1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The relationship between school environment and school academic achievement has been a perplexing one for educators. Studies have found that the physical environment, siting of school in rural or urban area, socio-economic status of the neighborhood, ethic location of the school, overcrowded classrooms built near market center, libraries, technical workshops, laboratories, school plant planning, among others are all school environment variables that significantly affect school academic achievement (Fullan. M. and Watson, N. 2000).
School academic achievement in this context refers to the extent to which schools are able to accomplish their pre-determined objectives. School academic achievement transcends beyond students passing final examination. It also encompasses student’s attainment in other domains of learning (the affective and the psychomotor domains). According to Udoh and Akpa (2004), these other domains, apart from having influence on the cognitive achievement, also make the beneficiary of the education system live a fulfilled life and contribute meaningful to the development of the society.
School academic achievement research started in the mid-1960 with the Cohen report (Cohen 1983) in the United State. Since then, there are three distinct but interrelated branches of school academic achievement research, namely, (a) school effects research – i.e. scientific properties of school effects, e.g the size of school effects, (b) schools academic achievement research – i.e process oriented study of characteristics of schools academic achievement, and (c)school improvement research – focusing and limiting its test of specific models of effective schools. It must be noted that most of the school academic achievement research studies have traditionally come from USA, UK and some continental European countries, in particular, the Netherlands. Much is yet to be examined on the effects of school environment factors on school academic achievement in Nigeria.