Influence Of Individual Differences On Academic Performance Of Secondary School Students

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Influence Of Individual Differences On Academic Performance Of Secondary School Students


This study explored the influence of individual differences influences students’ performance in schools by examining the influence of socio-economic status, environment, heredity and gender differences on the academic performance of secondary school students in Abeokuta. A sample of two hundred and forty students both male and female at Junior Secondary School level in Ilorin that participated in the study, was drawn across 12 selected secondary schools in Ilorin metropolis using systematic sampling technique. A researcher made questionnaire titled “The influence of individual differences on academic performance” having 0.67 reliability co-efficient was used to elicit data. The data collected were analyzed using Pearson Product Moment Correlation and t-test statistics. Results indicated that there is relationship between the varied students’ environment and academic performance. It was also found that gender had influence on their academic performance. It was recommended among others that teachers should bear the individual differences of their students in mind in the teaching and learning process. Guidance and counseling centres should also be encouraged in secondary schools so that the students can be properly guided on ways to harness their individual differences properly

Chapter One


1.1 background of the study

Most studies indicate that gender (Large et al., 2002; Roy et al., 2003) and prior knowledge, from experts to novices (Calisir & Gurel, 2003; Wildemuth, 2004), benefit differently from hypermedia learning systems. Field-dependent and fieldindependent are probably the most well-known division of cognitive styles. They reflect how a learner is able to restructure information based on the use of relevant cues and field arrangements (Weller et al., 1994). Field-independent learners have an impersonal behaviour and not interested in others and show both physical and psychological distance from people. They tend not to need external referencing methods to process information and are capable of restructuring their knowledge and developing their own internal referencing methods. Field-dependent learners, conversely, have interpersonal behaviour in that they show strong interest in others and prefer to be physically close to people. They make greater use of external social influences for structuring their information (Chen & Liu, 2008). Many studies have engaged in understanding performance of learners using web based systems. Some studies have found that males process information at a more a superficial level than females (Large, et al., 2002; Roy, et al., 2003, and Riding & Rayner, 1998). Other findings have revealed that there is no relationship between gender differences and search frequency (Hupfer & Detlor, 2006). McDonald and Stevenson (1998) measured navigation performance in terms of speed and accuracy in answering questions and locating particular nodes. Results showed that performance of experts was better than novices. Conversely, Mitchell et al. (2005) measured the performance by gain score calculated as scores of post-test minus pre-test. They found that novices made a greater improvement on the posttest. Moreover, Ford and Chen (2000) found that experts could browse more pages than novices. Kim (2001) investigated how differences in cognitive style and online search experience influenced the search. The findings show that online search experience affected navigational style, whereas cognitive style influenced search time. Experienced searchers tended to initiate jumps more frequently than novices. Additionally, field dependent learners spent longer search time than field independent learners. Thus, for number of visited pages, studies have found that male, field dependent, and experts browse more pages than female, field-independent, and novices (Chen & Liu, 2008; Ford & Chen, 2000; Large, et al., 2002; Roy, et al., 2003). As for time spent in browsing WBI programs, some studies have found that male and field-independent users spent less time than female field-dependent (Chen & Liu, 2008; Lee, et al., 2009; Roy, et al., 2003). Other studies have found that novices achieved a higher g-score than experts (Mitchell, et al., 2005; McDonald and Stevenson, 1998). However, there is a lack of studies demonstrating the influence of related individual differences on learners’ performance using such measurements together after interacting with a WBI system. Experimental research on learning cannot be limited to predicting and explaining the outcomes of simple learning processes in highly controlled settings. How theoretical generalizations derived from such experimental analyses can be applied in practice is an integral question in all modern learning research. ‘Ibis is particularly the case within the field of education. True, the relationship between experimental learning research and educational psychology has a century-long history – a continuous story of disappointed hopes. In the past, some educators argued that after many years of careful and sometimes even excellent research into the nature of learning, learning theorists were apparently the only people to have derived any practical benefit from their theories. But is such a sceptical attitude still justified today, some twenty five years after the end of the behaviourist movement in psychology and the beginning of the socalled “cognitive revolution”? Of course even today, even in cognitive learning and memory research the calls for the ecological validity of research designs are emphatic. This is particularly true for research concerned with the development of learning and memory. The reason given for current critiques of learning and memory research is that “our present understanding of memory is limited by the restricted focus on only a very special kind of memory, that is on the deliberate memory of symbolic information over-short time intervals in extremely sterile situations” (Perlmutter, 1988). Fortunately, there are currently a number of research efforts trying to overcome these restrictions and focusing on everyday memory and its functions under multiple context conditions (Weinert & Perlmutter, 1988). Another reason why the results of cognitive learning and memory research have bad limited application in education is the almost exclusive focus on a search for universal regularities and therefore neglect of individual differences. Omitting some interesting exceptions (for a review see Ackerman, 1987), experimental research into leaming still firmly follows the tradition established by Hermann Ebbinghaus (1885); little attention is given to describing and explaining individual differences in leaming outcomes. Only recently has this situation begun to change (cf. Weinert et al., 1988). Tue neglect of individual differences in experimental research, however, was never typical in research on learning processes and academic achievement in classroom settings. Differences in achievement gains in school are so obvious, and the needs both to explain the development of such differences and to reduce some of these differences are so pressing, that even theoretically focused research has been oriented towards individual differences (Farley & Gordon, 1981). Many models of school learning are good illustrations of this approach (Bloom, 1976; Glaser, 1980; see also Haertel et al., 1983; Fraser et al., 1987). lt may appear somewhat naive to attempt any systematic comparison of the conceptualizations of individual differences in experimental and applied learning research. Quite obviously, the current models are still too fragmentary and too divergent to allow coherent theoretical conclusions. However, in spite of this, we will venture to make a comparative analysis between individual differences in achievement outcomes observed under experimental conditions, and those that occur in the classroom. Tue main goal underlying this attempt is to enable experimental and applied research to complement each other. Tue value of such a comparative perspective is that it makes it not only possible – but almost seif-evident – that applied research can profit from experimental research and that, conversely, experimental research derives stimulating ideas from classroom studies (Cronbach, 1982). This is particularly true for attempts to explain individual differences in achievement outcomes, where parallel developments as well as interesting differences are observable in the two research traditions.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Academic achievement is a major issue among students, teachers, parents, school administrators, and the community at large. Attempts have been made by researchers to unravel the complexities surrounding academic achievement. Psychologists have put forward a lot of reasons why these disparities in achievement exist. A lot of attention had been paid to external factors such as type of school, teaching methods, school location, instructional materials, teachers experience, and so on (WAEC, 2005). Many spend lots of money in order to secure good schools either for their children or themselves and those who can afford it even invest on education abroad as they believe this will enhance achievement, and which in turn gives an added advantage in terms of securing gainful employment. Opinions vary as to why some students excel academically while others appear to be underachievers. Many psychologists have consistently attempted to identify the major predictors of individual academic achievement. Factors such as intelligence, self concept, gender, study habit, maturation, home background, amongst others, just to mention a few, have been extensively explored as being responsible for academic achievement, especially in secondary school students. Other factors that have been researched into in the past include: child rearing patterns, peer group influence, socio-economic background and learning environment. Another major factor that is believed to be responsible for academic achievement in students is their personality traits. It is in view of this that the researcher intend to investigate the influence of individual difference on the academic performance of secondary school student.

1.3 Objective Of The Study

The main objective of the study is to investigate the influence of individual difference on academic performance of secondary school students, but to aid the completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following specific objectives;

  1. To investigate the influence of individual difference on the academic system performance of student
  2. To ascertain the impact individual difference on the academic achievement of secondary school students
  3. To examine the effect of individual difference on the learning habit of the student
  4. To examine the relationship between individual difference and student academic performance

1.4 Research Hypotheses

  1. H0: individual difference has no significant influence on the academic achievement of secondary school student
    H1: individual difference has a significant influence on the academic achievement of secondary school student.
  2. H02: there is no significant relationship between individual difference and student academic performanceH2: there is a significant relationship between individual difference and student academic performance

1.5 Significance Of The Study

It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be useful to the management of secondary schools as the study seek to explore the influence of individual difference on the collective academic performance of secondary school student, the study will also be useful to the student as the study will help them understand the influence of individual difference on their collective academic performance, the study will also be of great importance to researcher, academia, students and the general public as the study will add to the pool of existing literature, the study will also be of importance to researchers who intends to embark on study on a similar topic on the subject matter.

1.6 Scope And Limitation Of The Study

The scope of the study covers the influence of individual difference on academic performance of secondary school students, in the cause of the study, there were some factors which limited the scope of the study

a) Availability Of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Finance:

The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.

1.7 Operational Definition Of Terms

Individual difference

Individual differences are a cornerstone subject area in modern psychology. In many ways, it is the “classic” psychology that the general public refers to

Academic performance

Academic achievement or (academic) performance is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their short or long-term educational goals.

Secondary school

A secondary school is both an organization that provides secondary education and the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools can provide both lower secondary education and upper secondary education

1.8 Organization Of The Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Influence Of Individual Differences On Academic Performance Of Secondary School Students

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