The Effect Of Class Size On Academic Achievement Of Junior Secondary School Students

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The Effect Of Class Size On Academic Achievement Of Junior Secondary School Students


The study looked at the class size as it relates to academic performance of student in Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun state. The population of the study were all students in Junior Secondary School in Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun state. 100 respondents were used for the study through Radom Sampling Techniques. The data collected were analysed using simple percentage.

The findings of this study shows that the effect of class size on academic achievement of Junior Secondary School student has tremendous positive effects on academic achievement. It was recommended that policy makers and government should ensure that more classrooms are built and number of students in a class should not be more than 30. The Parent Teacher Association (PTA). Philanthropist and other charitable organizations are also implored to compliment the effort of the government to boost the performance of students J.S.S by building more classrooms and buildings.

Chapter One


1.1 Background Of The Study

As school population increases class sizes also increase, the performances of students become an issue.

According to Dror (1995), class size has become a phenomenon often mentioned in the educational literature as an influence on pupil’s feelings and achievement, on administration, quality and school budgets. In his words he noted, that class size is almost an administrative decision over which teachers have little or no control. Most researchers start from the assumption that size of the class would prove a significant determinant of the degree of success of students. In fact, with the exception of a few, many studies have reported that under ideal situation, class size in itself appears to be an important factor.

The first issue that calls for immediate clarification is what number of students should constitute a large group and what should be described as a sall group? In describing a small group, Bray (1990) observed that they have few teachers with small pools of talent; offer limited range of subjects and characteristically finding it hard to justify costly investment on libraries… their pupils lack competition and interest with relatively few peers as they get stucked with same teacher for an entire school career.

The description appears to be an anti-type of what obtains in large group. Large school/class size on the other hand are often impersonal, having broader curricula with teachers being given wider support, while students may suffer discipline problems as teachers cannot get to know their students very easily. They find it easy to stream students according to ability while commitment to work may stand a test of time. In terms of numerical strength,the National Policy on Education (1977 revised in 1981) specified 20 in pre-primary, 30 in primary and maximum of 40 in secondary schools. These directives appear unrealistic in urban areas as a result of high population. From studies conducted, the size of large classes range from 30-336 and small from 8-45 (Kolo1991).

The empirical literature on class size and its relationship to academic achievement has been unwieldy and confusing. According to Jordan (1964), in his analysis of the inter-relationship of intelligence, achievement and socio-economic status of high schools, concluded that School Location among other variables was directly related to mean achievement level of students in all the sampled subjects. However, the report by some researchers on elementary school pupils revealed that the size of school and length of attendance have little or no effect upon pupils’ achievement when educational opportunities are comparable. In his conclusion, he asserted that teachers generally, have definite preference for the size of schools in which they wish to teach and that the larger the size, the lower the level of students’ achievement will tend to be. The observation which agrees with the findings of Sitkei (1968) and Walberg (1969) that a significant and consistent relationship exist in the achievement of students in small classes of about 1-20 pupils that obtained higher scores in science tests than their counterparts in large classes are necessary for student achievement.

Expressing a divergent view, Silver as cited by Bolton (1988) found that there was no significant difference in post test achievement scores between large classes and small classes control groups; he concluded that larger is sometimes better. Earlier, Keeves (1978) acceded that type of school did not make a contribution to academic achievement, however, Carpenter and Western (1984) found that school type makes a difference in students academic achievement. Hatis and Spay citing Smith and Glass and Glass et al as a corollary to the above statement indicated through meta-analyses that, compare to larger classes, small classes lead to higher pupils achievement, more favourable teacher effects (e.g morale, attitude towards students) greater attempts in individualized instruction, a better classroom climate and more favorable student effects (e.g self concept,participation).

In another development, Finn and Achilles (1990) observed in a longitudinal analysis of a portion of their large scale experiment (describing Kindergarten and teachers) that students in small classes out-perform their peers in kindergarten classes of regular size… (regular class size here means large classes). According to a study conducted in United States, Campbell (1980) remarked that students from large schools were exposed to large number of school activities and the best of them achieved standards that were unequaled by students in small schools. However, he observed that students in small schools participated in more activities, (both academics and extra- curricular activities). The study concluded that the versatility and performance of pupils in small schools were consistently higher. The assertion made by Campbell appears confusing as he failed to pin-point the one that is more reliable.

In his contribution, Ornstein (1990) discovered that in a 10-year study of high schools in Illinois, the lowest achievement on three separate standard tests occurred in schools with fewer than 495 students. The highest achievement, however, was found in schools with 495 to 1,280 students. The situation was slightly different from this in Ekiti State where schools with fewer students recorded better results, than schools with larger students’ population (Owoeye, 1991) factors such as socio-economic status and geographical location were accounted for but these were eliminated as possible explanations. Similar view had earlier been expressed by George (1958) when he reported in his research on high school class rank and academic performance that graduate from high school seem to perform better academically in college when the high school from which the student graduated has a large graduating class.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The problem the research purposes to address in this research are: the provision of an opportunity for discussion or for any kind of oral input to the written work is difficult… and; the amount of marking involved can dissuade even the most enthuastic teacher from setting the amount the written that feels would benefit the students.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this research work is to determine the effect of class-size on the academic achievement of Junior Secondary School Students in Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun State.

1.4 Research Questions

The following relevant questions will be of great assistance to this research project in the sense that the research questions will be an illumination into the topic of focus.

These questions are:

  1. What are the limitations of small class size on the academic achievement of J.S.S students?
  2. What are the benefits of larger class size on the academic achievement of J.S.S students?
  3. What makes the students show more appreciation for one another on the academic achievement in J.S.S students?
  4. What effect does class size have on the interaction among students on the academic achievement of J.S.S students.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The finds of this study would be of benefit in the following way:

  1. Smaller classes result in increased teacher-student contact.
  2. · Students in smaller classes show more appreciation for one another and more desire to participate in classroom activities.
  3. In smaller classes, more learning activities take place.
  4. Smaller classes foster greater interaction among students, helping them understand one another and increasing their desire to assist one another.
  5. Smaller classes allow for potential disciplinary problems to be identified and resolved more quickly.
  6. Smaller classes result in higher teacher morale and reduced stress.
  7. Less retention, fewer referrals to special education, and fewer dropouts are the ultimate rewards ofclass-size reduction.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The study covered some selected Junior Secondary Schools in Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun State.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

This research project is limited to some selected Junior Secondary Schools in Abeokuta South Local Government due to financial and time constraints.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Class Size:

Is typically defined as the number of students for whom a teacher is primarily responsible during school year.

Academic Achievement:

Academic achievement or (academic) performance is the outcome of education the extent to which a student teacher or institution has achieved their educational goals.

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The objectives of the study was to know if there is a relationship between class sizes and academic performance of secondary schools and to equally know if there is a significant effect between class room size and the academic performance of secondary schools in Nigeria.

Findings from the study showed the following:

  1. That there is a strong and positive relationship between class room sizes and academic performance in secondary school academic performance.
  2. That there is a significant effect between the classroom size and the academic performance of secondary school students in Nigeria.


Since we have concluded that class size affects students academic performance in secondary schools, academic performance of students should be enhanced by reducing class sizes across government schools so that our education sector can improve.

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