This study investigated the influence of large class size on the teaching and learning of  English Language  with special reference to Selected 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 teaching and learning of English Language.  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.






Background to the study

Class size can be defined as the total number of students in a class. It is an educational tool that can be used to describe the average number of students per class in a school; it is an important factor that determines students’ learning outcomes and one that can be directly controlled by policy put in place by the government.

Adeoye (2021) and Togunloju (2015) believe that class size has a very strong influence on students’ academic performance. Large classes are often too crowded to allow effective supervision when teaching while small classes also allow the teacher to create smaller groups for group instruction, resulting in more opportunities for teachers to interact with individual students and to provide more meaningful instruction to all students in the class (Finn J. D., et al., 2019).

English language which is the official language in Nigeria and the general language of communication among Nigerians is a medium of instruction in schools. This makes it a compulsory subject and a prerequisite to gaining admission into tertiary institutions. This points to the important place occupied by the English language in the life of a student in the country. According to Babalola (2015), the English language is the language of utility in Nigeria while other local regional languages remain the languages of identity. It is, therefore, important for the teacher to develop students’ positive attitudes regarding the English language as a school subject and a tool of the language of wider communication (LWC) to enhance their academic performance in the language.

Poor academic performances of students are traceable to teachers, the student/pupil, parents and government apart from other problems that are caused by environmental factors. However, teachers are always at the receiving end of students’ poor performance without considering the other factors which also include infrastructural facilities, class size, and students’ attitude to learning.

Teachers generally prefer smaller classes in order to identify students’ needs and to provide better individual attention. Available teaching bits of help are better managed in a sizeable class. Small classes seem to have positive effects on students’ achievement and increase the amount of individual contact between students and teachers. The more students a teacher is responsible for, the harder it is to teach. For instance, of what importance is a dictation class where the teacher is not able to mark or correct the words dictated as a result of a large number of students in the class?

A large classroom population hinders the teacher’s ability to monitor students’ behaviour closely. However, smaller classes (15 or fewer students) help teachers to curtail discipline problems through personal relationships the teachers establish with their students (Halbeck, Ehrte, Zahorik, and Molar, 2021). In a moderate English language class, teachers are able to identify students’ linguistic problems and gives prompt remedial assistance. Timely pedagogical intervention helps students develop a positive attitude to the task of language learning. This may not be easily possible in a large class. When teachers give the needed attention to students, serious frustrating linguistic problems are solved and language learning activities become exciting and pleasurable.

Having students in groups during English language lessons enhances students’ proficiency and competence in language performance. Meaningful interactions are generated through which confidence will be built up as the students rapidly improve on their use of the language as reflects in their language outputs.

Overpopulated classrooms are considered to be counterproductive for both teachers and students when it comes to the issue of continuous assessment marking and the ability to give individualized attention to students that need extra help (FME, 2022). Edge (1980) reports that in large classes, the provision of opportunity for discussion or any kind of oral input to the written work is difficult and there is the possibility of students copying or cheating when the class is large. A large number of students in a class also allows almost no opportunity for a genuine exchange of arguments and opinions. All these will eventually have a negative impact on students’ academic performance.

The quality of education acquired in Nigeria schools is increasingly declining due to the problem of large class size. The trend is getting worse by the day. In many cases, the problem of students not performing well in their academics is not the fault of the teachers who often have no choice but to teach a class with an overwhelming number of students in a classroom built to accommodate about forty students. The class becomes so overcrowded that most times students are seen standing inside and outside the classroom.

It is worthy of note that students in large classes usually have a lackadaisical attitude towards their studies because they are aware that their teachers will not be able to adequately monitor them. Blatchford, et al (2022) discover that larger classes are often cited as being harder for the teachers to maintain student discipline. This results in the focus of the classroom environment is more on students’ behaviour than on students’ academic achievement.

Blatchford, Edmonds, and Martins (2019) however observe that students in smaller classes (average of 19 students per class) utilize more time on instructional purposes and less time is utilized on non-instructional purposes such as talking to one’s peers about non-academic topics, than students in larger classes (average of 32 students per class). It has also been discovered that larger classes prevent teachers from providing in-depth content coverage due to the loss of instructional time occurring since the teachers are spending more time handling students’ behavioural issues.

Teachers with smaller classes have fewer discipline problems than larger classes; there are more intimate relationship and interaction in smaller classes which enables teachers to prevent negative behaviour issues from developing. Through personal relationships, they are able to flow with their students.

Adodo (2022) and Yara (2009) claim that students’ attitude towards learning goes a long way to record their achievement in the English language. Adeyela (2020) in her study finds out that large class size is not conducive for serious academic work while Yara (2020) in his studies on class size and academic achievement of students finds out that the performance of students in large classes was very low compared to those students in smaller classes. This, however, contradicts the findings of Pong and Pallas (2021) who discover that students do better in large classes; they attributed this probably to the fact that more experienced teachers are given larger classes. However, Resnick (2019) is of the view that the poor performance in large class size may be due to the more restricted range of teaching and learning activities accorded to students as well as the reduced level of interactions.

Since there is a close association between students’ attitudes and their achievements, it is not all that easy to identify individual attitudinal traits in an overpopulated class. Once the attitudes of students are known by the teachers, suitable instructional methods can be devised to meet the interest of the students. Therefore, class size has the most significant impact on the academic performance of secondary school students.

It has been observed that most classes in public secondary schools are overcrowded as a result of the mass desire to get an education. Despite the stipulation of the National Policy on Education that the teacher-pupil ratio in secondary schools should be 1:40, what is obtainable in the secondary schools are large classes of over 45 pupils.

Large class size is a great challenge to achieving success in the teaching and learning of English language. Teachers could hardly prove their professional efficiency in classes thereby resulting in poor output from students. Large class size also affects students’ attitude to their studies which ultimately leads to poor academic performance.

Statement of the Problem

It has been observed that secondary  schools in Ekiti 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 English Language  in secondary  schools in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State.   This situation seems to be impairing effective teaching and learning process in the 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 English Language   in secondary  schools in Ekiti State.

       The specific objectives are;


The specific objectives are to;

1.     To determine the influence  of large class size on students academic performance in English Language  

2.     To find out the relationship between school location and class size in the achievement of students in English Language  


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 State?

4.      To find out the impact of class size on English Language  teachers' productivity in secondary schools in Ekiti State?

5.      To determine the  problem of class size on students’ academic performance

Research questions

1.     “Is there any difference in the achievement in English Language  for 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 English Language   for 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?

4.     What is the impact of class size on English Language  teachers' productivity in secondary schools in Ekiti 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 English Language   in small and large sized classes of secondary  schools.

2.     There is no significant relationship between location of school and class size in the achievement in English Language   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 is specifically talking about the correlation between the class size and the teaching and learning efficiency of English Language  Students in Ekiti State. The study will concentrate on the effects of large class size on the teaching and learning of English Language  in (5) Senior Secondary Schools in Ikere Local Government area of Ekiti 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 English Language .  Experience has shown that class size is a major contributing factor to the assumed teachers’ Ineffectiveness in many secondary  schools in the State. For instance, in the recent years, Nigeria has witnessed rapid educational expansion especially at the 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 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 English Language  among 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 (2019) 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, 2020). 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 (2019) 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, 2019).






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