Background to the Study
Academic achievement of students especially at the secondary level is not only a pointer to the effectiveness or otherwise of schools but a major determinant of the future of youths in particular and the nation in general. The medium through which the attainment of individuals and the nation’s educational goals can be achieved is through learning. Learning outcomes have become a phenomenon of interest to all and this account for the reason why scholars have been working hard to unravel factors that militate against good academic performance (Aremu and Sokan, 2002).
The Nigeria education system has continuously experience and upward trend in school environment at all levels since after the civil war in 1970. This has in turn impacted on the class size in terms of the population of individual classroom (Osin, Asiyai, and Woessmann, 2002).
Adeyemo, (2001) opined that the major goal of the school is to work towards attainment of academic excellence by students. According to him, the school may have other peripheral objectives; emphasis is always placed on the achievement of sound scholarship. Besides, virtually everybody concerned with education places premium on academic achievement, excellent academic achievement of children is often the expectation of parents. At the outset of an activity, students differ in learning as a function of their prior experiences, personal qualities and social supports. The latter includes the extent that parents and teachers encourage them to learn, facilitate their access to resources necessary for learning, and teach them strategies that enhance skill acquisition and refinement. Parent’s academic aspirations for their children influence their children’s academic achievements both directly and indirectly (Bandura and Pastorelli, 2001).
Inflated class size is very critical to teaching and learning process as teachers sometimes have real difficulty in dealing with students on individual bases. We find a scenario in our schools where a teacher stands right in front of the classroom throughout the lesson period without moving around from time to time to supervise what the students are doing because there is hardly a space between one row of lockers and another. Class size refers to an educational tool that can be used to describe the average number of student per class in a school (Adeyemi, 2008). As school population increases the performances of students become an issue.
Adeyemi, (2008) reported that average class size influences the cost of education while capital cost could be reduced by increasing the average class size in Nigeria schools. Nwadiani, (2000) argued that the higher the class size, the lower the cost of education. He contend however, that most classrooms are overcrowded spreading resources thinly and thereby affecting the quality of education. Ajayi, (2010) supported the view points and argued that in order to control rising capital cost of education, the average class size could be increased.
Class size refers to educational tools that can be used to describe the average number of students per class in a school. In emphasizing the importance of class-size to the learning teaching process, ALL Nigerian Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS) recommended a maximum of forty students per class for efficient and effective teaching. Adeyela, (2000) found in her study that large class size is not conducive for serious academic work. Similarly, Egede, (2005) pointed out that an alarming class- size of 100 or more students in the secondary schools leave the teacher overworked and therefore unable to exercise patience and positive attitude. They are also reluctant to offer extra time to build and help the intellectually ill students.
Statement of the Problem
Observation reveals that in recent times, there has been astronomical rise in class size due to increase enrolment of students in public secondary school in Ekiti State and classrooms seem to be over-congested. Some schools have as many as eighty (80), hundred (100) or above one hundred students per class as against the teacher – student ratio of 1:40 recommended by the National Policy on Education (FGN, 2004). In view of the divergent opinion, the problem of this study was to determine what influence class size had on the quality of output from secondary schools in Ekiti State.