1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Experience over the years has shown a great diversity in the attitude of learning and behavioural tendencies of students in the post primary institutions. Most of them are catalysed towards learning as a result of motivations effected by class teachers in various subjects. According to Nelson (2011) students are influenced positively toward learning by high grades awarded, due and valued recognition imposed upon them. Others are influenced by certain privileges such as exception for task especially manual labour to mark their impressive performance. These categories of students are noted to show high academic performance and with minimize disruptive behaviours.
Yet Johnson (2010) had posited that students are compelled to undertake academic task in a bid to avoid punishment by teachers. This serves as a negative form of motivation or reinforcement. In a sense, both positive and negative reinforces attain a degree of success but depends upon the extent of usage, the conditions of learning and the level of maturation of students:
Students attitude towards learning can also be sharpened through exemplary role displayed by both teachers and peer group. Teachers level of personality affects students who emulate those with impressive performance students who constitute peer group and study parties aimed to excel to as to win recognition of the group of this note Udenwa (2012) had opined that it is not only teachers that effect rewards to bright students. According to the author, fellow students can be show various forms of rewards which encourage them to excel more in their endeavours.
It is also noted that disciplinary behaviours are also encouraged through both rewards and punishment discipline which can be effected through both terms is the practice of training to obey rules and orders and punishing them if they do not as well as the controlled behaviour or situation that results from the training (Akpan, 2007).
From the foregoing, the role or purpose of reinforcement or motivation is to encourage learners to excel more by putting up more efforts while abhorring deviant behaviours. It is designed to help mould, guide and groom the students to retreat from non-conformity to conformity by building a disciplined, good and desirable character with a view to making them not only achieve their aims in school, but to fit into the adult life in the larger society. On this note, this study is interested in showing the effects of reward and punishment on students academic performance in secondary schools in Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Measures have so far been adopted by many educational stakeholders towards effecting positive study attitude among students. Yet it is observed that many students continues to show the poor attitude towards learning. This often reflects in their poor academic performance in both internal and external examinations.
Based on this, the level of examination malpractice has been on the increase despite threats from the government. This poor trend must not be allowed to continue unabated. Teachers, counselors, and even parents should be alive to their roles and responsibilities. Therefore, the problem of this study is to determine the effect of reward and punishment on students’ academic performance in secondary schools in Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The study is generally aimed to investigate the effects of rewards and punishment on students academic in secondary schools in Eket. Specially, this study seeks to fulfil the following objectives:-
i) To identify the various reward system used by teachers to motivate students towards learning
ii) To find out whether there exist any correlation between reward, punishment and students level of performance,
iii) To investigate useful suggestions towards improving the reward system used in secondary schools.
iv) To study and ascertain the best form of reinforces which can be used to increase students level of performance.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The school was set up to achieved certain goals. These can only be achieved if the students perform their duties creditably as expected. It is expected that this study will provide management with an insight to:
i) Ascertain the awakening of students with regards to the policy of reward programmes
ii) Find out whether these forms of reinforces actually had a positive impact upon student personal needs and their performance
iii) Identify the causes of students negative attitudes like truancy, examination malpractice designate the level of motivation by teachers.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions were posed to guide the study:-
1) How does reward help to boast students academic performance?
2) How does punishment help to boast students academic performance?
3) To what extent does teachers attitude to lesson preparations influence students academic performance.
1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
These were expressed in the null form as follows:
1. There is no significant influence of reward on students academic performance.
2. Punishment effectual on students does not significantly influence their academic performance.
3. There is no significant influence of teachers attitude to lesson preparation on students level of academic performance.
1.7 DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is delimited to public secondary schools in Eket Local Government area of Akwa Ibom State. The variables under study are those that linked with positive and negative forms of reinforcement. These include reward-punishment and their relative influence on the academic performance of students.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
There were inherent challenges or limitations of the study. These include insufficient funds. This constitutes delaying in completing the work. Also, time factor and strenuous effort has been expended in this regard. In spite of these challenges, the project proceeded with a reliable result.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The following terms have been operationally defined for the study these include:
i) Reward: Reward is a tangible or nontangible gift given to someone as a result of his/her excellent performance.
ii) Punishment: Punishment refers to the infliction of pains, discomfort or displeasure to someone as a result of his/her wrong doing.
iii) Reinforcement: Reinforcement refers to an increase in the frequency and level of performance when it is induced by a certain stimulus.
iv) Motivation: This is any form of inducement that encourages one to increase the pace of performance in this context, the learning process.