School Environmental Variables and Students’ Academic Performance in Secondary Schools
The study was designed to assess the relationship between school environmental variables and students’
academic performance in Agricultural Science.
The study adopted a correlational survey design. A sample size of 300 students were randomly selected and used for the study. To guide the study, two specific objectives and two null hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance.
Agricultural Academic Performance Test (AAPT) and Agricultural practical check-list were developed and used to gather data for the study.
The instruments were validated by three research experts and the reliability coefficients of 0.82 and 0.78 were obtained using PPMC. Data were analysed and null hypotheses tested using PPMC.
The findings indicated that there was significant relationship between availability of laboratory facilities and students’ performance in Agricultural Science.
There was also significant relationship between availability of farming facilities and academic performance of students.
It was recommended that secondary schools should create more conducive environments that facilitate students’ acquisition and development of cognitive, psychomotor and effective skills
in their academic endeavour.
- Background to the Study
Education is essential to every society and individual. It is life itself but not a preparation for life (Annan, 2010). This is because living is a quality that distinguishes man from the non-living things.
The living human have qualities that can be developed for the improvement of the country (Annan, 2010). It is education that can equip an individual for societal and national development.
Suffice it to say that education is the only instrument that helps an individual to realize his highest self and goals. Therefore, countries need to develop unborn potentials, modifying behaviour to teaching and learning processes, this will help an individual to earn his/her inch good and some adjustment in life (Akpan, 2010).
Unlike traditional, the regular education takes place in an environment called school (Taiwo, 2007). These schools can be established by either private individuals or government and according to Bager (2008).
Environment has direct effect on students’ academic performance.
Environment as defined by Bello (2009) is the aggregate of all the external conditions and influences that affects the life and development of an individual.
Environmental psychologist John Hatson believed that given appropriate environment a child could be made into anything. Environment for the purpose of this can be divided into two parts-home environment and school environment.
School environment is a thread that connects the multitude of activities on the school. Dudek (2010) opined that it could be said to be the external influences in the school that can influence academic achievement of students irrespective of their intelligent quotient.
School environment; it can also be considered as the second teacher since space has the power to organize and promote pleasant relationship between people of different ages, to provide changes, to promote choices and activities and for its potential for sparking different types of social and affective learning (Okeke, 2002).
It has been generally accepted that environment and heredity can hardly be separated from education in influencing achievement, hence a child’s life and ability is influenced by nature and nurture.
Hereditary provides natural deposition while a healthy environment makes available a window of opportunities to the learners.
The environmental variable of the setting helps to a large extent in ensuring attainability of the goals of such setting.
The environment differences and the differences in the quality of instruction from one school to another can create differences in the level of knowledge acquisition of the students this show that the learning facilities students are exposed to and the socio-economic influence on them can affect their academic performance.
The school environment which includes classroom, libraries, technical workshops, laboratories, qualified teacher, quality, School location, school management, teaching methods and peer are variables that affect students’ academic performance (Ajayi, 2001 and Oluchukwu, 2001).
Hence, the school environment remains an important area that should be studied and well managed to enhance student academic performance.
Relating this study to international occurrence are the assertions of William, Persaud, and Turner (2008) quoting Marsden (2008), which reported that safe and orderly classroom environment (aspect of instructional space), school facilities (accessories) were significantly related to students’ academic performance in school.
The three researchers also quoted Glassman (1994) asserting that a comfortable and caring environment amongst others help to contribute to student’s academic performance in mathematics.
The issue of poor academic performance of students in Nigeria has been of much concern to the government, parents, teachers and even students themselves.
Most of secondary school graduates cannot gain admission into Universities of their choice due to poor performance which may be attributed to poor learning environment especially in the following areas; library services and teachers’ qualification.
The school library is a room or building in a school where books, magazines, journals, periodicals, cassettes, computers among others are kept for students use.
Dike (2005) sees school library as a learning laboratory par excellence where learners find the world of knowledge, interact directly with resources acquire information and develop research skill for lifelong learning.
The objective of the school library is to serve the school’s need and to make possible the purpose and methods of education which the school undertakes. The school library enables the students to look to the new ways of learning.
A qualified teacher can be defined as one who holds a teaching certificate and/or licensed by the state, owns at least a bachelor’s degree from a four year institution and well qualified in his/her area of specialization.
The Nigeria Ministry of Education officials described a qualified teacher as one who possesses knowledge of: the subject matter, human growth and development, ethical values, instructional planning and strategies, assessment, learning environment, communication and advocacy, continuous professional development, code of conduct and skilful use of information communication technologies.
A study by Usman (2012) in Nigeria found that the quality of any education system depends on the quality of teachers. Sass (2008) indicated that the most important school-based determining factor of students’ performances is the teachers’ quality.
Therefore there is need to assess the characteristics of the secondary school teachers in terms of qualification, experience and teaching methodology in order to ensure quality of education given to the students.
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