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1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
For many years, educators, politicians and people in general have debated on the number of students a teacher can work effectively with to ensure students adequate learning. Although most people would agree that having a few student to teacher ratio would benefit the student academically, many will also argue that it does not guarantee success and would cost school a great deal or more money. Prior to reviewing the research, a clarification, of terms associated with the context is necessary. Student’s achievement applies to making sure all students have the necessary skills and knowledge to function in school so that they may also succeed as adults (National Education Association, 2002). But others see a much broader, richer, picture and the state standards as something to be met on the way to the broader picture. Three areas that fit into the broader picture are academics, essential life skills and responsibility to the community. Definitions vary across the research spectrum, but for the purpose of this paper, small class size will be defined as classes with approximately 15 students, while large or regular class will be defined as classrooms with approximately 24 or more students (Harris and Plank, 2000)., the term average class size is a calculation of the total number of students in a grade level divided by the number of classroom sections in that school or school district.
The relationship between class size and academic performance has been a perplexing one for educators. Studies have found that the physical environment, class overcrowding and teaching methods are all variables that affect students achievement (Molnal, et al 2000). Other factors that affect students achievement are school population and class size (Gentry, 2000, and Swift, 2000). The issue of poor academic performance of students in Nigeria has been of much concern to all and sundry. The problems is so much that it has led to the decline in standard of education. Since the academic success of students depends largely on the school environment, it is imperative to examine the impact variables of class size and school population on the academic performance of students in Secondary school, large class size quality of teaching and instruction delivery. Overcrowded classrooms have increased the possibilities for mass failure and make students to lose interest in school. This is because large class size do not allow individual students to get attention from teachers which invariably lead to low reading scores, frustration and poor academic performance. In order to better understand the skill levels of students, it might be necessary to evaluate factors affecting their performance. These factors can include; school structure and organization, teachers quality, curriculum and teaching philosophies (Driscoill, Halcoussis and Sony, 2003). The idea that school population and class size might affect students performance is consistent with the growing literature on the relationship between public sector institutional arrangement and outcomes (Moe, 2003). The purpose of this study is to further examine the relationship of class size, school population and students academic achievement.
The student achievement guarantee in education defines class size reduction as “reduce to class 15” class size reduction can be defined as reducing the number of students in a classroom. Classroom averages, as defined above, can be reduced by introducing more teachers. If a school has 120 students in first grade with five class room teachers, the average class size will be 24 students per class. That number will be reduced if another teacher is utilized in that grade level. 120 students divided by six classroom teachers will result in average class size of 20 students per class. Minorities are defined as students who are indicated as an ethnics status of Afro-American, Asian American, Native American or Hispanic American and is citizen of the United States has permanent immigrant or refugee status (University of Wisdom, Modison, 2009). The term minority is a relative term at this point in time. Minorities were often considered so because a majority of the population in the United State was Caucasians. However, there are many cities even states, where Caucasians are not the majority.
The premise that reducing class size can lead to improved teaching and learning is one that most teachers and parents would readily endorse (Kennedy, 2003). Given a choice between a classroom with 20 students one with 30 studnets, who would want to argue that the larger class would be a better learning environment for each students in that class. The major problems schools are running into is that the funding for these small class sizes is not available, or is decreasing. Many states and school districts dealing increasingly with shortfalls in revenue are smaller classes.
Advocates of small classes believes that small class size allow teacher to give more individualized attention to students, manage their classrooms more effectively and provide more effective instruction that leads to better students performance. In a smaller classroom, a teacher has more time to get to know each student personality academic strengths and weaknesses, students receive more attention and are less likely to become discipline problems with less time spent on classroom management; teachers can focus more on classroom instruction and students learning. Patricia A Wesley of the college of education at the University of Washington writes “my teaching and research experiences have convinced me that both small classes and small schools are crucial to a teacher’s ability to succeed with students” (Wasley, 2002). Some people are not convenient; however, that reducing class size ensures an academic advantage. Kirk A Johnson is a senior policy analyst in the center for data analysis, heritage foundation and asks the question, “are class size reduction programs uniformly positive or does a downside exists to hiring and placing more teachers in its public schools?” (Johnson, 2002). Because of state mandates in classroom reductions, schools are required to hire more inexperienced teachers and are suffering from a lack of qualified teachers to fill the classroom (Johnson, 2002). Others argue that there is no substantive proof that class size makes a difference in students performance and there may be other influences affecting students performance. Evidence linking smaller classes to improved performance is inconclusive for instance, difference studies have varied in their definition of small class size.
According to Erik Haunshek (2003) of the Hoover Institution, only 15 percent of the studies found that reducing class size has a statistically significant positive effect on performance. Moreover, almost as many studies (13 percent) found that reducing class size has a statistically negative effect on student performance. The remaining 72 percent indicate that reducing class size has no statistically significant effect nonperformance. The results were similar in the 136 studies of elementary school class size. Only 13 percent of them found that reducing class size increase students performance, and 20 percent indicate that a reduction harms performance. Thus, in the words of Hanuyshek “there is little reason to believe that smaller class sizes systematically yield higher student achievement” (Barcia, and Fredua-Kwarteng, 2008). Evidence linking smaller classes to improved performance is therefore inconclusive. This study therefore looks at how class size affects secondary schools students and their academic performance in Junior Secondary Schools in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMThe performance of Junior Secondary School students in Junior Secondary School Certificate in 2012 according to report made by (office of the statistics in PPSMB, 2012), calls for proper investigation of causes of poor academic performance of Junior Secondary Schools students in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Although, several scholars have proposed various factors responsible for the poor performance of students, few resear4ches has been dedicated to the correlation between class size, school population and academic achievement of students.
1.3 PURPOSE OF STUDY
The purpose of this study is to find out the effect of classroom size in effective teaching and learning of Junior Secondary Schools in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Specially, the study sought to:
1. Determine the class size of Junior Secondary School students in Chikun Local Government Area?
2. Determine the effect of class size in teaching and learning of Junior Secondary School students in the Chikun Local Government Area.
3. Ascertain the effectiveness of teaching and learning of Junior Secondary School in Chikun Local Government Area.
4. Identify the policy guiding teacher-student ratio in Junior Secondary School in Chikun Local Government Area.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The researchers in trying to substantiate the result of this study has deducted the following researcher questions which are:
1. Is there any relationship between class size and effective teaching and learning of Junior Secondary School?
2. Does class size really affect the teaching and learning in Junior Secondary School?
3. Is there any relationship between class size and the teaching of computer in Junior Secondary School?
4. Is there any policy guiding teacher students ratio in Junior Secondary School?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study has the potential to guide the policy maker about the present scenario of educational system. They make the vision and may improve the situation through adopting a better policy about teachers. The study is also likely to be a guide for developing the education, standard for students teacher, ratio. This study is also important such that the findings made will help teachers to identify the reasons for the academic performances of students in large classes with high population and how they can address the problems. It will provide comprehensive information for educational planners, educators, and parents on how they can assist students to cope in large classes.
This research work will lead to further in-depth study on the impact of class size and school population on the academic performance of students in computer and other subjects. It will serve as a contribution to knowledge in the subject area. In this regards, it will be useful for other researchers who might want to carryout research in related areas.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study will be very wide if it has to be carried out in all the secondary school in Chikun Local Government Area. Based on this, the study is focused on five Junior Secondary Schools in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Education: The process or art of imparting knowledge, skill and judgment.
Learning: An act in which something is learned.
Academic is used to describe work, or a school, college, or university, that places emphasis on studying and reasoning rather than on practical or technical skills. The author has settled for a more academic approach. An academic is a member of a university or college who teaches or does research
Performance: The act of carrying into execution or action, achievement and accomplishment.
Standard: Something used as a measure for comparative evaluation.
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