This study was conducted to find out Factors Influencing Students’ Academic Performance in Senior Secondary Schools in Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Descriptive survey research with the use of structured questionnaire was used to gather information from the population of 17 principals and 5025 students. The sample consisted of 121 secondary school teachers and students, sampled using simple random sampling technique. The study showed students’ academic performance in secondary school in Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi state as a result of students’ attitude to their studies, allocation and utilization of resources, environmental factors, teachers’ quality and quantity and the students’ socio-economic background. From the findings, students’ performance or their success is greatly linked with their attitude, the available resources in the public schools are below average; there is positive relationship between the effect of environmental factors on students’ academic performing in secondary schools and that the quality and quantity of teachers and their teachings affect the performance of secondary school students in Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Finally, from the recommendations made, there is need for the government to look into the issue of teachers’ promotion from one job group to another; schools should be provided with learning resources by the government and parents to facilitate learning and also, should be provided with opportunities for more exposure through in service programmes and finally, students with low socio-economic status should be given equal opportunity to interact with their counterparts.
Background of Study
Education is the best legacy a nation can give to her citizens especially the youth. This is because the development of any nation or community depends largely on the quality of education of such a nation. It is generally believed that the basis for any true development must commence with the development of human resources. Hence, formal education remains the vehicle for social-economic development and social mobilization in any society.
Education is a very important human activity. It helps any society fashion and model individuals to function well in their environment. According to Boit, Njoki and Chang’ach (2012), the purpose of education is to equip the citizenry to reshape their society and eliminate inequality. Secondary education is also an important sector in national and individual development. Provision of quality secondary education is therefore important in generating the opportunities and benefits of social and economic development (Onsumu, Muthaka, Ngware&Kosembei, 2006). One of the indicators of quality of education being provided is cognitive achievement of learners (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, [UNESCO], 2005). According to Adediwura and Tayo (2007), academic achievement is designated by test and examination scores or marks assigned by the subject teachers.
It could also be said to be any expression used to represent students’ scholastic standing. Levin, Wasanga and Somerset (2011) reported that the academic achievement of students at secondary school level is not only a pointer of the effectiveness of schools but also a major determinant of the well-being of youths in particular and the nation in general. Yusuf and Adigun (2010); Lydiah and Nasongo (2009) affirms that the performance of students in any academic task has always been of special interest to the government, educators, parents and society at large.
Students’ achievement is not simply a matter of what happens in school. Although schools can make a significant difference, research has identified numerous factors which affect students’ success.
Nigeria, like any other developing nations has witnessed prolong military rule and aborted civilian administrations, which necessitated the promulgation of decrees, edicts and laws concerning educational practices at federal, state and local government levels. The inconsistent continuation of government, due to coup detat and political instability de-emphasized the continuity in the implementation of educational laws and policies since 1970’s till the present time. This gradually laid the foundation of fallen standard in education at the primary and secondary school levels (Shittu, 2004).
Frequent changes of ministers and commissioners of education by successive governments coupled with the politicization of education by political parties that emerged in the country’s political scene since 1979 have also brought about disparity in educational practices, which caused differential academic performance and classroom functioning of both teachers and students, from state to state.
According to Olotu (1994), in the quest of finding survival feet, the nation has evolved series of socio-economic and educational measures and policies such as Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAP), Austerity measures, Universal Primary Education (UPE), Universal Basic Education (UBE) and devaluation of the Naira. These measures have not improved the social-economic and educational status of families in the country. They have rather increased their sufferings and widened the socio-economic gap between families. Johnson (1996) lamented that parents become poor due to these hard measures, such that they can no longer provide adequately for good education of their children. Also, they can no longer provide shelter, clothing and special need of their children in school (such as provision of text books, school uniforms and good medical care and so on).
High level of illiteracy, poverty and low socio-economic status coupled with high rate of paternal and maternal deprivation of student academic needs, which was necessitated by poor socio-economic situation of the country has thrown many farmers and old rural dwellers into untold financial problems such as poverty, lack of money to purchase necessary textbooks and working materials for their kids. Also many rural and suburban dwellers can no longer pay the school fees of their wards. These ugly situations have promoted young school students to drop out of school to engage in subsistence farming, hawking and some become housemaids or engage in other menial jobs to support their academic pursuit. Hence, many students have since taken schooling as a secondary assignment and school attendance on rotational basis. The resultant problem posed by this, is poor academic performance in school examination like National Examination Council (NECO) and West African Examination Council (WAEC).
From the foregoing, this paper is set to examine factors influencing students’ academic performance in Senior Secondary Schools in Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
Statement of the Problem
Nigeria like any other developing nations has witnessed series of political instability, with obvious effects on educational policies at federal, state and local government levels. This gradually laid the foundation of fallen standard in education at the primary and secondary school levels, which caused differential academic performance of students. The problems of poor performance of students in our secondary schools therefore craetes a big question mark and tend to arouse interests and concern over the last few years. Albeit, the above problem prompted the researcher into investigating with the hope to discover the root causes of the problems. The study hence, attempts to find out the factors influencing students’ academic performance in Senior Secondary Schools in Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to identify factors influencing students’ academic performance in Senior Secondary Schools in Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Succinctly, the study sought to:
- Examine if qualification and number of teachers affect academic performance of Secondary School students in Ezza North L.G.A. of Ebonyi State.
- Find out if socio-economic background affects Senior Secondary School students in Ezza LGA.
- Find out whether students’ attitude affects their academic performance.
- Find out whether resource allocation and utilization affect academic performance of Secondary School students in Ezza North L.G.A. of Ebonyi State.
Significance of the Study
School, Colleges and Universities have no worth without students. Students are most essential asset for any educational institute. The social and economic development of the country is directly linked with student academic performance. The students’ performance (academic achievement) play an important role in producing the best quality graduates who will become great leaders and manpower for the country thus responsible for the country’s economic and social development Students’ academic performance measurement has received considerable attention in previous research, it is the challenging aspect of academic literature, and science student performance are affected due to social, psychological, economic, environmental and personal factors.
There is need to investigate some of the variables that are likely to be contributing to the performance of the students in the senior secondary examinations. It is hoped that the result of this study will be of great importance to the students, help the teachers to understand their students better and help the school counselors with vital information on which they are to base their counseling in the school and also to school administration cum the government whom it is their responsibility to fund the Senior Secondary Schools as well as monitor the standard of resource allocation and utilization.
To the secondary school teachers, this research will enable them to know some of the variables that have been contributing to the continuously increasing or decreasing performance of their students. Consequently, the research will make them to evaluate their present handling of the subject and their students.
To the educators and administrators, it will help them to realize the need to provide necessary materials for teaching of subjects in order to increase the percentage of credits obtained in the senior secondary examinations.
To the students, it will help in improving their academic performances irrespective of their socio-economic background and other factors.
To the government, it will help for better understanding of the need for adequate funding, resource allocation and efficient utilization of the available resources in order to promote academic performance of Senior Secondary Schools in Ezza North Local Government Area.
The following research questions guided the study:
- How does qualification of teachers affect academic performance of Secondary School students in Ezza North L.G.A. of Ebonyi State?
- How does socio-economic background of students affect Senior Secondary School students in Ezza LGA?
- How does the students’ attitude affect their academic performance?
- How does resource allocation and utilization affect academic performance of Secondary School students in Ezza North L.G.A. of Ebonyi State?
Scope of the Study
This research work is focused mainly on factors influencing students’ academic performance in Senior Secondary Schools in Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. The study is restricted to Senior Secondary Schools in Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.