This study investigated the psychological factors that influence the academic achievement in some selected secondary schools in biology in Ilorin, Kwara State. The survey research design method was adopted. A total of 250 students in senor secondary schools were selected randomly for the study through stratified random sampling from five (5) secondary schools in the state. Five research questions and research hypothesis each were formulated to guide the study. Data was analysed using mean, standard deviation and t-test statistical analysis,and the null hypothesis were tested at 0.05 level of significance. The calculated t-value of each of the factors was all found to be greater than the critical t-value of 1.969. This shows that students level of stress, depression, fear/phobia, self-concept and delinquency were all found to have impact on academic achievement. It was recommended that government, should engage qualified counselors in schools who in conjunction with the teachers and parents would evolve positive ways of managing stress, depression and negative self-concept among students. School principals and teachers are urged to instill strict discipline on students to avoid truancy and other acts of delinquency. 


Title Page i

Certification ii

Dedication  iii

Acknowledgement  iv

Table of Contents v - vii

List of Tables viii

Abstract  ix


Background of the Study 1-3

State of the Problem 3

Purpose of the Study 4

Research Question 4

Research Hypothesis 5

Significance of the Study 5-6

Scope and Limitation of the Study 6

Operational Definition of Terms 6


Theoretical background of the Study 7-9

Concept framework of the Study 9-11

Review of empirical studies11-16

Appraisal of the Literature Reviewed 17


Research Design 18

Sample and Sampling Techniques 18-19

Research Instruments 19

Validity and reliability of the Instrument 19-20

Procedure for Data Collection 20

Data Analysis Technique. 20-21


Data Analysis 22-30

Discussion of Findings 30-32


Summary 33-34

Conclusion 34

Recommendations 34-35

References 36-41

Appendix 42-4


Table 1: Contribution of Stress to student’s Academic Achievement in Biology

Table 2: Contribution of Depression to Student’s Academic Achievement in Biology 

Table 3: Contribution of Self-Concept to Student’s academic achievement in Biology

Table 4: Contribution of Fear/Phobia to Student’s Academic Achievement in Biology. 

Table 5: Contribution of delinquency to Student’s Academic Achievement in Biology.




Background of the Study 

Academic achievement is the level of performance in school subjects as exhibited by an individual. It is the outcome of education to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their educational goals (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 2011). It is generally regard as the display of knowledge attained or skills developed in the school subjects. Academic achievement is commonly measured by examination scores or continuous assessment scores, but there is no general agreement on how it is measured or best tested.   

The achievement of students has been a source of great concern for educators, parents, guardians, curriculum planners, and researchers. This general concern stems from prevailing poor achievement recorded by students almost each succeeding year at the end of their secondary school course (Ezeazor, 2003).

The overall importance of science and technology cannot be over emphasized. This is because the success of any nation is measured on the amount of scientific knowledge possessed by its people. According to Abdullah (1980), science is the foundation upon the bulk of the present technology breakthrough is built.

Developing nation like Nigeria needs rapid development and this can only be achieved through science and technology.

Science education is imperative for useful living in any society. It is the centre for producing resources necessary for socioeconomic, scientific and technological development need for advancement of any nation. 

The above notwithstanding, much has been said about secondary school students poor performance in science generally and biology in particular 

Biology is described as a science of life and plays a vital role in the life of every human being. It is very vast with many divisions including zoology, botany, ecology, genetics, morphology, anatomy, physiology, histology, microbiology, bio-chemistry, evolution and the more advanced cell biology, molecular biology among others. Biology finds application in many specialized areas like medicine pharmacy, food production agriculture etc. (Osuafor and Okonkwo, 2013).

Over the years performance in biology has been dwindling. For instance Okoye and Okeke (2007) in their study found that in 2002, 2003, 2004 the percentage of candidates who passed West African school Certificate Examination (WASCE) at credit and above (grades 1-6) in  biology were 30.3%, 42.1% and 30.2% respectively. In 2008 WAEC chief examiners reported a decline in performance in biology especially the theoretical aspect (WAEC, 2008). 

Again, the Nigerian television authority (NTA) on March 17th 2010 reported that National Examination Council (NECO) recorded 74% failure in biology in their Nov/Dec, 2009 SSCE Examination result. 

There are numerous factors influencing academic achievement. These include school quality; school environment and provision of resources, other research findings have shown that individual characteristics such as motivation, orientations, self esteem and learning approaches are important factors influencing academic achievement (Minneaert and Jansen, 1992, Watkin 1986). 

Statement of the Problem      

The implication of the persistent poor performance of students in biology is that a great percentage of them fail to get grades that will take them to higher institution for higher studies. This has been a source of concern to well meaning Nigerians, parents, researchers and science educators.

Considering biology’s many branches and vast applications in every field of human Endeavour, its importance in a nation’s economic development cannot be over-emphasized. It therefore becomes very necessary that efforts are geared towards fining a lasting solution to students’ poor performance in the subject. The study will enable us to perceive the psychological factors influencing academic achievement in biology in some selected secondary schools within Ilorin kwara State.

Purpose of the Study 

The main purpose of the research is to identify the psychological factors influencing academic achievement in biology in some selected secondary schools. Specifically the study examines the extent to which the psychological factors such as: stress, depression, self concept, fear and delinquency can influence academic achievement of students in biology.  

Research Questions  

The following research questions were formulated to guide the study. 

1. To what extent does stress influence academic achievement of students in biology 

2. To what extent does depression influence academic achievement of students in biology 

3. To what extent does self concept influence academic achievement of students in biology 

4. To what extent does fear influence academic achievement of students in biology 

5. To what extent does delinquency influence academic achievement of students in Biology

Research hypothesis

1. Student level of stress has no significant influence on academic achievement in biology.

2. Depression has no significant influence on students academic achievement in biology.

3. Self concept does not have significant influence on students’ academic achievement in biology.

4. Fear/phobia has no significant influence on students’ academic achievement in biology.

5. Act of  delinquency no significant influence on students’ academic achievement in biology.

Significance of the Study

The findings accumulated by this study may provide significant benefits to the following groups or individuals. 

Teacher; they can better understand why such students performance is like that. They will be able to help students cope with biology subject in spite of the psychological factors affecting it. 

    Students: will be able to know the psychological factors that affect their academic achievement in biology. Thus they will be able to manage their situations in spite of the factors affecting it. 

Parents: will be able to realize their role on their children’s academic performances they will be able to guide them on their studies especially their performance in school. 

School administrators: they will be able to determine ways to help students excel in their studies. 

They will be able to determine which school services, activities, academic programs and seminars that can be a sure fit solution to the student’s problems influencing their performance. 

Scope and limitation of the Study  

This study focuses mainly on the psychological factor that affects some selected five (5) secondary schools in Ilorin Kwara State and so the result obtained may not be applicable to other states of the federal Republic Nigeria.

Definition of key terms 

1. Academic achievement; is the level of performance in school subjects as exhibited by an individual.

2. Biology: is described as a science of life and plays a vital role in the life of every human being.




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