Abstract: This study was carried out to examine Learning Skills and Academic Performance among Secondary School Students in Okehi Local Government Area of Kogi State. The population of the study consisted of one thousand six hundred and sixty five (1675) JSS2 students in all the eight (8) public secondary schools in the study area. Simple random sampling technique was adopted to select the sample size of 200 students in the study. The main instrument for data collection in the study was Social Studies Achievement Test (SSAT), the data collected was analyzed statistically using independent t-test. Based on the data analyses in the study, it was discovered that individualized, cooperative and competitive learning skills has a significant influence on academic performance of students in Social Studies. It was recommended that Government should post adequate and well trained professional Social studies teachers that will addressed the student on the need for adoption of better learning Skill that will help them improve their academic performance.
1.1 Background to the Study
Every individual grow towards becoming a functional member of the society. In the process of growth, he/she gains empowerment through school learning. Educational stakeholders such as government, parents, missionaries, proprietors of schools have invested huge sums of money and materials to ensure high performance of students under their care (Bola, 2003).
There has always been diversity in performance of students in secondary schools. While some students perform very well, others do the opposite and in some case students are withdrawn from school for low performance. Various reasons have been attributed to this failure among them include the different level of intelligence, learning skills and so on and so forth.
Students’ academic performance and its determinants have been a central interest to educational psychologies and other educational stakeholders. Experts and scholars of the field have been shifting their attention from the behavioral factors towards variety of cognitive determinant, including attribution, cognitive and metacognitive strategies. Academic performance motivation is one of the requirements for learning and it is something that intensifies behavior and gives it direction and helps the learner with maintenance of the so acquired behavior. With this motivation student have the necessary mobility for successfully completing an assignment or keeping on an activity until a certain level of competency in their work is attained in order to eventually succeed in learning and realizing the academic progress (Mohammad, 2006) several definitions of learning skills have been proposed. Dispute seems to lie in whether the awareness of strategies process should be regarded as part of the strategic learning. Chamot (1987) defined learning skills as “techniques, approaches or deliberate actions that students take in other to facilitate the learning and recall of both linguistic and content area information.
Cohen (1998) proposed that learning skills are those processes which are consciously selected by the learner of the subject matter. Charity (2006) sees learning skills as plans or the techniques a learner implore to achieve the desire learning outcome and to maximize his or her learning process. Learning skills could be described as bad or good. Bad learning skills make the process of acquiring knowledge and idea very rigorous. They tend to waste the learners’ energy, effort and time. It leads to the acquisition of knowledge and ideas which may be easily lost whereas good learning skills make the learners to conserve effort, time and energy. The knowledge acquired through good learning skills are also stable and will not be easily forgotten by the learners (Eneh, 2006).
Learning skills have a simple structure by using which the learners would be able to learn the educational materials more quickly, understand than better and more importantly, to memorize it for a longer period of time. The learner applying engage in learning process, will actively engage in learning process, will link new materials with their earlier information and will constantly monitor their learning process.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Continuous decline in the performance of Senior Secondary School students in public examinations have heightened the anxiety of every stakeholders in education with the teacher and the learners at the centre of challenge. This poor academic performance of students in school mostly in Okehi central Local Government Area, has worked against the realization of the goals and objectives of the learning process. Factors like learning strategies, instructional strategies have been found among other variables as the factors that bring about the downward trend in the academic performance of students in social studies. It was on this background that the researcher was interested in determining whether learning strategies influences the academic performance of students in social studies in Okehi Local Government Area of Kogi State.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study was to examine learning skills and academic performance among secondary school students of social studies in Kogi Local Government Area of Kogi State. Specifically, the study sought to:
- Determine to the relationship between cooperative learning skills and academic performance in social studies among secondary school students.
- Determine to the relationship between individualized learning skills and academic performance in social studies among secondary school students.
- Determine to the relationship between competitive learning strategies and academic performance in social studies among secondary schools.