The relationship between class size and academic performance of secondary school students in geography has been a perplexing one for educators. Studies have found that the physical environment, class overcrowding, teachers' methods, grade level, pupil characteristics and subject areas and other learning interventions are the variables that affect students’ achievement (Molnar, et al., 2000). Other factors that affect student achievement are school population and class size (Gentry, 2000 Swift 2000).
Since the attainment of independence in 1960, Nigeria has been experiencing unprecedented growth and expansion in secondary school education. According to Fafunwa (1982) secondary schools increased from 315 – 1240 between 1960 and 1965, the figure quadrupled in 1970 as a result of the revenue generated from the oil boom in Nigeria. In all the states of the federation, there was a corresponding increase in students’ enrolment at both primary and post-primary schools, the increase is evident as it cuts across all the secondary school subjects including geography.
The core subjects are the basic subjects which will enable a student to offer Arts or Science in higher education, the classification of geography as a core subject, therefore, enhanced the status of the subject in the secondary school education system the fact that geography belongs to social science, art and pure science also makes the subject popular among the students, so also the inclusion of geography in the same group with literature in English, History, Economics, and Political Science also makes the subject popular among the students, and also gives them a wider choice, literature is seen by most students as too wide, while history is becoming a dead subject as a result of the teaching of government.
Geography has consequently attracted more students in recent years which results in a significant increase in the total number of student enrolment which has created logistic, structural and personal problems. While the large number of students studying geography does not correspond with the stagnant facilities and the primitive resources available in most schools.
Statement of the Problem
It is observed that the number of geography students in Abeokuta-South Local Government Area of Ogun State is increasing exponentially but there are little or no corresponding resources for effective teaching and learning of geographies, such as classrooms, laboratories, charts, maps, and the number of teachers are not enough while the little available resources are over laboured. For instance, a geography class that was supposed to be a 1:40 teacher – students ratio, according to the specification by the National Policy on Education (1977 revised in 1981, 1998 and 2004) is now a 1:80 teacher – students ratio or more.
Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of this study is to find out the relationship between class size and secondary school student academic achievement in geography using some selected secondary schools in Abeokuta – South Local Government Area of Ogun State as a case study. The specific objectives are to:
Examine both positive and negative effects of class size on the academic performance of students in geography.
Examine the relationship between class size and academic performance of students in geography.
Examine the relationship between school population and academic performance of students in geography.
Examine the relationship that exists between the opinion of male teachers and female teachers on the effect of class size on students' academic performance in geography.
What is the relationship between class size and academic performance on students’ comprehension of geography?
Does class size influence project execution in geography?
Does class size have an effect on the level of attention in geography class?
What influence does class size have on students' scores in geography?
H01: There is no significant relationship between the opinion of male and female teachers on students' academic performance in geography.
H02: There is no significant relationship between class size and students' academic performance in geography.
H03: There is no significant relationship between the opinion of teachers and principals on the effects of class size on the academic performance of geography students.
H04: There is no significant relationship between class size and students' scores in academic performance in geography.
Scope of the Study
This research work focuses on the relationship between class size and student academic achievement in geography using some selected secondary schools in Abeokuta – South Local Government Area of Ogun State as a case study. This research work covers all public secondary schools in Abeokuta – South Local Government Area of Ogun State. However, five public secondary schools will be used as a case study.
Significance of the Study
This study is important for several reasons.
Firstly, the researcher believes that this study will expose and enlighten the school administrators and teachers on the negative and positive effects of class size on students' academic performance in geography in secondary school in Abeokuta – South Local Government.
Secondly, the suggestions offered in this study will assist the educational authority in planning and administration of the school curriculum, most especially in the area of evaluation of students' academic performance in geography.
Thirdly, this research work will lead to a further in-depth study on the impact of class size and school population on the academic performance of students in Nigeria.
Lastly, it will serve as a contribution to knowledge in the subject area. In this regard, it will be useful for other researchers who might want to carry out research in related areas.
Definition of Terms
Effects: This is the positive or negative effect of class size.
Class size: The total number of students in the class
Positive: This means the maximum number of students that should be in the classroom.
Negative: This means the number of students has increased above the maximum estimate.
–South: This is one of the twenty Local Government areas of Ogun State.
Core Subject: This is one of the main subjects in secondary school.
Classification: This means the grouping of geography into different categories such as physical, human, and regional geography.
Academic achievement: Knowledge attained or skills developed in school subjects by test scores.
Secondary School: (also “high school”) is a term used to describe an educational institution where the final stage of schooling, known as secondary education and usually compulsory up to a specific age takes place? It follows elementary or primary education and may be followed by university (tertiary) education.
Over-crowding: This is when the number of students in a particular class exceeds the standard of students – teacher ratio, as specified by the National Policy on Education, which is 1:40 (One teacher for forty students in a class).
The study found the relationship between class size and academic performance of geography students in secondary school in Abeokuta – South Local Government Area of Ogun State.
The study adopted a random sampling technique to select one hundred and twenty respondents in five secondary schools in each ward of the Local Government. Pearson correlation was used to test the hypothesis.
The results showed that male and female teachers were similar in their opinion on the relationship between class size and academic achievement of secondary school students in geography, indicating that the performance of students in large classes was very low compared to those in smaller classes.
It was recommended that policymakers and government should recruit more geography teachers and ensure that more classrooms are built and the number of students in a class should not be more than 30.