Impact Of Age On The Academic Performance Of Students

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of students’ age on academic motivation and academic performance among secondary school students attending day schools within Abuja municipality. The objectives specific to this study were to investigate how students’ age affected academic motivation and academic performance. The study adapted the ex-post facto research design. The target population comprised all Form two and Form four students in the sixteen secondary schools in Abuja municipality from which seven day schools were sampled using the stratified random sampling technique. The sample was made up of 489 students. Data was collected using a students’ questionnaire and the academic performance scores were obtained from the school records of the previous year. The major statistical methods used in this study were: Pearson’s r, and analysis of variance (ANOVA). Descriptive statistics, means, frequencies, percentages and standard deviations were used for data presentation and to explain the variables in this study. The findings of this study indicated that there was a positive relationship between academic motivation and academic performance. It was also established that students’ age had a significant effect on the student’s academic performance and students’ age had no significant effect on the academic motivation. These findings will assist teachers, parents, administrators and other stake holders to engage in interventions in school and

at home, that can improve the quality of learning and hence boost the student’s academic performance. 

Chapter one


Background to study

Educators and parents have been known to hold strong beliefs about academic practices that are unsupported by research. The benefit of such academic practices may have been proven false or there may be insufficient research or conflicting research in the field to substantiate them. One example is the belief that academic success is strongly and positively related to a student‟s age at entrance to school or compared to the age of classmates (Grissom, 2004; Lorne, 2001). Some parents “wonder whether they should delay enrollment even when their child seems ready for kindergarten” (Oshima & Domaleski, 2006, p. 212), especially after reading newspaper articles or hearing stories heralding successes for young children whose parents delayed their entry into school (Graue & DiPerna, 2000). Numerous studies regarding school entrance age and student success have been published, yet experts do not agree on the extent to which student age affects student success, or if it produces a consistent affect at all (Beattie, 1970; Ede, 2004; Gray, 1985; Griffin & Harvey, 1995; Grissom, 2004; Hedges, 1978; May, Kundert, & Brent, 1995; Meisels, 1995; Quinlan, 1996).

It is well recognized that there have been many discussions on reasons why students do not do well in school. With the rapidly changing educational environments in many countries in the world over, there is an opening for research exploring solutions to the challenge of enhancing student academic performance to getting a good education. Many variables play a role to students’ academic performance. Academic motivation is an important psychological construct for learning and academic performance in all the school subjects (Schunk, 1991). Since it is unobservable, it can only be inferred from actions or verbalisation. The relationship between academic motivation and academic performance is still unclear and can only be determined with continued observation of the students. In this study the contribution of academic motivation towards school attendance and academic performance was explored.

Although performance on standardized tests receives the greatest attention in discussions of students’ academic performance, teachers’ evaluations of performance as indicated in course grades represent a common metric of student performance that often is more directly tied to the day-to-day business of teaching and learning than are annual standardized test scores. Grades serve a number of important functions. They communicate to students and parents information about students’ mastery of course content. In high school, a passing grade is also the criterion for a course’s contributing to a favourable mean score. Finally, grades provide information for consideration in university or college admissions. However, as a measure of academic performance, teacher-given grades have well-known limitations. Grades are composite measures that account not only for students’ content mastery but often for other factors, such as their class participation, attitudes, progress over time, and attendance. Both general and special educators are known to consider these various factors when grading, but to emphasize different factors. Despite many complicating factors, student grades still are an important indicator within the academic performance outcome domain for students because they indicate success by a teacher’s standards and success relative to other students in a given classroom (Yang, 2003).

Statement of the problem

Educators have a major role of helping children and youth become successful in school and in life. In order to realize this goal, students need to acquire a solid base of academic, social, and emotional skills. The ability to recognize and manage emotions, develop care and concern for others, make responsible decisions, establish positive relationships, and handle challenging situations effectively are key to school and life success.

Development of academic motivation in students ought to be an important goal for educators and teachers because of its inherent importance for the future. Studies have shown a decline in academic motivation and academic performance in many children as they move from elementary school into secondary school. The basic principles of social and emotional learning also serve as the underlying principles of motivation. A deeper understanding of these principles enables committed adults to create an environment that fosters children’s motivation to learn.

A few empirical studies have actually investigated the precision of the relationship between individual academic motivation and academic performance. Thus, this current study had the potential to underscore the relationship between academic motivation, and academic performance among secondary school students in Abuja municipality.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The study sought to achieve the following objective:

  1. Find out how age influences academic motivation and academic performance among secondary school students.
  2. Make recommendations on strategies to improve student academic performance


1.4 Research Questions

The research questions for this study were:

  1. What is the influence of the students’ age on academic motivation and academic performance among secondary school students?
  2. What are the recommendations on strategies to improve student academic performance



1.5 Research Hypotheses

In this study the following hypotheses were tested:

HO1: There is no significant effect of age in the student’s academic motivation.

HO2: There is no significant effect of age in the student’s academic performance.

Significance of the Study

The study on the influence of family socioeconomic factors on the student academic performance can be found useful to both educational and policy makers in giving guidance to the Government on necessary course of action to enhance academic performance. It may also enable the parent to understand the critical roles they play for their children to perform well in school. The finding may be useful feedback to curriculum designers into kind of experiences in secondary school needed to aid in successful academic performance. Finally, the study may help the future researchers in identifying priority areas in which to carry more research in student‟s academic performance in secondary school.

Scope of study

This study investigated how students’ age influences academic motivation and academic performance among Form two and four students in Abuja municipality.


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