INFLUENCE OF CLASS SIZE ON THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF BASIC SCIENCE IN JUNIOR SECONDARY

 

INFLUENCE OF CLASS SIZE ON THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF BASIC SCIENCE IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS

ABSTRACT

This study investigated the influence  of   class size on the teaching and learning of Basic  Science with special reference to Selected junior secondary schools in Ikere Ekiti. The study was a descriptive survey research design. The sample of the study comprise of forty (40) select students in Ikere Ekiti. The frequency count and percentages method were used to analyzed the research questions, while chi-square test was used to test the research hypotheses. 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 school should take steps to appoint more teachers to minimize the use of large class, also government should provide more classrooms to ensure quality of service delivering, finally the schools principal should ensure that standard classroom management is strictly follow.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Science is the bedrock upon which the bulk of present day technological breakthrough is built. Today, nation all over the world, including Nigeria, are striving hard to develop scientifically and technologically, since the world is becoming scientific and all proper functioning of lives depends greatly on science. Science education is an important tool for national growth and development. The economic and political strength of a nation is always assessed in terms of her achievement in science and technology (Olarinoye 2001&Otuka, 2006).

Basic Science, formerly known as Integrated Science, is a subject taught in Lower, middle and upper Basic Education levels i.e. primary and junior secondary schools. It has occupied a very important position in the school curriculum and is made a core subject .In fact, there is so much emphasis on science, and science related subjects at all levels of education emphasizing the need for scientific thinking and application among the students, in which Basic Science is the foundation. Science education plays a vital role in the lives of individuals and the development of a nation scientifically and technologically (Alebiosu and Ifanuyiwa, 2008).

As school population increases, class sizes also increase, the performances of students become an issue.According to Dror (2005), class size has become a phenomenon often mentioned in the educational literature asan influence on pupil’s feelings and achievement, on administration, quality and school budgets. In his words henoted, that class size is almost an administrative decision over which teachers have little or no control. Mostresearchers start from the assumption that size of the class would prove a significant determinant of the degree ofsuccess of students. In fact, with the exception of a few, many studies have reported that under ideal situation,class size in itself appears to be an important factor.

          Class 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 toolthat can be used to measure the performance of theeducation system. In relation to size, Stepaniuk(2000) reported that the rational utilization of classroom spacedepends upon class-size. This in turn would depend uponthe area of the classroom. He argued that there areapproved norms of class-size, 40 pupils per class forgrades 1 to 8 and 35 pupils per class for the seniorclasses; while the standard allocation of class space perpupil is 1:25 square metres. In this regard, Dean (2004)compared class-size in some countries and found thatTurkey, Norway and Netherlands had class-sizes of 20more; the UK, USA, Japan, Canada and Ireland hadclass-sizes of between 15 and 20 while France, Sweden,Denmark, Austria, Italy, Luxembourg and Belgium hadsizes of below 15.

          In Nigeria, however, Okoro (2005) reported that theclass-size in secondary schools ranges between 35 or40 students. He argued that few pupils per class areuneconomical, as they do not make full use of space,teachers and teaching materials.Adeyemi (2008) too,reported that average class-size influences the cost ofeducation while capital cost could be reduced byincreasing the average class-size in schools whileNwadiani (2000)argued that the higher the class-size, thelower the cost of education. He contended however,that most classrooms are over-crowded spreadingresources thinly and thereby affecting the quality ofeducation. Ajayi(2000) supported the viewpoints andargued that in order to control rising capital cost ofeducation, the average class-size could be increased.These points were also supported byTothand Montagna (2002) who reported that the increase in enrollmentin many institutions which has become major concernsof students could definitely lead to an increase in classsize. Commeyras(2000) however, disagreed with thesearguments and reported that effective teaching seemsimpracticable for teacher educators having large classsizes of 50, 75, 100 or more.In terms of outcomes, Schultz (2003) classified theoutcomes of education into two categories from theeconomic point of view. These are consumption andinvestment. Cohn (2005) referred to the consumptionaspect as that related to benefits derived by students.He regarded the investment component as including avariety of outputs related to the enhancement of anindividual’s or society’s productive skills. Thus, Blaug(2003) argued that the extension of education tends to raise the earnings of those who benefited from it. In thisregard, Simkins(2001) reported that output “represents theimmediate results of the system’s activities.” According to him, “the main outputs in education are expressed interms of learning, that is, changes in the knowledge,skills and attitudes of individuals as a result of theirexperiences within the educational system.” He arguedthat the educational system is a productive system inthe very sense that it produces outputs especiallyvarious forms of learning. He expressed that thecomponents of the system could be represented in amodel viz:

InputProcess Output. Explaining themodel, he alleged that the various inputs are processedin the production of outputs.Examinations in Nigerian schools dated back to theadvent of formal education. Since then examinations haveoccupied a central place in the Nigerian educationalsystem .According to him, examination has been “thesole criterion of quality” in Nigeria and “once a higherpercentage of the pupils pass their external examinations,the school is considered to be of a high quality.” Theimportance of examinations in Nigeria even extendedbeyond this point. This importance as entrenched inthe Federal Government of Nigeria National Policy ofEducation was in the fact that all secondary schoolsshould gear their programmes to meet the requirements ofmodel, he alleged that the various inputs are processed examinations being conducted for the School Certificate.Toward this end, Fafunwa(2014) argued that “it is an educational truism that examinations control the curriculum and whoever controls a country’s examination system controls its education.”

          The WAEC/JSSCE Ordinance emphasized theimportance of standards in its examinations. Accordingto the Ordinance, standards must be such that thecertificates awarded on the basis of performance in theexaminations shall not represent a lower standard ofattainment when compared with equivalent certificatesof other examining authorities. These examiningauthorities were the Cambridge and London UniversitiesExaminations Boards for the WASC and GCEexaminations respectively. Although the SSC examinationhas replaced the WASC and GCE examinations in Nigeriait still uses the GCE ‘O’ & ‘A’ level standards as its normssince it was pitched between the ‘O’ & ‘A’ levelstandards. The pattern of grading candidates’ scorein the examinations was such that the distinctionsgrade was represented by A1 to B3. The credit grade wasrepresented by C4 to C6. The ordinary pass grade wasrepresented by D7 and E8 while the failure grade wasrepresented by F9. It needs to be mentioned however,that the distinction and credit grades are the onlyrequisite qualifications for admissions into universitiesin Nigeria and candidates must have at least five creditsin five subjects including English Language in order toqualify for admission .The foregoing review hasshown that class-size is a controversial educationaltool that has varied from one country to another. Thus,this study was embarked upon to determine the effect of class-size on the quality of output of Basic  Science students from junior secondaryschools in Oshimili South  Local Government Area of Delta State , Nigeria.

Statement of the Problem

It has been observed that junior secondary schools in Delta State appear to be densely populated while classroomsseem to be over-congested. It has shown the views of previous researchers on class-sizein various countries. In view of the divergent opinions, the problem of this study was to determine what effect class-size had on the teaching and learning of Basic  Science in junior secondary schools in Oshimili South  Local Government Area of Delta State .   This situation seems to be impairing effective teaching and learning process in the junior secondary schools in the state and hence the reason for embarking on this project.

Purpose of the Study

The broad objective of the research project is to examine  the effect of large  class size in teaching and learning  of Basic  Science  in junior secondary schools in Delta State.

       The specific objectives are;

The specific objectives are to;

  1. To determine the effect of large class size in teaching and learning of Basic Science
  2. To find out the relationship between school location and class size in the achievement of students in Basic Science
  3. To find out if there is any significant difference between the quality of output of students in schools having an average small class-sizes and the quality of output of students in schools having an average large class-sizes in the JSCE examinations in the State?
  4. To find out the impact of class size on Basic  Science teachers' productivity in secondary schools in Delta State?
  5. To determine the  problem of class size on students’ academic performance

Research questions

  1. “Is there any difference in the achievement in Basic Science for junior secondary school students in small and large sized classes?
  2. Is there any interaction effect between location of school and class size in the achievement in Basic Science  for junior secondary school students in small and large sized classes?
  3. Is there any significant difference between the quality of output of students in schools having an average small class-sizes and the quality of output of students in schools having an average large class-sizes in the JSCE examinations in the State?
  4. What is the impact of class size on Basic Science teachers' productivity in secondary schools in Delta State?
  5. What are the problem of class size on students’ academic performance?

Research hypothesis

The following null hypothesis were generated to guide the study

  1. There is no significant difference between the achievement of students in Basic Science  in small and large sized classes of junior secondary schools.
  2. There is no significant relationship between location of school and class size in the achievement in Basic Science  for senior secondary school students in small and large sized classes
  3. There is no significant difference between the quality of output of students in schools having an average small class-sizes and the quality of output of students in schools having an average large class-sizes in the SSCE examinations in the State.

Scope of the Study

 The study will concentrate on the effects of class size on the teaching and learning of Basic  Science in (5) Senior Secondary Schools in Oshimili South  Local Government Area of Delta State .

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 class is over congested and thereby leads to a decline in the teaching and learning of Basic  Science.  Experience has shown that class size is a major contributing factor to the assumed teachers’ Ineffectiveness in many junior secondary schools in the State. For instance, in the recent years, Nigeria has witnessed rapid educational expansion especially at the junior secondary school level without corresponding increase in the provision of essential facilities and this has resulted into large school size and eventually large class size; with its attendant problems of lack of facilities for teachers and also lack of good classroom management by the teachers. For instance, it has been observed that students may be too difficult to control by teachers in many of the large classes due to over congestion of students in these classes. Experience has also shown that teachers tend to lose the ability to attain or establish effective teaching in the overcrowded class than small class and this problem of large class size in secondary schools has been attributed to several factors, such as the introduction of too many subjects on junior secondary school time-table, which invariably has given birth to accommodation of all the subjects on the school time-table couple with the shortage of qualified teaching personnel to teach these subjects.

          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 junior 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 class size on the teaching and learning of Basic  Science among junior secondary school 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 class size debate vary according to the researcher. The following definitions are ones that will be used in this research.

Class size: Class 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, 1999, p. 2). Achilles (2003) gives the following example of class size: “Average class-size is the sum of all students regularly in each teacher's class divided by the actual number of regular teachers in those specific classes. Regardless of the definition one uses, class size has been difficult to measure due to the dynamic nature of classrooms (adults and students move in and out of classrooms), a variety of classroom models (pull outs, resource rooms, aides, specialists), and a lack of precise measurements of what occurs in schools and classrooms (pupil-teacher ratios, pupil-professional ratios, class size based on the number of students assigned to a given teacher) (Reichardt, 2000). The lack of a common agreement as to what constitutes a small class or even an ideal class has made it difficult to compare research studies.

Operational definition of class size: For the purpose of this study class 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.

Pupil-teacher ratio (also known as teacher-student ratio):Achilles (2003) defined pupil-teacher ratio as the number of student in a school or district compared to the number of teaching professionals. All educators may be part of the computation, including counselors and administrators. According to Hanushek (1999), the only data that are consistently available over time reflect pupil-teacher ratios.

Class size reduction: Class size reduction is the processes to achieve class sizes smaller than the ones currently in place (Achilles, 2003).

JSSCE: The Junior Secondary School Certificate Examination (JSSCE) refers to student academic assessments final year exam at junior secondary school level.

 

 

 

Reactions

You may like these posts

Post a comment

0 Comments