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THE IMPACT OF CLASS SIZE, TEACHERS’ EXPERIENCE ON BUSINESS EDUCATION STUDENTS ACADEMICS PERFORMANCE
This study examined the impact of class size, teachers experience on business education students academic performance using simple random sampling technique. Questionnaires were administered to 200 business education students selected from five senior secondary schools in Lagos State. Combinations of parametric and non-parametric statistics were used for the test of the research questions and hypotheses. The study concludes that class size, teachers experiences are significant factors affecting students’ academic performance. Therefore, the study recommended that there is need for government to build more on teachers' educational qualification and mastery of the subjects they are teaching, with teachers’ training programmes, teachers need to be equipped with the teaching strategies in order to effectively teach both small and larger classes. Moreso, teachers should not only know about the teaching strategies, but they should also be acquainted with putting them into practice in smaller or larger classes.
1.1. Background of the study
In most third world countries, enrolment exceeds provision for both primary and secondary education in terms of adequate furnished classrooms, educational resources and laboratory adequacies, thus leading to perennial problem of classroom congestion (Kiger, 2002). The poverty level and low classroom utilization rates in these countries worsen the situation. Nigeria is a third world country where the situation is not different and primary education in the country is poorly funded, hence most of the primary schools experience classroom congestion, low students-classroom-space and low classroom utilization rates (Martins et al, 2007). These situations may likely affect both primary and secondary school students’ academic performance adversely. The large number of students passing through the primary school system in Lagos state and in other states in Nigeria is a serious problem, particularly with the state government’s inability to provide adequate furnished classrooms for effective learning and teaching. The National policy on Education prescribed a maximum of 30 students in a class (TTC, 2004), but practical experience has shown that in most schools in Lagos state, average class size exceeds 50. The situation has negative impact on the average classroom space per student.
Also, it is imperative to note that every educational system at every level depends heavily on teachers for the execution of its programmes. Teachers are highly essential for successful operation of the educational system and important tools for the educational development. Without teachers, educational facilities cannot be expanded. Undoubtedly, the success and quality of any educational system depends on the quantity and quality of teachers’ input into the system. Thus, teacher quality is an important concern of parents and policymakers, requiring a qualified teacher in every classroom. In terms of class size, previous researches discovered that, there are many factors which affect the teaching process (Goldhaber, and Brewer, 2007; Harnisch, 2007; Igersoll, 2006). Among these, class size is considered one of the most important factors. The related literature clearly indicates that the class size and the effects associated with class size should be seriously taken into consideration by educators. In his overview of studies about class size, Yara, (2010) stated that research on class size generally examined the relationships with class size and children’s achievement, children’s motivation, teacher satisfaction, teacher stress, and the organization. For over four decades, series of studies have suggested the importance of school as social environment of learning. Some of these studies examined location planning and their attendant consequences on achievement of students in various states of the Federation (Nye et al, 2001). The studies were intended to assist education authorities of various states to decide where a particular type of school should be located; the size of a school in each location; whether a new school should be built or otherwise among others for effective teaching and learning (Kiger, 2002)
Business studies, without any doubt remains one of the most serviceable subject to all disciplines and fields of human work and it has become an indispensable tool in the study of humanities, sciences and technology and has entered into the many areas of human activities. Every individual needs some measure of business mathematics for his or her day to day activities. Usefulness of business studies in human activities cannot be underestimated because it is the foundation of business knowledge and business survival. This observation points to the fact that business mathematics and business studies is not only universally useful and utilitarian in nature; it is also regarded as the key to the solution of human problems (Iyekekpolor, 2007). The Federal Government of Nigeria has for long been aware of the pivotal position of business mathematics to individual fulfillments and national developmental goals with particular reference to scientific and technological emancipation and breakthrough. This understanding has consequently led educational policy makers to position business studies as a compulsory and one of the core subjects in primary levels of education (FRN, 2004). It is also a requirement for pupils to proceed from upper basic to senior secondary level. Despite the high position offered to business studies in Nigerian education system it is highly disheartening that approaches and strategies for teaching and learning of this subject at both primary and secondary levels are not probably being put to use effectively that could promote learners’ activity and provide learners’ guided practice enabling them to retain concepts taught and solve problems. Generally students fear and hate and/or dislike business studies because they see it as abstract. This has resulted to their lack of interest and low retention rate which leads to poor performance in business studies and even in mathematics examinations, both internally and externally (Obodo, 2004).
Reporting to the National Council on Education (NCE) on students’ performance in the May/June senior secondary school certificate Examinations (SSCE), the West African Examinations Council (WAEC, 2006), expressed worries over the low achievement due to poor retention rate and interest in mathematics by Nigerian candidates which culminate to their low performance in business studies because of the element of business mathematics in business studies. Kurumeh (2007) maintained that the inappropriate, inadequate, elitist and euro-centric teaching techniques and methods used by business studies and mathematics teachers is instrumental to learners inability to understand and retain the basic business studies and mathematical principles, computations or logical facts involved. And the underlying process that gave rise to the business facts resulted to learning by rote memorization, which led to poor retention, low performance and lack/loss of interest in business mathematics. According to Child cited by Iji (2010), man is endowed with limited capacity for memorization. Thus the ability to memorize difficult subjects by rote learning calls for exercising the minds and the muscles of the mind and brain. However, business studies is not a subject that can be learnt by rote memorization but for one to remember and recall information demand passing through one’s experience. This goes to mean that the task before a teacher is how to help learners improve on their ability to assimilate information towards effective recalling/retrieving when the need arises. Resourcefulness in business studies teaching demands that the business studies teacher should focus attention on methods of teaching that stimulates learner’s zeal, interest and higher retention rate, taking into cognizance of individual differences of learners.
This then suggest that business studies educators should be able to develop new teaching techniques/methods to take care of the individual abilities of learners in the class room. Mari (2002) maintained that teaching strategies is a variable that can easily be manipulated by teachers to increase students’ retention rate and performance as well as reduce or eliminate sex-related differences in science and business studies performance. Thus, this study examines the effects of class size, teaching on business studies academic achievement in Junior Secondary students in Lagos state.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
The poor funding of education in most third world countries does not enable the school system to have manageable class sizes, adequate student classroom space and appropriate class utilization rates, experienced and quality teachers. In spite of the fact that these factors determine the productivity of teachers and students academic performance, very few concentration has been devoted to the improvement of these important factors that can determine the performance of the students in schools. Thus, it has resulted to poor retention rate in student especially in business studies and other core subject. For example, Paden and Dereshiwsky (2007) and Omenka (2010) as well attributed the low performance and retention rate of students particularly among sexes to instructional modality adopted by teachers.
Also, it is of a fact that a large class size will not promote effective learning-teaching outcomes as teachers are unable and often unwilling to cater for the large numbers of students, and students pay little or no attention to the teachers’ information. Therefore, the questions that would come to the mind of any researcher that come across this study are: will class size and classroom utilization affect students’ concentration and performance in school? To what extent can class size determine students’ performance in school? Will teachers’ years of experience determine students’ performance in school? Thus, this study would capture the scope of the above questions and other pressing issues and provide adequate information on how the problems of class size, teaching techniques could improve students retention and academic performance in business studies.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
1. The main purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of class size, teaching on business studies students’ academic achievement in Junior Secondary schools Yaba Local Government Area of Lagos State.
Other specific objectives are to:
2. To examine academic performance of students in the highly congested classes and the students in moderate classes;
3. To investigate class factors like class size, student – classroom space and classroom utilization rate taken together in business studies students’ academic performance in Yaba Local Government Area of Lagos State
4. To investigate how class size affect students’ achievement in business studies?
5. To examine how teachers’ teaching experience influence the secondary school students’ academic performance?
1.4 Research Questions
The research will address the under listed questions
1. Will academic performance of students in the highly congested classes has any positive impact on students in moderate classes
2. Will class size and classroom utilization affect students performance in schools?
2. To what extent can class size determine students performance in school?
3. Will teacher years of experience determine students performance in school.
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following research hypotheses are tested:
1. There was no significant influence of class size on academic performance of students
2. Teacher experience does not significantly impact academic performance of students.
3. Classroom utilization rate does not significantly impact academic performance of students.
4. Student- classroom space does not significantly impact academic performance of students.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study is important because it examined the predictability of students achievement based on the class size and teachers experience .The findings will be useful to policy maker’s because they will see the area where they have to improve upon and direct their policies
It also enables school administrators to organize and coordinate school activities in such a way that will be located in a very conducive environment for teaching and effective learning to take place
It will also provide tips for parents and family members as they search to find better ways to help students improve their achievement.
Since, Lagos State is the case study adopted for this study; the study will help Lagos State ministry of Education to realize the impact of class size and the teachers’ quality on students’ academic performance.
1.7. Scope of the Study
The study is conducted to investigate the impact of class size, teaching and teachers’ quality on academic achievement of Business studies students in Lagos state. The study covers Junior Secondary School students within Yaba Local Government Area of Lagos State. The study covers variables like class size, teachers’ experience, teaching techniques and their effects on students’ academic performance in Business studies.
1.8 Plan of the Study
The study is divided into five chapters. Following chapter one is chapter two which reviews theoretical, empirical and conceptual literatures on the research topic. Chapter three deals with the research methodology and method of data analysis while chapter four deals with data presentation and analysis. Concluding comments is the chapter five which would reflect the summary of major findings, conclusion and policy recommendations and suggestion for further studies.
1.9 Operational Definition of Terms
· Academic performance: it is the change in efficiency of behaviour or ability to grow for some time and not because of the growth process but the learning situation.
· Business study: business study is an academic area of concentration within business major that is taught at the institution of higher learning. It helps to train and prepare undergraduate and a graduate for career in the business world.
· Content knowledge: it refers to the body of information that teachers teach and student are expected to learn in a given subject area or knowledge about the actual subject matter that teacher must also understand in a subject area.
· Effective teachers: an effective teacher is the one who quite consistently achieve goals which either directly or indirectly focus on the learning of their student. Effective teachers have the knowledge, skill and commitment that ensure equitable learning opportunities and growth for all students.
· Retention rate: a measure of the rate at which students persist in their/ educational program but an institution, expresses as a percentage.
· Rote learning: it is the memorization of information based on repetition. The two biggest example of the rote learning are the alphabet and the number
· Teaching experience: this has to do with all activities undertaken by the teachers training exercise, it include participation in professional development activities geared toward equipping the teachers for better service delivery
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