Learning Environment and Students’ Academic Performance in Public Schools
This research work centered on the influence of the learning environment on the academic performance of students in public junior secondary school in the Ojo local government area. This study was aimed at finding how the learning environment has an impact on the academic performance of students. The researcher made effort to review books, journals, and other materials relating to the different headings incorporated in the literature review. The study population for this study was composed of 80 students in four public secondary schools in Ojo local government area, Lagos state. The instrument used to collect data for this study was a questionnaire. The data was analyzed through the SPSS computer package. The result obtained indicate that a significant relationship exists between learning environment and academic performance.
1.1 Background to the Study
The learning environment, which includes the classrooms, libraries, technical workshops, laboratories, teachers’ quality, school management, teaching methods, peers, etc are variables that affect students’ academic achievement (Ajayi, 2001 and Oluchukwu, 2000). Hence, the learning environment remains an important area that should be studied and well managed to enhance students’ academic performance.
The issue of poor academic performance of students in Nigeria has been of much concern to the government, parents, teachers, and even students themselves. The quality of education not only depends on the teachers as reflected in the performance of their duties but also in the effective coordination of the learning environment (Ajao 2001) learning environment which includes instructional spaces planning, administrative places planning, circulation spaces planning, spaces for conveniences planning, accessories planning, the teachers as well as the students themselves are essential in the teaching-learning process. The extent to which student learning could be enhanced depends on their location within the school compound, the structure of their classroom, availability of instructional facilities and accessories. It is believed that a well-planned school will gear up expected outcomes of education that will facilitate good social, political, and economic emancipation, effective teaching and learning process, and academic performance of the students.
Relating this study to international occurrences are the assertions of Williams, Persaud, and Turner (2008), quoting Marsden (2005), which reported that safe and orderly classroom environment (an aspect of instructional space), School facilities (accessories) were significantly related to students’ academic performance in schools. The three researchers, also quoted Glassman (1994), asserting that a comfortable and caring environment among other treatments helped to contribute to students` academic performance.
The physical characteristics of the school have a variety of effects on teachers, students, and the learning process. Poor lighting, noise, high levels of carbon dioxide in classrooms, and inconsistent temperatures make teaching and learning difficult. Poor maintenance and ineffective ventilation systems lead to poor health among students as well as teachers, which leads to poor performance and higher absentee rates (Frazier, 2002)
Lyons, 2001; Ostendorf, 2001). These factors can adversely affect student behavior and lead to higher levels of frustration among teachers, and poor learning attitudes among students. Beyond the direct effects that poor facilities have on students’ ability to learn, the combination of poor facilities, which create an uncomfortable and uninviting workplace for teachers, combined with frustrating behavior by students including poor concentration and hyperactivity, lethargy, or apathy, creates a stressful set of working conditions for teachers. Because stress and job dissatisfaction are common pre-cursors to lowered teacher enthusiasm, the aforementioned characteristics of school facilities may affect the academic performance of students.
Previous studies have investigated the relationship of poor learning environment including problems with student-teacher ratio, school location, school population, classroom ventilation, poor lighting in classrooms, and inconsistent temperatures in the classroom with student health problems, student behavior, and student achievement (Crandell & Smaldino, 2000; Davis, 2001; Johnson, 2001; Lyons, 2001; Moore, 2002; Stricherz, 2000; Tanner, 2000). To complement these studies, the present research is to examine the aforementioned areas of the learning environment as it affects students’ performance in Nigerian schools.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
A student faces a lot of problems in the course of his educational pursuit. These problems are multifaceted. The research is concerned with the influence of the learning environment with special reference to students’ academic attainment and possible solution to the problem. The alarmingly poor performance in examination is definitely of great concern to the researcher who sees the study as inevitable.
It is noted that students’ performance at junior secondary school level at private and public schools differs due to environmental constraints.
The high levels of students’ academic performance may not be guaranteed where instructional space such as classrooms, libraries, technical workshops, and laboratories are structurally defective. However, little is known on the impact of the learning environment on students’ academic performance in junior secondary school in the Ojo Local government area of Lagos State.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to:
1. Find out the effect of the learning environment on the students’ academic performance.
2. Examine the reasons for students’ poor performance.
3. Find out the effect of the learning environment of students on the academic performance of junior secondary school students.
1.4 Research Questions
This research work would also investigate to know the possible solution to the problem. The research would equally pay attention to the family’s financial status. Consequently, the following questions are asked.
1. Is there any relationship between the school environment and student academic performance?
2. To what extent do school facilities affect students’ academic performance in secondary school?
3. What effect does class size has on the academic performance of students in secondary school?
4. To what extent does school location has on the achievement of secondary school students?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypothesis is stated for work.
H1: There is no significant difference between school environment and the students’ academic performance
H2: There is no significant difference between school facilities and the academic performance of students
H3: There is no significant difference between class size and academic performance of students
H4: There is no significant difference between school location and academic performance of students
1.6 Significance of the Study
It is hoped that this study would provide information for parents, educators, and school administrators to reflect upon various factors that help students in achieving their academic goals. In so doing, they can investigate the possibility of introducing those factors to their school, which may consequently lead to enhancing students’ educational outcomes in school. In addition, the fact that this study is conducted in public schools shares quite a lot of similarities with many other counterparts.
In this connection, this study provides a valuable reference for other schools to reflect upon the school environment as it affects the academic performance of the student in secondary school.
Also, this work would serve as a stepping stone to other researchers, who are looking for better ways to solve the problem of the learning environment and students’ academic performance in junior secondary school in business study, a case study of selected Junior Secondary schools in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The scope of this work is to cover four selected schools under Ojo Local Government Area.
1. Awori College, Ojo
2. Ajangbadi High School, Ajangbadi
3. Lagos model college, Ojo.
4. Ojo Community High School, Ojo
The subjects of this study are junior school.
It is hoped that the findings made in these areas would serve as a useful pointer to what occurs in other areas of the state and another part of the federation knowing fully well that students encounter different environmental constraints.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
This study is limited to four junior secondary schools within Ojo Local Government due to the following factors:
i. Inadequate finance.
ii. Time constraint.
iii. Administrative convenience of the schools.
iv. The risk of transportation.
1.9 Definition of Term
ACADEMY: A school or college for special training.
STUDENT: The word “Student” means any person who is ready to learn and engage in learning activities.
ENVIRONMENT: Environment can be seen as the totality of the natural and artificial (man-made) phenomenon having direct and
LEARNING: Learning is a process of adapting to and improving the environment. What is learned can be measured either by those things that we observe in the behavior of the individual.
PERFORMANCE: Is the act of performing a play, concert, or some other form of entertainment.
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