EFFECT OF CLASSROOM SIZE IN TEACHING AND LEARNING OF BIOLOGY IN NIGERIA SECONDARY SECONDARY SCHOOL
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of contents
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
Background to the Study
Statement of the Problem
Objective of the Study
Delimitation of the study
Significance of the study
Definition of terms
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
Concept of over crowding
Concept of classroom size
Concept of academic performance
Vygotsky’s theory of learning
Social learning theory
Piaget’s theory of (intellectual) Cognitive development
Ausubel’s Theory of meaningful learning
Summary of Literature
Population of the study
Sample and Sampling Techniques
Validity of Instrument
Reliability of instrument
Procedure for data collection
Method of Data Analysis
Result and Discussion
Analysis of Research Question
Testing and Interpretation of hypothesis
Discussion of findings
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
This study investigated the effect of classroom size on students academic performance in biology with special reference to selected schools in Kano North. The study was a descriptive survey research design. The sample of the study comprise of one hundred and fifty select students. The frequency count and percentages method were used to analyzed the research questions, while chi-square test was used to test the research hypothesis. From the study, It was discovered that large class have effect on students academic performance, also findings from the study revealed that overcrowded class room and over population of schools have effect on students academic performance. Findings from the study are of great significance for educational planners, policy makers and both federal and state governments. The study recommended that the university should take steps to appoint more teachers in the general course to minimize the use of large class, also government should provide more lecture rooms to ensure quality of service delivering, finally lecturers should be given refresher courses on managing large class from time to time
Background to the Study
As school population increases, class room sizes also increase, the performances of students become an issue, classroom size has become a phenomenon often mentioned in the educational literature as an influence on pupil’s feelings and achievement, on administration, quality and school budgets.
Classroom size refers to an educational tool that can be used to describe the average number of students per class in a school (Adeyemi, 2008). This varies from country to country. Kedney (2009) saw it as a tool that can be used to measure the performance of the education system. In relation to size, Stepaniuk (2001) reported that the rational utilization of classroom space depends upon class-size. This in turn would depend upon the area of the classroom. He argued that there are approved norms of class-size, 40 pupils per class for grades 1 to 8 and 35 pupils per class for the senior classes; while the standard allocation of class space per pupil is 1:25 square metres. In this regard, Dean (2004) compared class-size in some countries and found that Turkey, Norway and Netherlands had class-sizes of 20 more; the UK, USA, Japan, Canada and Ireland had class-sizes of between 15 and 20 while France, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Italy, Luxembourg and Belgium had sizes of below 15.
In Nigeria, however, Okoro (2010) reported that the class-size in secondary schools ranges between 35 or40 students. He argued that few pupils per class are uneconomical, as they do not make full use of space, teachers and teaching materials. Adeyemi (2008) reported that average class-size influences the cost of education while capital cost could be reduced by increasing the average class-size in schools while Nwadiani (2000) argued that the higher the class-size, the lower the cost of education. He contended however, that most classrooms are over-crowded spreading resources thinly and thereby affecting the quality of education. Ajayi (2000) supported the viewpoints and argued that in order to control rising capital cost of education, the average class-size could be increased. These points were also supported by Toth and Montagna (2012) who reported that the increase in enrollment in many institutions which has become major concerns of students could definitely lead to an increase in classroom size.
The relationship between classroom size and academic performance has been a perplexing one for educators must especially Nigeria universities, Studies have found that the physical environment, class overcrowding, and teaching methods are all variables that affect students’ achievement (Molnar, et al., 2012). Other factors that affect student achievement are school population and classroom size (Gentry, 2010; and Swift, 2010).
The issue of poor academic performance of students in Secondary School in Nigeria has been of much concern to all and sundry. The problem is so much that it has led to the decline in standard of education. Since the academic success of students depends largely on the school environment, it is imperative to examine the impact variables of classroom size and school population on the academic performance of students in Nigeria universities.
Large classroom size and over populated schools have direct impact of the quality of teaching and instruction delivery. Overcrowded classrooms have increased the possibilities for mass failure and make students to lose interest in school. This is because large classroom size do not allow individual student to get attention from teachers which invariably lead to low reading scores, frustration and poor academic performance. In order to better understand the skill levels of students, it might be necessary to evaluate factors affecting their performance. These factors can include: school structure and organization, teacher quality, curriculum, and teaching philosophies (Driscoll, Halcoussis, & Svorny, 2003). The idea that school population and classroom size might affect student performance is consistent with the growing literature on the relationship between public sector institutional arrangements and outcomes (Moe, 1984).
In addition, Dillon and Kokkelenberg (2002) pointed out from their research that large classes negatively affect some students more than others. According to them, classroom size has a negative logarithm with relationship to grades and that effect of classroom size on grades differs across different categories of students.
Again, Adeyemi (2008) in his findings revealed that schools having an average classroom size of 35 and below obtained a better result than schools having more than 35 students in senior secondary schools. Small classes may benefit students more when instruction relies on discussion, by allowing more students to participate and be recognized, than when lecture and seatwork are the main modes of instruction. According to Nye, Hedges and Konstantopoulos (2000).while small classes benefit all kinds of students; much research has shown that the benefits may be greatest for minority students or students attending inner-city schools. For these students, smaller classes can shrink the achievement gap and lead to reduced grade retention, fewer disciplinary actions, less dropping out, and more students taking college entrance exams (Krueger and Whitmore, 2001).
The most dramatic impact seems to be achieved by reaching students early. Ideally, students should experience small classes of 13 to 17 students when entering school, in either kindergarten or first grade.
According to Ehrenberg, Brewer, Gamoran & Willms (2001), there are many reasons why smaller classes might contribute to higher achievement, including better teacher contact with parents and more personal relationships between teachers and students. For example, students may pay better attention when there are fewer students in the room. Similarly, teachers who use a lot of small group work may find their instruction is more effective in smaller classes, because fewer students remain unsupervised while the small group meets with the teacher. In these instances, teachers could carry on the same practices, but achievement would rise in smaller classes because the same instruction would be more effective.
In light of rapidly increasing admission in many university across the nation, administrators are under fire concerning the issue of growing classroom size and the potential diminishing of academic standards. Van Allen (2010) asserts that the “quantitative product”, monetary gains afforded by increased enrolment far outweigh the “qualitative product” of well-educated and knowledgeable graduates. This view point shows that there are returns to investing in smaller classes for certain students and it provides some evidence on why past literature has produced such inconsistent findings on the impact of classroom size.
Smith (2009) on the other hand, suggest that small class room sizes in the first four years of schooling can lead to higher attainment by the time the pupil reaches secondary education. According to these researchers, pupils taught in smaller classes during the primary phase of their education were more likely to go on and eventually proceed to higher education.
Debate around the inverse connection between classroom size and student achievement
The aspect of the subject area comes into question; would it perhaps be different depending on whether the subject is content, concept or practical- oriented? Instructional activities offer significant boosts to achievement, but the results of instruction do not seem to differ between small and large classes.
There has however been much need to view the aspect of classroom size as a holistic factor that does not operate in isolation. For three decades, a belief that public education is wasteful and inefficient has played an important role in debates about its reform. Those who have proposed greater spending programs for educational institutions to improve student achievement have been on the defensive. According to Trow (1995) the presumption has been that changes in structure and governance of schools, standards, accountability, and assessment, to name a few are the only way to improve student outcomes. Traditional interventions, like smaller classroom size and higher teacher salaries, have been presumed ineffective. Surely classroom size reductions are beneficial in specific circumstances for specific groups of students, subject matters, and teachers. Secondly, classroom size reductions invariably involve hiring more teachers yet teacher quality is a more important factor than classroom size in affecting student outcomes. Third, classroom size reduction is very expensive, and little or no consideration is given to alternative and more productive uses of those resources.
The relationship between classroom size and academic performance biology hasbeen a perplexing one for educators. Studies have found that the physical environment, class overcrowding, and teaching methods are all variables that affect students’ achievement (Molnar, et al., 2000). Other factors that affect student achievement are school population and classroom size (Gentry, 2000; and Swift, 2000).
The issue of poor academic performance of students in Nigeria has been of much concern to all and sundry. The problem is so much that it has led to the decline in standard of education. Since the academic success of students depends largely on the school environment, it is imperative to examine the impact variables of classroom size and school population on the academic performance of students in secondary school. Large classroom size and over populated schools have direct impact of the quality of teaching and instruction delivery. Overcrowded classrooms have increased the possibilities for mass failure and make students to lose interest in school. This is because large classroom size do not allow individual student to get attention from teachers which invariably lead to low reading scores, frustration and poor academic performance.
In order to better understand the skill levels of students, it might be necessary to evaluate factors affecting their performance. These factors can include: school structure and organization, teacher quality, curriculum, and teaching philosophies (Driscoll, Halcoussis, & Svorny, 2003). The idea that school population and classroom size might affect student performance is consistent with the growing literature on the relationship between public sector institutional arrangements and outcomes (Moe, 1984).
Statement of the Problem
The classroom is the heart of any educational system. No curriculum planning is complete without implementation and evolution, both of which are mainly carried out in the classroom. Most of the class activities take place while students are seated. The seating arrangement is therefore too important to suffer the kind of neglect being experienced by many secondary schools in the country. As rightly observed by Cohen and Manion (2003 p.221) "a careful attention to seating arrangement contributes as effectively as any other aspect of classroom management and control to overall success with a class subsequently". Adesina (1990 p.73) also affirms that one potent index for evaluating educational standards and quality is an examination of the physical facilities available for learning experiences". The seating arrangement can make or mar any lesson. Ideally, in a secondary school, especially in a mixed ability grouping, as found in Nigeria schools, seats should be arranged in rows with a reasonable amount of space between them to allow for proper teacher-student and student-student interactions as well as allow for individual and group work (Cohen and Manion, 1983).
To this end, the ratio of teacher to students should not exceed 1:30 or at most 40 judging by the size of the classrooms. But what one finds in many of these classes is between ratios 1: 50 and 1: 150 in certain cases.
It has been observed that Secondary School appear to be densely populated while lecture room seem to be over-congested.
This study was therefore interested in identifying the major problems caused by overpopulated classes in Nigeria growing towns and cities with a view to making suggestions that could help to alleviate the problems.
Observation reveals that in recent times, there has been astronomical rise in classroom size due to increase in admission of students in Secondary School . Some schools have as many as one hundred (100), two hundred (200) or above students per class as against the teacher-student ratio of 1:40 recommended by the National Policy on Education (FGN 2004). This situation has had multiple negative effects on teaching and learning as well as students’ academic outcomes.
This is evidenced in the failure rates recorded by students in examination. Apart from this, students no longer have confidence in writing exams on their own without examination malpractice (Mgbekem, 2004). This also is consequent upon the fact that small class room sizes do no encourage effective teaching and learning environment.
Objective of the Study
The broad objective of the research project is to examine the effect of classroom size in teaching and learning of biology , with special reference to Selected Secondary Schools in Kano North
The specific objectives are to;
1.Examine the relationship between classroom size and academic performance of students
2.Examine the relationship between school population and academic performance of students
3.Discuss the effects of over-population on classroom management
4.To identity the challenges faced by teachers and students in large classes
5.To access the effect large classroom size on the quality of teaching, learning and assessment.
The research seeks to answer the following questions that affect the effective teaching and learning of Biology among undergraduate students in selected schools in Kano North
i. Is there any correlation between classroom size and academic performance of students?
ii. Is there any relationship between over population and school resources/ facilities?
iii. What are the problems and challenges faced by lecturers and students in large classes?
The following hypothesis were formulated to guide the study
Ho1 There is no relationship between classroom size and students academic performance
Ho2: school population doe not have significance effect on students’ academic performance
Ho3: Over population of classroom does not have effect on students academic performance
Delimitation of the Study
The study is specifically talking about the effect of classroom size on students academic performance in selected schools in Kano North. The study will concentrate on the effects of classroom size on the teaching and learning of Biology in Selected schools in Kano North
Significance of the Study
The Nigerian education system is progressively becoming more and more complex. But the catalogue of sources shows that Nigerian Secondary School s is over congested and thereby leads to a decline in the teaching and learning of Biology .
Based on this, the research work contains the researcher’s contributions that would be of help and useful to education policy planners, Educationist, Ministry of Education authorities, Stakeholders, school administrations and management in senior schools towards helping students to improve the quality of facilities in the education system.
Apart from the above, the research will provide valuable information on the influence of different interacting factors on the effects of classroom size on the teaching and learning of Biology among Biology students. The content of the study will also serve as resource materials for others who want to carry out further research.
Definition of Terms
The definitions used in the historical classroom size debate vary according to the researcher. The following definitions are ones that will be used in this research.
Classroom size: Classroom size is typically defined as the number of students for whom a teacher is primarily responsible during a school year. The teacher may teach in a self-contained classroom or provide instruction in one subject (Lewitt & Baker, 1997, p. 2).
Operational definition of classroom size: For the purpose of this study classroom size was defined as the number of students for whom a teacher is primarily responsible during a school year. A small class was defined as a class having 11 of fewer students. A large class contained 20 or more pupils.
Classroom size reduction: Classroom size reduction is the processes to achieve class room sizes smaller than the ones currently in place (Achilles, 2003).