1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Education constitutes a formidable instrument for social mobilization in the society. It places very high premium in the education of the young ones as the gateway to cultural, social, political, economic and technological emancipation.
According to Nigeria philosophy of education, education is viewed as a means of building a free, just and egalitarian society, a land full of opportunities for all citizens who are able to generate a great and dynamic economy and growing into strong and self reliant nation. As a way of achieving these objectives, the federal government and various state governments have allocated substantial portion of their budgets every year to education. Also many state governments had at one time or the other embarked on free education programme.
The Federal Government in 1976 launched the Universal Primary Education (UPE). Although some of these programmes have suffered several set-backs due to political changes, it is still an indication of government interest in the education of her citizens.
Some State Government like Akwa Ibom State goes beyond, give direct financial assistance to students in form of scholarships and bursaries, pay WASSE or NECO Examination fees.
Despite these concerted efforts by some of the governments at different levels, there is therefore a public out-cry over the falling standard of education particularly as observed in student’s poor academic performance in external examinations which continue to be poor. A pertinent question to ask is whether the standard of our education is really falling. There is therefore, the need to answer these vital question by subjecting our education system to some sort of evaluation. One way of doing this, is to look into the condition under which our children learn including their various homes. The need to bring up children in an environment which is rich, stimulating and motivating has attracted the attention of many contemporary researchers. It has been an established fact that there are three factors that affect the child’s learning. These factors are the child himself, the teacher and the environment.
Environment as defined by Bello (2004) is the aggregate of all the external condition and influences that affect the life and development of an individual. An environment is not just a void space or a vaccum without other elements. Cooper (1977) postulated that environment means the total set of circumstances, that surround an individual. In cooper’s presentation he classified environment as physical and social. The physical environment consists of such elements as air, water, landforms, climate etc while social aspects of the environment are ethics, economics, a esthetics and others which crows together to affect the behaviour of individuals.
In another special classification, cooper further classified environment into the home environment which is the environment into which the child is born and bred, and the external environment which is the environment which the child must go into or have contact within order for him to be an all round individual.
An environment has a vital role to play in the life of the individuals. When children are brought up in a particular environment, they are to be moulded or shaped according to the factors operating in the particular environment. Environmental psychologists such as John Hatson believed that given appropriate environment a child could be make into anything.
Quality of the school as well as that of the teacher is an important variables in students’ academic performance. It is observed that some schools stand out distinctive in terms of the quality teaching learning facilities, such school have qualified teachers, well equipped standard laboratories, libraries, furnished classrooms, instructional aids among others. Students who passed through schools without the necessary learning resources may be negatively affected in terms of their academics performance. Parental rearing style is another major variable, because home environmental factors like parental discipline, education, occupation among others determine the quality of learning a child acquires. Eecles (1992) argues that since the primary environment of the student is the home, it stands to reason that the impact exerted by the parents or the home far out weigh and exceed that from other factors. This supports the revelation by several researchers about the tremendous impact of home environmental variables on school success. (Dempsey 2005; Reddings 2006). Maccoby (1980) stated that parents’ child rearing style certainly have influence on their children’s behaviours and values. This affect students’ academic performance in English.
School location is another variable that may influence students’ academic performance in English language. Just like any business enterprise which is affected by its location, academic performance is found to be influenced by school location. According in Nwoye(1984), Location that are disastrous to learning include industrial towns with high population pressure; areas of the town with traffic congestions, while isolated areas are relatively conducive to serious academic pursuits. Situations are observed where students battle with noise pollution due to the school nearness to busy daily markets.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Many people are becoming worried by the poor performances of our children in their certificate examinations like WASSCE, NECO, NABTEB as well as in Joint Matriculation Examinations for entry into tertiary institutions. For example, WAEC announced and described that 2015, May/June result as being generally poor. This situation gives a cause for concern. It is known that environmental variables can affect learners’ learning either positively or negatively. It is also true that one’s academic achievement can be influenced by variables such as: teachers’ quality, parenting style, school location, among others.
Some students are sometime observed roaming the streets when they are supposed to be in classes receiving lectures. In some remotely located schools some teachers to school and go out at will because they feel the location of the school may not easily attracts any school inspector to the school. Some schools without qualified teachers are observed not being able to exposed their students to the expected curriculum. These lapses may affect quality of learning by students. It is against this background that the problem of this study is to determine environmental variables and students’ academic performance in English Language in Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of the study is to investigate environmental variables and students’ performance in English language in Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Specifically, the objectives of the study is to examine the influence of:
i. School quality on students’ academic performance in English Language.
ii. Parental rearing style and the academic performance of students in English language
iii. School location and the students’ academic performance in English language.
1.4 SIGNIFICANT OF THE STUDY
This study is significant in the sense that it is the first step to the amelioration of students’ academic performance. If nothing is done to halt the increasingly poor performance of our senior secondary school students, the realization of the educational goal will be an illusion. To policy makers and planners of educations, this research study will furnish a sound basis for curriculum developers that addresses individuals differences in students with respect to environmental variables. To counselors, it will yield a good basis for students counseling on education and on placement and vocational choice. The teachers will be guided to understand and appreciate the plight of students and adapt teaching method to accommodate them. It will liberate, inspire and tune parents to be aware of their influence on the language performance of the children.
To the students self concept will be elevated and academic excellence enhanced. It is envisaged that this research study will serve as a repository of information for future researchers who may wish to research further into the same topic or even closely related issues.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
To guide the study, the following research questions were posed.
1. How does quality of schools influence student’s academic performance in English language?
2. How does parental rearing style influence student’s academic performance in English language?
3. To what extent does school location influence academic performance of students in English language?
1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
To guide the study, the following hypotheses were formulated:
1. There is no significant influence of school’s quality on student’s academic performance in English language.
2. There is no significant influence of parenting rearing style on students’ academic performance in English language.
3. There is no significant influence of school location on students academic performance in English language.
1.7 ASSUMPTION OF THE STUDY
The following basic assumptions were made regarding the study:
1. Environmental variables and students’ academic performance can be measured using appropriate research instrument.
2. Parental rearing style of students differ among students.
1.8 DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The sample was confined to the 2015/2016 SS2 senior secondary students in all the public secondary schools in Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. This study was set to examine the environmental variables and students’ academic performance in English language in Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area.
The study was therefore delimited to the investigation of the quality of school; parental rearing style and school location.
1.9 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The main limitation in the study was the difficulty in getting the respondents’ attention to complete the questionnaire in time and to take the achievement test, because of time frame. This problem was minimized with the assistance of the class teachers.
1.10 DEFINITION OF TERMS
To enhance proper understanding of this work, some terms were defined in the context of this research as follows:
Environmental variables: Are used in the study to refer to the students’ homes as they were brought up by parents, the quality of schools attended by students in terms of teacher quality, facilities and also the location of schools.
Academic Performance: This is measured in the study through scores obtained by the students in the researcher constructed English Language Achievement Test (EAT)
Parental Rearing Style: This is used to measure parents attitude in bringing up their children. Level of control of students’ behaviour be parents.