The study looked at the class size as it relates to academic performance of students in Ojo Local Government of Lagos State Nigeria. The study population was total number of students in all secondary schools in both public and private secondary schools in the LGA of the state while a study size of 100 respondent was randomly selected from the 4 schools in Ojo Local Government of Lagos State. One validated instrument Students’ Class Size Questionnaire (SCSQ) was used for data collection. Three hypothesis was formulated and answered. Data were analysed using simple percentage. The result showed that there was significant difference in the academic achievement of students in small and large classes from private schools. There was also significant difference between performances of students from public large and small classes. It was recommended that policy makers and government should ensure thatmore classrooms are built and number of students in a class should not be more than 30. The Parent TeacherAssociation (PTA), philanthropist and other charitable organizations are also implored to compliment the effort ofthe government to boost the performance of students in SSCE by building more class rooms and buildings.

Keywords: Class Size, Academic Achievement, Secondary School, Lagos State


Front page                                                                                                                i

Certification                                                                                                             ii

Dedication                                                                                                                iii

Acknowledgment                                                                                                   iv

Table of Content                                                                                                     v

Abstract                                                                                                                    vii


1.1            Background to the Study                                                                         1

1.2            Statement of the Problem                                                                       4

1.3            Objectives of the Study                                                                            5

1.4            Research Questions                                                                                   5

1.5            Research Hypotheses                                                                                6

1.6            Scope of the Study                                                                                     6

1.7            Significance of the Study                                                                         6

1.8            Definition of Terms                                                                                    7


2.0      Introduction                                                                                                9

2.1      Historical Information on Class Size                                                      11

2.2      Class Size and Classroom Management                                               14

2.2.1  Student Misbehavior                                                                                15

2.2.2  Physical Space                                                                                             17 2.2.3  Classroom Interactions                                                                             19

2.2.4  Non-instructional Tasks                                                                            21

2.3      Class Size and Classroom Instruction                                                   23

2.3.1  Teacher and Student Interactions                                                         24

2.3.2  Instructional Activities                                                                              27

2.3.4  Differentiated Instruction                                                                        29

2.4      Class Size and Academic Achievement                                                 31

2.5      Summary                                                                                                      32


3.0      Introduction                                                                                                34

3.1      Research Design                                                                                         34

3.2      Population of the Study                                                                           34

3.3      Sample and Sampling Procedure                                                           34

3.4      Instrument of Data Collection                                                                35

3.5      Validity of the Instrument                                                                       35

3.6      Reliability of the Instrument                                                                   35

3.7      Procedure for Data Collection                                                                36

3.8      Procedure for Data Analysis                                                                    36


4.0      Results and Summary of Findings                                                          37

4.1      Answers to Research Questions/Testing of Hypotheses                 37


5.1      Summary                                                                                                      43      

5.2      Conclusion                                                                                                   44

5.3      Recommendations                                                                                     44

            References                                                                                                   46

            Appendixes                                                                                                  50



1.1            Background to the Study

The relationship between class size and academic performance has been a perplexing one for educators. Studies have found that the physical environment, ethnicity, socioeconomics, overcrowding and teaching methods are all variables that affect student achievement (Molnar, 2000). Other factors that affect student achievement are school population and class size (Gentry, 2000; Swift, 2000; Krueger and White Moore, 2007).

The issue of poor academic performance of students in Nigeria has been of much concern to all and sundry. The problem is so much that it adds to the widely acclaimed fallen standard of education in Lagos state and Nigeria at large. In order to better understand the skill levels of students, it might be necessary to evaluate factors affecting their performance. These include: school structure and organization, teachers’ quality, curriculum and teaching philosophy (Driscoll, Halcoussis and Svomy, 2008).

Overtime, students’ academic performance in both internal and external examinations had been used to determine excellence in teachers and teaching (Ajao, 2001). As school grows, they typically become more bureaucratic, resulting in more formalized human relations and increased curricular specialization. Another stand, typically conducted by economist directs attention to the potential for increased efficiency and cost reductions as schools get bigger. Conclusions from these two streams are not consistent. Although, the studies with an organizational focus generally favour smaller schools, research with an economic focus tends to suggest benefits from increased size.

Overpopulation classrooms have increased the possibilities for at risk students, as well as others, to lose interest in school and do poorly on test. There identifies for specific problems regarding overcrowding, students not getting individual attention, low reading scores, frustration and stress felt by the teachers and the inability of students to concentrate or stay on task while in class. The problem identified can be that teachers are unable to give individual attention to students. Teachers’ aides are not always available and sometimes students have to share textbooks. It can take the entire class time for students to find seats, make sure everyone has a textbooks to look at and then explain the next assignment. This leaves no time for individual attention to explain assignment and answer questions. Thus, with teacher unable to help individual students, those who need extra help in gaining or maintaining their reading skills get left behind. They are unable to keep up the reading or in class discussions because of many students in one class. 

Overpopulation in schools and classes is a serious problem in many schools systems, particularly in the inner cities where space for new construction is limited. As a result, students find themselves trying to learn while jammed into spaces never intended as classrooms, such as libraries, gymnasiums, laboratories, lunch rooms and even closets. Although, research on the relationship between overcrowding and student leaving had been limited, there are some evidence particularly in high poverty schools, that overcrowding can have adverse impact on learning. A study of overpopulation in schools found that students in such schools score significantly lower on both mathematics and reading exams then did similar students in underutilized schools. In addition, when asked, students and teachers in overpopulation schools agreed that overcrowding negatively affects both classroom activities and instructional technologies (Krueger and Whiteman, 2001).

Crowded classroom conditions not only make it difficult for students to concentrate on their lessons, but inevitably limit the amount of times teachers can spend on innovative teaching methods such as cooperative learning and group work or on teaching anything beyond the barest minimum of required materials. In addition, because teachers must constantly struggle simply to maintain order in an overpopulated classroom, the likelihood increase that they will suffer from burn out earlier than might otherwise be the case.

Although, there is a significantly amount of research analyzing students’ performance (Matuga, 2009; CerezoRUssillo and Casanova Arias, 2004), there is still a need for more concentrate test results. It is necessary to define the effects of environmental, psychological and sociological elements. This clarity will better enable school to provide a quality learning institution – organized and established public domain, with a sphere of knowledge influence and activity (Meram-Webster Dictionary).

The idea that school population and class size might affect students’ performance is consistence with the growing literature on the relationship between public sector institutional arrangements and outcome. The purpose of this study is to further examine the relationship of class size, school population and student academic achievement.

1.2      Statement of the Problem

The performance of secondary school students in NECO, WAEC, several scholars have proposed various factors responsible for the poor performance of students, few research have been dedicated to the correlation between class size, school population and academic achievement. This study therefore looks at how class size, school population and ever population affect students’ academic performance in secondary school.

1.3      Objective of the Study

The general purpose of this study is to find out the relationship between class size, school population and students’ achievement using some selected secondary schools in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State as a case study. The specific objectives are to:

(i)                Examine the relationship between class size and academic performance of students

(ii)              Examine the relationship between school population and academic performance of students.

(iii)            Discuss the effects of overpopulation on classroom management

(iv)            Analyse the impact of overpopulation on school resources and facilities.

1.4      Research Questions

(i)                Is there any correlation between class size and academic performance of students?

(ii)              Is there any relationship between school population and academic performance of students?

(v)              Is there any relationship between overpopulation and classroom management?

(iii)            Is there any relationship between overpopulation and school resources/facilities?

1.5      Research Hypotheses

Ho1:    There is no significant relationship between class size and academic performance of students.

Ho2:    There is no significant relationship between school population and academic performance of students.

Ho3:    There is no significant relationship between overpopulation and classroom management.   

Ho4:    There is no significant relationship between overpopulation and school resources/facilities.

1.6      Scope of the Study

This research work focuses on the relationship between class sizes, school population and students’ achievement using some selected secondary in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State as a case study. This research work cover all secondary schools in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State. However, four public secondary schools were used as case study.

1.7      Significance of the Study 

This study is important for several reasons. First, the findings will help teachers to identify the reason for the academic performance of students in large classes with high population and how they can address the problems.

Secondly, it will provide comprehensive information for educational planners, educators and parents on how they can assist students to cope in large classes.

Thirdly, this research work will lead to further in-depth study on the impact of class size and school population on the academic performance of students in Nigeria.

Lastly, it will serve as a contribution to knowledge in the subject area. In the regard, it will be useful for other researchers who might want to carry out research in related areas. 

1.8.     Definition of Terms

Academic Achievement: knowledge attained or skills developed in school subject by test scores.

Secondary School/High School: is a term used to describe an educational institution where the final stage of schooling known as secondary education and usually compulsory up to a specified age taken place. It follows elementary or primary education, and may be followed by university (tertiary) education.

Overpopulation: This is when the numbers of students in a particular class exceed the standard of student-teacher ratio of 1:40

Research Work: Investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts or practical application of such new or revised therein or laws.

Classroom: A room where classes are taught in a school, college or university.




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