ANALYSIS OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CLASS SIZE AND TEACHING PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS
Background to the Study
The relationship between class size and academic performance has been a perplexing one for educators. Studies have found that the physical environment, class overcrowding, and teaching methods are all variables that affect students’ achievement. Other factors that affect student achievement are school population and class size.
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 school population on the academic performance of students in secondary school.
Academic achievement of students especially at the secondary school level is not only a pointer to the effectiveness or otherwise of schools but a major determinant of the future of youths in particular and the nation in general. The medium through which the attainment of individuals and the nation’s educational goals can be achieved is learning. Learning outcomes have become a phenomenon of interest to all and this account for the reason why scholars have been working hard to unravel factors that militate against good academic performance (Aremu & Sokan, 2002). This phenomenon has been variedly referred to in literature as academic achievement, or scholastic functioning. Academic achievement of learners has attracted attention of scholars, parents, policy –makers and planners.
In an attempt to put sound education on ground worldwide, many factors have been incriminated as being responsible for falling standard of education where it is perceived and established. Among such factors is the issues of ‘’class size’’ .Adeyemi (2008) defined class size as an educational tool that can be described as an average number of students per class in a school, while Hoffman (1980) described it as the number of students per teacher in a class. Kedney (1989) described it as a tool that can be used to measure performance of the education system. A lot of argument has gone on the impact of class size on performance, some fingering over-bloated class size as the main factor responsible for falling standard of education, most especially in the elementary or secondary level of education in Nigeria, however others see this as mere coincidence seeing other factors as being responsible.
Large class size and over populated schools have 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 school. This is because 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 Nigeria, however, Okoro (2010) reported that the class-size in secondary schools ranges between 35 or40 students. He argued that few pupils per class are uneconomical, as they do not make full use of space, teachers and teaching materials. Adeyemi (2008) reported that average class-size influences the cost of education while capital cost could be reduced by increasing the average class-size in schools while Nwadiani (2000) argued that the higher the class-size, the lower the cost of education. He contended however, that most classrooms are over-crowded spreading resources thinly and thereby affecting the quality of education. Ajayi (2000) supported the viewpoints and argued that in order to control rising capital cost of education, the average class-size could be increased. These points were also supported by Toth and Montagna (2012) who reported that the increase in enrollment in many institutions which has become major concerns of students could definitely lead to an increase in class size.
In addition, Dillon and Kokkelenberg (2002) pointed out from their research that large classes negatively affect some students more than others. According to them, class size has a negative logarithm with relationship to grades and that effect of class size on grades differs across different categories of students.
Again, Adeyemi (2008) in his findings revealed that schools having an average class size of 35 and below obtained a better result than schools having more than 35 students in senior secondary schools. Small classes may benefit students more when instruction relies on discussion, by allowing more students to participate and be recognized, than when lecture and seatwork are the main modes of instruction. According to Nye, Hedges and Konstantopoulos (2000).while small classes benefit all kinds of students; much research has shown that the benefits may be greatest for minority students or students attending inner-city schools. For these students, smaller classes can shrink the achievement gap and lead to reduced grade retention, fewer disciplinary actions, less dropping out, and more students taking college entrance exams (Krueger and Whitmore, 2001).
According to Ehrenberg, Brewer, Gamoran & Willms (2001), there are many reasons why smaller classes might contribute to higher achievement, including better teacher contact with parents and more personal relationships between teachers and students. For example, students may pay better attention when there are fewer students in the room. Similarly, teachers who use a lot of small group work may find their instruction is more effective in smaller classes, because fewer students remain unsupervised while the small group meets with the teacher. In these instances, teachers could carry on the same practices, but achievement would rise in smaller classes because the same instruction would be more effective.
Smith (2009) on the other hand, suggest that small class sizes in the first four years of schooling can lead to higher attainment by the time the pupil reaches secondary education. According to these researchers, pupils taught in smaller classes during the primary phase of their education were more likely to go on and eventually proceed to higher education.
Statement of the Problem
It has been observed that most secondary schools appear to be densely populated while clasroom seem to be over-congested. This study was therefore interested in identifying the relationship between class size and students academic performance .
Observation reveals that in recent times, there has been astronomical rise in class size due to increase in admission of students in Secondary School .
This situation has had multiple negative effects on teaching and learning as well as students’ academic outcomes. This is evidenced in the failure rates recorded by students in examination. Apart from this, students no longer have confidence in writing exams on their own without examination malpractice (Mgbekem, 2004). This also is consequent upon the fact that small class sizes do no encourage effective teaching and learning environment.
The performance of secondary school students in NECO, WAEC and JAMB calls for proper investigation. Although, several scholars have proposed various factors responsible for the poor performance of students, few research have been dedicated to the correlation between class size, school population and academic achievement of students. This study therefore looks at how class size affect students’ academic performance in secondary schools.
Objective of the Study
The broad objective of the research project is to examine the relationship between class size and teaching performance of students in Selected Secondary Schools in Kuje Area Council of FCT Abuja
The specific objectives are to;
- Examine the relationship between class size and academic performance of students
- Examine the relationship between school population and academic performance of students
- To identity the challenges faced by teacher and students in large classes
The research seeks to answer the following questions
- Is there any correlation between class size and academic performance of students?
- Is there any relationship between over population and school resources/ facilities?
- What are the problems and challenges faced by teachers and students in large classes?
The following hypothesis were formulated to guide the study
Ho1 There is no relationship between class size and students academic performance
Ho2: school population doe not have significance effect on students’ academic performance
Ho3: Over population of classroom does not have effect on students academic performance
Scope of the Study
This research work is aimed at investigating the relationship between class size and students academic performance in selected secondary schools in Kuje area council of FCT Abuja. Two secondary schools were selected for the study, fourty JSS 1 secondary schools students were selected from the selected schools
Significance OF THE STUDY
This study is important for several reasons.
First, the findings will help teachers to identify the reasons for the academic performance of students in large classes with high population and how they can address the problems;
Second, it will provide comprehensive information for educational planners, educators, and parents on how they can assist students to cope in large classes;
Third, this research work will lead to further in-depth study on the impact of class size and school population on the academic performance of students in Nigeria;
Lastly, it will serve as a contribution to knowledge in the subject area. In this regard, it will be useful for other researchers who might want to carry out research in related areas
Definition of Terms
The definitions used in the historical class size debate vary according to the researcher. The following definitions are ones that will be used in this research.
Class size: Class size is typically defined as the number of students for whom a teacher is primarily responsible during a school year. The teacher may teach in a self-contained classroom or provide instruction in one subject (Lewitt & Baker, 1997, p. 2).
Operational definition of class size: For the purpose of this study class size was defined as the number of students for whom a teacher is primarily responsible during a school year. A small class was defined as a class having 11 of fewer students. A large class contained 20 or more pupils.
Class size reduction: Class size reduction is the process
This Project is is available for the below list of Nigerian State capitals.
Abia Umuahia, Adamawa Yola, Akwa Ibom Uyo, Anambra Awka, Bauchi Bauchi, Bayelsa Yenagoa, Benue Makurdi, Borno Maiduguri, Cross River Calabar, Delta Asaba, Ebonyi Abakaliki, Edo Benin. Ekiti Ado Ekiti, Enugu Enugu, Gombe Gombe, Imo Owerri, Jigawa Dutse, Kaduna Kaduna, Kano Kano, Katsina Katsina, Kebbi Birnin Kebbi, Kogi Lokoja, Kwara Ilorin, Lagos Ikeja, Nasarawa Lafia, Niger Minna, Ogun Abeokuta, Ondo Akure, Osun Oshogbo, Oyo Ibadan, Plateau Jos, Rivers Port Harcourt, Sokoto Sokoto, Taraba Jalingo, Yobe Damaturu, Zamfara Gusau, FCT Abuja.
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