Education Project Topics

Effects Posed by Large Class Size on the Academic Performance of Students in the Junior Secondary Schools

Effects Posed by Large Class Size on the Academic Performance of Students in the Junior Secondary Schools

Effects Posed by Large Class Size on the Academic Performance of Students in the Junior Secondary Schools

Chapter One 

Objectives of the Study

The following are the objectives of the study:

  1. ascertain the impact of small class size on the effective teaching and learning in junior secondary schools in Oyo
  2. determine the impact of classroom building on the effective teaching and learning in junior secondary schools in Oyo
  3. determine the impact of adequate class furniture on the effective teaching and learning in junior secondary schools in Oyo
  4. ascertain the impact of the availability of resources on the effective teaching and learning in junior secondary schools in Oyo




 Theoretical Framework

The theoretical framework for this study is based on the theory of Stimulus -Response as propounded by Ivan Pavlov (1849 – 1936) and John Watson (1878-1958). Papalia, Feldman and Olds (2007) asserted that Stimulus- Response is a type of learning which is based on the association of stimulus that does not ordinarily elicit a particular response with another stimulus that does not elicit a response. While studying the functioning of the digestive system, Ivan Pavlov encountered an unforeseen problem. The dogs in his experiment salivated not only upon actually eating but also when they saw the food, noticed the man who usually brought it or even heard his footsteps. Pavlov began to study this phenomenon, which he called „conditioning.‟‟ Since the type of conditioning emphasized was a classical one quite different from the conditioning emphasized by other psychologists at the later stage, it has been renamed classical conditioning.

In one of his experiments, Pavlov kept a dog hungry for a few days and then tied it to the experimental table which was fitted with certain mechanically controlled devices. The dog was made comfortable and distractions were excluded as far as it was possible to do so. The observer himself remained hidden from the dog but was able to view the experiment by means of a set of mirrors. Arrangement was made to give food to the dog through an automatic mechanism. He also arranged for a bell to ring every time food was presented to the dog. When the food was put before the dog and the bell was rung, there was automatic secretion of saliva from the mouth of the dog. The activity of presenting the food accompanied with the ringing of the bell was repeated several times and the amount of saliva secured was measured.

After the several trials the dog was given no food but the bell rung. In this case also, the amount of saliva secreted was recorded and measured, it was found that even in the absence of food (the natural stimulus), the ringing of the bell (an artificial stimulus) caused the dog to secret the saliva (natural response).

The above experiment thus, brings to light four essential elements of conditioning process. The first element is a natural stimulus, technically known as unconditioned stimulus (US) that is food. It results in a natural response called the unconditioned response (UR). This response constitutes the second element. The third element is artificial stimulus that is the ringing of the bell which is technically known as a conditioned stimulus (CS). It is substituted for the natural stimulus (food). To begin with, the conditioned stimulus does not evoke the desired response, (CR). The fourth element is the chain of the conditioning process. However, as a result of conditioning, one learns to produce behaviours in the form of a conditioned response to the conditioned stimulus.

The theory of conditioning as advocated by Pavlov, thus, considers learning as habit formation and is based on the principle of association and substitution. It is simply a stimulus-response type of learning where in place of a natural stimulus like food, water etc., and an artificial stimulus like the sound of a bell, sight of light of a definite colour, etc, can evoke a natural response. When both the artificial or natural stimulus (ringing of bell) and the natural stimulus (food) are brought together several times, the dog becomes schooled or conditioned to this situation. A perfect association occurs between the types of stimuli presented together. As a result, after some times, the natural stimulus can be substituted or replaced by an artificial stimulus and this artificial stimulus is able to evoke the natural response.

Supporting Pavlovs‟ ideas on conditioned responses, through his experiments, Waston tried to demonstrate the role of conditioning in producing as well as eliminating emotional responses such as fear. In one of his experiments, Watson took an eleven-month old child named Albert as his subject. The baby was given a rabbit to play with. The baby liked it very much and was pleased to touch its fur. He carefully observed the pleasant responses of the baby. After some times, in the course of the experiment, as soon as the baby touched the rabbit, a loud noise was produced to frighten the baby. The loud noise was repeated every time he tried to touch the rabbit, and this gave rise to a fear response. After some times the baby began to fear the rabbit, even when there was no loud noise hence it touched the rabbit. In this way, the baby learned to fear the rabbit through conditioning.





Research Design

A quasi-experimental research design, involving a pre-test, post-test and non-equivalent research design groups was used for the study. This type of research design is appropriate for studying how the peculiarities of a class size would affect the performance of different students groups at the secondary school level. In other words, the research design is appropriate to the type of research conducted which is largely an evaluation. The purpose of using this design agreed with Kolo (2003) who says that “experimental is to investigate possible cause and effect as well as relationship between two or more variables by the application of treatment which cannot be resolved by observation or description”.


The target population for this study comprised students of public junior secondary schools in Ibadan South West local government area of Oyo State. There are total of two hundred (200) public Junior Secondary Schools in Oyo State with twenty five thousand three hundred (25,300) students.



 Descriptive Analysis

The descriptive statistics were presented by way of answering research questions as follows:

Research Question 1: what is the impact of small class size on the performance of junior secondary students in Oyo State?




This study examined the Impact of Class size on the Effective teaching and learning in  in Junior Secondary Schools in Oyo State. The study comprised background to the study that highlighted variables such as the concept of education, class size vis-a-vis academic achievement, meaning of, meaning of performance and objectives of secondary education. This was followed by statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, basic assumptions, significance of the study, scope and delimitation of the study.

Review of related literature was carried out to provide the practical basis for data interpretation and major findings of the study. The review was on the following sub-headings: introduction, theoretical framework, concept of class size, relevance of class size, component of class size, concept of academic achievement, class size and academic achievement, how to evaluate academic achievement, empirical studies and summary.

A quasi-experimental research design involving pre-test, post-test and non- equivalent group design was used for the study. Purposive sampling technique was used to select two renovated schools and two dilapidated schools. Thereafter, two large sized classes of JSS III students were selected from two of the schools and another two small sized classes from two other schools given a total of 4 intact classes. Students from these classes formed the sample size of 200 from the population of 25,300 in 200 public secondary schools in Oyo State.  Achievement Test (SSAT) that contained 20 items was used as instrument for this study which was adopted from Junior Secondary School Certificate Examination (JSSCE) conducted in Oyo state between 2008 and 2012. 8 weeks lesson plan was prepared and both experimental and control groups were taught for 4 weeks each by the researcher. Pre-test was given to the two groups under the same conditions before the commencement of the teaching and post-test was given after the teaching period. The results of the test were collected with the help of research assistant and analyzed. Descriptive statistics were employed to answer the research questions, while t-test statistic was used for hypotheses testing. The analysis and the interpretation of data confirmed some aspects of the theoretical work as highlighted in the literature review.

The findings revealed that all the four hypotheses tested were rejected.

However, based on the findings, the following were obtained:

  1. That class buildings have positive influence on the effective teaching and learning in junior secondary schools in Oyo
  2. that class with adequate furniture impacted positively on the effective teaching and learning in junior secondary schools in Oyo
  3. that class with small class size has positive impact on the effective teaching and learning in junior secondary schools in Oyo
  4. that availability of resources in teaching has impacted positively on the performance of junior secondary schools in Oyo


This study has shown a positive and significant relationship between the physical characteristics of the school such as classroom buildings, furniture, instructional facilities and students‟ academic achievement in junior secondary schools in Oyo State. This is an indication that these facilities in secondary schools should be a prime concern of the education stakeholders in the state and the nation in general. However, the extent to which students‟ learning could be enhanced depends on the structure of their classroom, availability of the classrooms, instructional facilities and accessories. It is believed that conducive class size with available school facilities will gear up expected outcomes of education that will facilitate good social, political and economic emancipation, effective teaching and learning process as well as academic achievements of students.

Hence it has been established that facilities are potent to greater academic achievement of students. Therefore, it requires prompt attention on the part of the education stakeholders in Oyo State and the nation in order to improve the poor condition of class size and academic situation of secondary schools from its present state. Moreover, there are some facilities that can be improvised by the teachers in order to facilitate teaching and learning, hence such facilities should be improvised by the teachers.


Based on the conclusion drawn, the following recommendations were made:

  1. Government and other education stakeholders should make concerted efforts to provide adequate classroom building and renovate the existing dilapidated structures in public secondary schools. This would help to reduce the problem of school overcrowding and it would go a long way to create enabling teaching and class size.
  2. Education stakeholders should endeavor to provide adequate class furniture (chairs and lockers or desk) in public secondary schools and students should be oriented on how to maintain these facilities because most a time’s students destroy these facilities by
  3. Small class size should be maintained in public secondary schools and the population of students admitted into public schools should depend on the available space and facilities. Because, there is need to make the number of students to be taught in the class to be moderate, so that the teacher would be able to manage the class effectively and give individual attention to students where
  4. Adequate instructional resources should be made available in public secondary schools and teachers should be encouraged to be using instructional resources in the course of presenting their lessons and they should be made to update their knowledge and skills in improvisation of instructional resources through seminars, workshops and conferences organized by government and professional bodies.


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