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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The relationship between school environment and school academic achievement has been a perplexing one for educators. Studies have found that the physical environment, siting of school in rural or urban area, socio-economic status of the neighborhood, ethic location of the school, overcrowded classrooms built near market center, libraries, technical workshops, laboratories, school plant planning, among others are all school environment variables that significantly affect school academic achievement (Fullan. M. and Watson, N. 2000).
School academic achievement in this context refers to the extent to which schools are able to accomplish their pre-determined objectives. School academic achievement transcends beyond students passing final examination. It also encompasses student’s attainment in other domains of learning (the affective and the psychomotor domains). According to Udoh and Akpa (2004), these other domains, apart from having influence on the cognitive achievement, also make the beneficiary of the education system live a fulfilled life and contribute meaningful to the development of the society.
School academic achievement research started in the mid-1960 with the Cohen report (Cohen 1983) in the United State. Since then, there are three distinct but interrelated branches of school academic achievement research, namely, (a) school effects research – i.e. scientific properties of school effects, e.g the size of school effects, (b) schools academic achievement research – i.e process oriented study of characteristics of schools academic achievement, and (c)school improvement research – focusing and limiting its test of specific models of effective schools. It must be noted that most of the school academic achievement research studies have traditionally come from USA, UK and some continental European countries, in particular, the Netherlands. Much is yet to be examined on the effects of school environment factors on school academic achievement in Nigeria.
Nigeria as a nation strives to experience real growth and development. This requires a clearly defined development strategy that allows intensive utilization of resources which is endowed. These resources are the various school physical facilities they are indispensable in the educational process. They include the sitting, the building and physical; equipment, recreation places for the achievement of educational objectives Tolutope (2011).
School environment with its attendant features of instructional spaces planning, administrative places planning, circulation spaces planning, spaces for conveniences planning, accessories planning, the teachers as well as the students themselves are essential in the teaching-learning processes. The extent to which student learning could be enhanced depends on their location in the locality, within the school compound, the structure of their classroom, availability of instructional facilities and accessories. It is believed that a well planned school will gear up expected outcomes education that will facilitate good social, political and economic emancipation, effective teaching and learning process and academic achievement of the students.
Relating this study to international occurrences are the assertions of Fullan M, and Watson (2000), which reported that safe and orderly classroom environment (aspect of instructional space), school facilities (accessories) were significantly related to school academic achievement which in-turn enhanced students academic achievement. The two researchers, also quoted Cohen (1983: 139), asserting that a comfortable and caring environment among other treatments helped to contribute to students’ academic achievement.
The physical characteristics of the school have a variety of effects on teachers, students, and the learning process. Poor lighting, noise, high levels of carbon dioxide in classrooms, and inconsistent temperatures make teaching and learning difficult. Poor maintenance and ineffective ventilations systems lead to poor health among students as well as teachers, which leads to poor school academic achievement and higher absentee rates (Edem 1987). These factors can adversely affect student behavior and lead to higher level of frustration among teachers, and poor learning attitude among student.
Beyond the direct effects that poor facilities have on students’ ability to learn, the combination of poor facilities, which create an uncomfortable and uninviting workplace for teachers, combined with frustrating behavior by students including poor concentration and hyperactivity, lethargy, or apathy, rates a stressful set of working conditions for teachers. Because stress and job dissatisfaction are common pre-cursors to lowered teacher enthusiasm, it is possible that the aforementationed characteristics of school facilities have an effect upon the academic achievement of students.
Previous studies have investigated the relationship of poor school environment including problems with student-teachers ratio, school facilities, school population, classroom ventilation, poor lighting in classrooms, and inconsistent temperatures in the classroom with student health problems, student behavior, and student achievement (Haffman 1980; Fullan, 2001; Ndagi, 2000). To complement these studies, the present research examines the aforementioned areas of school environment factors such as school plant planning itself, class size, school facilities, and school organization affect the academic achievement of schools in Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Emphasizing the importance of school environment on school academic achievement started with Coleman’s Report in the United States. Since then, various researches have been conducted on school academic achievement. These researches, however, were centered on the developed countries. With the exception of few works (Adesina 1984; Akinyeni, 1983; no serious attempt has been made to study how school environment factors serve as determinants of school academic achievement in Nigeria secondary schools. It is on this basis that the present study seeks to Junction how environment of the school itself, class size, school facilities, and school organization are structurally significant to academic achievement of school.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purposes of this study are:
i. To examine the effects of school plant planning on the school academic achievement
ii. To examine the impact of school facilities on the academic achievement of schools
iii. To explore factors such as class size that has been perceived to promote or inhibit students learning in the academic process of students in secondary school.
iv. To investigate the extent to which school organization affects the academic achievement of the school
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
i. To what extent does school plant planning has on academic achievement of school?
ii. To what extent does a school facility affect school academic achievement?
iii. What effect does class size has on the academic achievement of students in secondary school?
iv. To what extent does school organization has on the academic achievement of the school?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
Ho1 There is no significant difference between school plant planning and school academic achievement
Ho2 There is no significant difference between school facilities and school academic achievement
Ho3 There is no significant difference between class size and academic achievement of students
Ho4 There is no significance difference between school organization and school academic achievement
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is hoped that this study will provide information for parents, educators and school administrators to reflect upon various factors that can aid the school to help students to achieve their goals. In so doing, they can investigate the possibility of introducing the recommended factors to their school, which may sequent lead to enhancing students’ educational outcomes in school. In addition, the fact that this study is conducted in public schools, it shares quite a lot of similarities with many other counterparts. In this connection, this study provides a valuable reference for other schools to reflect upon the school environment as it affect the academic achievement of student in secondary school.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research work focuses on school environment factors as determinants of school academic achievement. This research work covers all public secondary school students in Kanke Local Government Area of Plateau State. However, four public secondary schools will be used as case study.
The secondary schools are;
G.S.S Forgwang – Apmer
G.S.S Forkhir – Amper
G.S.S Dungung – Ampang
G.S.S Dawaki - Kabwir
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Apart from time-frame and shortage of finance, the major limitation to this research is the inability of the researcher to cover the whole public secondary school in Kanke Local Government Area of Plateau State as the scope of the study suggest.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Academic Achievement: Knowledge attained or skills developed in school subjects by test scores.
Secondary School: Secondary school (also “high school”) is a term to describe an educational institution where the final stage of schooling, known as secondary education and usually compulsory up to a specified age, takes place. It follows elementary or primary education, and may be followed by university tertiary (education).
School: A school is an institution designed for the teaching of students (or “pupils”) under the direction of teachers
School Plant Planning: A school’s physical environment includes building and the surrounding.
School environment: The Physical and social features that surround school environment.
Physical resources: They are natural resources that are in the school environment which are useful for instructional facilities development.
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