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Peer Group Influence on Academic Performance of Secondary School Students in Economics

Peer Group Influence on Academic Performance of Secondary School Students in Economics

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ABSTRACT 

This research was conducted to determine the influence of peer group on academic performance of secondary school students in economics in Ika Local Government Area. To carryout the research, survey design was adopted. Two research questions and hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The total population of the study was three thousand six hundred and twenty five (3625) senior secondary two (SS2) economics students who registered for economics in 2015/2016 academic session from the seven public schools and nine private secondary schools in Ika Local Government Area.

Two hundred SS2 students were the sample size and were randomly selected from eight secondary schools in IKa Local Government Area. The instrument used was Peer Group Influence on Academic performance Questionnaire (PGIAPQ). The data collected were analyzed using Pearson product moment correlational coefficient statistical tool. The hypotheses were tested at 0.05 levels of significance.

The result revealed that there is a significant relationship between peer group influence and academic performance of secondary school students in economics students in private and public schools. Also there is a significant relationship between peer group influence and academic performance of secondary school students in economics students in private and public schools in Ika Local Government Area.

It was therefore recommended that, if teachers encourage students to form reading group, go to library and attend extra-moral lessons; if there are open rules and regulations to punish negative behaviours, if there are regular contest like quiz and programmes that reward student performances; student’s performance in economic will improved.                        

 CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1   Background of the study

Peer group include group of persons of the same age who share the same status and bond together by common objective and believe in a social context or circumstance. It can also be seen as the people of the same ability who are knitted together by a feeling derived by a common concern as seekers of what was desirable for the group and whose interests are shortage and temporary (Ezewu, 2012).

It has been observed that the peer group influences are more pronounced and noted in secondary schools than in primary and nursery schools, partly because some of the children go away from home and stay in boarding schools where parental supervision and contact is very limited.

The influence of peer group on the child is great both in and out of the school, because there is the tendency for members to be comfortable with group norms and values. Sometimes, peer group influence may lead to aggressive behaviour such as rioting in school. All these occur, possibly with lack of parental supervision and control.

According to Umoh (2015), peer groups are significant in students’ academic achievement and performance of different stages of education. They are highly influence for, pre-reading, linguistic skills and high level of commitment for education and training which affects the individuals educational and professional attainments. On the other hand, peers are highly influential in causing children to develop poor reading habits thereby resulting in malpractices and bribery during examinations.

Different research studies have strongly linked higher-achiever to high achievements and performance. It is believed that peer groups characteristics’ and environment where it generates, affects the behaviours and educational attainments of students. Consequently, the variations observed in students’ educational performance and achievement is due to their peer group effect and orientation towards a particular subject.

Sacerdote (2001) argue that peer groups’ influence is strong at secondary school level due to the age of the peer (maturity level), while it is, to a less extent, weak in college  and university. This is because, the student learned most of the characters and developed interest towards a particular course while at the same time developing hatred for some courses he seems would be difficult. This character and interest is what will influence his choice of education and interest in a particular field in the college.

Consequently, the peer influences a child both negatively and positively. Positively, the peer encourages learning and development to boost academic performance. Negatively, the peer influences a child into poor behavioural conduct and association which hinder academic performance of the student (Delp, 2014).

This research will therefore examine both the positive and negative influence of peer group in academic performance of secondary school students in economics in Ika Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

Education is seen as an instrument par excellence for the development of a nation as recorded in National Policy on Education of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) 2013. Economics as one of the social science subjects is very important to the development of any nation that is why every nation must take it very serious in all institutions of learning if this aim is to be achieved.

Interestingly, as important as this subject is, students’ academic performance has not been encouraging in it and this is worrisome and called for investigations. Also, it is a truism that of all the agents of socialization, peer group influence has a great impact on academic performance of a child. Students learn from peers how to cooperate and socialize according to school norms, values, learning ability and studies. But the extent of this influence depends on other situational constraints such as age and personality of children and the nature of the group.

Similarly, the chief examiner of West African Council Examination (WACE) in 2015 reported that out of 616, 370 candidates who sat for the examination representing 38.68% obtained five credits and above including mathematics and English Language with this result, the expected percent is not achieved. The chief examiner attributed this to several factors such as lack of teaching equipment, school variables and home environmental variables amongst others (Adesulu 2015).

Furthermore, in a research conducted by Akpan (2010) found out  that the poor academic performance in social sciences (Economics inclusive) can be attributed to peer group influence in secondary schools in Ikot Ekpene senatorial district. This trigger the researcher’s interest to ask, could the peer group influence the academic performance of students in Economics particularly in secondary schools in Ika Local Government Area? Finding answer to this question necessitated this study. This research is therefore an attempt to examine the influence of peer group on academic performance of secondary school students in Ika Local Government area of Akwa Ibom State.

1.3   Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this research was to investigate peer group influence on academic performance of secondary school students in Economics in Ika local Government Area. Specifically, the study intends to:

  1. To investigate peer group influence on academic performance of students in urban and rural schools in Ika Local Government Area.
  2. To examine the Influence of peer group on academic performance of students in private and public schools Ika Local Government Area.   

1.4   Research Questions

The following research questions were stated to guide the study in line with the purpose of the study:

  1. To what extent does do peer group has on academic performance of students in urban and rural schools in Economics in Ika Local Government Area?
  2. To what extent does do peer group has on academic performance of students in private and public schools in Economics in Ika Local Government Area?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were postulated to give the study a guide:

  1. There is no significant relationship between peer group influence and academic performance of secondary school students in economics students in urban and rural schools.
  2. There is no significant relationship between peer group influence and academic performance of secondary school students in economics students in private and public schools

1.6   Significance of the Study

The outcome of the research will be of immense benefit in many ways:

  1. The findings of this shall be significant to the teachers of Economics as it will suggest solution to the effect of peer group influence towards academic performance the research will also create awareness on the positive and negative influence of peer group on academic performance, there by proffering ways on encouraging only the positive aspect.
  2. The study will be of help to curriculum planners as it assists them in taking into considerations the effect of peer group on learning during curriculum designing.
  3. It will help the government, philanthropical organization in provision of relevant environmental resources in teaching and learning to keep the students’ busy while in school in order to avoid negative interactions of students with their peers.
  4. It shall be useful to school counsellors as it will give basis to them on the negative effect of peer group on students learning, thereby counselling them to form positive relationship with their peers.
  5. It will serve as a reference manual for subsequent researchers on related topic.

1.7   Delimitation of the Study

The scope of the study is on peer group influence on academic performance of secondary school students in Economics in Ika Local Government Area particularly in urban and rural as well as private and public schools. This research was delimited to senior secondary two (SS2) Economics students who registered for Economics in 2016/2017 academic session.

1.8   Limitation of the study

The problems, which the research encountered that limit its scope include lack of fund to allow the researcher procure enough materials and stationeries for the research, there was also time constraints preventing the researcher to carryout extensive research lastly, there was also the unwillingness by some rural dwellers and native of Ika Local government to reveal confidential information.

1.9   Operational definition of terms

For the purpose of ambiguity, key terms as used in this research were defined;

Peer: This simply means, rank with equal, of the same age group, within the same age bracket.

Group: This means a number of people or things that are together in the same place or that are connected in some ways.

 Peer Group: This is a group of person (s) of the same ages who share the same status and bond together by common objective and believe in a social context or circumstance.

Academic Performance: This is the score by which the secondary school students have in an examination or continuous assessment.                       

CHAPTER TWO

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

This chapter deals with the review of related literature. This will be done under the following sub-headings:

–       The concept of peer group

–       Peer group influence on academic performance of students in urban and rural schools.

–       Peer group influence on academic performance of students in public and private schools.

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