The Influence Of Learning Disabilities On Students’ Academic Performance In Northern Education Zone Of Cross River State, Nigeria

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The Influence Of Learning Disabilities On Students’ Academic Performance In Northern Education Zone Of Cross River State, Nigeria


Abstract


The purpose of this study was to determine whether learning disabilities have any influence on students’ academic performance in Northern Education Zone of Cross River State, Nigeria. Data were collected from primary and secondary sources, and the major research instrument used is the questionnaire which was subjected to face validation. For a comprehensive analysis of data collected, emphasis was laid on the use of absolute numbers frequencies of responses and percentages. Answers to the research questions were provided through the comparison of the percentage of workers response to each statement in the questionnaire related to any specified question being considered. 200 students of secondary schools from Northern education zone in Cross River state were selected randomly as the population of the study. The study concluded that the academic success that these students experienced in college was a testament to their ability to choose an environment that matched their strengths and interests. All students with learning disabilities who intend to enroll in colleges or universities benefit from transition planning that supports their personal goals while addressing their particular aptitudes and interests. Many college students with learning disabilities experience stress related to the extra effort that is required for them to compensate for their academic deficits. Therefore, stress management training should be available at the university level to cope with these demands.


Table of Content


Chapter One

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Purpose of the Study
  • 1.4 Statement of Hypotheses
  • 1.5 Significance of the Study
  • 1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
  • 1.7 Definition of Terms
  • 1.8 Organization of the Study

Chapter Two

Review of Related Literature

  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 The Early History of Learning Disabilities
  • 2.2 Basis for Diagnosis and Placement
  • 2.3 Referral, Diagnosis and Placement
  • 2.4 Characteristics of Individuals with Learning Disabilities
  • 2.5 Academic Problems
  • 2.6 Personal Characteristics
  • 2.7 Transition Services and Supports
  • 2.8 Parental Involvement
  • 2.9 Participation In IEP Meetings
  • 2.10 Understanding the Learning Disability Diagnosis

Chapter Three

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 Sources of Data Collection
  • 3.3 Population of the Study
  • 3.4 Sample and Sampling Procedure
  • 3.5 Instrument for Data Collection
  • 3.6 Validation of the Research Instrument
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis

Chapter Four

Presentation Analysis Interpretation of Data

  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Data Analysis
  • 4.3 Test of Hypotheses

Chapter Five

Summary Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Summary
  • 5.3 Conclusion
  • 5.4 Recommendations
  • References
  • Appendix

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Schools are established to equip the youths with essential skills needed for functionality as useful and knowledgeable citizens of the country. However, examination of school records shows that students’ academic performances have remained for long very unimpressive. Obviously, this is not healthy for the growth of the countryIn a study, Polom (2011) analyzed West African Examination Council (WAEC), examination in Mathematics and English Language administered in 2010, and discovered that only 27.40% of the students made at least a pass and above in the two core subjects. He equally reported that the number of those who had credit and above in a foreign Language like French Language declined from 21.34% to 17.22% (WAEC Office Data base, Calabar, February, 2012).

Poor student’s performance in WAEC Examination has for some time now been a matter of great concern to education stakeholders. Concrete evidence of students’ poor performance in examinations could be seen in the results obtained each year in externally administered examinations like the WAEC examinations. For example, students’ results in English Language and Mathematics provide a disturbing trend. In Mathematics only about 25% of those who attempted the examination in 2006 had credit passes and above. About 41% and 31% had passes and failing grades respectively. The situation improved in 2007 when about 47% of the candidates had credit passes or above in 2008, 57.28% of the candidates also had credit passes but the situation reversed itself in 2009 and 2010 when only about 47% and about 41.95% of the candidates respectively had credit passes”. Similarly for English Language those who had credits passes declined from about 32.48% in 2006 to 30.32% in 2008.The results improved to 35.02% in 2008, then 41.55% in 2009 but moved down to 35.13% in 2010. These unsteady but declining trends are disturbing.

Apart from the concerns of parents, teachers and the state government, the incessant failure of students in WAEC and NECO senior school certificate Examination (SSCE) has always been a source of worry for the Government of this country. In December 2012, Federal Ministry of Education organized a two-day summit in Abuja to discuss the issue. In the summit, the then minister of education, Prof. RuqayyatuRufai, expressed the Federal Government displeasure at the students’ poor performances. She noted with regret that less than 30 percent of over a million students, who sat for the examination within the last six years, obtained credits in five subjects, including English Language and Mathematics.

The effect of this is that more than 70 per cent of school leavers are always armed with school certificate result that do not qualify them for higher education. Besides, the high proportions of school leavers are always unable to gain employment as a result of poor academic performance. The result of persistent poor learners’ performance in schools is always a serious disruption in the overall manpower supply for the economy. Students who have poor academic record would find it difficult to cope in a competitive society. Individuals who fail in school may not be adequately and mentally equipped to face life squarely.

In presenting a report at WASCE monthly seminar, the Head of Research Division revealed that the percentage of failure rate for English Language and Mathematics in the past five years surpasses that of the percentage of credit level passes. In all these, the accusing fingers from different quarters have pointed at teachers. That is why in looking for solution, efforts had been directed at helping teachers to improve upon the services they render in schools. Teachers have in synergy with Parents Teachers Association (PTA) taken appropriate steps towards improving academic performance of students in several ways. For example, they have been mounting extramural classes to give students more time to learn than what official school time allows. This apart, principals keep time book for teachers and attendance register for students.

 

On its part, the Cross River State government has embarked on several capacity building critical to successful teaching and learning improvement in the following broad areas: policy, training and pedagogy, infrastructure development, teacher welfare and empowerment. Essential facilities and equipment that have implications for school learning like ICTs, laboratories and collateral equipment cum libraries are now available in most schools. A lot have also been spent on training and retraining of teachers to arrest the ugly trend.

Despite huge government investment in education and steps taken to improve performance of students’ in school, students’ academic performance is yet to produce acceptable result. The researcher became interested in this problem as a result of concern from education stakeholders and researchers continuous search for solution to poor academic performances.

According to Isangedighi (2011), the amount and quality of learning the individual is capable of, his involvement in learning activities; and the overall balance achieved in his development as a person depends to a large extent on his personal status as a composite unit. He also noted that, some of the difficulties some learners encounter that serve to undermine their abilities to achieve as much as others, are classified as learning disabilities. To that extent the researcher is of the view that learning disabilities could be responsible for poor academic achievement of secondary school students.

Poor academic performance is a serious problem that requires the attention of all stakeholders in education from Ministry of education to the student themselves. Since learning disabilities have been observed to be difficulties that could undermine students` ability to perform well academically. The researcher is therefore interested in helping the school system find a dependable solution to the problem of student poor academic performance. This study is concerned at determining if learning disabilities could be associated with poor academic performance among students. Areas of learning disabilities considered for the study include; hyper distractibility, eye-hand coordination, spatial awareness disorder, figure-ground relationship, dyslexia disorder, hypo-activity and impulsivity. Learning disabilities as seen by MacArthur (2009) is not a single disorder, but is a category of disorders in any of seven specific areas: receptive language (listening), expressive language (Speaking), basic readings skills, reading comprehension, written expression, and Mathematic calculation. These disorders are manifested in a variety of ways including listening, thinking, talking, reading aloud, writing, and spelling or in Mathematics calculation. The broad question the study will answer is whether learning disabilities could influence the academic performance of the affected students.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Parents, teachers, education authorities and government agencies have over the years shown concern over observed increasing rate of poor academic performance among secondary school students in Nigeria in general and northern Cross River State in particular. Beneficiaries of education no longer perform up to expectation. The colossal level of students’ failure in the country is a clear indication of the fact that there are significant problems. Data from West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO) results in the last decade or so show that less than 30% of the students who have attempted examinations had been able to emerge with credit pass or above in Mathematics and English Language (Todaro and Miles, 2012).

The problem of poor academic performance among students has become an issue of concern to education stakeholders. Parents spend their hard earned money despite the difficult economic situation to see that their children are given quality education. The government on her own part has trained and employed quality teachers with improved curriculum to ensure better performance, all to no avail. The Cross River State Government in particular has time without number, embarked on teacher training programmes not only to help teachers’ update their knowledge and skill development but also to ensure some improvement in the academic performance of students. In spite of all these, the ugly trend of academic failure still prevails.

It is against this background that the researcher being passionate about youth empowerment through education by helping the system solve the problem of poor academic performance in school. The thrust of the study is to investigate if learning disabilities impact on academic performance of students in Northern Education Zone of Cross River State. The pertinent question is; does learning disability influence students’ academic performance?


1.4 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to determine whether learning disabilities have any influence on students’ academic performance in Northern Education Zone of Cross River State, Nigeria.

The study also determines if:

  1. Hyper distractibility influences students’ academic performance.
  2. Eye-hand co-ordination influences students’ academic performance
  3. Spatial awareness disorder influence students’ academic performance.
  4. Dyslexia influences students’ academic performance.
  5. Hypo-activity influences students’ academic performance.
  6. Impulsivity influences students’ academic performance.

1.6 Statement of Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were formulated for the study:

  1. H0: Hyper distractibility does notinfluences students’ academic performance.
    H1: Hyper distractibility influences students’ academic performance.
  2. H02: Eye-hand co-ordination does not influences students’ academic performance
    H2: Eye-hand co-ordination influences students’ academic performance

1.5 Significance of the Study

It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to student with learning disabilities as the study seek to examine the effect of learning disabilities and how it affect their academic performance, the study will also be of importance to the teachers of this students with learning disability as the study will seek to explore the challenges of this student, as this will guide the teachers in tackling the issue, The study will also be of great importance to researcher who wants to embark on research on similar topic as the findings will serve as a reference point to them. Finally the study will be of great importance to the academia and the general public as the study will add to the pool of knowledge.


1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study covers the influence of learning disabilities on students’ academic performance in Northern education zone of Cross River state, but 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) Organizational Privacy:

Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities


1.7 Definition of Terms

Disability

Disability is an impairment that may be cognitive, developmental, intellectual, mental, physical, sensory, or some combination of these. It substantially affects a person’s life activities and may be present from birth or occur during a person’s lifetime.

Learning disability

Learning disability is a classification that includes several areas of functioning in which a person has difficulty learning in a typical manner, usually caused by an unknown factor or factors.
Impairment

In health, any loss or abnormality of physiological, psychological, or anatomical structure or function, whether permanent or temporary. Identifying impairments that contribute to disability, a functional problem for a patient, is a key factor for a health professional to determine appropriate treatment.


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 its 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.

Chapter Five


Summary Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to investigate the influence of learning disabilities on student academic performance in Northern education zone of Cross Rivers state, Nigeria.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of learning disabilities.


5.2 Summary

Early identification of a learning disability is important so that appropriate education can be planned to help the learner overcome the disability (Mash & Wolfe, 2002). Likewise, educational researchers need to identify the areas in which they fall short of standards of valid and useful research. Once a researcher has identified the areas in which they do not meet educational research standards, then he or she can work to overcome the difficulty. Indeed, conducting an educational research study requires hard work and considerable advanced preparation. However, the practical benefits that result from well planned and well conducted research studies are countless.


5.3 Conclusion

some students with learning disabilities develop feelings of learned helplessness (Lerner, 2000) and external locus of control, believing that others control the outcomes that affect them, the students in this study demonstrated personal responsibility for achieving their goals. They knew that their families offered support and encouragement, but their belief in their own abilities and their inner drive motivated them to spend the time and energy required to make their college degree a reality. Many of the participants mentioned the anxiety and stress that their academic success had brought. All of these students had been in college for at least three years and many were tired of the constant studying and the great amount of effort required. However, they all still anticipated completing their degree requirements.


5.4 Recommendations

The academic success that these students experienced in college was a testament to their ability to choose an environment that matched their strengths and interests. All students with learning disabilities who intend to enroll in colleges or universities benefit from transition planning that supports their personal goals while addressing their particular aptitudes and interests. •Many college students with learning disabilities experience stress related to the extra effort that is required for them to compensate for their academic deficits. Therefore, stress management training should be available at the university level to cope with these demands.


The Influence Of Learning Disabilities On Students’ Academic Performance In Northern Education Zone Of Cross River State, Nigeria


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