ABSTRACT: The study investigated School Variables and Academic Performance of Students in Economics among Secondary Students. All Economics students in all the public secondary schools were the population for the study. Two hundred students were used as the sample size. Economics Achievement Test (EAT) was the instruments for data collection and independent t-test was used in analyzing the data. Findings showed that there is a significant difference between urban and rural schools and academic performance in Economics among senior secondary students; there is a significant difference between adequate school infrastructural facilities and inadequate school infrastructural facilities and academic performance in Economics among senior secondary students; and there is a significant difference between adequate library facilities and inadequate library facilities and academic performance in Economics among senior secondary students in the study area.
School Variables and Academic Performance of Students in Economics among Secondary Students
Based on the findings, it was recommended that Government should extend its policy attention to school in the rural areas and also encourage teachers to move to rural say by issuing relocation allowances to transferred teachers and also making rural school infrastructural wise competitive with urban schools and community and other philanthropists should be encouraged to support the development of schools to improve the facilities such as the library facilities to improve the teaching-learning process.
1.1 Background of the Study
The school is a social and learning agent that provides the environment upon which a child may be formally educated in order to attain educational goals. Human beings have unlimited capacity to learn but may however be limited by the behavior patterns and facilities that the immediate environment offers. According to Umoh (2013) nature only provides the raw materials in form of potentials but it is the environment that determines the extent of development. In furtherance to the menace of low academic performance which has been on high strain in the secondary school system and cannot be over-emphasized as it had eaten deep into the quality of students and eventual leaders produced into the Nigerian economy. It could be deduced that there exist a space in the quality of students produced and the required quality of individuals for various schools need of the country and the society in general (Sambo, 2014).
In accessing the causes and the effects of the level of students’ academic performance, the researcher considers some variables of the school as those instruments that could tailor the level of students’ academic performance. The school variables are the school infrastructural facilities, school library facilities and school location. They are deemed fit to affect students’ academic performance. Hence, these school variables remain important area that should be studied and well managed to enhance students’ academic performance.
Similarly, Demas (2013) asserted that the issue of poor academic performance of students in secondary schools has been of much concern to the government, parents, teachers and even students themselves. The quality of education not only depends on the teachers as reflected in the performance of their duties but also in the effectiveness co-ordination of the school variables. It is posited that the school physical feature has a form of relationship with the student academic performance in term of the school size, structure, ownership, location and type.
Ekanem (2011) has shown that school facilities such as library facilities assist teachers in making their lessons explicit to learners. Eneh and Nkang (2011) in postulation theory of cognitive development have shown that learners in schools function at the operational stage of mental development. One of the characteristics of the students at this stage of development is that they hardly remember what they learn except taught in concrete form. It is when learning experiences are made in concrete form that learners can remember what they learn and one way of making learning experiences concrete is by teaching the students with school facilities such as, library, computer laboratory and sporting facilities among others.
Additionally, Fred (2013) identified school variables as the major factors contributing to the teaching and learning effectiveness in the school system. These include infrastructural facilities such as classroom, equipped laboratories and libraries as well as the location of the school. Different studies conducted by Dele (2010) and Vincent (2011) showed that a positive relationship exist between availability of facilities, school location and academic performance of students. Similarly, Efrema, (2012) asserted that the teaching of social sciences could be made easy and interesting for students if the school infrastructural facilities such as laboratory facilities and library facilities in the school are available and utilized in the teaching and learning process. It is also noted that a well prepared instruction could be destroyed by non-availability or improper utilization of school facilities by the teachers.
However, Lionel Robbins (1932) in Vendan (2016) posited that Economics is a science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses. Robbins describes the definition as not classificatory in “picking out certain kinds of behaviour” but rather analytical in “focusing attention on a particular aspect of behaviour, the form imposed by the influence of scarcity.” He asserted that economics can be used to study other things, such as war, that are outside its usual focus.
This is because war has as the goal winning it (as a sought after end), generates both cost and benefits; and, resources (human life and other costs) are used to attain the goal. If the war is not winnable or if the expected costs outweigh the benefits, the deciding actors (assuming they are rational) may never go to war (a decision) but rather explore other alternatives. We cannot define economics as the science that studies wealth, war, crime, education, and any other field economic analysis can be applied to; but, as the science that studies a particular common aspect of each of those subjects (they all use scarce resources to attain a sought after end).
Moreover, Damsola (2014) maintained based on his research that this subject demands critical technique to be used in teaching the students in order for them to develop interest in the students as well as motivating high academic performance. He went on to say that the subject can be taught in both urban and rural schools effectively if there is adequate utilization of school infrastructural facilities. In line with this, Edith (2015) was of the view that for effective teaching of Economics which does not have practical activities, there is need for the children to utilize the school library in their learning processes.
Equally, Matthew (2013) investigated the influence of school factors and academic performance of students in Economics in secondary schools in Benin metropolis and concluded that there is a significant influence of school location, school library and the physical environment of the school and the academic performance of students in secondary schools in Benin metropolis and that the availability and utilization of library facilities by students influence the learning and teaching of Economics in secondary schools. This motivated the researcher to interest on reviewing the concept of school variables as it may affect the present study area.
In a similar study Boniface (2012) utilization of the location of the school and library facilities in teaching assists the teachers as the manager of the instructional process in the arrangement of the mechanics of the presentation and also in planning the whole instructional process. Completely absence of these facilities and poor location of the school could pose serious problem in the teaching of social sciences. It is against this background that it became necessary to investigate the extent to which school variables such as school location, school infrastructural facilities and school library facilities influence the academic performance in Economics among senior secondary students in secondary schools.
School Variables and Academic Performance of Students in Economics among Secondary Students
1.2 Statement of the Problem
No two schools are alike just like people within them have different characteristics. Secondary schools in the study area have different facilities which are located in different locations and this makes the students and the teachers to behave in different ways. The issue of poor academic performance of students in Economics has been an issue that has led to widely discussion.
The standard of education in the study area has made Economics and other social science subjects to go through school differences. School differences include the location of school, infrastructural facilities and school libraries. It is observed that there has been mass failure in Economics among secondary school students over years. This leads to low enrolment in Economics courses in our universities, polytechnics and college of education.
This posed serious problem in the educational system and has led to parents blaming the government for lack of provision of adequate facilities in the schools, lack of provision of certain basic amenities and infrastructural development in the local government. The teachers blame he students for poor reading habit. This therefore interest the researcher seeks to find out whether school variables such as the school location, infrastructural facilities and school library could be responsible for these poor academic performance among Economics students in secondary schools with a view to making recommendations base on researcher’s findings.