INFLUENCE OF CLASS SIZE ON STUDENT’S ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN CHEMISTRY

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This study will be carried out in some selected secondary schools in Oyo West Local government Area, Oyo state. Ten secondary schools will be selected randomly and the researcher will use a sample size of two hundred students to participate in the study.

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CHAPTER ONE

1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study

As school population increases class sizes also increase, the performances of students become an issue. According to Raheem (2001), class 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. In his words he noted, that class size is almost an administrative decision over which teachers have little or no control. Most researchers start from the assumption that size of the class would prove a significant determinant of the degree of success 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.

The first issue that calls for immediate clarification is what number of students should constitute a large class and what should be described as a small class? In describing a small class, Adeola (2009) states that they have few teachers with small pools of talent; offer limited range of subjects and characteristically finding it hard to justify costly investment on libraries. Their students lack competition and interest with relatively few peers as they get stucked with same teacher for an entire school career. The description appears to be an anti-type of what obtains in large group. Large school/class size on the other hand are often impersonal, having broader curricula with teachers being given wider support, while students may suffer discipline problems as teachers cannot get to know their students very easily. They find it easy to stream students according to ability while commitment to work may stand a test of time.

In terms of numerical strength, the National Policy on Education (1981) revised in 2004) specified 20 pupils in pre-primary class, 30 in primary and maximum of 40 in secondary schools. These directives appear unrealistic in urban areas as a result of high population. Yara (2011) researched that the size of large classes in urban areas range from 30-36 and small from 8-45. Yara (2011) further explains in his analysis of the inter-relationship of intelligence, achievement and socio-economic status of high schools, concluded that school location among other variables was directly related to mean achievement level of students in all the sampled subjects. However, the report by some researchers on elementary school pupils revealed that the size of school and length of attendance have little or no effect upon pupils’ achievement when educational opportunities are comparable. In his conclusion, he asserted that teachers generally, have definite preference for the size of schools in which they wish to teach and that the larger the size, the lower the level of students’ achievement will tend to be. Yara (2011) presents the observation that a significant and consistent relationship exist in the achievement of students in small classes of about 1-20 students that obtained higher scores in science tests than their counterparts in large classes are necessary for student achievement.

Yara (2011) cited old research findings in his work in order to affirm that the issue of class size is an issue of old time. He stated that expressing a divergent view. Silver (2012) found that there was no significant difference in post test achievement scores between large classes and small classes control groups; he concluded that larger is sometimes better.

In his contribution, Ornstein (2000) discovered that in a 10-year study of high schools in Illinois, the lowest achievement on three separate standard tests occurred in schools with fewer than 495 students. The highest achievement, however, was found in schools with 495 to 1,280 students. Mahlo (2015) reported in his research on high school class rank and academic performance that graduate from high school seem to perform better academically in college when the high school from which the student graduated has a large graduating class. Bakasa (2011) identifies two problems that are posed by large class teaching; (a) the provision of an opportunity for discussion or for any kind of oral input to the written work is difficult…and; (b) the amount of marking involved can dissuade even the most enthusiastic teacher from setting the amount of written work that he feels would benefit the students.

ln another development, a comprehensive study conducted by Wetstein and Mora (2003) on the relationship between class size and achievement gathered 80 studies, read and separated their results to meta-analysis procedures. They concluded from the results they obtained that reduced class size and greater pupil achievement are related. Researchers using meta-analysis to integrate research findings of Glass and Smith meta-analytical techniques to describe relationship between class size and academic achievement or classroom processes, their analyses never suggested substantial changes in conclusions originally drawn in Wetstein and Mora (2003).

Raheem, (2015) opined that whether the benefits of reducing class size are regarded as worth their cost or a second choice in improving education depends almost entirely on how the outcomes of pupil achievement, pupil’s attitude and teacher’s satisfaction are weighed in arriving at a general measure of utility. Clearly, different groups of individuals weigh these factors differently. Most tax-payers are likely to minimize considerations of teacher satisfaction and argue that class size reductions are not worth the price. Teachers are likely to disagree that smaller classes produce more learning and provide the environment in which teachers can become more creative and not burn out so early in their careers.

Students in Science classes are believed to be students who have passion for calculation, formular and botanical names exercises. This is because they will come across basic calculation in Mathematics, Biology, and Physics, Chemistry, and other related subject. Base on this, it is of no doubt that class size has impact on the educational performance of these students. Schmidt and Monks (2010) state that that class has impact on the nature of subjects that students are learning in the classrooms. Students who are learning History, Government and Literature in English may perform better in a large class. This is because they do not have any formula to learn in understanding the concept they are being taught. However, students who are learning Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics other subjects that have relationship with calculation and formular need small class size.

Omwirhirem and Ardernson (2016) submitted that Chemistry occupies a unique position among various science subjects offered at the senior secondary school level. The study of Chemistry involves pursuit of truth, a process that instills diligence, patience and objectivity in learners. Chemistry learning develops the scientific habits in students, which are transferable to other areas of life. Such habits involve non-reliance on superstition, use of critical thinking and respect for other people’s opinion. Also, Chemistry as a science is a fundamental requirement for most core science based courses. There is therefore the need to adopt efficient teaching and learning strategies that will enhance better achievement and retention of the subject matter by students. On this, the researcher intends to look into the influence of class size on the academic performance of Chemistry students.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Class size is a topic that is not new to educators. Its aim is to check how the number of students in a classroom setting can affect the performances of students and also to see if the class size has effects on the performances of the student in certain subject or all the subjects taken. It has been shown that classroom management is a problem for the teacher when the class size is large thereby affecting the teacher instructional methods and the performances of the students.

The class size also affects the selection of teaching method by the teachers which in turn might affect the performances of the students. Due to a large class size the method a teacher selects might not favor the students in certain subjects especially in science classes thereby affecting the performance of the students. Large class size does not give room for the teacher to focus on the student deficiency individually. When there is a large number of students in the class it has its shortcomings of which the teacher tends to waste his/her time meant for the course on getting the whole attention of the students in the class and also does not give the teacher the room to attend to all the questions asked by the students in the class room but when the class size is small it tends to increase the performances of the students because it makes the teacher to focus more on the students in the class.

This study is set to examine how class size affects students’ academic performance in Chemistry.

1.3 Purpose of the study

The study intends to evaluate how class size affects the academic performance of Chemistry students in Oyo West Local Government Area of Oyo State. It also aims to look into the importance of class size on the academic performance of Chemistry students.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. Does class size affect students academic performance in chemistry?
  2. Does class size affect classroom management during chemistry class?
  3. Does class size affect students motivation in chemistry class?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

Ho1:  There is no significant relationship between class size and students’ academic performance in chemistry.

Ho2: There is no significant relationship between class size and classroom management during chemistry class.

Ho3: There is no significant relationship between class size and students motivation in chemistry class.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The study is expected to enable students work together in groups so as to achieve a common goal and learn from each other. It will enable them to work as a team and work together in harmony with one another irrespective of their ethnic or cultural backgrounds. It also helps educational planner to jump into some certain conclusion on whether class size reduction is an effective intervention in Chemistry class.

The assessment of class size and academic performance of students in commercial classes will also help school management to understand how class size affects teachers’ instructional and classroom management techniques. In addendum, the findings will help commercial class teachers to identify the reasons for the academic performance of students in large classes with high population and how they can address the problems. Moreover, it will provide comprehensive information for educational planners, educators, and parents on how they can assist students to cope in large classes. Also, this research work will lead to further in-depth study on the impact of class size and school population on the academic performance of students in commercial class.

Finally, the findings of this study will also be useful to curriculum planners, government, teachers and students. It will also be useful to future researchers. Curriculum planners will benefit from the study because they will gather from the findings information that may be used in recommending effective innovative strategies for teaching and learning process.

1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This study will be carried out in some selected secondary schools in Oyo West Local government Area, Oyo state. Ten secondary schools will be selected randomly and the researcher will use a sample size of two hundred students to participate in the study.

1.8 Definition of Significant Terms

The following terms are defined to clarify terminology to be used within the study:

Academic achievement: The level of knowledge acquisition that occurs in a given course as defined by end-of-course grade point average. Knowledge attained or skills developed in school subjects by test scores.

Class size reduction: Reducing the student-teacher ratio in a particular classroom.

Class Size: Class size is the number of students who are assigned to a teacher.

Secondary school: (also ”high school”)is a term used to describe an educational institution where the final stage of schooling, known as secondary education and usually compulsory up to a specified age, takes place. It follows elementary or primary education, and may be followed by university (tertiary) education.

Overpopulation: This is when the number of students in a particular class exceeds the standard of student-teacher ratio of 1:30.

Chemistry: This refers to basic subjects that is offered in Science class only

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