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This study is on determinant of academic performance of a university student. The total population for the study is 200 students of University of Benin, Benin city, Edo state. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made final year students, year 4 students, year 3 students and year 2 students were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies



  • Background of the study

University students are potential nation builders who aspire to become engineers, doctor, managers, and scientists and materialize a nation’s dreams. Students in every discipline in universities have many obstacles to overcome in order to achieve their endeavor of optimal academic performance. These obstacles constitutes major determinant to the academic performance of university students. The Grade Point Average (GPA) system as an indicator of academic performance is used by many universities in Nigeria and other parts of the world (James & Chilvers, 2001; Nguyen, Allen, & Fraccastoro, 2005; Svanum & Zody, 2001). Factors that could reduce hurdles for achieving and maintaining the required GPA needs to be identified and improved by university administrators, faculty members, and students (Womble, 2003). Several determinants could act as barriers to students’ attaining and maintaining a high GPA that reflect their academic performance during their stay at the university. These determinants may be cognitive and learning factors, social activities, job responsibilities, caring for children, and stress (Devadoss & Foltz, 1996; Hatcher, Prus, Englehard, & Farmer, 1991). Cognitive and learning issues such as academic competence, test competence, time management, strategic studying, and test anxiety are some determinants that a student may have to consider to be a high achiever (Sansgiry, Bhosle, & Sail, 2006; Womble, 2003). Many studies have reviewed these determinants individually (McFadden & Dart, 1992), but none have evaluated them collectively and specifically in university students from Nigeria. These determinants could be targeted by the university personnel in developing strategies to improve student learning and to improve their academic performance. According to Kleijn, Ploeg, and Topman (1994), academic competence is dependent upon how well the student manages their course load described in their curriculum. Academic competence is also indicative of the extent to which the curriculum is interesting for students to enjoy their classes. There is a significant positive association of academic competence and academic performance (Sansgiry et al., 2006). Moreover, better academic competence has been found to be not only pivotal in ensuring better academic performance but also in the likelihood of retaining students in educational institutions (Ishitani & Desjardins, 2002; Tinto, 1975). Another determinant which can be considered as a reflection of appropriate management of study materials by students for their examinations is test competence (Topman et al., 1992). Kleijn et al. (1994) defined test competence as student’s ability to deal and muddle through the amount of course material for examinations. The poor performance of students which has become a challenging problem for the academic community has wide ranging implications for national development. Students perform poorly because the institutions have failed to create the environment that is accommodating and conducive to their learning and educational needs (Harb & El-Shaawari, 2006). The facilities available in most Nigerian Public Universities do not suffice in enhancing students learning and performance. Students therefore find it difficult to cope with the workload. Performance is vital because the level of success students achieve from the University has far-reaching implications for their personal and professional lives. Students’ performance impact on their career choice, personal income and level of success, as well as the degree of participation in community life (Grainen, 1995). Although a number of some personal and social factors such as family income, self-motivation, inability to manage school work and students’ personal circumstances, amongst others have contributed to the declining performance of many students, their impact vary with context (Park & Kerr, 1990). Considering all these, this study seeks to examine the determinants of academic performance of a university student.


University is one of the places where a systematically organized and scientifically oriented education is offered. It is through such an organized manner that the knowledge, skill and desired attitude of the learner develop, but in a given class it is sometimes seen that there is a difference in academic performance as a result of different determinants that affect the academic performance of students. The researcher is curious of determining the relationship between quality teachers, family social status, peer group, availability of textbooks, reading culture, time management, test competence etc and the academic performance of university students, hence, the need for this study on determinants of academic performance of a university student.


The objectives of the study are;

  1. To examine the determinants of academic performance of a university student.
  2. To find out if reading habit is a determinant of academic performance of a university student.
  3. . To find out whether quality of teacher is a determinant of academic performance of a university student.
  4. To find out if social status is a determinant of academic performance of a university student.

For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

H0:  there are no determinants of academic performance of a university student

H1: there are determinants of academic performance of a university student

H02:  reading habit is not a determinant of academic performance of a university student.

H2:  reading habit is a determinant of academic performance of a university student.


The outcome of this study is significant theoretically based on the fact that it will help government through the ministry of education and other education administrators in identifying the factors determining the academic performance of a university student. These determinants can be regulated by education administrators towards increased student academic performance. Empirical significance of this study is that it will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the determinants of university student’s academic performance, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area. This study is methodologically significant based on the use of primary information obtained directly from the university students. It revealed the factors determining university student’s academic performance as it is being experienced currently. The result thereby reveals the recent determinants of a university student academic performance


The scope of the study covers determinant of academic performance of a university student. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

  1. a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
  2. b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
  3. c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.


DETERMINANT: a factor which decisively affects the nature or outcome of something.

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE: Academic achievement or (academic) performance is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their short or long-term educational goals. Cumulative GPA and completion of educational benchmarks such as secondary school diplomas and bachelor’s degrees represent academic achievement.

STUDENT:student is primarily a person enrolled in a school or other educational institution who attends to employment. Students are permitted to progress towards university level programs in both government and private university colleges.


This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

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