THE EFFECT OF THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT ON PUPILS’ ACHIEVEMENT AND PERFORMANCE AT THE BASIC LEVEL IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS VS. PRIVATE SCHOOLS
The study sought to ascertain the extent to which the learning environment influenced the academic achievement of students in public and private schools. To guide the study, four (4) research questions and four (4) hypotheses were formulated in line with the objectives, to determine the impact of a classroom building on the performance of pupils in Katsina State and to determine the impact of adequate class furniture on the performance of pupils in Katsina State.
The study’s population included twenty-five thousand three hundred (25, 3000) students from two hundred (200) public and private schools in Katsina State. Two renovated and two public schools were chosen using the purposeful sampling technique. Following that, two large-sized PRIMARY 4 classes were chosen from two of the schools, and two small-sized classes were chosen from the other two schools, for a total of four intact classes, with pupils from these classes constituting the sample size of 200 for this study.
The study employed a quasi-experimental research design with pre-test, post-test, and non-equivalent design groups. The study’s findings revealed that all hypotheses were rejected. The results revealed a significant difference in the performance of the two groups (Experimental and Control).
This revealed that a classroom building, adequate furniture, a small class population, and the use of instructional materials all had a positive impact on the performance of students in Katsina State primary schools. Based on the study’s findings, the researcher concludes that a conducive learning environment is very important for effective teaching and learning, and several recommendations were made,
including that the government and other education stakeholders should work together to build more classrooms in primary schools, which would help to reduce overcrowding and create an enabling teaching and learning environment; and that adequate furniture should be provided.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The primary goal of the teaching and learning process is to instill in the learner a desire to change their behavior through critical thinking. This process, however, does not occur in a vacuum, but rather in an environment designed to facilitate learning. According to the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), a learning environment is a physical space that supports multiple and diverse teaching-learning programs, including current technologies, one that demonstrates optimal, promotes effective performance and operation over time, respects and is in harmony with the environment, and one that encourages social participation by providing a healthy, comfortable, safe, secure, and stimulating setting.
As a result, the learning environment has been emphasized as an essential requirement for a smooth teaching and learning process (National Teachers Institute, NTI 2008). This is because students’ study habits are heavily influenced by it. A good learning environment promotes learning as a lifelong endeavor and allows students to discover appropriate value systems that can be applied.
Their self-awareness and national consciousness compass. Akhtar (2010) discovered that teaching in a technology-based learning environment increased students’ achievement levels in a public school in Islamabad, Pakistan.
The societal expectation of quality outputs from training institutions, on the other hand, makes students the primary focus of attention in any instructional program, and the better the learning environment (school), the better it can meet the goals of education and society in general.
Such objectives include providing students with desirable skills, knowledge, and attitudes that will enable them to work and live in a knowledge-based society (National Policy on Education, 2004). Teachers are expected to focus their teaching on the learners and to create an enabling environment for students to interact with learning materials to concretize their knowledge and skills so that they can become self-confident and self-reliant, and contribute meaningfully to the socioeconomic development of society.
There is a widespread belief that the state of a school’s learning environment, including infrastructure, has a significant impact on teacher effectiveness and student academic performance. Classrooms, offices, laboratories, conveniences, and other buildings, as well as furniture and sporting equipment, are all required in an educational institution to facilitate effective teaching and learning.
Comfortable classroom temperatures and smaller classes improve teachers’ effectiveness and allow students to receive more individual attention, ask more questions, participate more fully in discussions, reduce discipline problems, and outperform students in schools with substandard facilities by several percentage points (Earthen, 2002).
The environment in which you study, according to Mitchell (2008), can have a significant impact on how efficient your study time is. Noise, interruptions, lighting, temperature, neatness, comfort, instructional materials, and facilities such as buildings and equipment were identified as having the potential to influence study habits.
As a result, the researcher was motivated to conduct this research on the learning environment because of the deplorable conditions of the learning environment, particularly the physical aspects, despite its unquantifiable roles in facilitating teachers’ instructional delivery and pupils’ academic performance.
As a result, this study examined the learning environment, particularly the physical facilities in Katsina State, and its impact on the performance of students in vocational studies in primary schools. However, only the physical learning environment was considered for the purposes of this study.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
It has recently been observed that primary schools in Nigeria are failing to deliver the quality education expected of the system. A variety of issues appear to be plaguing the primary school system, ranging from inadequate facilities to old and dilapidated structures, insufficient instructional materials, and unqualified teachers, rendering the system ineffective (Wanjobi, 2011).
Schools must be effective in order to deliver the good things that are expected of them at all times. In this context, school effectiveness refers to the extent to which schools are able to meet their predetermined goals. School effectiveness extends beyond students passing exams.
It also includes students’ achievement in other areas of learning (the affective and psychomotor domains) (Bandele, 2002). He went on to say that, in addition to influencing cognitive achievement, these other domains help education system beneficiaries live fulfilled lives and contribute meaningfully to the development of society.
However, it has been observed that students continue to perform poorly in both internal and external examinations. Researchers such as Yusuf (2002) and Adeyemi (2008) have all demonstrated in their various studies that the extent of poor performance of pupils in public examinations has no doubt caused parents to lose confidence in the schools’ ability to produce good products.
According to Adewuyi (2002), a conducive learning environment can influence both pupil attitudes and achievement. He went on to say that a positive learning environment is a critical factor in school effectiveness. Against this backdrop, the researcher investigated the Impact of Learning Environment on the Performance of Pupils in Vocational Studies in Primary Schools in Katsina State.
1.3 STUDY AIM
The study’s objectives are as follows:
Determine the effect of classroom construction on the performance of students in Katsina’s public and private schools.
Determine the effect of adequate classroom furniture on student performance in Katsina primary schools.
Determine the effect of a small class population on the performance of students in Katsina primary schools.
Determine the effect of instructional materials on the performance of students in Katsina primary schools.
1.4 QUESTIONS FOR RESEARCH
The following questions have been raised in relation to this research:
What effect does classroom construction have on the performance of students in Katsina State’s public and private schools?
What effect does adequate classroom furniture have on student performance in Katsina State primary schools?
What effect does a small class population have on the performance of students in Katsina State primary schools?
What effect does the use of instructional materials have on the performance of students in Katsina State primary schools?
1.5 HYPOTHESES FOR RESEARCH
The following are the research hypotheses:
In Katsina, there is no significant difference in the performance of students taught vocational studies in classroom buildings versus those taught in dilapidated buildings.
In Katsina, there is no significant difference in performance between students taught vocational studies in classrooms with adequate furniture and those who are not.
In Katsina, there is no significant difference in the performance of students taught vocational studies in small classes versus those taught in large classes.
In Katsina, there is no significant difference in the performance of students taught vocational studies with instructional materials versus those taught without instructional materials.
1.6 THE IMPORTANCE OF THE STUDY
Over the years, the environment of Nigerian primary schools has been neglected in terms of issues such as renovating dilapidated classrooms, building new classroom buildings, and providing other necessary facilities. This is evident in the way students in some primary schools learn in dilapidated classrooms or under trees with few or no seats, no instructional facilities, and unqualified teachers, among other things.
As a result, this study will be critical in providing relevant information that can be used by government at all levels (federal, state, and local), which is viewed as the primary actor in terms of educational development in society, as well as private investors, to provide adequate facilities and maintenance strategies in primary schools.
Second, the study’s findings will be relevant to students because they will provide insight into the problems, the solutions to which may aid in taking specific actions that will efficiently and effectively address the poor performance of students as a result of the poor nature of our primary schools in Nigeria today.
1.7 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The purpose of the study was to investigate the effect of the learning environment on the performance of students in vocational studies in primary schools in Katsina State. Thus, primary 4 students from Government Day Primary School, Wukari, Yakasen Government Primary School, Wukari, Government Junior Technical Training School, Wukari, and Government Day Primary School Central, Wukari participated in the study.
1.8 OPERATIONAL TERM DEFINITION
Impact: As used here, impact refers to the noticeable effect of school facilities on primary school teaching and learning.
Physical Facilities: These are the facilities that are available to help students achieve their goals. Classroom/Desk and Chairs, Staffroom/Tables and Chairs, Laboratory/equipment, Workshop/equipment, Instructional materials, Toilet, Kitchen, Dining Halls, Assembly Halls, power plant, School farm/Garden, Pitch, Sports equipment, Water sources, and other items are included.
Academic performance simply refers to the achievement of educational goals by either students or teachers. It is a measurement in terms of specific and desirable examination results.
Learning is the activity of acquiring knowledge or making a connection between a response and a stimulus.
A school is an institution designed to teach students under the supervision of teachers.
The term “learning environment” refers to the various physical locations, contexts, and cultures in which students learn. In other words, it is the condition and influence with which a learner interacts, resulting in a series of complex interactions and ensuring behavioral change.
Classroom: a room found in educational institutions of all types in an attempt to provide a safe space where learning can take place without interruption from other distractions.
Small Class Size: the average number of students per class in a given school.
Large Class Size: the average number of students per class in a given school.