The study was designed investigate the influence of peer groups on the academic performance of secondary school students in Rivers State. The researcher has three research objectives and questions and questionnaires wereadministered to the Junior Secondary School students in the sampled schools in ?????????Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The random sampling technique was adopted and used to select schools for the study. Out of the existing public secondary schools in ??????????? Local Government Area of Rivers State, twenty (20) students (boys and girls) were sampled from each school which equal to one hundred (100) students from five (5) secondary schools. The split-half method of testing reliability was used to ensure the reliability of the instrument. The scores gotten were correlated using Person Product moment correlation co-efficient and a co-efficient reliability of 0.75 was arrived at.
Based analysis, results shows that the peer group that a child forms or moves with influence his/her performance also feels free to discuss their problems with their peers.Also, through the research questions, it was discovered that students are pleased to make friends with other students from rich home and the rich students are also pleased to associate with fellow students from poor homes.
Finally, the result findings also show the interest of the parents in monitoring the peer group association that their children move with especially the female children.
The study concluded that the extent to which the peer group determines the academic ability of students had been investigated in this study revealed that a dull student may become study inclined when he finds himself in a group that encourages effective learning. The study also revealed that when students are not well monitored they fall in bad groups. However, the study has revealed the fact that students associated in groups with other students of the same age and ethnic background. The study has also shown that a high percentage of the students are more interested in relating to their friends than to their teachers and parents.
Based on the findings
from the study, the following recommendations were made that Students should
endeavour to form or join groups that are study inclined and encourage learning
sothat their learning would be effective or affected properly;Parents should
make sure their children are well monitored and they should encourage them to
have friends that would have a positive influence on their learning both at
home and at school; Teachers should understand that the peer group is an
important factor in child’s learning and therefore should use it encourage
Background to the Study
Educational activities are geared towards ensuring that students achieve mastery of educational objectives. In school , the extent to which these objectives have been achieved, is determined by their level of peer pressure, time management as students’ success are reflected in their academic performance. Peers play a large role in the social and emotional development of adolescents Allen (2005). Their influence begins at an early age and increases through the teenage years, it is natural, healthy and important for adolescent to have and rely on friends as they grow and mature. A peer could be any one you look up to in behaviour or someone who you would think is equal to your age or ability (Hardcastle, 2002). ). On the other hand, the term “pressure” implies the process that influence people to do something that they might not otherwise choose to do.
According to Hartney, (2011) peer pressure refers to the influences that peers can have on each other. Peer pressure is emotional or mental forces from people belonging to the same social group (such as age, grade or status) to act or behave in a manner similar to themselves (Weinfied 2010).Jones, (2010) defined peer pressure as the ability of people from the same social rank or age to influence another of same age, bracket peer pressure is usually associated with teens although its influence is not confined to teenagers alone.
Academic performance refers to the outcome of education; the extent to which the student, teacher or institution have achieved their educational goals. Academic performance is the ability to study and remember facts and being able to communicate one’s knowledge verbally or written on paper (Answers, 2010). In the context of this study, academic achievement refers to the extent to which students have achieve mastery of the objectives of the subjects they are exposed to in school. According to (Aremu and Sokan 2003) academic achievement has been observed in school subjects especially mathematic and English language among secondary school students.
Generally, it has been observed that a group which a child belongs to could influence his learning, studies from various cultures have shown that a child right from infancy to adolescence is faced with urge to belong and to be accepted by the group. A basic human need is to acquire an affiliation to a group in the society. Peer relationships are common in the schools and homes and this plays important roles in the socialization of children in Nigeria.
Students in the midst of their group transformed into the true picture of their behaviour, they feel more comfortable among fellow students but feel morose at home or at the presence of teacher. The most important influence on student behaviour to learning is not always the teacher but the fellow students.With this, there is need to identify the influence of peer group relationship on learning, although there are other factors that can influence the learning but the role played by the peer group learning is more than other factors because the attitude of students to learning are not always encouraging. The most common types of peer group to be investigated are the secondary school children who fall into the same group that could have negative influence on their learning.
Manheim (2011) claims that children throughout their school career will be grouped with their contemporaries so they will become accustomed to having the limitations and addition of each age group intensified.Taiwo (2004) wrote that the peer group outside the home from which does not always conform with adult standard, and each child strive to abide with the ethics of the group they takes membership with because rejection by the group may have negative effect on the learning of the child.
Grulund (2010) feel that acceptance by a peer group improved social relation. These have beneficial effects on individual learning insecurity that arises from satisfying emotional tension enables him to concentrate more on his assigned learning tasks.This indicates that acceptance by the group may have positive effect on the child. A child who is not brilliant enough may do better if he is accepted by a group that is inclined to study. It has been observed that a child learns more easily within his peer group. Where he is wrong, he prefers to be corrected by a member of his peer group than by the teacher.
Mature adults, teens, young adults and children can be seen doing things in order to be accepted by their peers. Peer pressure is commonly associated with episodes of adolescent risk taking (such as delinquency, drug abuse, sexual behaviours), because these behaviour commonly occur in the company of peers. It can also have positive effects when youth are pressured by the peer toward positive behaviour. Such as volunteering for charity or excelling in academics (Kellie, 2013).
However, peers can also have a negative influence. They can encourage each other to skip classes, steal, cheat, use of drugs or alcohol, or become involve in other risky behaviours. Majority of adolescents with substance abuse problems began using drug or alcohol as a result of peer pressure. Negative peer pressure may influence in various ways like joining group who drink alcohol, smoke cigarette and Indian hemp among others. It may also lead to the decision to have a boy friend/girl friend, Peer pressure indulges youth into loitering about in the streets, watching films and attending parties during school hours, taping as alternative to stealing which may eventually graduate into armed robbery. (Arief, 2011),Peer pressure may be present in the workplace, at school or within the society, it can affect people of all ages. It may affect people in different ways but here, the focus is on peer group as it influences academic performance of secondary school students.
In support of this view, Ezewu (2012) advised that the school must therefore use peer group energies to promote rather than impede good learning. It is therefore necessary to let students realize the reason why they have to be careful in choosing their friends so that their attitudes toward learning would be improved as the peer group they belong can have effect on their learning negatively and positively. Peers are so critical to an adolescent’s should provide boundaries from which teens form their identity, while peers form the cushion of support during the fragile time that identity is being formed. These boundaries that enables him to internalize the values that form his character to foster his learning that he acts accordingly without generating retribution from authority or rejection from his peers. It is on the backdrop the study seek to investigate the influence of peer group on the academy performance of secondary school students in Rivers State.
Statement of the Problem
The low academic performance in schools is brought the need to investigate the factors influencing learning. The peer group influence is one of the factors causing low academic performance.
However, the problem of peers is that they influence their selves negatively. They can encourage each other to skip classes, steal, cheat, use of drugs or alcohol, or become involve in other risky behaviours. Majority of adolescents with substance abuse problems began using drug or alcohol as a result of peer pressure. Negative peer pressure may influence in various ways like joining group who drink alcohol, smoke cigarette and Indian hemp among others. It may also lead to the decision to have a boy friend/girl friend, Peer pressure indulges youth into loitering about in the streets, watching films and attending parties during school hours, taping as alternative to stealing which may eventually graduate into armed robbery.
There is need to look into peer group relationship and individual approach to learning, membership of the peer group they belong and find out how factors such as sex, age, social status or ethnicity determine their membership in a group. In addition what influence do parent and teachers have on the group.
Purpose of the Study
This main purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of peer group on the academy performance of secondary school students in Rivers State.
The study will also find out the following:
- The positive or negative influence of peer group relationship on academic performance of students.
- The study will also examine the influence of economic status of peers on the academic performance of students in secondary schools.
- The study will also examine if parents show interest in knowing the peer group association of their children
- Does peer group influence the academic
performance of secondary school students?
- Does the economic status of peer influence their learning and academics?
- Do parents show interest in knowing the peer group association of their children?
- The impact that group relationship has on the academic performance of secondary school students.
- The impact that economic status of peers has on the academic performance of secondary school students.
- The impact that parents have on the peer group that their wards belong to and how it affect their academic performance.
Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will be helpful in determining some of the factors associated to the peer groups in relation to their academic performance.
The factors when identified will form a base for proffering appropriate solutions to parents and teachers to beware of the ways they can direct peer group relationship.
The result will also guide counsellors to find the best ways of handling peer groups relationship.
The students will also benefit from the study by acquiring knowledge on peers that can hinder their progress in academic.
The result will enable the teacher to know more about the peer group which in turn will continue to enhance teaching and learning process.
It is also hoped that the present research study will at least provide some background information for future study on the topic.
Scope of the Study
The study will focus on the influence of peer group relationship on the academic performance of students in secondary school. The study will be carried out in the selected JuniorSecondary Schools in ????????????? Local Government Area of Rivers State. The scope will be limited to five (5) secondary schools in the area and the respondents used are senior secondary school students.
Limitations of the Study
In this study, the researcher is limited to some factors which includes school size and time factor. The finances accompanying researches also confined the study to the selected secondary schools in ??????// Local Government Area of RiversState.
Operational Definition of Terms
Thus the researcher deems it fit to give operational definition to the following concerned terms in the study.
Peers: This refers to children of same sex and usuallywithin the same age range.
Peer Group: This is the association of close friends of thesame sex, which are bound together by common emotional attachment and have a complex social system of which they posses certain code of conduct such as dressing codes.
Peer Group Relationship:This is the form, way and whyclose friends of the same sex (peers) communicate among themselves whether in public or exclusively.
Academic Performance:This is the level of achievementattained through efforts or skills during the learning processes (theoretical and practical) and has effect on the standard of education.
Influence: This refers to the effect which an element hason another specific element.