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ENVIRONMENTAL VARIABLES AND STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN UYO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
1.1 Background Of The Study
Success in certain endeavours may be contingent upon certain factors. This may also be true of achievement in student performance. The role of environmental variables in students performance has been an area of constant debate, and as well perceived in different dimensions. Most students are therefore employing some environmental variables as a tool for competitive advantage to support their academic pursue, (Aldertson, 2001).
Ikpe (2005) stated that each student has his own distinct potential and limitations. The extent of realization of his potentialities depends on the richness of the child’s environment, his initial interaction with his or her colleagues, and his later contact with them. Ojo (1997) noted that classroom climate is how learners interact among themselves during the teaching-learning process. Johnson and Johnson (1988) observed that this has not yet received adequate attention by educational researchers, yet the way learners interact among themselves in the learning process has been found to have effect on the outcome of learning. Ojo (1992) observed that more emphasis is being placed on learning materials relative to how learners are organized in the learning process.
It is pertinent to note that for over the years there has been an argument among many psychologists and educationists about the determinants of academic performance of students. While some stress the attitude of teachers others attribute to other school environmental factors such as class discipline, student-student relationship, teachers-students relationship, availability of instructional materials in secondary schools, etc. (Okon, 2008). According to Ojo (1992) more emphasis is being placed on learning materials relative to how learners are organized in the learning process. The creation of a conducive learning environment is of particular importance at the secondary level, given the rather tender ages of these learners vis-à-vis our desire to retain them in the school and sustain their interest in the school system. The way teachers structure their classroom environments in terms of how learners interact among themselves during the learning process may have effect on students’ school achievement.
School location is also significant to effectiveness of student’s learning. This is because the distance of a school from students location will determine the consistency and punctuality of students’ attending school lessons. Some students rather will prefer to enroll in a school that is closer to their homes. It would make the students participate actively in school activities as well as improving their performance. Most parents especially with low income who cannot afford transport cost to their children will prefer suburban schools (Onyehalu, 2002).
It is essential to note that class size is one of the important factors that affects student’s achievement at school. If the number of students assigned to a particular class is more than the specific size, it would definitely disrupt effective management of the class by the teacher. According to Witting, (2003), too many students congested in a small classroom will affect negatively the performance of students in that class. One of the characteristics of a conducive learning environment is a small class size assigned for a teacher at a time. Psychologically, students feel free and comfortable when they sit with adequate class size (30 to 40 in number) of students and improve their listening skills without much distraction.
Considering instructional strategies in any school subject in Nigeria, the teacher represents the most important aspects of the educational system. It is on the teacher that the implementation of the curriculum depends. Improvement in the quality of our educational system is the teachers’ responsibility (Adaralegbe, 1981). Thus, drawing on the literature on the concept of teaching, the centrality of the variables in effective curriculum implementation can be gauged from one of the conclusions of the House of Commons Select Committee Report (1986) which stated that “the skills of diagnosing learning success and difficulty and selecting and presenting new tasks are the essence of teachers’ profession and vital to children’s progress”. The approach takes due account of the role of the learner in mediating and structuring knowledge and places even greater stress on teachers’ competence in subject matter. Several studies have noted the importance of teachers- students’ relationship and academic performance of the students.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In spite of the students’ poor performance in both internal and external school examinations, little is done to find out the relationship between environmental variables and students’ academic performance (EVASAP). Studies of environmental variables such as; marriage type, school location, classroom size, school type and instructional materials have been overlooked (marland and asborne, 1990).