Class Size and Students’ Academic Performance in Agricultural Science
The study was conducted on Class Size and Student’s Academic Performance in Agricultural Science in Itu Local Government Area. The survey research design and one null hypothesis was use to guide the study. A total of fifty (50) respondents was drawn from two public secondary schools in Itu Local Government Area using simple random sampling technique.
Assessment test for students was used to extract scores of SS1 students in Agricultural science in the study area. The results were analyzed using independent t-test as the statistical tools. Students in small class size performed significantly better than their larger counterparts with a calculated t-value of 5.88 against a critical t-value of 1.98.
The null hypothesis is therefore rejected at 0.05 level of significance. It was then concluded that class size has a significant effect on the academic performance of students in Agricultural science in Itu Local Government Area. Recommendations were made such that government should provide more classrooms to accommodate a small number of students per class.
1.1 Background to the Study
Class size is the total number of students assigned to enroll in a specific class under the direction of a specific teacher. The rapid increase in all facet of Nigerian economy, social, political and educational system is so alarming. There should also be a corresponding increase in the turn-out of manpower. The Nigeria educational system should be alert in the training of qualified manpower to meet with the increase.
Hoxby (2000) viewed that, class size has become a phenomenon often mentioned in the educational literature as an influence on students, feelings and achievement on administration, quality and school budgets. In his word he noted that class size is almost an administrative decision which teachers have little or no control, because as the school population increases, class size also increases, therefore academic performance of students become an issue.
Adeyela (2003), described that, size of the class could proved a significant determinant of success of the students. He further explained that teacher in-service opportunities (Professional Development Programmes) should accompany reduce size of class by forwarding the problem of the school system to the government so that appropriate teaching and learning can be developed and re-enforced to improved academic performance of the students in Agricultural Science.
In fact, with the exception of a few, many studies have reported that under ideal situations, class size in itself appears to be an important factor. Therefore, the first reasons that call for immediate clarification is what number of students should constitute large and small class size in the school system.
The Encyclopedia research on class size this view thus; whether the benefits of reducing class size are regarded as worth their cost or a second choice in improving education depends almost entirely on how the outcomes of students achievements, students attitude and teacher satisfaction are weighed in arriving at a general measure of utility.
Bray (2005) described a small class size as that having few teachers with some pools of talents, often limited range of subjects and they characteristically find it very simple to understand their students’ academic performance in agricultural science and the students compete and also interact with their fellow students very effectively.
Smith (2007), supported that, large class size seem to be often impersonal, having brooder curricula with teacher being given wider support, while student may suffer discipline problems as teacher cannot get to know their students according to ability while commitment to work may stand a test of time.
Otu (2002), supported that, the environment should be stimulating as possible and one way of doing this is to ensure that each students have enough attention by the teacher, it is widely accepted that students in the school setting function under very wide areas of individual differences in secondary schools.
Maclean (2000) contributed that, the environmental influence on intelligence as an important factor in the learning environment of students. The fact is that some students are fast learners while some of them are slow learners, the teacher would make a great mistake if he/she takes the whole class as one homogeneous group, therefore the fast learners must be allowed to progress at their own rate while the slow learners should be allowed to go at their own pace (Folger, 2003).
Glass (2007), submitted that substantial reduction in the class have small positive effect on students and the was accumulative and even disappear in later years. He further asserted the large effects of class size reduction are likely to be seen until the class size is reduced to one (that is no-one tutoring).
The government realizes the need to provide for individual differences and teacher giving enough attention to the students because, it is widely stated in the National Policy on Education that teachers should focus enough attention to each students in the class in order to know their academic achievement in the school system.
The issue of class size is clearly explained if students’ performance must be safeguarded. Therefore, if the students must be made to develop their academic potentialities properly, class size has to be well taken care of.
Thompson (2002), explain that, the difficulties resulting in failure by the students may not necessarily lie with the child, but with how the class size is large with many students and the educational system of the school. This emphasized that if the teachers are not a professional, it could find it difficult before students achieve a certain objectives.
Ntoidem (2007) also supports the importance of the availability and utilization of educational resources when he stated that government at all levels, parents and school authorities should assist in the teaching and learning of agricultural science. This will improve students understanding and application of the concepts, facts, principles and generalization in the fore seeable future, that is in their later lives and careers.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The issue of poor academic performance of students in Akwa Ibom State has been of much concern to all and sundry, the problem is so much that it has led to the widely acclaimed fallen standard of education in Itu in particular.
Quality education depends on the size of the class and availability of teachers. Since the emergence of free and compulsory education scheme, the population of students has seriously increased without a corresponding increase in number of teachers to teach them.
Nisbert (2001) viewed on adequate availability of teaching/learning facilities, size of the class and lack of classroom to accumulate small number of students. These pose very serious problems in the school system and as such academic performance of students and standard of education generally have fallen.
Therefore, government, teachers, educators should look inward and developed school environment for teaching and learning process to thrive, develop and bear fruits for the interest of our children and those yet unborn.
Nevertheless, it is in the light of the above that it becomes necessary to find out the extent to which class size influence students’ academic performance in agricultural science in Itu Local Government Area. In view of the above stated problems, class size and students’ academic performance remains the focal point in this project.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study was to investigate class size and academic performance of students in secondary schools in Agricultural Science in Itu Local Government Area.
To examine the academic performance of students of small class size and large class size in secondary schools in Agricultural Science in Itu Local Government Area.
1.4 Research Questions
- What difference exists in the academic performance of students in small class size in Itu Local Government Area?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
The research hypothesis generated for this study is stated below:
There is no significant difference between the academic performance of students of small class size and large class size in secondary schools in Agricultural Science in Itu Local Government Area.
1.6 Significance of the study
- The study will help the educational planners to determine the number of students that should be assigned into each class in the school system.
- The study will proffer solutions to the problems associated with large class in the school system.
- The study will inevitably help the teachers to adopt appropriate methods and approaches in teaching the students in a large class.
- The finding will help the government, teachers, educators to look inward and developed school structures for better teaching and learning processes of agricultural science.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
A work of this magnitude demanded time for excursion and competition, but this was constraint by its limited time for completion. Another constraint was financial and logical problems as well as insufficient research materials.
1.8 Delimitation of the Study
This study is delimited to class size and students’ academic performance in Agricultural Science in Itu Local Government Area. It is restricted to the relationship between class size and students’ academic performance in Agricultural Science in secondary schools in Itu.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Class Size: This refers to the number of students in a course or class room in a school system which help to increase or decrease academic performance.
Students’ Academic Performance: This refers to the varying ability which students perform in a class or is the achievement of students in subjects as indicated by scope in relevant test or examination.
Agricultural Science: This refers to art and science of growing crops and rearing livestock as well as processing, distributing, marketing and storage for the benefit of man and the nation.
Secondary School: This is a school which provides secondary education between the ages of 11 and 16 or 11 and 18 after primary school and before higher institution.