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INFLUENCE OF
CLASS SIZE ON THE TEACHING OF SOCIAL STUDIES A CASE STUDY OF SELECTED SECONDARY
SCHOOLS IN IKERE EKITI
CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background
to the Study
Social
studies as one of the core subjects in junior secondary school curriculum in
Nigeria represents one of the modern curricular arrangements which focuses on
interdisciplinary study that seeks to solve the complex problems of man in totality.
The idea of introducing social studies as a subject in Nigeria came up before
the civil war, when the social development of Nigerians could no longer cope
with the level of colonial destructions. This situation led to indiscipline
among youths and adults.
To
minimize this and socialize the citizens in such a way as to build a strong,
united and discipline Nigeria, the type of education that will help the
citizens to know more about the society became very important. Social studies
sees the need for students to be given the necessary information for
enlightenment, to be taught to have respect for law and order, to appreciate
the need to be honest and diligent and to cooperate in their community
In
Nigeria secondary schools the problem of poor performance of students is one of
the major issues to educational planner, and all stakeholders in edication,
poor performance of students in schools is as a result of over crowned class
room
As
school populace increases, class population also increase, the performances of
students become an subject to education planneer, class size has become an
issuees often mentioned in the educational literature as an influence on students
feelings and performance.  class size is
almost an administrative decision over which teachers have little or no
control. Most scholar  start from the
assumption that size of the class would prove a significant factor of the
degree of success of students.
          Class
size refers to an learning tool that can be used to describe the average number
of students per class in a school. This varies from country to country. Class
size can be used to measure the performance of the education system. In
relation to size,  the rational
utilization of classroom space depends upon class-size. This in turn would
depend upon the area of the classroom. In
Nigeria, class-size in secondary schools ranges between 35 or40 students. Small
 students per class are uneconomical, as
they do not make full use of space in the classroom , teachers and teaching
materials.                
Adeyemi
(2008) reported that average class-size effects the cost of education while
capital cost could be reduced by increasing the average class-size in schools,
while Nwadiani (2000) said that the higher the class-size, the lower the fee of
education. He contended however, that most classrooms are over-crowded
spreading resources sparsely and thereby affecting the quality of education.
Ajayi (2000) supported the viewpoints 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.
The association between class size and academic
performance has been a confusing one for educators must especially Nigeria secondary
schools, Studies have institute that the physical environment, class over crowding,
and teaching methods are all variables that affect students’ performance  (Molnar, et al., 2012). Other factors that
affect student achievement are school population and class size
The problem 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 weakening in standard of education. Since the academic success of students
depends largely on the school, it is imperative to examine the effect  class size and school population on the
academic performance of students in Nigeria secondary schools.
Large class size and over populated schools have
direct impact on quality of teaching and learning. Overcrowded classrooms have
increased the possibilities for poor performance and make students to lose
interest in school. This is because large class size do not permit student to
get attention from teachers which invariably 
lead to low reading scores, hindrance and poor academic performance. In
order to better understand the skill levels of students, it might be necessary
to assess factors affecting their performance. These factors can include:
school structure and organization, teacher quality and curriculum. The idea
that school population and class size might affect student performance is regular
with the growing literature on the relationship between public sector
institutional arrangements and outcomes (Moe, 1984).
Dillon and
Kokkelenberg (2012) are on the opinion that large classes negatively affect
some students more than others.
Also, Adeyemi (2008) in his findings
revealed that schools having an normal 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 teaching 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 class 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 class size.
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.
 There has however been much need to view the aspect of class
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 class size and higher teacher salaries,
have been presumed ineffective. Surely class size reductions are beneficial in
specific circumstances for specific groups of students, subject matters, and
teachers. Secondly, class size reductions invariably involve hiring more teachers
yet teacher quality is a more important factor than class size in affecting
student outcomes. Third, class size reduction is very expensive, and little or
no consideration is given to alternative and more productive uses of those
resources.
The
relationship between class size and academic performance 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 class 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 envi lecture room ronment, it is imperative to
examine the impact variables of class size and school population on the
academic performance of students in secondary school. 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.
Statement
of the Problem
        
Observation show that in recent times, there has been astronomical rise in
class size due to increase in admission of students in Secondary School . Some
schools have as many as one eighty (80), hundred (100) 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 bad 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.
Objective  of the Study
The broad objective of the research project is to influence
of class size on teahing social studies a case study  of selected secondary schools in
—————–
       The specific
objectives are to;
1.     Examine
the relationship between class size and academic performance  in social studies
2.     Examine
the relationship between school population and academic performance of students
in social studies
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 class
size on the quality of teaching, learning  in social studies
Research Questions
Research
hypothesis
Delimitation
of the Study
      
The study is specifically talking about the influence of class size on
teaching social studies in selected secondary schools in  ———– local government area of
————state
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 .
          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 class size on the teaching and learning . 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
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 processes to achieve class sizes smaller than the ones
currently in place (Achilles, 2003).
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