Impact Of School Climate On Students’ Academic Performance In Public Senior Secondary Schools

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Impact Of School Climate On Students’ Academic Performance In Public Senior Secondary Schools


Abstract


This study assessed the climate of eight secondary schools in Education district V, Lagos, specifically the influence between school climate and students’ academic achievement. The study employed quantitative approach within ex post facto research design using three climate questionnaires for secondary schools. A random sample of 160 teachers was drawn, however, only 74 teachers responded to the research tools. The study revealed that the climates of all secondary schools were non-conducive or negative.

In testing whether the school climate predicts school performance, the study indicated that some of the variance in division categories can be explained by school climate. Surprisingly, all school climates did not significantly correlate with division categories. However, on using the beta weighting, there were noticeable effects (weak to strong) of independent variables on dependent variables. This study showed that, students’ academic achievement is related and influenced by the school climate. Therefore, school climates need to be conducive or positive as necessary for the survival and well-being of such schools.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

It is widely accepted that education is one of the leading tools for promoting economic development as it covers some processes individuals go through to help them develop and use their potentials. Furthermore, through education, individuals acquire knowledge, skills and attitude that are necessary for effective living. This is the reason why in all modern nations, investment in education of the youth is considered most vital (Adeyemi and Adu, 2010; Okeke, 2007).

If the school is deemed the agent of change towards producing quality human capital for the nation, then, school climate is one very important factor that influences the change. Every school has its own unique school climate which differs from one school to another. Halpin and Croft (1963), a pioneer in conducting a study in school climate viewed school climate as having an individual’s characteristics. They also claimed that school climate portrays the personality of an individual and how that individual works towards achieving school success.

The school as an organisation has certain objectives which it has to achieve (National Policy of Education, 1998). In order to achieve the objectives, the organisational climate of the school is important. This organisational climate refers to the working condition among superordinates (headteachers) and subordinates (teachers) in a bid to achieve the objectives of the school (Adeyemi, 2008).

According to Hoy and Hoy (2006), school climate refers to school achievement. Najeemah (2012) claimed that a happy school is very motivated, with productive accomplishment which made it different from other schools. School climate also means a school’s social environment and culture which influence the behavior of its community. This means that school climate plays an important role in influencing the behavior and achievement of the community in the school particularly the performance of teachers.

A healthy school climate is a school that focuses on academic and the leader is able to influence the teachers and develop their belief that they have an impact on learning and teaching. Najeemah (2012) and Riechl & Sipple (1966) claimed that the characteristics of a school may affect teachers’ commitment and overall performance. Smith (2009) stated that teachers who obtain support from their leaders are more inclined to be committed to the vision and the mission of the school including the school values.

Teachers whether in private or public schools are saddled with the responsibility of performing their basic roles under a conducive and harmonious organisational climate. Suffice it to say that, this is why the National Policy on Education provided a watershed upon which the primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education are rooted (Amagionyeodiwe and Osinubi, 2006).

The climate of work plays major role in the life of every individual whether a student, teacher, employer or employee. Though, some people are yet to believe that climate brings about better performance. The school climate, which includes the classrooms, libraries, technical workshops, laboratories, teachers’ quality, school management, teaching methods, school size and policies, etc are variables that affect teachers performance (Orlu, 2013). Hence, the school climate remains an important area that should be studied and well managed to enhance teachers’ performance as well as students’ academic performance. Therefore, this study examines the relationship between school climate and students’ academic performance in Lagos State public senior secondary schools in Education District V, Lagos state.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The issue of poor students’ academic performance in Lagos State public secondary schoolsin Nigeria has been of much concern to the government, parents, teachers and even students. The quality of education does not only depends on students’ related factors, but also on the effective coordination of the school climate.

Moreover, when it comes to poor academic performance of the students, people are being too quick to blame parents and the students. But the fundamental problems facing education in Nigeria since independence are largely organizational or issuing bothering on school climate ranging from inadequate school structures, poorly equipped classrooms, high rate of school enrolment, inadequate instructional materials, high drop-out unto inadequate facilities; all these culminating to mass failure in public examination and poor quality of school leavers in Lagos State. It is against this backdrop that this study seeks to investigate the impact of school climate on students’ academic performance in Lagos State public senior secondary schools in Education District V.


Chapter Five


Conclusions and Recommendations

5.1 Summary of the Study

This study aimed at determining the climate of eight secondary schools in Education district V, Lagos. It also examined the relationship and influence between school climate and students’ academic achievement. The study employed quantitative approach within ex post facto research design. The population of the study consist of 205 teachers, 132 teachers were randomly sampled using a sampling strategy of 95 % confidence level and a 5 % confidence interval as proposed by Cohen et al., (2007).

However, in determining the sample size, an overestimate on the size of the sample was done in order to build in redundancy (Gorard, 2003) because of issues like non- response, attrition, respondent to fail to return questionnaires, leave the research, and return incomplete or spoiled questionnaires. Therefore, after the overestimate, the number of respondents (study sample) was 160 teachers. However, only 74 teachers responded to the research tools. Data were collected through climate questionnaires namely Organizational Climate Descriptive Questionnaire for Secondary School (OCDQ-RS), Organizational Health Inventory for Secondary School (OHI-S) and Pupils Control Ideology (PCI).

Finally the data were subjected to Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) for descriptive and inferential statistics and then presented in tables. The study reviled that all the secondary schools in Education district V operated into non conducive or negative school climate; also the finding shows that there is a relationship between school climate and school performance (students’ academic achievement) and lastly, the school climate seems to influence the school performance.


5.2 Discussion of Findings

This study has revealed that the type of school climate that dominated is non- conducive or negative as perceived by the teachers.

  1. The climate measured by OCDQ-RS appears to be a closed climate in all schools except for school number five which had open climate with highest climate index of 623 (Table 4.2).
  2. Likewise, the climates assessed by OHI-S showed unhealthy climate except for school number two which had open climate with slightly above average (523) (See Table 4.3)
  3. The climates determined by the PCI appears to be in custodial orientation, and is dominant in all schools, with mean value of 64.4 (Table 4.4)

Indeed it is possible to improve school climate if the heads of schools are trained on what is expected of them.
The findings of this study indicate that there is a relationship between climate subtests of the OCDQ-RS and OHI-S with school performance in terms of division categories (division I, II, III, IV and 0).


5.2 Conclusion

The findings of this study showed that secondary schools in Education district V operate in non-conducive or negative school climate and also they are characterised by having poor academic results. This study also demonstrated that there is a relationship between school climate (climate assessed by OCDQ-RS and OHI-S) and school performance (students’ academic achievement)

Schools that are having non-conducive or negative climate are characterized by people who are going through motions, without concern for the overall purpose of the institution (Hoy et al., 1991; Brown, 2002). Teachers in these schools deemed to be on a closed climate and tend to appear frustrated and apathetic. Also these schools are also describes as unhealthy schools as they are vulnerable to destructive outside forces. Teachers and administrators are bombarded by unreasonable parental demands, and the school is buffeted by the whims of the public. Hoy and Tarter (1997) describe a sick (unhealthy) school climate as one that is constantly attacked from within and without. In a sick school, parents and other influential community, groups interfere with the goals of the organization. The school is without an effective headmaster/mistress. Finally, these types of schools are rigidly traditional schools and serve as a model for the custodial orientation. These kinds of schools provides a highly controlled setting concerned primarily with the maintenance of order (Willower et al., 1967). Therefore, the first research hypothesis (Ha1) was not proven.

From the results of this study, it can also be concluded that significant relationships do exist between the climate of eight secondary schools and their corresponding levels of school performance or division categories. Specifically, the levels of intimate teachers’ behaviour were found to be positively and significantly associated with school performance. The levels of frustrated teachers’ behaviour were also found to be significantly negatively associated with the school performance. These two are the subtests of OCDQ-RS. From the subtest of OHI-S, the levels of institutional integrity, initiation structure, headmaster/mistress’s influence and academic emphasis both were found to be significantly positively associated with the school performance or division categories. The subtest of engaged teachers’ behaviour was related to division III, the subtest of academic emphasis was related to division III, the subtest of initiation structure was related to divisions I and III and lastly, consideration was related to division IV. Therefore, the second research hypothesis (Ha2) was asserted.


5.4 Recommendations

The study had some few limitations that must be taken into consideration in the future research. First, the number of participants who responded was relatively small compared to the targeted population. The other limitation is that the study mainly analysed how school climate influences school performance, but it could also be true that performance does influences school climate. To account for these limitations, the adequate number of participants must be involved into the next research; also there is a need to examine if the performance of a school can influence the school climate.

In this study, the national examinations results were used for measuring secondary schools’ performance (students’ academic achievement). In future research, other performance criteria (pupils’ non -academic skills; contribution, satisfaction and cooperation by school stakeholders; school environment) and those described in chapter two (section 2.6) should be considered. Additionally, other aspects that might hinder the performance of schools need to be taken into account. These aspects include the social economic status (SES) of the parents, the location of schools (urban schools and rural schools) and whether the school is public and private owned.

Further study is proposed to investigate why the teachers in these schools are only of custodial nature and not humanistic. A humanistic teacher is optimistic about the students and has open and friendly relations with students. A humanistic orientation leads teachers to desire a democratic classroom climate with its attendant flexibility in status and rules, open channels of two-way communication, and increased self- determination (Willower et al., 1967).

This study did not assess teachers’ level of involvement in the teaching activities, as well as their teaching competencies and pedagogical skills. This might contribute to the observed mass failure in these schools. Further studies on this topic are proposed to observe, over a period of time, the extent of teachers’ actual level of involvement in the teaching task and their teaching competencies and pedagogical skills.


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