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This study was carried out to examine the effects of peer pressure on the academic performance of secondary schools in Ilishan-Remo Local Government Area of Ogun State. To achieve these objectives, two research questions and two research hypotheses were formulated to guide the researcher. The data collected were analyzed using simple percentages and tables to analyze research questions and Chi-square statistical tool was used for testing of research hypotheses. A structured questionnaire was used as the major instrument for data collection from the respondents in Ilishan-Remo Local Government Area of Ogun State. After the careful analysis of the data, the following findings were revealed that; negative peer pressure has a significant effect on the academic performance of secondary school students in Ilishan Remo, Ogun State and there is a significant peer pressure influence on the students’ academic performance based on age and gender. The study was concluded with some recommendations that guidance and counseling services should be provided in schools for the purpose of building self-confidence. It might help the students cope with challenges that were found to affect their performance at schools.
1.0 Background of the Study
Educational activities are targeted at ensuring students achieve the basic goals of educational objectives which is encompassing the students good academic performance for greater tomorrow of self, society and the nation at large.
Academic performance refers to the degree to which a student achieves educational goals. Scott (2012) sees academic performance as how well a student is accomplishing his or her tasks and studies. There are no precise indicators for measuring academic performance, but most of the times; the academic performance of a student is measured by his grades in class assignment, tests and examination. The issue of poor academic performance in Nigeria evidenced by the failure rate of students in external examination like SSCE and NECO is becoming alarming. Statistics from the West African Examination Council revealed that between 2012 and 2014, 80.9% of candidates have 2 credits and above 70.3% have 3 credits and above. The report further showed that 16.73% of candidates’ results were withheld because of examination malpractices.
Several factors have been attributed as causes of poor academic performance. Teachers’ non-adoption of verbal reinforcement strategy, poor attitude of teachers to their job lack of qualified and competent teachers and poor style of teaching have been identified as possible causes of poor academic performance(Arief, 2011). The causes of poor academic performance could also be attributed to student-factors such as inability of students to manage their time, poor preparation, inability to withhold peer pressure and seriousness of students towards their academic endeavours.
The extent to which the educational objectives are achieved is determined by level of peer pressure occurring around students amongst other factors. Peers play a vital role in the social and emotional formation of students, especially at adolescent stage. Peers influence starts from an early age and becomes stronger at the teenage stages and adolescents. Hence it is normal, natural and important for adolescents to have and rely on their friends as they grow and develop.
A peer is anyone one look up to in behaviour. It is equally someone who thinks is equal to one’s age, class and ability (Hardcastle, 2002). On the other hand, pressure means the influence on people to do certain things, which may at times be against their wish. Peer pressure is the ability of people from same social class or age to influence another of same age or class (Jones, 2010). Peer pressure is equally the influences peers have on each other. Peer pressure is also a force exert by people that is influenced by ideas, values and behaviours either positively or negatively and always associated with adolescents.
The term “peer pressure” is mostly associated with teenagers or adolescents, but in reality, it is not confined to teenagers alone (Areif, 2011). Peer pressure is common with variants of adolescents’ risk taking such as delinquency, drug abuse, sexual behaviours, and so on. Peer pressure can also have positive effects when youths are influenced by their peers towards positive and good behaviour such as volunteering for charity, challenge or motivate peers to put up their academic performance.
The negative influences of peer pressure are generally perceived to be more prevalent in the society than the positive influence of peer pressure (Arief, 2011). Peers can encourage each other to skip classes, steal, cheat, use drugs, take alcohol and cigarette. Majority of adolescents involved in risky behaviours is greatly as a result of peer pressure. It may also lead to one’s involvement in making the decision to have boy/girlfriends. Peer pressure indulges youth to wander aimlessly around the streets, watching films, attending night parties, taping as alternative to stealing which may eventually degenerate to armed robbery. This behaviours undoubtedly have effects on various aspects of student’s life.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The academic performance of Nigerian secondary school students has been unremarkable over years evidenced by the failure rate in public examinations. Parents, teacher, school administrator, stakeholders and counsellors have expressed varying concern on this ugly issue. These categories of people have identified negative peer pressure as being responsible for students’ poor academic performance. Negative Peer pressure is suspected for luring students to engage in negative habits such as over-drinking of alcohol, smoking of cigarette and marijuana, sexual related activities and other socially unacceptable acts that distract them from their academic pursuit. These maladaptive behaviours of adolescents which causes poor academic performance raises the question, why the students are not concerned about the current state on their academic performance in internal and public examinations.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of the study is to examine the effects of peer pressure on the academic performance of secondary school students in Ilishan Remo, Ogun State. The study specifically aims:
1. To examine the effects of positive peer pressure on the academic performance of secondary school students in Ilishan Remo, Ogun State.
2. To examine the effects of negative peer pressure on the academic performance of secondary school students in Ilishan Remo, Ogun State.
3. To ascertain the peer pressure influence on the students’ academic performance based on age and gender.
1.4 Research Hypotheses
Three hypotheses are formulated to guide the study in order to arrive at a valid conclusion. The hypotheses are stated as follows:
H01: Negative peer pressure has no significant effect on the academic performance of secondary school students in Ilishan Remo, Ogun State.
Ha1: There is no significant peer pressure influence on the students’ academic performance based on age and gender.
1.5 Research Questions
1. What level of peer pressure in Ilishan-Remo Local Government Area of Ogun State?
2. What is the academic performance status of Ilishan-Remo Local Government Area of Ogun State?
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of the study will be of substantial benefits to parents and guardians, teachers and school administrators, counsellors, society and the students themselves.
The study will help parents and guardians on how well to train and bring their child to enable them not to be vulnerable to the negative influences of peer pressure. The study will help counselor to know the right technique to adopt in modifying negative peer pressure. It will also help them to create discipline in the life of students.
The teachers will equally benefits from this study as it will help them what is expected from them in terms of morality, sanity and good ethical behaviours, as the students sees them as role-models. The study will help schools to produce disciplined students who will be useful to the nation because experience has showed that disciplined students perform academically and better than the undisciplined counterparts.
The study will inform the students to know the inherent gains behind positive peer pressure and the inherent disaster behind negative peer pressure as it relates to their academic performance. The study will help the society by organizing conferences, seminars, symposiums, workshops to inform them about the effects of positive and negative peer pressure. Finally, this study will equally be helpful to future researchers as it will serve as a source of research material for them.
1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study
This is limited to senior secondary school students because they are believed to have experienced the good and bad sides of peer pressure
1.8 Definition of Terms
Academic Performance: The degree to which a student achieves the objectives of educational outcomes. It is also the extent of a student’s performance in classroom activities, internal and public examinations.
Peer Pressure: A force exerts by people that is influenced by ones values and behaviours either positively or negatively and always associated with adolescents.
Peer: Rank with equal, of the same age group, within the same age bracket
Group: A number of people or things that are together in the same place, or that are connected in some ways.
Academic: Something based on subjects that are taught to develop the mind rather than to provide practical skills.
Performance: how well or badly one does something.
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