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1.1 Background to the Study

Nigeria has been grappling with poor Academic Achievement of students in secondary school final examinations such as senior secondary school leaving certificate examinations (SSCE) National Examination Council (NECO), NABTEB since the 1980s. This has led the Federal and State governments to adopt different strategies and policies to deal with this situation. A survey by the Federal Ministry of Education on the Academic Achievement of the educational sector in the different geo-political zones and states of the country revealed that there were gaps in the Academic Achievements with the North West Zone recording the least Academic Achievement (FMOE, 2001). Another Educational survey which was conducted by the National Population Commission in 2004 indicated a widening gap between Northern and Southern states. Kaduna State is one of the North-West zones that recorded the lowest Academic Achievement; worse than those of Jigawa, Kano and Katsina States in the same zone. This could be connected to the fact that Kaduna state has a larger population of students compared to the other states in the zone, hence the possibility of having larger class sizes,

The Nigerian educational system has continuously experienced an upward trend in school enrolment at all levels since the introduction of the Universal Primary Education (UPE) in the 1970s and the Universal Basic Education (UBE) in 1994. This may have in turn impacted the class size in terms of the population of the individual classrooms with more enrolment in the urban than in the rural areas. The national policy on education stipulates that the teacher- student‘s ratio in secondary schools should be 1:40. Wosayanju, (2005) maintained that large classes may pose some teaching challenges such as delayed feedback, resulting in inefficiency, poor quality of students, and reduction in teaching with less assignment so as to reduce the burden of marking, all of which may encourage shallow learning.

The quality of education depends on the teacher as reflected in the Academic Achievement of their students. Teachers play a crucial role in the educational attainment of students because they are ultimately responsible for translating into actions the principles based on practice during interaction with the students. Teacher variables such as qualification, motivation and experience may be contributing factors to their output.

Teacher Qualification entails the basic training acquired by a teacher to enable him to practice in the teaching profession. According to the National Policy on Education (2004), Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) is the minimum qualification for teaching in primary schools.

Teachers experience entails the number of years a teacher has been practising the art of teaching. Experience; they say, is the best teacher. An experienced teacher is more likely to be efficient in class control, determination of individual differences and ability to improvise teaching aids A newly employed teaching despite the level of training may find the practice difficult in the first few months, but as he progresses, he gets more confident and may be able to device different methods to deal with different types of classroom problem. A study conducted by Olatunde, (2009) on the influence of teachers‘ experience and students‘ achievement discovered that students taught by more experienced teachers achieve a higher level because their teachers possess a mastery of the content and acquired classroom management skills to deal with different classroom problems. This is determined by the teachers‘ qualification, experience and motivation. Another study by Chako, (1981) of teacher and student characteristics as correlates of learning outcome in mathematics found out that teacher‘s attitude towards teaching significantly predicts students‘ attitude as well as achievement in mathematics.

There is the tendency for qualified teachers to seek deployment in schools located in urban towns, particularly in the state capitals where more school facilities and services tended to be concentrated. Teachers with the highest training are posted to the largest cities, and even more noticeably to the capital. This and more findings abound on the disparity in the quality of teachers in urban schools compared to those in rural areas, which consequently affect students' academic Achievement. Ibukun (1988) in his investigation observed that teachers in urban secondary schools in Ondo State tend to be better qualified to point out that there was no deliberate government policy supporting such lopsided resource allocation. In his conclusion, he said rural schools probably become progressively poorly staffed arising from the personal refusal of teachers to serve in remote locations. In such locations, their pattern of school lives is characterized by dilapidated buildings, which form extensions to old ones thus forming a sort of patchwork with others, growing too old and no longer viable.

1.2  Statement of Problem

The low Academic Achievement of the students in the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) in recent years lends credence to this study. Data collected by the Cross River State Education Resource Centre shows that between 1996-2002, only an average of 2% of public secondary schools students passed their SSCE, the actual figure ranged from 0.81% in 1996 to 1.08% in 2001 and 5.28% in 2002.In the year 2003, about 26000 candidates sat for the examination band only 2,078 or 8.0% candidates passed. In the year 2004, about 25,000 sat the examination with only 557 or 2.2% candidates being qualified for university entirely. In 2010, only 15.97% of candidates passed, in 2013 only 9.02% of the candidates passed the SSCE, while in 2014, 12.30% of the candidates qualified for admission into the university.

Therefore, this study sets to find out the interactive influence of class size, teachers variables like qualification, motivation, and experience, school location on students‘ academic Achievement in selected senior secondary schools in secondary school students.

1.3  Objectives of the Study

The following are the objectives of this work:

  1. To determine the difference in the academic achievement of students taught in small class size and large class size in secondary school.
  2. To explore the difference in the academic achievement of students taught by teachers with higher teaching qualification teachers and those taught by teachers with lower teaching qualifications in secondary school.
  3. To determine the difference in the academic achievement of students taught by experienced teachers and those taught by less experienced teachers in secondary school.
  4. To investigate the difference between the academic Achievements of senior secondary school students located in rural and urban areas of Cross River State.

1.4  Research Questions

The following are the research questions:

  1. Does class size differentiate academic Achievement of senior secondary school students in secondary school?
  2. Is there any difference in the academic achievement of students taught by teachers with higher qualifications and those taught by teachers with lower teaching qualifications in secondary school?
  3. Does the academic Achievement of students taught by experienced teachers defer from their counterparts taught by less experienced teachers in secondary school?
  4. Will school location impact negatively or positively on the academic achievement of senior secondary school students in secondary school?

1.5  Research Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were developed to serve as a guide to the researcher:

H01:      There is no significant difference in the academic achievement of students taught in large or small classes in Senior Secondary School in secondary school

H02:      There is no significant difference in the academic achievement of students taught by highly qualified teachers and those taught by less qualified teachers of Senior Secondary School students in secondary school.

H03:      There is no significant difference in the academic achievement of students taught by experienced teachers and those taught by a less experienced teacher of Senior Secondary School students in secondary school

HO4:     There is no significant difference in academic Achievement of Senior Secondary School students located in the rural or urban areas of Cross River state.

1.6  Significance of the Study

This study is on the influence of class size, teacher variables and school location on academic achievement among secondary school students in Cross River state. Findings from this study will be beneficial to the following stakeholders in the education sector:

Teachers are the translators of educational policies into practice. The teachers‘ role in education is very important; without the teacher, the whole educational plans will be a total failure. Therefore would -be teachers will be informed of their importance to the educational process; they will be enlightened on their need to consider the students and resolve to put in their best so that students can also be assisted to be at their best.

The policymakers will find the findings of this work useful in that it will enable them to know the relationship between the variables. That emphasis should not be on enrolment but the teacher factor should also be considered in any planning. The parents will find the findings of this work useful as they will be enlightened on the importance of the teacher in the educational sector, those that perceive the teacher negatively will be orientated to view the teacher positively. This can be achieved through sensitization in the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) meeting.

The government would be made to see the need to bridge the gap between the rural and urban schools by providing the rural dwellers with the social amenities which will enhance the better academic achievement of students in their final examinations like the SSCE. The community should assist the government by providing internet facilities, taxis and buses to facilitate the movement of teachers and students to their school. Adequate incentives should be provided to rural area teachers to encourage them to put in their best to remain in their duty stations.

1.7  Scope and Delimitation

This study focuses on some selected public senior secondary schools in Kaduna State. The study concentrates mainly on students in senior secondary school class two (SSS 2) and teachers of Biology. The study made use of the Biology result only, the reason being that Biology is being offered by all senior secondary school students and it is a prerequisite for the senior Secondary school certificate. This is to enable the researcher to get a complete academic result of these students and be sure they would be available in the schools during the research. Students in Junior Secondary School (1) one & Senior Secondary school one(SSS 1) will not be involved in this study.


Class Size: This was used in this study as the number of students in a classroom at the secondary school. Up to 40 students are considered as normal class size, above 40 students per class is considered as large class size.

Students’ Academic Achievement: these are the scores obtained by the students after completion of a learning experience. For the purpose of this study, this is determined by their scores in the 2014 State Qualifying Examinations. All through the study, academic achievement and Academic Achievement is used interchangeably.

School Location: this is the geographic location of the school, schools located in the state capital or local government headquarters are classified as Urban while those located out of these areas are Rural.

Teacher Variables: These include:

  1. Teacher Qualification: The highest academic qualification obtained by the A teacher that has M. Ed, B. Ed is considered highly qualified, NCE less qualified while M. Sc, HND without a PGDE is considered not-qualified.
  2. Teacher Experience: The number of years the teacher has put into active service as a teacher. 1-3 years is considered less- Experienced while above 3 years is considered as Experienced

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