Background of the Study
In Nigeria, public discussions frequently focus on educational standards. The public’s unhappiness becomes more prominent following the annual release of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination results. Students outcome do not match the government and parental investment. All stakeholders are concerned about why the system is turning out graduates with poor results.
The national policy on Education states “no education system can rise above the quality of its teachers in the system” (FGN, 2006). Ogunsaya (2004) states that the academic standard in all Nigeria educational institutions has fallen considerably below societal expectations. Blumende (2001) corroborated this view when he reported that the decline in the quality of education cannot be ignored by anyone who is aware of the significant role of education as an instrument of societal transformation and development. There is a need to focus on teachers adequacy and competency in respect to their pedagogical practices and strategies and mastery of the curriculum and subject content (Chall & Popp, 1990; Stuart, 2004; Rodgers, 2001). Ijaiya (1998) concurred and opined that improving the quality of the teaching force in schools is seen as the key to raising student achievement. Thus, raising educational standard should be the government’s number one priority. Similarly, Lassa (2000) and Guga (1998) claimed that education cannot be provided by just everybody. It requires a teacher who plans and delivers instructions in such a way that objectives can be achieved. The Baguada seminar reports on quantities and qualities in Nigeria Education (NERC, 1986) as cited by ESA (2005) also shared the consensus that teachers are the main determinants of quality in education.
If they are pathetic, uncommitted, uninspired, lazy, unmotivated, immoral, anti-social, the whole nature is doomed. If they are ignorant in their disciplines and thus impact wrong information, they are not only useless but dangerous. Therefore, the kind of teachers trained and posted to schools may well determine what the next generatio will be like.
This study focuses on class size or teacher-student ratio, the relationship between the quantity and quality of teachers and students academic performance and attitudes of students and teachers in full time public schools.
Ratio is the relationship between two element which shows how many times one contain the other. Ratio could also be seen as the comparison between two proportions. According to the advanced learner’s dictionary, ratio is the relationship between two groups of people or things that are represented by two numbers showing how much larger one group is than the other.
There are several instances where the term ratio can be used. For instance, the ratio of male to female students in a classroom, ratio of teachers to students in a school, etc.
However, teacher-students ratio refers to the numbers of teachers in a class or school with respect to the number of students in the class or that attends the school.
It seems reasonable to assume smaller class size facilitate teachers work by reducing the numbers of disruptions and increasing the level of attention and participation per student (Achilles, 1996). While class size is a factor, sometimes reducing class size does not significantly change the quality of the classroom environment.
However, individual attitudes and motivation need to be considered because even talented people need stimulating and rewarding workplaces (Fullan with Stiegelbauer, 1991).
This is a unique characteristic of an educational environment like a public high school where both teachers and students attitudes have a significant role, since attitudes of both population can influence the performance of both groups. Students in smaller classes receive more attention from the teacher allowing them to concentrate more in a smaller environment. Since teacher feel smaller classes are more manageable and they spend less time disciplining the class, teachers are more likely to have positive attitudes in smaller classes. In turn the teachers improved motivation affects the attitudes and motivation of students and other teachers, improving their performance. Likewise, the students improved attitudes positively affect the attitudes of other students and of teachers. This web of interaction may be the key to why teachers and students achieve so much in a smaller, enjoyable and challenging setting. Research shows that there exists an important relationship between teacher-students ratio and students achievement (NCES, 1999).
Consequently, quality of instruction can vary per classroom based on teacher-student ratio.
Statement of Problem
The issue of teacher-student ratio is very important in the teaching/learning process. This is because the teacher-student ratio in a class affects the performance of students to a large extents. It is therefore important to ensure that the teacher-student ratio in a class is not too high so as to ensure effective teaching and learning.
Purpose of the Study
To establish whether there is a relationship between teacher-student ratio and academic performance of students of Biology in the sampled Secondary Schools in Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State.
The following hypotheses:
Ho1: there is no significant relationship between large class size and biology student academic performance in the sampled Secondary Schools
Ho2: there is a significant relationship between small class size and biology students’ academic performance in the sampled Secondary Schools