Education Project Topics

Influence of Classroom Size on Academic Performance of Secondary School Students in Nigeria

Influence of Classroom Size on Academic Performance of Secondary School Students in Nigeria

Influence of Classroom Size on Academic Performance of Secondary School Students in Nigeria

Chapter One


The main aim of the study is to influence of classroom size on academic performance of secondary school students in Nigeria. Specific objectives of the study include:

  • To investigate into the effect of classroom size on the educational performance of secondary school students.
  • To determine the extent to which the group size affects the manner in which teaching and learning is mediated in secondary schools.
  • To establish whether there is some kind of mechanism which can assist in establishing what determines a large, small or even optimum class size which strikes a balance between size and achievement.




This chapter gives an insight into various studies conducted by outstanding researchers, as well as explained terminologies with regards to the influence of classroom size on academic performance of secondary school students in Nigeria. The chapter also gives a resume of the history and present status of the problem delineated by a concise review of previous studies into closely related problems.


The existentialist philosophies of both Glasser and  Kohn are the cornerstone of my belief system which states that we are the center of our experience the one who perceives, acts in and reflects on the world and who are internally motivated by everything we do.  Teaching the tenets of this philosophy (Choice Theory) to my students would be one of the first pieces of instructions I would give them, bringing them to an awareness of their responsibility to make their own decisions about their learning and behavior in the classroom.  My philosophy is based on Glasser’s “Choice Theory” which posits that students must have a choice, and that if they help choose their curriculum and decide on the rules in the classroom, they will then have ownership of their learning, have pride in their participation, will have higher self-esteem and will exhibit greater levels of self confidence and higher levels of cognition.  This approach to classroom management creates a safe space to learn, as mainly it is their space–their classroom, they own it, they will decorate it and they will decide the rules.  When this sense of ownership is established, they will come to class willingly and with enthusiasm because they want to be challenged.

Kohn’s theories on classroom management are quite similar to Glasser’s.  Grades and praise, Kohn says, kills intrinsic motivation and the desire to learn, and this concept is, of course, antithetical to what we’ve always been taught.  The punishment/praise grade system that we were all indoctrinated in explains why the system has failed so many students as the competition norms of most classrooms indicates that for every winner/top of the class, there will be thirty-nine losers dealing with the inherent self-esteem issues surrounding their constant failure.

A key component of Glasser’s theory is that the basic need of personal competence is an inner drive that is self-initiating and is unrelated to the need for extrinsic rewards of praise or grades.  Glasser’s basic need of competence ties in perfectly with Kohn’s theory that extrinsic rewards destroy a student’s inherent intrinsic motivation by reducing the exchange to a demoralizing, manipulative dysfunctional exchange that reduces their natural interest in a subject.  Unfortunately, the traditional appeal has always been to the students’ competitive instincts.  Kohn states that extrinsic motivation focuses on what the students do not know, rather than on their possibilities for growth.  We must question the traditional assumptions about pedagogy, as right answers are not as important as the process of exploring ideas and understanding the concepts.  Helping students tap into and develop their inner authentic selves where they think, feel and care on a deeper level is our primary responsibility; arousing students’ interests in learning is another.

According to Kohn and Glasser, instead of focusing on grades and tests, we must help our students to reason, to comunicate, and help them develop social and personal responsibility, self-awareness and a capacity for leadership.  Thinking deeply and critically should be the first goal of education, the second goal is the desire for more education and a lifelong affair with learning.

Kohn and Glasser’s theories are both non-coercive, but most importantly their theories are based on existentialist ideals of free choice and responsibility.  Kounin’s theories, however, take a completely different approach, where his practical and hands-on philosophy proves to be an excellent addition to the holistic theories of Kohn and Glasser.   Kounin’s management style addresses the fundamentals of classroom theory in concrete language and states that students must be made aware of all expectations, then, if these expectations are not met, some form of desist strategy is required.  Kounin’s pragmatic and practical approach blends nicely with the existentialist philosophy of Kohn and Glasser, resulting in the perfect approach to classroom management.  Kounin has determined that the mastery of classroom management must include a display of “with-it-ness”, the ability to teach to the learning style of the group instead of the individual, and organizing of lessons and teaching methods. The goal of classroom management is to create an environment which not only stimulates student learning but also motivates students to learn.  Kounin’s approach is in line with both Glasser and Kohn as he also posits that the keys to successful classroom management is in preventing management problems from occurring in the first place by putting into place good organization and planning.


Students’ learning can be evaluated in many different ways, but in a developing country like Nigeria where about 40 percent of the adult population are illiterate, parents use the performance of their children in public examinations to pass judgement on the schools and teachers. To them, the logic is a simple one. The schools are supposed to be staffed by good teachers and supplied adequate facilities and instrumental materials. It is the responsibility of government to ensure through such provisions and regular inspection or supervision that effective teaching and learning go on in the schools. The task of parents is to send children to school and pay whatever fees and levies are charged by the institutions. Though many parents acknowledge shortages of funds, teachers and infrastructures in the schools and their own inability to buy all

the required books and other learning materials for their wards, yet they strongly believe that if the students perform badly in their examinations, the teachers and administrators have not done their job well and should take most of the blame.

Unfortunately, there are many factors that help to determine the academic performance of students. However, the level of education and awareness of many parents does not enable them to participate in such complex theoretical arguments or discussions. For such parents and the general public, the students’ performances in recent times give cause for ala-m and school authorities more than the students themselves are being accused of lack of dedication, declining productivity and even mindlessness. Nevertheless, the students have not been doing well, and the situation is not improving.





This chapter describes methods and procedures used in conducting this research work. The description of the procedure is done under the following headings:

  • Research design,
  • Area of study
  • Population of the study
  • Sample and sampling procedure
  • Instrumentation
  • Procedure for data collection
  • Procedure for data analysis


The surveys research method was used for this study. This was considered appropriate because survey design generally can be used to effectively investigate problems in realistic settings. The survey technique will also allow the researcher to examine several variables and use multi-variate statistics to analyze data.


The study was conducted in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Akwa ibom is the most beautiful cities in Nigeria. The population of Akwa Ibom State, according to the Akwa Ibom State Government is 9.5 million, a number disputed by the Nigerian Government and judged unreliable by the National Population Commission of Nigeria. The study was carried out Champion Breweries plc Uyo Akwa Ibom State.


The population consists of the entire staff of Champion Secondary school Uyo Akwa Ibom State. With a staff strength of 100 employees (personnel dept, 2015).



This chapter is devoted to the presentation, analysis and interpretation of the data gathered in the course of this study. The data are based on the number of copies of the questionnaire completed and returned by the respondents. The data are presented in tables and the analysis is done using t-Test. The Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation co-efficient was used in the validation of hypotheses.




The objectives of the study was to know if there is a relationship between class sizes and academic performance of secondary schools and to equally know if there is a significant effect between class room size and the academic performance of secondary schools in Nigeria.

Findings from the study showed the following:

  1. That there is a strong and positive relationship between class room sizes and academic performance in secondary school academic performance.
  2. That there is a significant effect between the classroom size and the academic performance of secondary school students in Nigeria.


Since we have concluded that class size affects students academic performance in secondary schools, academic performance of students should be enhanced by reducing class sizes across government schools so that our education sector can improve.


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  • Achievement. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 1, 2-16.
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  • Farber, S.L., & Finn, J.D. (2000, April). Classroom organization and student behavior. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.
  • Fidler, P. (2001). The impact of class size reduction on student achievement. Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles Unified School District, Program Evaluation and Research Branch.
  • Finn, J.D. (2002). Class-size reduction in grades K-3. In A. Molnar (Ed.). School reform proposals: The research evidence (pp. 15-24). Tempe, AZ: Education Policy Research Unit, Arizona State University.
  • Glass, G.V., and Smith, M.L. (1978) Meta-analysis of research on the relationship of class size and achievement. San Francisco: Far West Laboratory of Educational Research and Development.
  • Hoxby, C.M. (2002). The cost of accountability. In  Evers, W.M., & Walberg, H.J. (Eds.). School accountability. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press.
  • Johnson, K.A. (2000). Do small classes influence academic achievement? What the National Assessment of Educational Progress shows: A report of the Heritage Center for Data Analysis. Washington, DC: Heritage Foundation.
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