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Environmental factors that contribute to students’ academic performance in secondary school in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Environmental factors that contribute to students’ academic performance in secondary school in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State.



Background to the Study

In this era of globalization and technological revolution, education is considered as a first step for every human activity. It plays a vital role in the development of human capital and is linked with an individual’s well being and opportunities for better living (Battle and Lewis, 2012). It ensures the acquisition of knowledge and skills that enable individuals to increase their productivity and improve the quality of life. The increase in productivity also leads towards. new sources of earning which enhances the students’ performance remains at top priority for educators; it is meant for making a difference locally, regionally, nationally and globally. Educators, trainers and researchers have long been interested in exploring variables contributing academic performance. These factors may be termed as student factors, family factors, school factors and peer factors (Crosnoe, Johnson & Elder, 2013).

In Nigeria, secondary education is the education children receive after primary education and before the tertiary stage. The school at this level is established so that students can learn in order to be able to transmit knowledge from one generation to another for the continuity and well being of the society. Learning as a hypothetical construct can only be inferred from observable behavior. Psychologists usually defined learning as a relatively permanent change in behavior due to past experience or the process by which relatively permanent change occur in behavioral potentials as a result of experience (Gross, 2010).

It is very clear that many at time children and even adults fail to do what they are expected to do. What they actually do is behavior while what they are expected to do is referred to as normative pattern. It is the function of school to prepare the child to what he is expected to do and this4s what we refer to as education (Alu and Ugwu, 2010). Secondary school education is an investment and an instrument that can be used to achieve a more rapid economic, social, political, technological, scientific and cultural development in the country. The pursuit of university education and in other higher institution with the aim of producing competent manpower for the growth and development of the nation.

Alu and Ugwu (2010) accept that education has normative implication. According to him, education implies that something worthwhile is being or has been intentionally transmitted in a morally accepted manner. Dissenting groups have passed the blame of students’ poor performance on teachers, parents and government policy somersault. According to Aremu and Sokan (2010), and Aremu and Oluwole (2012), secondary school students poor performance may be hinged on student’s because of their low retention, parental factors, association with wrong peer and motivation. According to Morakinyo (2010), the falling level of academic performance of secondary school students is attributable to teachers’ non use of verbal reinforcement. Also the home environment or family background of learner affects their academic performance (Ajila and Otutola, 2012).         The sharp decline in the academic performance at various levels of our educational system in Nigeria is largely attributed to poor conditions in our educational institutions. These include lack of modern instructional technology, poor classroom conditions and lack of adequate training programmes for teachers. Similarly, classroom learning environments and school factors exert some dominant influence on learners, since man is a product of his environment.

To achieve the aim and objective of education, a conducive teaching-and’ learning environment must be provided in educational policies. Schools are not primarily environmental showcases, schools are special environment that exist for the purpose of enhancing the learning process. They are sensitively build environments housing very special segments of the population. A sensitive environment refers to a place that supports the activities of segments of the population who are very young, very old or who are experiencing illness (Tella, 2013).

The importance of learning environment to a successful academic achievement cannot be over emphasized. The learning environment includes school location and physical buildings, laboratory equipment, library services and materials, instructional aides and effective classroom management.

Intelligence is not the only determine of academic performance of a student. According to Basque and Dore (2010), learning and teaching environment ought to implement six (6) functions: inform, communication, collaborate, produce, scaffold and manage. They added that conceptually speaking, the learning environment that is free from barriers or distraction such as noise, gas/smoke pollution and so on, will promote students concentration or perceptual focus to learning (Sprinthall, 2011), similarly, the entire unattractive physical structure of the school building could motivate learners to achieve academically. This mismatch promotes poor academic performance. Danesty (2011) stated that dilapidating building lacking mental stimulating facilities that are characterized with low or no sitting arrangement, will also affect student’s learning.

Class size has also been identified as a determinant of academic performance. Schools with smaller class size perform better academically than schools with larger class size. Kraft (2013) in his study of the ideal class size and its effect on students’ achievement. Generally, good teaching is best done in classes with small numbers that allows for individual attention. Teachers do make a difference to motivate students in learning, working in tandem with parents who are the first teachers to children. Noorden et al (2010) opined that teachers can make school life miserable or appealing by filling the classroom with excitement and hope. Students will continue in their learning and even search for more knowledge under the leading of enthusiastic teacher (Jayne, 2011; Atkinson, 2012) found a positive relationship between teacher, motivation and the students’ performance. An additional aspect of the classroom according to Adeyemo (2012) is the relationship existing between the teacher and the students themselves. Deteriorated environment conditions in the school are guaranteed to worsen slowly in the face of unfounded maintenance, general mismanagement and social turmoil. The environment quality of a school is always symptomatic of administrator attitudes, public priorities and institutional objective he concluded.

Adeyemo (2012) state that communities are recognizing that deteriorated buildings of any type encourage looting, vandalism, arson, dumping, drug trafficking and other criminal use. They noted that inviting features of school have attention gather and have measurably contributed to educational achievement. They also observed that students couldn’t perform better if they do not attend to school. They concluded by saying that the frame of a school is measured by die amount of preparedness they process in producing a high quality students with good results in area of their study. Unfortunately, all the hope placed in the area of achieving better outcome in this regard are shattered by poor performance of students. The availability and use of teaching and learning materials affects the effectiveness of a teacher’s lesson. The use of a variety of media increases the probability that the students would learn more and that young children are capable of understanding abstract ideas. If they are provided with sufficient materials and concrete experience with the phenomena that they are to understand. Olatundum and Adu (2010), Tayo (2011) and Start (2013) suggested that effective teaching is a significant predictor for students’ academic achievement. In short, poor academic performance of student in term of accomplishing learning tasks (Oloegbu, 2011 and Asikhia, 2013).

The family background of students affects their academic performance (Ajila and Olutola, 2012, Nzewuawah, 2011). The home environment sharpens the child’s initial view of learning parents’ beliefs, expectations and attitudes about education have a profound early impact on students’ conceptions of the place of education in their life. Children in poverty often face problems at home and at school that compromises their learning (Metoyd and Ceballo, 2012). At home, they might have parents who do not set high education standards for them, who are incapable of reading to them, and who do not have enough money to pay for educational materials and experiences such as books and trips to zoos and museums. They might be malnourished and lives in areas where crimes and violence are a way of life (Santrock, 2013). The family background is an important as what goes on in the school. The family background includes; parental involvement in children education, how much parents read to young children, how much television children are allowed to watch and how often students change schools. Phillips (2011) also found that parental education and social economic status have an impact on student’s achievement. Students with parents who were both educated tended to achieve at the highest levels. Income and family size were moderately related to achievement (Ferguson, 2011). Thus, from the analysis of academic achievement, family background include educational activities and family income and educational activities are concluded to explained the greatest amount of variance (Wright and Peng, 2010), Kamaruddin (2013).

The past decade has witness steady decrease in performance of secondary school students in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State. It is worthy of note that inspire of all effort made by government to see students perform well, some still performed poorly. Student’s poor performance is not as a result of a single factor but a combination of many circumstance of-which the most important are environmental and hereditary. For the purpose of the study, environment will be considered and this can be said to be made up of home and school environment. Aroh (2012) categorized environmental conditions into two main factors conditions obtaining outside the home whether in the school, the street or the delinquents place of work. He further said that home here includes everything outside the school; the family, the church, local public library, markets, all meeting centers, all educational agencies outside the school characteristics should not be studied in isolation. All these variables contribute to students’ performance and they are strongly interactive.

When we think about the school as an environment, the most common perception is that the school is an environment designed to foster the teaching and learning process. Such perception is clearly in order because students’ learning is the manifest functions of the school (Olelarin, 2010); Environment of every school is influenced to a large extent the academic performance of students of that school. Both the teachers and the students may experience psychological and physical stress as a result of some deficiencies in the school physical environment, which they must overcome to fulfill the roles as teachers and students. Home as a factor contribute a lot to students performance. Findings have demonstrated that parents’ involvement in the education of the children has been found to be of benefit to parents, children and school (Rich, 2011). Rasimiki and Fredrick (2010) concluded that parents play an invaluable role in laying the foundation for the children learning. Smith (2012) stated that “the cultural qualities of a neighborhood is one of the most potent factors in education and a boy or a girl is fortunate if he grows up in a locality which has good tradition and persons capable of maintaining and enriching it.

From the above stated we conclude that good neighborhood and even peer groups play a lot of roles in the performance of a child. As the child grows he interacts with friend of the same age, sex and even opposite sex within and outside the family. The peer becomes models of imitation and important dispensers of rewards and punishment (Mgboro, 2012). Peer group influence is a very strong factor influencing learners’ behavior. Due to peer pressure, many higher education learners have become drug addicts, chain smokers and cultists etc (Fenegan, 2012). For academic programme to be successfully and progressively earned out, and for students to perform very well in secondary schools, the environment has to be such that promote learning activities. For some years now in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State and recommend solutions to improve their performance.

Statement of the Problem

Academic achievement is undoubtedly a researcher after the heart of educational psychologists. In their attempt to investigate what determines academic outcome of learners, they have come with more questions than answer. In recent time prior literature has shown that learning outcome has been determined by such variables, family, school and motivational factors. (Aremu, 2010, Aremu and Oluwole, 2011, Aremu and Sokan, 2013). Today a good number of secondary school students performed in internal and external examinations. Despite the laudable effort of government to promote academic excellence, examination malpractice is still on the increase. Therefore, if this problem is not identified and check, they will be increase causes of school dropout, certificate forgery, half beaked graduate etc. it is therefore the existence of this situations that motivated the researcher to carry out a study on what are the environmental factors that contribute to students academic performance in secondary schools in Nnewi south local government area of Anambra state.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of the study is to find out the environmental factors that contribute to students’ Academic performance in secondary school in Nnewi south local Government Area of Anambra state. Specifically, the study is designed to find out;

  1. Find out the influence of family background on academic performance of students in secondary school in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State.
  2. Find out the influence of location’ of the school on the academic performance of students in secondary schools in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State.
  3. Find out the influence of peer group on the academic performance of students in secondary school in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State.
  4. Find out the influence of facilities in the school on students academic performance in secondary schools Sin Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Significance of the Study                                         

This research work will be of benefit to government whenever they are formulating policy on education, they will consider those environmental factors that contribute to students academic performances in secondary school and tackle it for excellence performance of students.

Furthermore, the teacher will equally benefit from the study, hence the teacher is the actual implementer of curriculum, discloses and supply information on the problems that are likely to be encountered if the environmental factors listed above are not checked, in effect, this will improve his teaching and learning activities in the classroom.

Moreover, students will also benefit from the research, it will boost the morale of the students in the process of learning, hence those environmental factors that affects their learning has been tackled and the parents on the other hand will strive to establish good environment between home and school for optimum advantage of their children and will minimize the level of juvenile delinquencies among the students.

Finally, the research will serve as a resource material for scholastic conversation and researchers who might want to carry out further researcher on environmental factors that contribute to academic performance of student in secondary schools.

Scope of the Study

The study is focuses on the environmental factors that contribute to students’ academic performance in secondary school in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State. The study also seeks to examine the influence of family background, location of the school, peer group and facilities in the school on the academic performance of students in secondary schools in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated to guide the study;

  1. What are the influences of family background on the academic performance of students in secondary schools in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State?
  2. What are the influences of location of school on the academic performance of students in secondary schools in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State?
  3. What are the influences of peer group on students’ academic performance in secondary schools in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State?
  4. What are the influences of facilities in the school on the academic performance of students in secondary schools in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State?


The following Null hypothesis will be tested at 0.05 alpha level of significance using T-test statistical procedure.

HO1: There is no significant difference in the mean rating of family member from high and low income level on students’ academic performance.

HO2: There is no significant difference in the mean rating of family member from Urban and Rural areas on students’ academic performance

HO3: There is no significant difference in the mean rating of male and female peer group on students’ academic performance

HO4: There is no significant difference in the mean rating of adequate and inadequate facilities oh students’ academic performance.


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