Perceived Teacher-Student Ratio On Academic Performance Of Public Secondary School Students In Biology In Owerri Education Zone II

Biology Education Project Material

Perceived Teacher-Student Ratio On Academic Performance Of Public Secondary School Students In Biology In Owerri Education Zone II


Abstract


Significantly, student-teacher ratios are very essential to quality of education. They perhaps rank alongside professional knowledge, skill, as well as strategies, in genuinely determining educational success and performance. This study is designed to assess the effect of student-teacher ratio on students’ academic performance in secondary schools in Owerri Education Zone II of Imo State. Four objectives were set to be achieved from this study; and three hypotheses were tested in the study based on the investigator – constructed instrument that was administered on the schools. The postulations are: 1 -There is no significant difference in performance of the students in school with low students –teacher ratio and students in schools with high teacher ratio. 2 -There is no significant differences between the performance of male and female students of low student- teacher ratio; and 3 -There is no significant difference between the performances of male and female students of high student-teacher ratio school.

Nevertheless, the study adopted a survey research design which is explorative in nature. Also the study centered on all secondary schools in Ado- Owerri Education Zone II of Imo State, out of which six schools were randomly sampled for the study. The schools were randomly selected from three divisions which made-up Owerri Education Zone II (one public school and private school from each division); and students result at West African Senior School Certificate Examination and National Examination Council (between 2008 and 2012) was used to determine students’ achievement. The study adopted t-test data analysis to ascertain the relationships that exist between student-teacher ratio and students’ academic performance. The result of the study shows that there is significant relationship between student-teacher ratio and students’ academic achievement. Results of the study also indicated that the smaller the student- teacher ratio, the better the quality of education of both high and low intelligent students.

However, the study suggested that policy makers on education should endeavour to scale down the number of student per class by employing more high quality teachers. It also recommends that schools should try to discourage the practice of separating the low performing students from the high performing ones, as this create room for the feeling of inferiority and superiority complexes among them which is unhealthy; and it was also recommended that policy makers should try to stick to the proper implementation of UNESCO and national policy on education recommendations which suggested 30 students per teacher in all schools.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

In most countries of the world, the pride of institutions of learning depends not just on the quantity but more importantly on the quality of the product at all levels. However, policy makers in some developing countries are to target the quality of education performance as an immediate priority. In particular, cognizance is being taken of the argument that the provision of student and teacher of high quality should be given top priority and that ultimately, the success of any educational system depends largely on the quality of the teacher (Dave, 2008).

Most of the governments of the world spend a significant amount of their budget on resource inputs in the education sector. They make decisions about providing resource inputs to enhance student achievement and performance. Moreover, not all these decisions are easy to take, especially in the third world countries where mismanagement makes the problem more adverse. Kemerer (2009) remarked that resources are scarce, especially in low-income countries; policy makers cannot afford errors in the choice of allocations. To reduce the scope for mistakes, the true picture of the determinants of education outcome is desirable. Resource inputs have a vital role in the education process. Student achievement at any point is a cumulative function of the current and the prior resource inputs such as family, peers’ effect and institutional resource inputs. However, all these factors are outside the direct control of an

educationist. Therefore, an educationist directly deals with and controls the school specific resource inputs.
The poor funding of education in most third world countries does not enable the school system to have manageable class sizes, adequate student classroom space and appropriate class utilization rates. In spite of the fact that these factors determine the productivity of teachers and students’ academic performance, governments do not show adequate concern about the deterioration in the standard of education in the countries (Flanders, 2007).
Many things affect the quality of education. Such things as teacher educational quality, the pupil intellectual quotient, pupil health condition, quality teaching in the school, location of school, social and environmental factors, curriculum, the type of instruction i.e. teacher-centered (e.g. pupils listen, answer questions, practice, etc.) or pupil-centered, (e.g. Problem solving, creative projects, etc.) as well as students-teacher ratio among other things (Withal, 2009). Every formal education setting involves students-teacher relationship. The nomenclature of the teacher depends on the model of interaction. According to Davis (2002), teacher can be described as a tutor if he gives private lessons to one student or a small group and he is directly paid by them. He is called a director (rector) if he gives instruction to the learners on how to go about the learning process. He is described as a monitor if he observes how the student is learning, and he is called a supervisor if he oversees the students’ learning activity. The nature of the subject also has a part to play in determining the effect of the teacher- student ratio. If the subject is basically theoretical; or basically practical or both; the ratio will not be the same in all the cases.

Over the years, perennial problem of classroom congestion, poverty level and low classroom utilization rates in Nigeria worsen the situation of education. Education in the country is poorly funded, hence most of the public schools experience classroom congestion, low students-classroom-space and low classroom utilization rates; hence these situations may likely affect students’ academic performance adversely. The large number of students passing through the system in Nigeria is a serious problem, particularly with the state government’s inability to provide adequate furnished equipments. For instance, it was recorded that 1,644,110 candidates sat for the 2013 Joint Admission and Matriculation Board Examination and of which only 10 candidates scored 300 marks and above and 127,017 scored less than 159 marks (JAMB, 2013). This implies that the state of education in Nigeria is very poor which demand urgent attention of all the stakeholders in the educational sector so as to avert the anomaly. The National policy on Education prescribed a maximum of 30 students in a class, but in most schools in the country, average class size exceeds 50. The situation has negative impact on the average classroom space per student. Yet, these students need to learn in comfort. In most of the public schools in the country, the classroom utilization rate is perpetually high; this is because most of the schools have exceeded the number of students they can cater for. The few schools that have enough teaching staff, at times have low classroom utilization rates, perhaps because of poor supervision. This situation does not favour academic learning (Dave, 2008). Students’ achievement in any teaching and learning situation is very important. Unfortunately, students’ performance in secondary schools in Nigeria has not been very encouraging as consistently highlighted by the moderators and chief Examiners reports and WAEC and NECO results for past decade.

Academic achievement is one of the leading goals and big challenge for an educational system. According to Cuban (2004), class-size and student-teacher ratio has a great impact on the quality of education and academic success of students. There is no doubt that pupil-teacher ratio and per-student outgoings are some of the important resource inputs for any academic institution. Lesser the ratio of student and teacher in the class better is the probability of improving the quality of education and accomplishing the academic goals of institutions. Quality of education is very crucial for strategic planning of academic goals and tag along with the pace of developed world. However, the problem at stake is whether student-teacher ratio has any implication for the quality of education. Based on the foregoing, this study is aimed at examining the effect of student- teacher ratio on students’ academic performance in secondary schools in Owerri Education Zone II of Imo State.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The problem of poor performance is apparently assuming a dimension that could affect the entire situation in the country (Onasanya, 2002). Nevertheless, there are many factors that affect student achievement, but the purpose of this study is to explore and analyze the effects of student-teacher ratio as well as student-teacher interaction dynamics at the secondary school level as a determinant of students’ academic achievement.


1.3 Research Question

This research will provide answers to the following questions:

  1. What is the students’ enrolment and numbers of teachers in the selected secondary schools in Owerri Education Zone II of Imo State?
  2. Is there any relationship (association) between the independent variables i.e. student teacher ratio and class size, and the dependent variable academic achievement?
  3. To what extent does students-teacher ratio and class size influence secondary school students’ academic performance in Owerri Education Zone II of Imo State?
  4. What is the influence of conducive learning environment on secondary school students’ academic performance in Owerri Education Zone II of Imo State?
  5. What are the alleviating measures for combating the problems identified in this study?

1.4 Research Hypotheses

In order to identify the variables and to accomplish the purpose of this study, the following hypotheses were postulated in null form for the purpose of this study:

HO1 – There is no significant difference in performance of students in schools with low students-teacher ratio and students in schools with high students’ teacher ratio.

HO2 – There is no significant difference between the performance of male and female students of low student-teacher ratio school.

HO3 – There is no significant difference between the performance of male and female students of high student-teacher ratio school.


1.5 Purpose of the Study

The aim of this study is to investigate the perceived teacher-student ratio on academic performance of public secondary school students in biology in Owerri education zone ii.

Specific Objectives of the Study

The study will be meant:-

  1. To identify student enrolment and numbers of teachers for calculating student teacher ratios and class sizes.
  2. To identify the relationship (association) between the independent variables i.e. student teacher ratio and class size, and the dependent variable academic achievement
  3. To find out whether student-teacher ratio influence secondary school students’ performance in Owerri Education Zone II of Imo State.
  4. To identify some guiding principles towards optimal learning outcome in Owerri Education Zone II of Imo State.

1.6 Significance of the Study

Since the central focus of this study is to assess the effect of students-teacher ratio on students’ academic performance with special reference to Owerri Education Zone II of Imo State. It will be of great benefit to teachers, students, government and all other stakeholders in education.

It was assumed that grasping the impact of the identified variables on the students’ academic achievement could lead to a deeper insight into how such variables can be explored to improve the academic achievement in schools. However, the findings of the study would be useful to teachers as they work toward providing learning experiences that are motivating to students. The findings would be of immense value to the schools as they aim at giving better and sound education to the students. It is believed that the findings of this study and recommendations would bring to the fore the need for government to invest more on education. Moreso, this study would be of immense benefit to the future researchers who intend to work in the area of students-teacher ratio and academic performance.


1.7 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study covers the influence of students-teacher ratio on students’ academic performance of both junior and senior secondary school in Owerri Education Zone II of Imo State.


1.8 Limitations of the Study

This study is subjected to limitation and challenges that accompany any research work that make use of questionnaire like; non- compliance of some respondents and inadequate information regarding the problem under investigation. Finally, financial and time constraints were also some of the challenges that pose a lot of limitations on the scope of this study.


1.9 Definition of Terms

Student-Teacher Ratio:

This refers to the number of students enrolled per teacher in an institution of learning. It is obtained by dividing total number of student enrolment by the number of teachers available.

Student Academic Performance:

This can be described as the display of knowledge and skills attained by the students as shown by scores or grade gotten at the end of the degree course.

Teaching:

This is an act of imparting knowledge /skill to a person to learner about a subject.

Learning:

This is a relatively permanent change in behaviour as a result of past experiences. It could also be described as an act of acquiring knowledge or skills. It is synonymously called ‘inclination’.

Teacher:

This is the person that impact knowledge to a learner for the purpose of skills acquisition.

Schools:

These are institutions for educating children /learners or giving instruction. It can also be described as a place where formal education is being given to the learner.


Chapter Five


Summary, Recommendations and Conclusion

5.1 Summary

This study examined the relationship between students-teacher ratio and academic achievement of secondary schools students in WASSCE and NECO examinations. Relevant literatures were reviewed in chapter two to show its relevance to the study. Also, purposive random sampling technique was adopted in the study. This is because the focus of the study is on the final year students of secondary schools. More so, ‘t-test’ method of data analysis was employed in the study to draw valid conclusion on the subject matter. The last chapter of this study revealed the summary, recommendations, conclusion, policy implication of the study and suggestion for further studies.
Nevertheless, the study shows that a class with low student- teacher ratio is the most beneficial setting for a classroom. Therefore, educators and school administrators can focus on finding ways to minimize the student-teacher ratio and look for methods of encouraging both teachers and students towards effective teaching and optimal learning.


5.2 Recommendations

Based on the findings of this study, the following recommendations are hereby suggested:

  1. There is no doubt that the smaller the student-teacher ratio, the better the educational quality of both high and low intelligent schools. Those in charge of this arrangement should endeavour to scale down the number of students per class by employing more high quality teachers.
  2. The teachers and the students should be properly motivated for optimum productivity.
  3. Efforts should be made to improve the intellectual ability of the not-so-gifted students by teaching them at their own pace and being patient with them.
  4. The practice of separating the low from the high performing students should be discouraged as that creates room for the feelings of inferiority and superiority complexes amongst them which is unhealthy. Mixing them promotes the spirit of healthy competition as the low achievers will feel challenged to struggle harder to meet up with their class mates.
  5. Teachers in schools that practice separation should know that the low performers need extra attention from them instead of shying away from entering their classes or paying good attention to help them improve.
  6. Counseling services should be given to the low performers from time to time to encourage them not to lose hope but work harder to perform better.

5.3 Conclusion

While student-teacher ratios are important, it is hard to say whether there is an ideal ratio. Again, individualized attention does not necessarily mean that a child will learn faster or slower. This is just one measure of educational quality and not the only measure. There are many other factors that influence educational quality as stated in this study. This study reveals that students’ enrolment increases as well as number of qualified teaching personnel but  the number of unqualified teaching personnel is more in private secondary schools than in public schools. Also, the quality of teaching personnel is very important in assessing students’ achievement. This is in collaboration with the work of Sanders (1998), that, the quality of teaching personnel is important and that having consecutive years of good and bad teaching personnel in schools can have a dramatic effect either positive or negative on students’ achievement. It may be positive if the school continues to retain good and competent teaching personnel, and negative if incompetent and bad teaching personnel are allowed to teach the students. Therefore, there is need for continuous improvement for both student and the teaching personnel. The study also shows that there is the need for proper supervision by the teaching personnel. This is a critical component in professional development efforts to improve teaching learning process in schools. The Standard Based Education (SBE) holds the teaching personnel and school responsible for students’ performance. Teaching personnel are expected to collect data about their students and use such information to improve teachers’ delivery and help to correct the students’ shortcomings. However, it must be noted that the lower the student-teacher ratio is, the better the educational quality of the students involved.


5.4 Some Policy Implications

The policy implication of the study is that student-teacher ratio can have an enormous effect on the academic performance of students if the standard quantity (student-teacher ratio) and quality of instructional material items (teachers and other educational tools) are properly allocated, equalized per student and efficiently used. Therefore, the findings from the present study have some implications for the educational policy makers. These include:

  1. There should be proper policy formulation that will ensure adequate implementation of student-teacher ratio, as recommended by UNESCO and national policy on education.
  2. Government should ensure proper and adequate supervision of schools and at the same time ensure that only qualified teachers are employed at all educational institutions as this is a major panacea for attainment of educational goals and objectives. It is therefore not out of place for the National Policy on Education (2006) to have equivocally stated that no educational system can rise above the quality of its teachers.
  3. Policy makers in education sector would do well if they realize that collaboration; teaming, peer view; coaching and monitoring are critical components of professional development effort. Therefore all stakeholders in education should not be neglected in policy formulation that relates to educational development, as this will encourage good policy that will drive our educational institutions to the promise land.

5.5 Suggestion for Further Studies

Since this study only covers Secondary schools in Owerri Education Zone II of Ogun State, the same research could be carried out in another local government area in the state, and it could as well be carried out in another state.


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