An Analysis Of The Relationship Between Class Size And Academic Performance Of Students

An Analysis Of The Relationship Between Class Size And Academic Performance Of Students

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 1.1       Background to the Study

Class-size is an educational tool that can be used to describe the average number of students per class in a school. It is also the number of students per teacher in a class. It is a tool that can be used to measure the performance of the teacher in a given subject. It is simply referred to as the teacher-student ratio (Twan, 2002).

The factors that affect the performance of a teacher are many. They are broadly divided into two namely, nature and environment (Hilgard, 2004). The natural factors are those qualities the teacher possesses that impact on teaching. The environment factors include those things outside the teacher that affect his performance. One of the environmental factors is class size. According to Nwideeduh (2003), the class size is one of the components of the school environment that determines the effectiveness of a teacher.

According to UNICEF, the recommended class size is 1:35. However, in Nigeria, the National Policy in Education recommends a class size of 1:40 in upper secondary schools (the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004). Based on the above, class size can be classified as over-populated, optimal or under-populated. In Nigeria, a class is overpopulated if it has over 40 students, it is optimal if it has 40 students and under-populated if there are less than 40 students in a class in the secondary school.

Several studies have revealed the effect of class size on teaching. Dallas (2005) argued that large class size places a heavier burden on the teacher and makes him ineffective. Accordingly, many researchers have recommended the class size that is low in order to enhance the teacher’s performance. This was why this study was carried out to examine the influence of class size on the effective teaching of schools subjects in secondary schools.

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1.2       Statement of the Problem

The conditions of classrooms at the secondary level of education in our country leave much to be desired. Some of the classrooms are just covered with corrugated iron sheets without ceilings to check heat transmission during the day. Others just have roofs on them, while the windows are openly exposing students to a debilitating state during adverse weather conditions. Across the country, the picture is the same (Adeyemi, 2008).

Apart from the poor physical outlook of the classes, secondary schools in Nigeria have to grapple with overpopulated classes. Contrary to the National Policy on Education, which prescribes a class-size of 40 and UNESCO’s prescription of 35 in secondary schools, the classes in Nigeria range from 100 to 120 in a 12’ by 12’ classroom (Joshua, 2009).

As observed by Commeyras (2003) and Adeyemi (2008), effective teaching looks impracticable in classes with about 50 to 100 students. The result could be poor class control, poor attention by students, lack of individualized attention and poor quality of the students produced. As observed by Kontz (2006), where the teacher is exposed to large classes, students’ evaluation becomes difficult as the teacher is exposed to overwork. The question that bothered this study was: does the size of the class influence the effective teaching in secondary schools?

1.3       Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study was to examine the influence of class size on teaching in secondary schools. The specific purposes included:

a) To determine the influence of overpopulated class-size on teaching in secondary schools.

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b) To asses the influence of optimal class-size on the teaching in Secondary schools.

c) To examine how under-populated class-size influence the teaching in secondary schools.

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