**The Effect Of Class Size On Students Academic Performance In Mathematics In Ikirun, Ifelodun L.G.A Osun State**

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**ABSTRACT**

*This study was to examine the effect of class size on student’s academic performance in Mathematics in secondary schools in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Osun State, Nigeria. The specific purposes were to investigate the effect of large class size and small class size in academic performance of students in Mathematics in Secondary Schools. Two research questions and three research hypotheses were postulated to guide the study. An experimental research design was adopted in the study. *

*The population of the study consisted of all the public secondary schools in Ikirun, Ifelodun Local Government Area. One hundred students selected from ten public secondary schools to formed the sample for the study. The study adopted sample random sampling technique to select the respondents. Data collected were analyzed using independent t-test statistical method. The findings of the study revealed that, that class size have a significance effect on student’s academic performance in Mathematics in secondary schools in Ikirun, Ifelodun Local Government Area. Based on the findings, it was recommended among others that, Government should provide enough infrastructures in schools such as classroom blocks to curb with the increasing number of students in secondary schools in the study area.*

**THE EFFECT OF CLASS SIZE ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN MATHEMATICS**

**CHAPTER ONE **

**INTRODUCTION**

**1.1 Background to the study**

Class-size is an educational tool that can be used to describe the average number of students per class in a school. It is also the number of students per teacher in a class. It is a tool that can be used to measure the performance of the teacher in a given subject. It is simply referred to as the teacher-student ratio (Twan, 2002).

According to UNICEF, the recommended class size is 1:35. However in Nigeria, the National Policy in Education recommends a class size of 1:40 in upper secondary schools (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004). Based on the above, class size can be classified as large, optimal or small. In Nigeria, a class is large if it has over 40 students; it is optimal if it has 40 students and small if there are less than 40 students in a class in the secondary school.

The classroom still remains the main learning environment in the schools although learning can take place in other venues. On this premise, it is imperative that educators strive to make the classroom the best venue for students to attain their full potential in academic performance (Fullon, 2005).

It is what teachers’ think, what teachers do and who teachers are at the level of the classroom that ultimately shapes the kind of learning that young people get (Ukpong, 2007). A large amount of a child’s time is spent sitting in a school’s classroom. This place is where they will learn the various skills deemed necessary and proper for them to achieve success in the global society. The classroom is where they will gain an understanding of their place in the world as well as discovering their potentials. It is where the student develops what they want their future to look like, as well as knowledge of the skills needed to reach that goal.

With the classroom being such an important place in the growth of a child it is important to understand the ways in which to affect this environment in order to receive maximum effectiveness instruction. If schools really do play a large role in teaching the next generation how to be successful members of society then every precaution should be taken to make sure that the learning environment is one thing that help students thrive.

If not approached correctly, a classroom can be set up in a way that stifles creativity or does not promote a positive learning environment. There are many things that can affect this environment. There are physical elements such as wall art, arrangement of desks, or resources.

Also, there are intangible elements such as the energy of the classroom, the rules, or the sounds within the room. Each of these can impact students focus and achievement in the class. Also teacher’s attitude in the classroom is one of variables we cannot do without. The way in which a teacher organizes their class, or how they control it, will yield positive or negative consequences for their students. If a teacher is unmotivated, there will be negative impact on the students within the classroom but if a teacher is motivated there will be positive impact on their students as well. It is important for a teacher to understand this cause and effects in order to understand how to organize his classroom to create a better learning environment.

The different class characteristics in schools are closely related to the academic performance of students in school subjects including Mathematics. Going by the fact that the Nigerian education system has continuously experienced an upward trend in schools, the enrollment at all levels have also increased tremendously since after the civil war in 1970. This has in turn impacted on the class-size in terms of the population of individual classroom (Osim, Chika & Isaac, 2012).

Inflated class-size is very critical to teaching-learning process as teachers sometimes have difficulty in dealing with students on individual bases. This is observed in a situation where a teacher stands in front of the classroom throughout the lesson period without moving around from time to time to supervise what the students are doing because there is hardly space between one row of lockers and another especially since the introduction of free and compulsory education in some parts of Nigeria.

Class-size is an important factor with respect to academic performance of students. There is also a consensus among researchers and educational scholars that, students’ performance decreases as class- size increases. It is refers to educational tools that can be used to describe the average number of student per class in s school. In emphasizing the importance of class-size to the learning process, the federal government through the National Policy on Education (2004) stipulated that class-size in secondary school should have the ratio of 1:40. Regrettably, the classes are so large that teachers cannot recognize the students by names and sometimes by their faces.

Class-size has also impinged on the quality of assessment, evaluation and feedback system carried out by teachers in our schools. A number of reports attest to this including Wosyanju (2005) who maintained that large classes pose teaching challenges such as delayed feedback provided to students, low quality individual feedback resulting in insufficiency and poor quality of students reduction in teaching, less assignment which encourages shallow learning and students become faces instead of people. As a result of this, Osim, et al (2012) observes that teachers adopt the strategies of concentrating on ‘true or false’answers or objectives test to ease marking. This reduces writing and creative skills in the students.

Class-size problem is like a vicious circle in Osun State since the introduction of free and compulsory education policy. It leads to teacher’s poor work quality, which resulted in student’s poor learning outcomes and culminates in turning out half-baked products into the tertiary institutions and the labour market respectively.

**1.2 Statement of the Problem**

It is observed that classroom variables are major problems that affect academic performance of students in Mathematics in secondary schools. These classroom variables include: class size, instructional materials, classroom structures, teacher’s attitude in the class, classroom organization, teachers leadership styles in the classroom etc.

It is also observed that most public secondary schools are over populated, as such teachers lack classroom control which in turn affects academic performance of students. These problems arise because of large class size ratio to a teacher, poor utilization of instructional materials, poor classroom structure, poor classroom organization etc.

Observation reveals that in recent years, there has been astronomical rise in class-size due to increase in enrollment of students in public secondary schools in the State, especially since the introduction of free and compulsory education policy. Some schools have as many as eighty (80) students and above per class as against the recommended ratio of 1:40 by the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2OO1). This situation has multiple effects on the teaching and learning as well as students’ academic performance in Mathematics.

The level of failure recorded in both internal and external examinations like the Junior WAEC in recent time calls for concern. Apart from this, students no longer have confidence in writing examination on their own without examination malpractices (Nlgbekern, 2004). This is also consequent upon the fact that large, class-sizes do not encourage conducive teaching and learning environment.

It is also on record that teachers who teach large classes are faced with the challenges on their tasks performance in terms of teaching, evaluation, feedback and assessment of students’ academic performance as well as classroom management (Osim, 2005). It is against this backdrop that this research is carried out to investigate the effect class size on academic performance in Mathematics in secondary schools in Ifelodun Local Government Area in Osun State.

### THE EFFECT OF CLASS SIZE ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN MATHEMATICS

**1.3 Purpose of the Study**

The main purpose of this study was to examine the effects of class size on student’s academic performance in Mathematics in Senior Secondary Schools in Ikirun, Ifelodun Local Government Area.

Specifically, the study sought to:

(i) assess the differences in academic performance of students in Mathematics taught in small class size and those taught in large class size.

(ii) examine the differences of academic performance of students in Mathematics taught in optimal class size and those taught in large class size.

**1.4 Significant of the Study**

The study will be useful mostly to policy makers in the educational sector as well as Government. Educational planners will find the study useful in designing school facilities such as classroom in a way that will be conducive to learning.

The Government will also find this study a useful guide in deciding on the spread of infrastructure such as the quantity of classrooms that will be adequate for the available and anticipated school enrolment. The study will also be useful to school principals in deciding on the number of students to be admitted into each class in any given session.

This study would benefit the teachers who form the centre of the teaching learning process. The finding of the study will provide a basic for the teachers to evaluate their students and his /her class arrangement techniques.

It is important to note that, the findings in this study will also serve as a source of reference for other researchers who may want to conduct the same or similar study in other subjects area.

#### THE EFFECT OF CLASS SIZE ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN MATHEMATICS

**1.5 Research Questions**

The following research questions were postulated to guide the study:

(i) How does academic performance of students in Mathematics taught in small class size differ from those taught in large class size?

(ii) To what extent does academic performance of students in Mathematics taught in optimal class size differ from those taught in large class size?

**1.6 Research Hypotheses**

In order to guide the study the following research hypotheses were formulated:

(i) There is no significant difference in performance of students in Mathematics between those in small class size and those in large class size

(ii) There is no significant difference in performance of students in Mathematics between those in optimal class size and those in large class size.

**1.7 Limitation of the Study**

Some of the challenges encountered while conducting the research include insufficient funds, short duration for the study and difficulties in having access to related materials.

1.8 Delimitation of the Study

This research work is delimited to the effect of class size on student’s academic performance in public secondary schools.

1.9 Operation Definitions of Terms:

The following are defined as they are applied in the study:

**Classroom**: the formal setting or space within which teaching and learning take place. The classroom therefore allows for instructional interaction between the teachers and learners or between learners and learners.

**Class Size: **It is the ratio students to a teacher in a classroom.

**Small class size: **A substantial reduction in the number of students per class

**Large class size: **A class whose numerical size does not permit the teacher to cope effectively with the demands of individual students.

**Academic performance: **This is used in the study to refer to student’s attitude to competition for excellence in their attitude. It can also be defined as the outcome of education, the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their educational goals.

**Student: **this refers to the learners in secondary school.

Lawson Peter – Chief Editor in Projectvilla Nigeria. A writer and academic researcher.