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School Environmental Factors and Students Academic Performance in Government

School Environmental Factors and Students Academic Performance in Government

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 1.1 Background to the Study

Over the last two decades, there has been a growing appreciation that the school environment, the quality and character of school life nurture or undermine children’s academic development, learning, and academic achievements.

Anecdotal surveys confirm that a safe and supportive school environment, in which students have positive social relationships and are respected assists students to learn better (James 2018). Further to the above, a growing number of reports, studies, and legislation emphasize the importance of a positive school climate in reducing inequities in students’ achievement, enhancing healthy development, and promoting the skills,  knowledge  and dispositions that provide the foundation for 21st-century school and life success (Carol 2019).

Cambell (2019) explained that the school environment is the quality and attribute of school life. It is based on patterns of school life experiences  and  reflects  norms,  goals,  values,  inter  personal  relationships, teaching  learning  and  leadership  practice,  and  organizational  structures.

A sustainable,  positive school environment fosters youth development and learning necessary  for  a  productive  and  satisfying  life  in a democratic society. This environment includes norms, values, and expectations that support people’s feeling socially, emotionally, and physically safe, which government, educators, consultants, students, families, and other stakeholders work together to develop, live and contribute to a share school vision.

Educators model  and  nurture  attitudes  that  emphasize  the  benefits  and  satisfaction  gained  from learning, therefore, they contribute tothe operations of the school and the care of the physical environment. The terms ‘’school environment,’’ school culture’’ and ‘’ school climate’’ have been used interchangeably, but sometimes, quite different ways in the educational literature (Kathleen 2010).

The school environment includes facilities like classrooms,   libraries,   technical   workshops, laboratories,  teachers’  quality,  school  management,  teaching  methods,  peers,  school’s  topography, environmental  serenity,  etc  they  are  referred  to  as  variables that affect or influence students’ academic achievements.  They remain an important area that should be evaluated and well managed to enhance students’ academic performance.

The adoption of the formal school system in Nigeria dates back to the days of the colonial masters when Western Education was introduced. Western education introduced by the British around the 19th century made use of formal school system and right from then teaching began to assume a formal status from the traditional informal system.

School Environmental Factors and Students Academic Performance in Government

The school system exists within the larger society which has characteristics or factors that could make or mar the successful running of the school system. Accordingly, three important factors are associated with formal learning in school. These are the learners, the teachers and the school environments.

Although interplay of these factors are of paramount importance, the school environment seems to exert much influence on the teaching-learning process. This is because what happens in the school environment may directly or indirect affect the quality of classroom instruction.

According to Omoyemi (2008) the third tripod on which learning sits on is the school environment. Hence, the effects of schools factors such as location and instructional facilities among other cannot be overemphasized. The environment which a school is located contributes much to the survival of the school as no educational institution can thrive in an uncondusive environment.

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The school environment, which include the classrooms, libraries, technical workshops, laboratories, teachers’ quality, school management, teaching methods, peers, etc are variables that affect students’ academic performance (Ajayi, 2009 and Oluchukwu, 20010).

Hence, the school environment remains an important area that should be studied and well-managed to enhance students’ academic performance. The issue of poor academic performance of students in Nigeria has been of much concern to the government, parents, teachers, and even students themselves.

The quality of education not only depends on the teachers as reflected in the performance of their duties but also in the effective coordination of the school environment (Ajao 2009), School environment includes instructional spaces planning, administrative places planning, circulation spaces planning, spaces for conveniences planning, accessories planning, the teachers as well as the students’ themselves are essential in teaching-learning process.

The extent to which students’ learning could be enhanced depends on their location within the school compound, the structure of their classroom, and availability of instructional facilities and accessories. It is believed that a well-planned school will gear up expected outcomes of education that will facilitate good social, political, and economic emancipation, effective teaching and learning process and academic performance of the students’.

Relating this study to international occurrences are the assertions of Williams, Persaud, and Turner (2008), quoting Marsden (2005), which reported that safe and orderly classroom environment (aspect of instructional space), School facilities (accessories) were significantly related to students’ academic performance in schools. The three researchers, also quoted Glassman (2011), asserting that a comfortable and caring environment among other treatments helped to contribute to students’ academic performance.

The physical characteristics of the school have a variety of effects on teachers, pupils, students, and the learning process. Poor lighting, noise, high levels of carbon dioxide in classrooms, and inconsistent temperatures make teaching and learning difficult.

Poor maintenance and ineffective ventilation systems lead to poor health among students’ as well as teachers, which leads to poor performance and higher absentee rates (Frazier, 2002 Lyons, 2001; and Ostendorf, 2001). These factors can adversely affect pupils behaviour and lead to higher levels of frustration among teachers, and poor learning attitude among students’.

Environmental psychologists believe that the nature of a particular environment determines the perception of what is attributable to that environment. In the school system, we can communicate with the outside world by enhancing the nature and quality of the school environment. Apart from the influence on learners’ behaviour, the quality of the school environment is also an aspect of cooperate identity which helps in marketing the school. It is unfortunate that there is an imbalance in government provision of learning facilities to schools in urban and rural environments.

It is obvious that the state of infrastructure in the rural areas is nothing to write home about taking into consideration the state of decay and dilapidation coupled with the low socio- economic status of the rural areas. The absence of pipe-born water, electricity, good road networks, and health care services in the rural areas has affected the teaching- learning process negatively leading to low academic standard.

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Also, there is low number of qualified teachers as most teachers resent their posting to schools in the rural areas. Schools which are located in the urban areas where there are basic amenities that make life more comfortable have gained more attention from not only the teachers but also the learners.

Consequent upon the admiration gained by schools in urban environments, the urban schools become more congested and over-crowded with the influx of learners. To this end, many educators believe that the quality of instruction and the general success of teachers and students in school are deeply influenced by school environment. This therefore opens an area for investigations.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The problem that necessitated this study is the continuous decline in students’ academic performance in schools. The issue of poor academic performance of students in school has generated concern among teachers, parents, researchers, and the government at large.

Observations and reports from Examination Bodies revealed that a high proportion of secondary school students continue to perform poorly in many schools subjects including social studies (Federal Ministry of Education, 2021) In fact the declining state of students’ academic performance in schools is assuming a higher dimension and has become increasingly worrisome.

Worried by the downward trend in the level of student’s academic performance in schools, the government and other stake holders have made concerted effort to remedy the situation, yet no significant improvement has been recorded. Several researches carried out with respect to examining the root cause of poor performance of students have been in the areas of reading culture, home background, gender,  instructional materials, teaching methods etc.

However, not much effort has been made on the effect of school environmental factors on students’ academic performance. It is against this background, therefore, that this study “School Environmental factors and Students’ Academic Performance in Government in Eket Local Government Area” becomes imperative.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to examine School Environment and students’ Performance in Government in Eket Local Government Area. The specific objectives of this study include:

  1. to examine the relationship between class size and students’ academic performance of students’ in Government
  2. to examine the relationship between school location and Students’ Academic Performance in Economics in Eket Local Government Area.
  3. to examine the relationship between school instructional facilities and Students’ Academic Performance in Government in Eket Local Government Area.

1.5 Research Questions

  1. to what extent does class size relate to student’s academic performance in Government?
  2. to what extent does school location relate to students’ academic performance in Government?
  3. to what extent does school instructional facilities relate to student’s academic performance in Government?
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1.6 Research Hypothesis

The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study

  1. There is no significant relationship between class size and Students’ Academic Performance in Government in Eket Local Government Area.
  2. There is no significant relationship between school location and Students’ Academic Performance in Government in Eket Local Government Area.
  3. There is no significant relationship between school instructional facilities and Students’ Academic Performance in Government in Eket Local Government Area

1.7 Significance of the Study

 It is anticipated that the findings of this study would be of immense benefit to teachers, educational planners and policy makers, school administrators, researchers and other stake holders in the education sub-sector in the following ways:

  1. it would reveal if school environment account for the poor academic performance of students in Government.
  2. it would make known the specific school environment factors that affect students’ academic performance in school.
  3. it would provide Government with research data in planning for the overall development of the school system.
  4. it would add to the body of existing literature on school environmental factors in relation to students’ academic performance.
  5. Finally it would serve as a reference material for further research on School Environment in relation to Students’ Academic Performance not only in Government but other school subjects.

   1.7 Delimitation of the Study

This study was delimited in scope to School Environmental factors and Students’ Academic Performance in Government in Eket Local Government Area. Analysis was on Senior Secondary two (SS2) students in the study area.

1.8 Limitations of the Study

The major factors that limit the scope of this study to Government in the Local Government Area were insufficient fund, the researchers’ academic work-load and the time frame allotted for the completion of the research and submission of the reports.

1.9  Definition of Terms

The following terms used in this study were conceptualized by the researcher as explained below:

School Environment: The totality of factors that directly or indirectly influence the teaching and learning process. It constitute school buildings, classroom blocks, teaching learning facilities such as libraries, sport grounds, laboratories, buildings and the general out-lay of the school.

School Location: A place where a school is sited. This could be rural or urban areas.

Instructional Facilities: These are facilities within the school system which aid the teaching –learning process and other school activities.

Class Size: Class size refers to the number of students in a given course or classroom, specifically either (1) the number of students being taught by individual teachers in a course or classroom or (2) the average number of students being taught by teachers in a school, district, or education system.

Academic Performance: A measure of the extent to which a learner understands what is presented or taught to him/her by the teacher during the teaching–learning process. It is measured using tests and examinations.

Mr. Harrison

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