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THE EFFECT OF CLASS SIZE ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
The study looked at the class size as it relates to academic performance of student in Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun state. The population of the study were all students in Junior Secondary School in Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun state. 100 respondents were used for the study through Radom Sampling Techniques. The data collected were analysed using simple percentage. The findings of this study shows that the effect of class size on academic achievement of Junior Secondary School student has tremendous positive effects on academic achievement. It was recommended that policy makers and government should ensure that more classrooms are built and number of students in a class should not be more than 30. The Parent Teacher Association (PTA). Philanthropist and other charitable organizations are also implored to compliment the effort of the government to boost the performance of students J.S.S by building more classrooms and buildings.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
As school population increases class sizes also increase, the performances of students become an issue.
According to Dror (1995), class size has become a phenomenon often mentioned in the educational literature asan influence on pupil’s feelings and achievement, on administration, quality and school budgets. In his words henoted, that class size is almost an administrative decision over which teachers have little or no control. Mostresearchers start from the assumption that size of the class would prove a significant determinant of the degree ofsuccess of students. In fact, with the exception of a few, many studies have reported that under ideal situation,class size in itself appears to be an important factor. The first issue that calls for immediate clarification is whatnumber of students should constitute a large group and what should be described as a sall group? In describinga small group, Bray (1990) observed that they have few teachers with small pools of talent; offer limited range ofsubjects and characteristically finding it hard to justify costly investment on libraries… their pupils lackcompetition and interest with relatively few peers as they get stucked with same teacher for an entire schoolcareer.
The description appears to be an anti-type of what obtains in large group. Large school/class size on the otherhand are often impersonal, having broader curricula with teachers being given wider support, while students maysuffer discipline problems as teachers cannot get to know their students very easily. They find it easy to streamstudents according to ability while commitment to work may stand a test of time. In terms of numerical strength,the National Policy on Education (1977 revised in 1981) specified 20 in pre-primary, 30 in primary andmaximum of 40 in secondary schools. These directives appear unrealistic in urban areas as a result of highpopulation. From studies conducted, the size of large classes range from 30-336 and small from 8-45 (Kolo1991). The empirical literature on class size and its relationship to academic achievement has been unwieldy andconfusing. According to Jordan (1964), in his analysis of the inter-relationship of intelligence, achievement andsocio-economic status of high schools, concluded that School Location among other variables was directly related to mean achievement level of students in all the sampled subjects. However, the report by someresearchers on elementary school pupils revealed that the size of school and length of attendance have little or noeffect upon pupils’ achievement when educational opportunities are comparable. In his conclusion, he assertedthat teachers generally, have definite preference for the size of schools in which they wish to teach and that thelarger the size, the lower the level of students’ achievement will tend to be. The observation which agrees with the findings of Sitkei (1968) and Walberg (1969) that a significant and consistent relationship exist in theachievement of students in small classes of about 1-20 pupils that obtained higher scores in science tests thantheir counterparts in large classes are necessary for student achievement.
Expressing a divergent view, Silver as cited by Bolton (1988) found that there was no significant difference inpost test achievement scores between large classes and small classes control groups; he concluded that larger issometimes better. Earlier, Keeves (1978) acceded that type of school did not make a contribution to academicachievement, however, Carpenter and Western (1984) found that school type makes a difference in studentsacademic achievement. Hatis and Spay citing Smith and Glass and Glass et al as a corollary to the abovestatement indicated through meta-analyses that, compare to larger classes, small classes lead to higher pupilsachievement, more favourable teacher effects (e.g morale, attitude towards students) greater attempts inindividualized instruction, a better classroom climate and more favorable student effects (e.gself concept,participation). In another development, Finn and Achilles (1990) observed in a longitudinal analysis of a portionof their large scale experiment (describing Kindergarten and teachers) that students in small classes out-performtheir peers in kindergarten classes of regular size… (regular class size here means large classes). According to astudy conducted in United States, Campbell (1980) remarked that students from large schools were exposed tolarge number of school activities and the best of them achieved standards that were unequaled by students insmall schools. However, he observed that students in small schools participated in more activities, (bothacademics and extra- curricular activities). The study concluded that the versatility and performance of pupils insmall schools were consistently higher. The assertion made by Campbell appears confusing as he failed topin-point the one that is more reliable.
In his contribution, Ornstein (1990) discovered that in a 10-year study of high schools in Illinois, the lowestachievement on three separate standard tests occurred in schools with fewer than 495 students. The highestachievement, however, was found in schools with 495 to 1,280 students. The situation was slightly differentfrom this in Ekiti State where schools with fewer students recorded better results, than schools with largerstudents’ population (Owoeye, 1991) factors such as socio-economic status and geographical location wereaccounted for but these were eliminated as possible explanations. Similar view had earlier been expressed byGeorge (1958) when he reported in his research on high school class rank and academic performance thatgraduate from high school seem to perform better academically in college when the high school from which thestudent graduated has a large graduating class.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The problem the research purposes to address in this research are: the provision of an opportunityfor discussion or for any kind of oral input to the written work is difficult… and; the amount of marking involved can dissuade even the most enthuastic teacher from setting the amount the written that feels would benefit the students.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this research work is to determine the effect of class-size on the academic achievement of Junior Secondary School Students in Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun State.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following relevant questions will be of great assistance to this research project in the sense that the research questions will be an illumination into the topic of focus.
These questions are:
(i) What are the limitations of small class size on the academic achievement of J.S.S students?
(ii) What are the benefits of larger class size on the academic achievement of J.S.S students?
(iii) What makes the students show more appreciation for one another on the academic achievement in J.S.S students?
(iv) What effect does class size have on the interaction among students on the academic achievement of J.S.S students.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The finds of this study would be of benefit in the following way:
· Smaller classes result in increased teacher-student contact.
· Students in smaller classes show more appreciation for one another and more desire to participate inclassroom activities.
· In smaller classes, more learning activities take place.
· Smaller classes foster greater interaction among students, helping them understand one another andincreasing their desire to assist one another.
· Smaller classes allow for potential disciplinary problems to be identified and resolved more quickly.
· Smaller classes result in higher teacher morale and reduced stress.
· Less retention, fewer referrals to special education, and fewer dropouts are the ultimate rewards ofclass-size reduction.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study covered some selected Junior Secondary Schools in Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun State.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This research project is limited to some selected Junior Secondary Schools in Abeokuta South Local Government due to financial and time constraints.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Class Size: Is typically defined as the number of students for whom a teacher is primarily responsible during school year.
Academic Achievement: Academic achievement or (academic) performance is the outcome of education the extent to which a student teacher or institution has achieved their educational goals.
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