which constitutes teaching.

According to Fafunwa (1974) the teacher is expected to be among other things, a good citizen, a role model, an innovator, a disciplinarian, a lightened person and a reservoir of knowledge and skills. If students are to learn, they must attend classes, if they must attend classes, the teacher must arouse their interests.

A good teacher is the most important class variable, among others. He is the one who has a good understanding of what his students need to learn and also their capabilities for learning and academic performance. He is the one to judge fast how much he needs to intervened in students learning and knows the most effective way of providing assistance. Thus his skills in teaching lies in knowing who, what and how to teach also being able to judge when (Farrant, 1980).

Social Studies is a discipline that enables man to know his social, economic, political and physical environments, both immediate and distant, and how best he  can make use of them. This subject, therefore deals with the totality of man. Also, it prepares the students for a more detailed approach to other subjects related to it, for example, history, geography and economics (Vermon, 1999). A knowledge of the discipline makes it easier for an individual to adjust and live happily in any community in which he finds himself.

Social Studies enables man to influence and be influenced by his environments. It also encourages positive attitudes like honesty, respect,love, etc. towards the other members of the society.  To sum it up, one of the aims of teaching Social Studies in Nigerian schools and colleges is to help develop certain characteristics in each student to enable him to become a matured and worthwhile citizen in a democratic Nigerian society.

Education is the cornerstone for any meaningful development in any society. In our school system, there exist differences in the educational background of teachers, their experience and good organization of work. The future of our educational system, to a great extent, depends on the quality of teachers (Teria, 2008). This study was informed by the need to find out whether teacher’s qualifications, experience and good organization of work are those significant class variables that influence academic performance.

Class Variables and Students’ Academic Performance in Social Studies in Secondary Schools

1.2     Statement of the Problem

The problem over the years has to do with poor academic performance of students which in recent times has reached a worriesome dimension.    But poor academic performance appears to be a musti-faceted problem caused by many and varied factors. Some see the poor performance by students in our schools as a general reflection of perceived falling standard of education in our society brought about by various variables. Some see this as student variables at work, society variables, school and class variables. The list is endless.One can easily conclude that something is wrong somewhere.

It is this conclusion that has motivated this researcher to undertake a study on class variables and students’ academic performance in Social Studies. This is with a view of determining how much of students’ academic performance at school is influence by class variables. It is viewed that the solution to this problem is a way out for the poor academic performance of students, which will bring about good academic performance and rapid development of our society.

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