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IMPACT OF LEARNING ENVIRONMENT ON STUDENTS' ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
This study examines the impact of learning environment on students’ academic achievement in economics. Factors such as school facilities, class size, school location and school plant planning were examined to know their impact on the academic achievement of students in economics. Questionnaire was administered to test the hypotheses developed. Simple percentage statistical tool was employed to analyze the variables. Based on the findings, it was discovered that poor school facilities, large class size, inappropriate school location, and poor school plant planning negatively affects students’ academic performance. Recommendations were made to address the issues of school learning facilities, classroom population, school location and proper school plant planning.
1.1 Background to the Study
The school environment, which include the classrooms, libraries, technical workshops, laboratories, teachers’ quality, school management, teaching methods, peers, etc are variables that affect students’ academic achievement (Ajayi, 2001 and Oluchukwu, 2000). Hence, the school environment remains an important area that should be studied and well managed to enhance students’ academic performance.
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 not only depends on the teachers as reflected in the performance of their duties, but also in the effective coordination of the school environment (Ajao 2001). It has also been observed that adequate attention is now being paid to school plant planning throughout the world’s educational systems including Nigeria. Educational facilities such as school plant have been repeatedly found to have positive relationship with standard and quality of educational system. (Ojedele, 2000).
Nigeria as a nation strives to experience real growth and development. This requires a clearly defined development strategy that allows intensive utilization of resources which is endowed. These resources are the various school physical facilities that are indispensable in the educational process. They include the sitting, the building and physical equipment, recreation places for the achievement of educational objectives (Oluchuckwu, 2000).
School environment which include instructional spaces planning, administrative places planning, circulation spaces planning, spaces for conveniences planning, accessories planning, the teachers as well as the students themselves are essential in teaching-learning process. The extent to which student learning could be enhanced depends on their location within the school compound, the structure of their classroom, availability of instructional facilities and accessories. It is believed that a well planned school will gear up expected outcomes of education that will facilitate good social, political and economic emancipation, effective teaching and learning process and academic performance of the students.
Relating this study to international occurrences are the assertions of Williams, Persaud & Turner (2008), quoting Marsden (2005), which reported that safe and orderly classroom environment (aspect of instructional space), School facilities (accessories) were significantly related to students’ academic performance in elementary schools. The three researchers, also quoted Glassman (1994), asserting that a comfortable and caring environment among other treatments helped to contribute to students` academic performance.
The physical characteristics of the school have a variety of effects on teachers, students, and the learning process. Poor lighting, noise, high levels of carbon dioxide in classrooms, and inconsistent temperatures make teaching and learning difficult. Poor maintenance and ineffective ventilation systems lead to poor health among students as well as teachers, which leads to poor performance and higher absentee rates (Frazier, 2002 Lyons, 2001; and Ostendorf, 2001). These factors can adversely affect student behavior and lead to higher levels of frustration among teachers, and poor learning attitude among student.
Beyond the direct effects that poor facilities have on students’ ability to learn, the combination of poor facilities, which create an uncomfortable and uninviting workplace for teachers, combined with frustrating behavior by students including poor concentration and hyperactivity, lethargy, or apathy, creates a stressful set of working conditions for teachers. Because stress and job dissatisfaction are common pre-cursors to lowered teacher enthusiasm, it is possible that the aforementioned characteristics of school facilities have an effect upon the academic performance of students in economics.
Previous studies have investigated the relationship of poor school environment including problems with student-teacher ratio, school location, school population, classroom ventilation, poor lighting in classrooms, and inconsistent temperatures in the classroom with student health problems, student behaviour, and student achievement (Crandell & Smaldino, 2000; Davis, 2001; Johnson, 2001; Lyons, 2001;Moore, 2002; Stricherz, 2000; Tanner, 2000). To complement these studies, the present research will examine the aforementioned areas of school environment as it affect students performance in economics.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Emphasizing the importance of school environment to students academic performance economics, Oluchukwu, (2000) asserted school environment is an essential aspect of educational planning, he went further to explain that “unless schools are well suited, buildings adequately constructed and equipment adequately utilized and maintained, much teaching and learning may not take place.
Corroborating these, Mark (2002) and Ajayi (2007), maintained that high levels of students’ academic performance may not be guaranteed where instructional space such as classrooms, libraries, technical workshops and laboratories are structurally defective. They also emphasized that structural effectiveness, proper ventilation and well sited instructional space lead to successful teaching and learning process of students in economics.
1.3Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between school environment and the students’ academic performance. The study also aims
i. To examine the impact of school facilities on the academic performance of students in economics
ii. To explore factors such as class size that have been perceived to promote or inhibit students learning and overall students academic achievement in economics and
iii. To investigate the extent to which school location affects the academic achievement of students in economics.
1.4 Research Questions
i. Is there any relationship between school environment and the student academic achievement in economics?
ii. To what extent do school facilities affect student performance in economics?
iii. What effect does class size has on the academic performance of students in economics?
iv. To what extent does school location has on the achievement of students in economics?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
Ho1 There is no significant difference between school environment and the students’ academic performance in economics
Ho2 There is no significant difference between school facilities and academic performance of students in economics
Ho3 There is no significant difference between class size and academic performance of students in economics
Ho4 There is no significant difference between school location and academic performance of students in economics
1.6 Significance of the Study
It is hoped that this study will provide information for parents, educators and school administrators to reflect upon various factors that help students in achieving its academics goals in economics. In so doing, they can investigate the possibility of introducing those factors to their school, which may consequently lead to enhancing students’ academic performance in economics. In addition, the fact that this study is conducted in public schools, it shares quite a lot of similarities with many other counterparts. In this connection, this study provides a valuable reference for other schools to reflect upon the school environment as it affect the academic performance of student in economics.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This research work focuses on influence of environment on academic performance of students in economics in some selected schools in Badagry Local Government Area of Lagos State. This research work covers the impact of the learning environment on students’ academic achievement in economics in all public secondary schools students in Badagry Local Government Area of Lagos State. However, four public secondary schools were used as case study.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
Apart from time-frame and shortage of finance, the major limitation to this research is the inability of the researcher to cover the whole public secondary school in Badagry Local Government Area Of Lagos State.
1.9 Definition of Terms
School: A school is an institution designed for the teaching of students (or "pupils") under the direction of teachers
School Environment: A school's physical environment includes the school building and the surrounding.
Academic Achievement – Knowledge attained or skills developed in school subjects by test scores.
Secondary school (also “high school") is a term used to describe an educational institution where the final stage of schooling, known as secondary education and usually compulsory up to a specified age, takes place. It follows elementary or primary education, and may be followed by university (tertiary) education.
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