Causes and effect of students low performance in social studies in Hong LGA of Adamawa State

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1.1  Background of the study

Secondary education is a major foundation for social-economic and political development of a nation (UNESCO, 2005). Therefore, if the quality of education is undermined, the schools may not give adequate knowledge, skills, and attitudes to pupils that a country needs in its citizens in order to guarantee the role of education in development (World Bank 2002). The development of the skills and knowledge of the people of a nation through the education process constitutes one of the prerequisites of national development.

From the human resource perspective, education is seen as the determinant of character and pace of social and economic development (Republic of Kenya, 1976). UNESCO (2006) states that most of the pupils that go through secondary education in developing countries fail to master the basic cognitive skills as shown by the poor performance in primary school examination. The results are unsatisfactory levels of socio-economic development due to inadequate and inappropriate human capital resource. This situation is worse in countries that give and use public examination as the basis of important decision making about the educational and vocational future of pupils.

The main feature of an education system is academic performance. Kellaghan and Greaney (1995) assert that student performance not only determines access to secondary and subsequently higher education but also affects the way individuals view themselves and are viewed by the society. The Word Bank (2006) observes that public examinations in Kenya serve the following purposes: selection of candidates for educational opportunities and employment, certificate of achievement of candidates, control of curriculum and its delivery in school, motivation of school teachers and pupils, and monitoring education standards and reporting on school effectiveness including instructional resources among others. Duignan (1986) observes that there are many factors which affect pupils’ achievement directly or indirectly. Some of these factors are part of the intricate web of affect that operates within the school itself. These affecting factors are: Leadership and decision making, school culture and climate, teacher behavior, pupil behavior, parental support and involvement, socio-economic background of the pupils and poor management of finances and school facilities.

Lezotte (2001) in his studies came up with seven correlates of effective schools-strong instructional leadership, clear and focused mission, safe and orderly schools, climate of high expectations for success, frequent monitoring of pupils progress, positive home-school relations and opportunity to learn time on tasks. Academic achievement is simply a matter of what happens in schools. Although schools do make a significant difference, he also identified numerous factors which affect pupils’ success. These include the school, the family and the individual, social incentives and socio- economic conditions. In his research he identified those youngsters from lower socio- economic strata as less likely to succeed in school. This does not mean that poor or disadvantaged children cannot learn. However, social class and economic conditions are important factors related to success and cannot be ignored (UNESCO, 2004).

In recent times, there has been an increasing concern for effectiveness and efficiency in the learning process. Anwukah (2000), opined that if any success must be achieved in attaining effective students learning outcomes, the teacher must know the instructional materials that are available for teaching a particular subject or topic and be able to utilize them to attain the expected students learning outcomes. Onyemerekeya (2003) defined students learning outcomes as statements which describes in a relatively specific manner, what the student should be able to achieve, produce or the characteristics the students should possess after completing the unit of a course of instruction. The classroom teacher must recognize that his task is not merely to teach but to stimulate learning. Teaching therefore is a process of guiding and directing the activities of the students in order to produce effective learning. In effect, the instructional procedure that will produce the desired learning outcomes must be adopted.

Onyenerekeya (2003) stated that instructional procedure is the main body of the lesson where detail of the content is recorded. It provides in steps the details of what is to be taught; it explains what the teacher should do and the activities of the students. At the appropriate stage of the development of the lesson, allowances are made for the use of relevant instructional materials. According to Eya and Ibekwe (2009), no matter how good a teacher may be judged to be, he needs some resources to aid him in his teaching.

Instructional materials are the tools used in educational lessons which enhance effective learning outcomes. They are educational resources used to improve students’ knowledge, abilities and skills. It is also used to promote assimilation of information and to contribute to the overall development and upbringing of learners in their chosen academic endeavours. Onyeyemezi (2008) defined instructional materials as resources or teaching materials which a teacher utilizes in the course of presenting a lesson in order to make the content of the lesson understood. It also arouses the interest of the learners. This implies that availability and the use of instructional materials is necessary if effective teaching and learning must be achieved. When instructional materials are available, properly selected and used, they help the learners recall things that would have been easily forgotten. The use of instructional materials therefore becomes very crucial in improving the overall quality of the learning experiences of students (Oya and Onuora 2004). In the context of this study  instructional materials refer to the materials or devices used by the teacher to augment students’ level of understanding of the lesson.

1.2  Statement of the problem

Student’s performance at student level is a major concern for all stakeholders in education. This is because good performance is associated with social, economic development of a nation and in Kenya; this is a major drive towards realization of Vision 2030. Despite the importance of education, Hong Local Government Area has continued to register unimpressive student results for the last 4 years. This is a major problem to parents, teachers and other stakeholders in education. This study therefore attempts to investigate factors affecting pupils’ performance in secondary schools in Hong ,

  1.3            Objectives of the study

The objectives of the study were:

  1. To establish the effects of availability of teaching and learning resources on pupils performance at
  2. To establish the extent to which social factors affects student performance in public primary
  • To establish the extent to which cultural factors affect performance in public secondary schools.
  1. To identify the strategies for improving student performance in public primary school in Hong .

1.4            Research questions

The following research questions guided the study:

  1. To what extent does availability of teaching and learning resources affect pupils’ performance at student in Hong Local Government Area ?
  2. How does social background factors affect student performance in public secondary schools in Hong Local Government Area?
  • How does cultural background factors affect student performance in public secondary schools in Hong Local Government Area ?
  1. What strategies can be employed to improve student performance in public secondary schools in Hong Local Government Area ?

1.5            Significance of the study

The fndings of the study are likely to provide information to the stakeholders on the importance of carrying out research in other districts on social-cultural factors especially in those areas that are densely populated. The study should also be extended to private institutions within Hong  and the entire  with a view of comparing the outcome from the two settings so as to uplift the low academic performance experienced in Hong .

1.6            Limitations of the study

According Best and Khan (1998) limitations are conditions beyond the control of the researcher that may place restriction on the conclusion of the study and their application to other situations. The limitations that were encountered by the researcher included lack of cooperation on the part of the respondents on suspicion that the information sought may be used to victimize them.

Another limitation related to the area of study is that, the area is not large enough to capture the findings that would be generalized to cover the whole country.

1.7            Delimitations of the study

The  study  targeted  only  three  categories  of  respondents  namely  head  teachers, teachers and pupils. Other stakeholders including parents and district education offices were not included in the  sample.  Factors considered for  this  study   were limited to teaching and learning resources, teaching and learning process and socio- cultural factors. Any other factor affecting pupils’ performance was not investigated by the study.

1.8            Research assumptions

The study makes the following assumptions:

  1. That the respondent shall co-operate and give honest and accurate
  2. That the findings shall reflect the true picture of academic performance at student level in the area of the

1.9            Definition of operational terms

The following terms have been operationalized in this study.

Performance: In this research, performance refers to pupils’ score at student.

Teaching and Learning Resources: This refers to books, classroom, desks, chairs, charts among others.

School management: In this study, school management refers to the precision in planning and executing by the school heads, the duties and responsibility bestowed on school administration.

Causes and effect of students low performance in social studies in Hong LGA of Adamawa State

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