1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Education is of strategic importance for the development of knowledge society. The analysis of academic success is very important for the economy of a country, its presence in the competing and challenging market, but also for education system which is a drive for modern economies. Analysis of academic success is also important for higher education institutions, since „strategic planning of study programme implies extension or reduction of the scope or depth of studying material as well as modification of the structure of pedagogical and educational process, depending on the students’ success“ . Improving the quality of education and investment on educational and human resources are regarded as effective factors paving the way for a country’s pervasive development. Hence, improvement of students’ academic performance is also among the basic goals of educational planning. It’s through academic performance students can fully actualize their talents and capabilities in line with educational goals. In fact, academic performance is considered as one important criteria of educational quality. On other hand, students are different across a vast range of variables. In other words, not only are they different in terms of personality characteristics, family backgrounds, age and gender, etc., they also exhibit different attitudes and emotional responses to the environment. Students have distinctive personality characteristics which makes them prepared for having different worldviews, and thus for behaving differently in various social and educational settings. Taking these differences into account can help educators recognize their students’ individual differences. Predictors of academic performance often lay on a continuum with cognitive measures, intelligence and mental abilities at one extreme and non-cognitive variable (such as personality characteristics, socioeconomic status, etc.) at the other one. Although results of studies trying to predict academic performance have yielded different results, they have consistently pointed out the role of cognitive abilities and personality characteristics in academic performance (Paunonen & Ashton, 2011). Educators have always asked whether people’s personality characteristics can help them attain higher academic performance. Students‘individual differences in terms of their beliefs, attitudes, and skills are focused on as having an impact of academic performance (Åkerlind & Trevitt, 1999; Kennedy et al, 2008) and students‘attitudes to learning (Bouhnik & Marcus, 2006; Liaw, 2008). Research has found that based on certain characteristics such as age, background, ability, attitude and motivation all have an impact on the likeness of students studying biology. Therefore this study will look at some of these variables and characteristics to determine if they too play a part in how students see biology whether these characteristics would possibly impact on their academic performance.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The problem of underperformance has assumed a worrisome dimension in the Nigerian educational system. Desperate to make it anyhow, students have devised various illegal means to succeed in examinations, even when they are not academically competent. And unfortunately, the system has buckled under the pressure. Examination malpractice has risen steadily to become a seemingly untameable monster. It is increasingly becoming difficult to equate competence of people with supposed academic performance as represented in their certificates. Many candidates are unable to defend the result they supposedly acquired honourably. And of course this has consistently led to inability to compete effectively in the job market which has become a serious issue. Several factors have been researched into in the past as to the cause of this social malaise, but there seem to be indications that some hidden factors may be responsible that needs unravelling. This desire to see this problem curbed gave rise to this study and the researchers’ aim is to see if there is a way in which the big five personality traits can help, especially from the perspective of the analytical and scientific approach of measurement and evaluation.
1.3AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine student’s characteristics and academic performance in biology. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine different students characteristics?
2. To examine self efficacyand its influence on studentsacademic performance
3. To examine the influence of students characteristics on academic performance in biology.
4. To examine students self perception and academic performance in biology.
5. To examine the relationship between students characteristicsand academic performance in biology.
6. To proffer suggestions on how teachers can handle students with different characteristics.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What are the different student’s characteristics?
2. What isself efficacyand it influence on studentsacademic performance?
3. How doesstudent characteristic influence the academic performance in biology?
4. What is students self perception and their academic performance in biology?
5. What is the relationship between student’s characteristicsand academic performance in biology?
6. What are the suggestions on how teachers can handle students with different characteristics?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant influence of student’s characteristics on academic performance in biology
H1: There is a significant influence of student’s characteristics on academic performance in biology
H0: There is no significant relationship between student’s characteristics and academic performance in biology
H1: There is a significant relationship between student’s characteristics and academic performance in biology
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The findings of this study will be useful to the Government and ministry' of Education in understanding the students characteristics that contribute to differences in academic performance and develops policies that will narrow variation in academic ranking The school management team will find the research findings useful in helping them understand the students characteristics that contribute to poor performance in schools and adapt methods that will address the situation. A major concern in schools is to increase student performance. One way to do this is to focus on classroom environment with the teacher at the centre which will influence student performance and create the best environment in which to facilitate learning and engage students. The study is therefore significant for the following reasons:
This study will be useful to both teachers and students who would want to know the factors that could make or mar student’s academic performance. The other researchers will use this research as a baseline for future research on poor academic performance in the country.
1.7SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on student’s characteristics and academic performance in biology. A case study of selected secondary schools in Lagos state
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Biology: The study of living organisms, divided into many specialized fields that cover their morphology, physiology, anatomy, behaviour, origin, and distribution.
Performance:is the outcome of education — the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their educational goals
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