SCHOOL FACTOR AS PREDICTOR OF STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN PHYSICS IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Background to the Study
A student outcome and academic success is greatly influenced by the type of school they attend. School factors include school structure, school composition and school climate. The school as an institutional environment that sets the parameters of a students’ learning experience. As schools are faced with more public accountability for student academic performance, school level characteristics are being studied to discover methods of improving achievement for all students. Considerable research has been conducted on teaching skills, climate, socio-economic conditions, and student achievement. Depending on the environment, school can either open or close the doors that lead to academic performance (Perkins, 2013).
Adeyemi (2010) suggest that school sector (public or private) and class size are two important structural components of the school. Private schools tend to have both better funding and smaller sizes than public schools. The additional funding for private schools leads to a better academic performance and more access to resources such as computers and modern laboratory, which have been shown to enhance academic achievement. The skill level of teachers is another indicator of student academic performance. Students who attend schools with a higher number of full credential teachers perform better (Adeyemi, 2010).
School climate is closely linked to the interpersonal relations between students and teachers. According to Adu and Olatundun (2007), school climate is the general atmosphere of school. Trust between students and teachers increases if the school encourages teamwork. Research shows that students who trust their teachers are more motivated and as a result perform better in school. School policies and programmes often dictate the school climate. To add to that, if a school is able to accomplish a feeling of safety, students can have success despite their family or neighborhoods backgrounds.
According to Muleyi (2008), teachers do influence students’ academic performance. School variables that affect students’ academic performance include the kind of treatment which teachers accord the students. Odhiambo (2005) contends that there is a growing demand from the Nigeria government and the public for teacher accountability. Schools are commonly evaluated using students’ achievement data (Heck, 2009). Teachers cannot be dissociated from the schools they teach and academic results of schools. It would therefore be logical to use standardized students’ assessment results as the basis for judging the performance of teachers. Teachers celebrate and are rewarded when their schools and teaching subjects are highly ranked. In Chile, for instance, teachers are rewarded collectively when they work in schools which are identified as high-performing by the National Performance Evaluation System of Subsidized Schools (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2011).
Development of any nation is a measure of her development in the area of Science and Technology. Technological growth of a nation leads to its social and economic development. In the world today, science and technology has become a dominant power development indicator. Nigeria, America, Russia, and China are typical examples of nations which are now referred to as developed, as a result of their development in the area of Science and Technology. Science has become such an indispensable tool that no nation, developed or developing, wishing to progress in the socio-economic sphere will afford to relegate its learning in schools. (Ekiti State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology,2013).
The role of physics in this modern era of technology is wide and profound. In line with this reasoning, Adeyemi (2010) emphasize the importance of physics knowledge in boosting national prestige, military might, national income and international rating of the country. According to them, science gives birth to the production of microcomputers and their innovative applications which earned the developed countries such as the Nigeria, United States of America and Japan unparalleled national wealth, military potential and enviable national prestige.
School leadership is one of the school-based quality factors that have to be reckoned with in students’ performance in physics. Leadership is the process of influencing the activities of an organized group towards goal setting and goal achievement. It is the ability to get things done with the assistance of other people in the institution.(Ekiti State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, 2013).It is a mechanism for directive coordination, which leads to goal achievement in an organisation (Atanda and Lameed, 2006). A cursory examination of the literature on school effectiveness reveals that while there are some differences of approach, the active leadership of the principal is regarded as essential to school improvement in general and the most essential ingredient of educational reform. To be regarded as effective, the principal being the educational leader must ensure that other effective factors are put in place. Obadara (2005) discover that transformational and transactional leadership styles contributed significantly to academic performance of secondary school students.
School counselling services serve a vital role in maximizing students’ achievement. Effective counselling services are important to the school climate and a crucial element in improving student achievement (American School Counselor Association, ASCA, 2008). A lot of studies have revealed a close link between school counselling and students’ academic achievement.
The school factors which influence the achievement of students in physics according to Adeyemi (2010) are the classrooms, libraries, quality and quantity of physics teachers, the availability or non-availability of facilities, teaching aids school management, teaching methods, environment and the location of the school. These school factors remain important area that should be studied and well managed to enhance student performance in physics subject.
Statement of the Problem
The issue of poor performance of students in physics amongEkiti State secondary schools physics students has been of much concern to the government, parents, teachers and even students themselves. The quality of physics do not only depends on the teachers as reflected in the performance of their duties, but also in the effective coordination of the school factors.
Another problem is that, many school factors have been significant determinate of academic performance of students such factors include the qualified and quality of teachers, conducive atmosphere for learning, students enrolment, science laboratory and availability of teaching aids. This study was therefore an attempt to look at school factors as predictor of students’ academic performance in physics in secondary schools.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to examine the school factors as predictor of students’ academic performance in physics in secondary schools in Ekiti State.
Specifically, the study sought to take the following;
- Find out whether previous school background affects academic performance of secondary school Students in Ado Local Government.
- Find out if there is adequate laboratory equipment available for the teaching of physics in secondary schools.
- Identifying school factors that contribute to the poor performance of the students in physics subject.
Significance of the Study
The work of this nature when completed may help the school authorities to be aware of the effect of school factors as predict on students’ level of academic attainment and how such affect the students’ positively or negatively in relation to their academic performance. From the available recommendations, they will be able to adopt measures of following proper curriculum implementation in such a way that will help students’ perform well academically. More so, educational and curriculum planners could be guided in planning the curriculum without rigidity to suit diverse cultural environments. In addition, the teachers would be aware that a cordial teacher/student relationship may in a way improve the influence of academic background on the academic performance of students’ in school.
The following research questions were raised to guide the study;
- How does previous school background affects academic performance of physics students in secondary school?
- Does the availability of school facilities influence students’ academic performance among physics students’?
- What are the school factors that contribute to the poor performance of physics students?
The following hypotheses were raised;
Ho1 there is no significant difference between the previous school background and academic performance of physics students
Ho2 there is no significant difference between the availability of school facilities andstudents’ academic performance among physics students’.
Ho2 there will be no significant difference between schools factors and poor performance of physics students.
Delimitation of the Study
This research work is restricted toIkere Local Government Area of Ekiti State. There are Ten (10) secondary schools in this local government area. However, as a result of time, factor, financial constraint, the researcher could not go round to all the secondary schools in the local government area to carry out the findings. Consequently, five (5) secondary schools were sampled from different location within the local government area, where the research beliefs could get authentic data for this research project.
Definition of Terms
School Factors: These are things that influence or affect the performance of students in physics depending on their availability and their effective use.
Achievement: This refers to the performance of students in physics examinations.
Secondary School: (also “high school”) is a term used to described 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 education, and may be followed by university (tertiary) education.
Urban School: These are schools located in places where there is availability of modern conveniences like good and accessible roads, pipe-borne water, electricity etc.