Effects Of English Language Proficiency On The Academic Performances Of Students In Secondary Schools

Project and Seminar Material for English Education

Effects Of English Language Proficiency On The Academic Performances Of Students In Secondary Schools


Abstract


This study was carried out to examine the effects of English Language proficiency on the academic performance of students in secondary schoolusing Iwo local government area as a case study.The study is was specifically set tofind out secondary schools in Iwo local governments have qualified English Language teachers, ascertain the level of English language proficiency among secondary school students in Iwo LGA, investigate the impact of English Language proficiency on the poor academic performances of secondary schools in Iwo LGA, to know if English language proficiency affects the rate at which students understand other subjects, and examine if students with poor English language proficiency are able to express themselves properly in written tests and examinations. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprise of English Language teachers and students of selected secondary schoolusing Iwo local government area. In determining the sample size, the researcher conveniently selected 229 respondents and 210 were validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using frequency tables. The result of the findings reveals that secondary schools in Iwo local governments do not have qualified English Language teachers. Furthermore, the result of the findings reveals that English language proficiency affects the rate at which students understand other subjects. Therefore, it is recommended that since the goals of educating Nigerian ESL learners to be proficient in English should be rigorously pursued since English language proficiency ultimately determines their overall academic success. This requires a concerted effort of all stakeholders in the education sector in Nigeria such as Curriculum planners, text book writers and English language teachers. To mention but a few.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

English Language proficiency refers to the ability of students or learners to be able to possess writing skills, listening skills, reading skills and speaking skills in English Language. According to American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL, 2008), language proficiency or linguistic proficiency is the ability of an individual to speak or perform in an acquired language. It argued that theories vary among pedagogues as to what constitutes proficiency.

The multi-lingual and multi-cultural nature of Nigerian polity on the one hand and the absence of a national unifying indigenous language on the other have led to the adoption of English language as a medium of intra-national and inter-national communication (Fakeye 2006) . More importantly English language has become the pivot on which the educational wheel of Nigeria rotates. The language is the medium of instruction for all school subjects from the primary school level to the university, in addition to being a compulsory school subject that must be passed at all levels of education in Nigeria Ajufo (2007).

The poor performance of students in English language at public examinations in recent times has been explained as a major cause of the decline in academic achievement and standard of education in Nigeria. As Maleki and Zangani (2007) observe, having difficulties in grasping fully the contents and concepts of the various subjects of the curriculum taught in the target language (English language) seems to be one of the most serious problems that EFL students face in their particular course of study.

This is the same problem with Nigerian ESL students whose performance in the various schools subjects at public examinations is nothing to write home about. This might be due to their weaknesses in English language, the medium of instruction, which may have negative consequences on their overall academic achievement. In the argument of Feast (2002), when students are deficient in the language of instruction, it follows that they would not perform well in the various school subjects taught in the target language. Therefore, the overall performance of Nigerian ESL students depends, to a very large extent, on their English language proficiency. Bachman (1990) defines language proficiency as the language ability or ability in language use. Oller (1983) avers that language proficiency is not a single unitary ability, but that it consists of several distinct but related constructs in addition to a general construct of language proficiency.

The relationship between students overall academic achievement in the content areas and their language proficiency has been examined by scholars. Butler and Castellon – Wellington (2000) compared students’ performance in content areas to concurrent performance on a language proficiency test and found a correlation between the two. Ulibarri, Maria, Spencer and Rivas (1981) examined the relationship between Hispanic students’ performance in English language tests and their achievement in Mathematics and discovered that the language test data were not very useful in predicting achievement in Mathematics. Bayliss and Raymond (2004) examined the link between academic success and second language proficiency and concluded that the relationship between academic achievement and language proficiency disappears as students approach native-like proficiency levels. So this study focuses on the effects of English language proficiency in secondary schools, using Iwo local government as a case study.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The level of English language proficiency has been an important requirement for the comprehension of other subjects offered in secondary schools. The poor performance of students has been connected to poor English language proficiency.

The poor performance of Nigerian senior, secondary school students in various school subjects at public examinations has often been blamed on their weakness in English language which is the medium through which knowledge in school subjects is transferred to learners.

Deficient English Language use skills could affect academic performance of students in a country like Nigeria where English Language is a second language.

This may result in poor academic achievement of students in cataloguing and classification. Students who have low English Language use skills might find it difficult to comprehend cataloguing and classification rules taught and may also be unable to express themselves properly in written tests and examinations.

The intent of this study is to investigate the effect of English language proficiency on the academic performance of students in secondary school, using Iwo local government as a case study.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The general objective of this study is to investigate the Effects of English Language proficiency on the academic performance of students in secondary school.

The specific objectives are:

  1. To find out secondary schools in Iwo local governments have qualified English Language teachers.
  2. To ascertain the level of English language proficiency among secondary school students in Iwo LGA.
  3. To investigate the impact of English Language proficiency on the poor academic performances of secondary schools in Iwo LGA.
  4. To know if English language proficiency affects the rate at which students understand other subjects.
  5. To examine if students with poor English language proficiency are able to express themselves properly in written tests and examinations.

1.4 Research Questions

The relevant research questions related to this study are:

  1. Do secondary schools in Iwo local governments have qualified English Language teachers?
  2. What is the level of English language proficiency among secondary school students in Iwo LGA?
  3. What is the impact of English Language proficiency on the academic performances of secondary schools in Iwo LGA?
  4. Does English language proficiency affects the rate at which students understand other subjects?
  5. Are students with poor English language proficiency able to express themselves properly in written tests and examinations?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study provides an insight into the root cause of falling standard of secondary education in Nigeria.

Findings from this study will also help to raise the proficiency level of Nigerian secondary school students in English language as a way of addressing their poor academic achievement. The curriculum planners and all stakeholders in Education would also be sensitized about the indispensable position of English language in the overall knowledge acquisition process in formal education.

This study will enhance the existing body of literature by contemplating the areas of the literature that have not yet been examined or considered and incorporating these factors into the current study. The study will thus form the basis for further studies in the field.


1.6 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study is focused on the effects of English Language proficiency on the academic performance of students in secondary school, using Iwo local government area as a case study.


1.7 Limitation of the Study

Some of the major constraints the researchers encountered in putting up this research include lack of time, lack of willingness to give information by respondent and also limited resources.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on the effects of English Language proficiency on the academic performance of students in secondary school using Iwo local government area as a case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was to examine the effects of English Language proficiency on the academic performance of students in secondary school using Iwo local government area as a case study. The study was specifically carried out to find out secondary schools in Iwo local governments have qualified English Language teachers, ascertain the level of English language proficiency among secondary school students in Iwo LGA, investigate the impact of English Language proficiency on the poor academic performances of secondary schools in Iwo LGA, to know if English language proficiency affects the rate at which students understand other subjects, and examine if students with poor English language proficiency are able to express themselves properly in written tests and examinations.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 210 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent areEnglish Language teachers and students of selected secondary schoolusing Iwo local government area.


5.3 Conclusion

Based on the findings of this study, the researcher concluded that;

  1. Secondary schools in Iwo local governments do not have qualified English Language teachers.
  2. The level of English language proficiency among secondary school students in Iwo LGA is low.
  3. The impact of English Language proficiency on the academic performances of secondary schools in Iwo LGA is positive.
  4. English language proficiency affects the rate at which students understand other subjects.
  5. Students with poor English language proficiency are not able to express themselves properly in written tests and examinations.

5.4 Recommendations

Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations are proffered.

  1. Since the goals of educating Nigerian ESL learners to be proficient in English should be rigorously pursued since English language proficiency ultimately determines their overall academic success. This requires a concerted effort of all stakeholders in the education sector in Nigeria such as Curriculum planners, text book writers and English language teachers.
  2. Also, English language, in spoken and written form, should be given special attention at all levels of Nigerian educational system in view of the potential implications of such measure in all areas of academic development.
  3. Finally, the English language teachers in Nigeria should be specially equipped through refresher courses, workshops, seminars and symposia to enable them teach the four language skills of Listen big. Speaking, Reading and Writing effectively at secondary school levels.

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Frequently Asked Questions


Do deficient English language use skills affect academic performance?

Deficient English Language use skills could affect academic performance of students in a country like Nigeria where English Language is a second language. This may result in poor academic achievement of students in cataloguing and classification.

What is the importance of English language proficiency?

The level of English language proficiency has been an important requirement for the comprehension of other subjects offered in secondary schools. The poor performance of students has been connected to poor English language proficiency.

Why do English poor students fail to learn English?

Study findings also indicated that students’ infrequent use of English language at school and home, large class size, teachers’ responsibilities, poor conducive teaching and learning environment in the classrooms, limited home support environment and poverty were contributing factors for English poor.

What are the factors that affect English language learning?

Study findings also indicated that students’ infrequent use of English language at school and home, large class size, teachers’ responsibilities, poor conducive teaching and learning environment in the classrooms, limited home support environment and poverty were contributing factors for English poor. 

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