EFFECT OF CLASSROOM SIZE IN TEACHING AND LEARNING OF BIOLOGY IN NIGERIA SECONDARY SECONDARY SCHOOL

EFFECT OF CLASSROOM SIZE IN TEACHING AND LEARNING OF BIOLOGY IN NIGERIA SECONDARY SECONDARY SCHOOL
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Cover Page                                                                                                  
Title page                                                                                                     
Approval page                                                                                           
Certification                                                                                                
Dedication                                                                                                   
Acknowledgements                                                                                  
Table of contents                                                                                      
Abstract
CHAPTER ONE
            CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION                                                          
Background to the Study                                                            
Statement of the Problem                                                                      
Objective of the Study
Research Question
Research hypothesis
Delimitation of the study            
Significance of the study
Definition of terms           
References
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
Conceptual framework
Concept of over crowding
Concept of classroom size
Concept of academic performance
Theoretical  literature
Vygotsky’s theory of learning
Social learning theory
Piaget’s theory of (intellectual)
Cognitive development
Ausubel’s Theory of meaningful
learning
Empirical review
Summary of Literature
References
CHAPTER
THREE
Methodology
                                                                                   
Research
Design                                                                     
Population
of the study                                                                   
Sample
and Sampling Techniques                                          
Research
Instrument                                                               
Validity
of Instrument                                                            
Reliability
of instrument                                                                  
Procedure
for data collection                                                  
Method
of Data Analysis
CHAPTER
FOUR
Result
and Discussion                                                   
Analysis
of Research Question
Testing
and Interpretation of hypothesis
Discussion
of findings
CHAPTER
FIVE
Summary,
Conclusion and Recommendation
Summary                                                                                
Conclusion
                                                                            
Recommendation                                                                              
Reference
                                                                                         
Appendix
                                                                              
                                                                                               
ABSTRACT
This study investigated the effect
of classroom size on students academic  performance in 
biology with special reference to selected schools in Kano North. The
study was a descriptive survey research design. The sample of the study
comprise of one hundred and fifty select students. The frequency count and
percentages method were used to analyzed the research questions, while
chi-square test was used to test the research hypothesis. From the study, It
was discovered that large class have effect on students academic performance,
also findings from the study revealed that overcrowded class room and over
population of schools have effect on students academic performance.  Findings 
from the study  are of great
significance for educational planners, policy makers and both federal and state
governments. The study recommended that the university should take steps to
appoint more teachers in the general course to minimize the use of large class,
also government should provide more lecture rooms to ensure quality of service
delivering, finally lecturers should be given refresher courses on managing
large class from time to time



CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background
to the Study
As
school population increases, class room sizes also increase, the performances
of students become an issue, classroom size has become a phenomenon often
mentioned in the educational literature as an influence on pupil’s feelings and
achievement, on administration, quality and school budgets.
Classroom
size refers to an educational tool that can be used to describe the average
number of students per class in a school (Adeyemi, 2008). This varies from
country to country. Kedney (2009) saw it as a tool that can be used to measure
the performance of the education system. In relation to size, Stepaniuk (2001)
reported that the rational utilization of classroom space depends upon
class-size. This in turn would depend upon the area of the classroom. He argued
that there are approved norms of class-size, 40 pupils per class for grades 1
to 8 and 35 pupils per class for the senior classes; while the standard
allocation of class space per pupil is 1:25 square metres. In this regard, Dean
(2004) compared class-size in some countries and found that Turkey, Norway and
Netherlands had class-sizes of 20 more; the UK, USA, Japan, Canada and Ireland
had class-sizes of between 15 and 20 while France, Sweden, Denmark, Austria,
Italy, Luxembourg and Belgium had sizes of below 15.
            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 classroom size.
The relationship between classroom size and academic
performance has been a perplexing one for educators must especially Nigeria
universities, Studies have found that the physical environment, class
overcrowding, and teaching methods are all variables that affect students’
achievement (Molnar, et al., 2012). Other factors that affect student
achievement are school population and classroom size (Gentry, 2010; and Swift,
2010).
The
issue of poor academic performance of students in Secondary School  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 classroom size
and school population on the academic performance of students in Nigeria
universities.
Large classroom 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 classroom size do not allow
individual student to get attention from teachers which invariably  lead to low reading scores, frustration and
poor academic performance. In order to better understand the skill levels of
students, it might be necessary to evaluate factors affecting their
performance. These factors can include: school structure and organization,
teacher quality, curriculum, and teaching philosophies (Driscoll, Halcoussis,
& Svorny, 2003). The idea that school population and classroom size might
affect student performance is consistent with the growing literature on the
relationship between public sector institutional arrangements and outcomes
(Moe, 1984).
In
addition, Dillon and Kokkelenberg (2002) pointed out from their research that
large classes negatively affect some students more than others. According to
them, classroom size has a negative logarithm with relationship to grades and
that effect of classroom size on grades differs across different categories of
students.
Again, Adeyemi (2008) in his
findings revealed that schools having an average classroom 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).
The most dramatic impact seems to be
achieved by reaching students early. Ideally, students should experience small
classes of 13 to 17 students when entering school, in either kindergarten or
first grade. 
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.
In light of rapidly increasing admission in many
university  across the nation,
administrators are under fire concerning the issue of growing classroom size
and the potential diminishing of academic standards. Van Allen (2010) asserts
that the “quantitative product”, monetary gains afforded by increased enrolment
far outweigh the “qualitative product” of well-educated and knowledgeable
graduates. This view point shows that there are returns to investing in smaller
classes for certain students and it provides some evidence on why past
literature has produced such inconsistent findings on the impact of classroom
size.
Smith
(2009) on the other hand, suggest that small class room 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.
Debate around the inverse
connection between classroom size and student achievement
The aspect of the subject
area comes into question; would it perhaps be different depending on whether
the subject is content, concept or practical- oriented? Instructional
activities offer significant boosts to achievement, but the results of
instruction do not seem to differ between small and large classes.
There has however been
much need to view the aspect of classroom size as a holistic factor that does
not operate in isolation. For three decades, a belief that public education is
wasteful and inefficient has played an important role in debates about its
reform. Those who have proposed greater spending programs for educational
institutions to improve student achievement have been on the defensive.
According to Trow (1995) the presumption has been that changes in structure and
governance of schools, standards, accountability, and assessment, to name a few
are the only way to improve student outcomes. Traditional interventions, like
smaller classroom size and higher teacher salaries, have been presumed
ineffective. Surely classroom size reductions are beneficial in specific
circumstances for specific groups of students, subject matters, and teachers.
Secondly, classroom size reductions invariably involve hiring more teachers yet
teacher quality is a more important factor than classroom size in affecting
student outcomes. Third, classroom size reduction is very expensive, and little
or no consideration is given to alternative and more productive uses of those
resources.
The
relationship between classroom size and academic performance biology  hasbeen a perplexing one for educators.
Studies have found that the physical environment, class overcrowding, and
teaching methods are all variables that affect students’ achievement (Molnar,
et al., 2000). Other factors that affect student achievement are school
population and classroom size (Gentry, 2000; and Swift, 2000).
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 classroom size and school population on the academic
performance of students in secondary school. Large classroom 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 classroom
size do not allow individual student to get attention from teachers which
invariably lead to low reading scores, frustration and poor academic
performance.
In
order to better understand the skill levels of students, it might be necessary
to evaluate factors affecting their performance. These factors can include:
school structure and organization, teacher quality, curriculum, and teaching
philosophies (Driscoll, Halcoussis, & Svorny, 2003). The idea that school
population and classroom size might affect student performance is consistent
with the growing literature on the relationship between public sector
institutional arrangements and outcomes (Moe, 1984).
Statement
of the Problem
The
classroom is the heart of any educational system. No curriculum planning is
complete without implementation and evolution, both of which are mainly carried
out in the classroom. Most of the class activities take place while students
are seated. The seating arrangement is therefore too important to suffer the
kind of neglect being experienced by many secondary schools in the country. As
rightly observed by Cohen and Manion (2003 p.221) “a careful attention to
seating arrangement contributes as effectively as any other aspect of classroom
management and control to overall success with a class subsequently”.
Adesina (1990 p.73) also affirms that one potent index for evaluating
educational standards and quality is an examination of the physical facilities
available for learning experiences”. The seating arrangement can make or
mar any lesson. Ideally, in a secondary school, especially in a mixed ability
grouping, as found in Nigeria schools, seats should be arranged in rows with a
reasonable amount of space between them to allow for proper teacher-student and
student-student interactions as well as allow for individual and group work
(Cohen and Manion, 1983).
       
To this end, the ratio of teacher to students should not exceed 1:30 or at most
40 judging by the size of the classrooms. But what one finds in many of these
classes is between ratios 1: 50 and 1: 150 in certain cases.
It has been observed
that Secondary School  appear to be
densely populated while lecture room 
seem to be over-congested.
This study was therefore interested in identifying the major
problems caused by overpopulated classes in Nigeria growing towns and cities
with a view to making suggestions that could help to alleviate the problems.
        
Observation reveals that in recent times, there has been astronomical rise in classroom
size due to increase in admission of students in Secondary School . Some
schools have as many as one hundred (100), two hundred (200) or above students
per class as against the teacher-student ratio of 1:40 recommended by the
National Policy on Education (FGN 2004). 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 room sizes do no encourage effective teaching and
learning environment.
Objective  of the Study
The broad objective of the research project is to examine
the effect of classroom size in teaching and learning of biology , with special
reference to Selected Secondary Schools
in Kano North
         The specific
objectives are to;
1.Examine
the relationship between classroom size and academic performance of students
2.Examine
the relationship between school population and academic performance of students
3.Discuss
the effects of over-population on classroom management
4.To identity the challenges faced by
teachers and students in large classes
5.To access the effect large classroom
size on the quality of teaching, learning and assessment.
Research Questions
The research seeks to answer the following questions that
affect the effective teaching and learning of Biology among undergraduate
students in selected schools in Kano
North
 
i.                   
Is there any correlation between classroom
size and academic performance of students?
ii.                 
Is there any relationship between
over population and school resources/ facilities?
iii.               
What are the problems and
challenges faced by lecturers and students in large classes?
Research
hypothesis
The following hypothesis were formulated
to guide the study
Ho1     There
is no relationship between classroom 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
Delimitation
of the Study
      
The study is specifically talking about the effect of classroom size on
students academic performance   in selected
schools in Kano North
. The study will concentrate on the effects of classroom
size on the teaching and learning of Biology in Selected schools in Kano North
Significance of the Study
            The Nigerian
education system is progressively becoming more and more complex.  But the catalogue of sources shows that
Nigerian Secondary School  s is over
congested and thereby leads to a decline in the teaching and learning of Biology
.
            Based on
this, the research work contains the researcher’s contributions that would be
of help and useful to education policy planners, Educationist, Ministry of
Education authorities, Stakeholders, school administrations and management in
senior schools towards helping  students
to improve the quality of facilities in the education system.
Apart from the above, the research will provide
valuable information on the influence of different interacting factors on the
effects of classroom size on the teaching and learning of Biology among Biology
students. The content of the study will also serve as resource materials for
others who want to carry out further research.
Definition of Terms
The definitions used in the historical classroom
size debate vary according to the researcher. The following definitions are
ones that will be used in this research.
Classroom
size
:
Classroom 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 classroom size
:
For the purpose of this study classroom 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.
Classroom size
reduction
: Classroom size
reduction is the processes to achieve class room sizes smaller than the ones
currently in place (Achilles, 2003).
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