This study is the outcome of an attempt made to assess students perception of the factors affecting their performance in geography examination in some selected secondary schools in Gidan-Waya Municipal Jema’a Local Government Area Of Kaduna State. Geographical as a subject empowers students to make more meaningful contributions to the national development by integrating geographical knowledge. The study adopted simple percentage method in the statistical method used. The study used a set of questionnaires, interview schedule document analysis to obtain data. The total population of the study consists of 200 teachers and students offering geography. The finding shows that the teaching and learning of geography and the academic performance during geography examinations are affected by various factors. Also, the performance in geography has steadily dropped raising concern on the teaching methods used. It was also discovered that the schools under survey lacked, teaching and learning resources such as geography textbooks, internet services, maps, photographs, globes, and survey apparatus. Other factors were poor mathematical and drawing skills, poor English background among students, and lack of motivation for teachers and students. It was recommended that, Geography subject should be given special priority by establishing geography resource rooms, and providing adequate teaching and learning resources.
1.1 Background of the study
Student’s performance in Geography at senior secondary certificate examination in Nigeria has not been satisfactory for some years now. This raises a question among teachers and students as to why performance in Geography remains low year after year in this part of the world. Also, there have been a decline in the yearly number of students’ enrolment for geography and their lack of keen interest in geography as a school subject as shown by Akintade (2011)’s study at Ilorin; which is quite at variance with the findings of Adeyemi (2009) who observed that more students opt for geography from the list of available optional subjects in Nigeria. Among the various reasons that have been adduced to be responsible for this decline are the general lukewarm attitude of students to the study of geography at the secondary school level (Olanipekun, 1988); teacher’s attributes and relationship with pupils and students (Zarei and Sharifabad, 2012) and Sabitu and Nuradeen, 2010); teachers attrition ((Egu, Ogbonnawuju and Chionye, 2011); student’s attributes, peer group and parental influence on the choice of subject and the job prospect of geography (Akintade, 2011); the nature of geography curriculum; the inability of social studies taken at the junior secondary school level to cater for the need of geography at the senior secondary school level (Olanipekun, 1988); and inadequate provision of geography materials such as laboratories, books and equipment in schools.
Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments. Geographers explore both the physical properties of Earth’s surface and the human societies spread across it. Education is considered as a first step for every human activity. It plays a vital role in the development of human capital and is linked with an individual’s well-being and opportunities for better living (Battle & Lewis, 2002). It ensures the acquisition of knowledge and skills that enable individuals to increase their productivity and improve their quality of life. This increase in productivity also leads towards new sources of earning which enhances the economic growth of a country (Saxton, 2000). The quality of students’ performance remains at top priority for educators. It is meant for making a difference locally, regionally, nationally and globally. Educators, trainers, and researchers have long been interested in exploring variables contributing effectively for quality of performance of learners. These variables are inside and outside school that affect students’ quality of academic achievement. These factors may be termed as student factors, family factors, school factors and peer factors (Crosnoe, Johnson & Elder, 2004). The formal investigation about the role of these demographic factors rooted back in 17th century (Mann, 1985). Generally these factors include age, gender, geographical belongingness, ethnicity, marital status, socioeconomic status (SES), parents’ education level, parental profession, language, income and religious affiliations.
According the Research Division of Cambridge Assessment (2007) which found that students choose certain subjects because they would be useful in their future career. The teachers have a significant impact on students’ choice of geography through counseling. The teachers might have served as role models for some students and would want to choose subjects that the teachers teach in schools. No wonder 73% of the students decided to take Geography as an optional subject. The influence of the teacher on the students can therefore not be overemphasized. The relationship between social studies (taught at the junior secondary level) is also a factor in the students’ choice of Geography at the senior secondary level. As earlier stated, Social Studies, which is related to Geography, is taught at the junior secondary level while Geography is taught at the senior secondary level in Botswana. This being the case, students who have offered Social Studies at the junior secondary school may wish to offer Geography at the senior secondary school because of the close relationship between the two subjects. Students in this case, may want to take advantage of related concepts or familiarity with contents in Social Studies to prefer Geography. This study was to assess the factors that influence the academic performance of students in Geography in Kaduna State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
As every other science subject, Geography should be given serious attention too. Because Geography is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets which are essential to man. Aydin (2011) notes that methods used in teaching geography are generally inefficient. Students can not apply what was acquired. Mostly teacher-centered methods are used. Learners don’t participate. This could be the reason why students‟ performance in p geography examinations has been poor and does not show any trend for improvement for years now. There is empirical proof that instructional methods adopted by teachers influence learning achievement significantly (Mukwa, 2002). Whereas appropriate instructional methods would facilitate grasping of new concepts, inappropriate methods are likely to constrain knowledge retention and application. Most of the schools in Kaduna do not have Geography resource rooms. They also lack other teaching and learning resources like climatic maps, geography journals, and internet. Although, some schools have qualified Geography teachers, but they do not attend in-service courses to update their knowledge in Geography which is a dynamic subject. Also the issue of school policies on selection of subject may have an influence on students’ performance in Geography. In majority of the schools, Geography lessons are offered at the same time when History lessons are being offered to other students. A student has therefore to take either Geography or History Students perceive Geography as a difficult subject and avoid it. Coupled with some institutional factors like parental economic status also influence the performance of students in Geography. Some parents cannot pay extra money to enable students go for field trips and therefore fieldtrips despite being important in Geography is not conducted. This led to the study on assessment of students perception of factors affecting their performance in geography examinations.
- Research Questions
- Do socio-economic status, parental education and occupation has any effect on students’ performance in geography examinations?
- Do teacher’s educational qualification has a significant influence on students’ performance in geography examinations?
- Do student’s genders have any significant relationship with lack of interest in geography as a subject?
- How does inadequate provision of textbooks affect students’ performance in geography examinations?
- How does students’ perception of geography affect their performance in geography examinations in secondary schools?
- How do (To what extent) teacher training affect the performance of students in geography examinations in secondary schools?
1.4 Research Hypothesis
In order to guide the major activities of this study based on the research questions highlighted above, the researcher from the research questions decided to formulate the following research hypothesis.
H0: there is a significant relationship between genders and lack of interest in geography as a subject by students.
H1: there is no relationship between genders and lack of interest in geography as a subject by students.
H0: Inadequate provision of textbooks does not affect students’ performance in geography examinations.
H2: Inadequate provisions of textbooks do affect students’ performance in geography examinations.
- Objectives of the Study:
The objectives of the study are:
- To examine student’s perception of factors affecting their performance in geography examinations.
- To access socio-economic background and its effect on performance of students in geography examinations in senior secondary schools.
- To evaluate the extent to which teacher qualification and training affect students’ performance in geography examinations in senior secondary schools.
- To access the extent to which students’ perception of geography affects their performance in geography examinations.
- To examine the extent to which inadequate teaching and learning materials affect students’ performance in geography examinations.
1.6 Significance of the study
This study on student’s perception of factors affecting their performance in geography examinations will add to the existing literatures on the factors affecting student’s performance in geography examinations. It is believe that the findings of this study will be of immense benefit to the students, teachers, parents, curriculum developers, government, and the society at large in the following ways: by informing the government on the need to provide schools with adequate infrastructure, enlighten the teachers on how to better appreciate their work and help in molding their students understanding of the subject, the need for parents to provide books for their children/wards in helping to mold their knowledge of geography. It will also inform the curriculum developers to look into the actual period of teaching and learning of geography in order not to collide with history subject so has to bring geography to a good standard, as well as coming up with adequate timing for the subject. The findings will also inform policy makers and geography teachers on the factors responsible for students’ performance in geography examinations in secondary schools. It may also provide a guide for students (as too the relevance of geography to future careers, and other relevant professions).
1.7 Scope of the study
This is limited to accessing student’s perception of factors affecting their performance in geography examinations in some selected secondary schools in Gidan-Waya Municipal Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
The researchers in the process of carrying out the research encountered the following constraints.
- Lack of finance and time and combing it with school work.
- Non-disclosure of required information by the respondents.
- Error in interpreting and recording answers.
- Sampling procedure.
- Non response error
- Lack of research equipment’s like computer contributed to slowing down the pace of the research.
- Scanty information base.
- Inadequate statistics
- Lack of mobility/mobilization of interviewers, inadequate geography teachers to be interviewed.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Assessment: This is the action of assessing someone or something while in Educational assessment or educational evaluation is the systematic process of documenting and using empirical data on the knowledge, skill, attitudes, and beliefs to refine programs and improve student learning.
Geography: Geography is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments. Geographers explore both the physical properties of Earth’s surface and the human societies spread across it. Factors:
Students: A student is primarily a person enrolled in a school or other educational institution who attends classes in a course to attain the appropriate level of mastery of a subject under the guidance of an instructor and who devotes time outside class to do whatever activities the instructor assigns that are necessary either for class preparation or to submit evidence of progress towards that mastery.
Academic performance: Academic performance is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their short or long-term educational goals. Cumulative GPA and completion of educational benchmarks such as secondary school diplomas and bachelor’s degrees represent academic achievement.
Examination: A test or examination is an assessment intended to measure a test-taker’s knowledge, skill, aptitude, physical fitness, or classification in many other topics. A test may be administered verbally, on paper, on a computer, or in a predetermined area that requires a test taker to demonstrate or perform a set of skills.