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The Effect of the School Environment on Students’ Academic Performance in Secondary Schools in the BUEA Municipality

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This research was aimed at determining the effect of school environment on students’ academic performance in secondary schools in the Buea municipality. Some specific objectives were made such as the extent to which physical environment affects students’ academic performance, the extent to which psychological environment affects students’ academic performance, the extent to which social environment affects students’ academic performance. The literature was reviewed based on the theoretical review, conceptual review and empirical review in which the researcher reviewed theories like the cognitive theory of Urie bronfenbrenner (1917) Ecological system theory, Pianta (1999) Theory of Social Development, Bandura (1917) The social Learning Theory. And jean piajet(1896) Cognitive Theory of Development. It was conducted in Buea municipality using 90 students from three Secondary schools. The research design used was the descriptive survey research design. The target population of the study constituted students’ of Baptis High School, Summerset Balingua High School and Government High School Molyko. A questionnaire was used for data collection and the instrument was validated by the supervisor. The data collected was analysed using the tables of frequencies and percentages. From the findings, it was concluded that the Effect of School Environment on Students Academic Performance. The findings implied that of school environment should be improve in other to increase student academic performance.






1.0 Introduction


(Good, 1973) defines education as the aggregate of all the processes by which people develop abilities, attitudes, and forms of behavior that are of positive value to themselves and to the society in which they live. Education is also said to be a process of teaching, learning and training especially in school to develop skills and knowledge. The acquisition of knowledge in an environment which the school is located and other facilities greatly affects the performance of the students. In order for the students to acquire the best form of education the parents make sure that they carefully choose the best schools; while some parents prefer lay private schools, others prefer public and mission schools. Many people have attributed the success of schools to factors such as class size, number of students, seats, teachers’ attitudes, playground, libraries, laboratories and even the beauty of the school. This study aims at studying the effect of school environment on students’ academic achievement in the Buea Municipality which this chapter deal with the following background of the study, statement of the problem, research questions, research hypothesis, purpose of the study significant of the study, delimitation or scope of the study and finally definition of terms.




1.1 Background to the Study


School environment are things found around the school such as the playground, libraries, laboratories, buildings, teachers, students, parents, location, class sizes that help in the facilitation of teaching and learning process in the school curriculum. variety of skills and techniques that teachers use to keep students organized, orderly, focused, attentive, on task, and academically productive during a class. When classroom management strategies are executed effectively, teachers minimize the behaviours that impede learning for both individual students and groups of students in a conducive environment, while maximizing the behaviour and the class size, the environment itself that facilitates or enhance learning. Generally speaking, one law of the Cameroon educational constitution state that students has the right to go to school but now depend on the school environment in which they find themselves effective teachers tend to display strong classroom management skills, while the hallmark of the inexperienced or less effective teachers in a disorderly classroom filled with students who are not working or paying attention because of the environment or the nature of the class size. There are two main background historical background and contextual.


Historically the construct school environment can be traced back 100 years (Perry, 1908). The scientific study of school environment was not undertaken until 1950s with the birth of organizational school environmental research. March and Simon (1958) and Argyris (1958) began to analyze businesses and organizations in an attempt to correlate the influences of an organizational environment to such outcomes as morale, productivity and turnover. Research continued throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, examining socioeconomic and race differences to explain achievement with mixed success (Coleman et.,ali, 1966; Hauser, 1970; McDill, Meyers, & Riugsby, 1967)


By the late 1970s researchers were attempting to associate school environment with students’ outcomes in schools. Brook over and colleagues (1978) examined the environment of the school, defined as the set of norms and expectations that were defined and perceived by individuals within the school, and determined that school environment was positively linked to the difference in mean outcomes between schools, even when adjusting for race, and other demographics. In this study the greatest indicator of achievement is the way students feel within themselves about the social environment within the school.


In the early and mid-1990s, studies focused on individual classes or teachers (Griffith 1995; Stockard& Mayberry 1992). Griffith (1995) argued that the relationship between the level of study depended on the level at which the students identified themselves in their school environment. Thus in an educational environment where classes are held in different classrooms with different teachers, it naturally follows that the unit of school environment measure is the school as a whole, whereas the individual classroom would be the appropriate measurement unit where students spend all or most of their time with a single teacher. Since the end of the 1990s and continuing today, researchers have attempted to link school environment to different outcomes including school achievement (Hoy &Hannum, 1997) aggression, victimization, bonding connectedness and engagement (libbey, 2004) and health problem (Coker & Borders, 2001).


It is believed that a well-planned school will gear up expected outcomes of education that will facilitate good social, political and economic emancipation, effective teaching and learning process and academic performance of the students. According to Dawn (2011), as the number of students in a classroom grows, so do the negative effects to both the teacher and the students. That is a teacher can only devote much attention to one student when he or she has to divide their attention among twenty or more students in a class. As a result, when the number of students in a classroom rises from twenty to twenty-five or thirty to thirty- five, it is impossible to give all students the attention that they need. This is due to limited teaching learning resources. A school in Buea Sub Division which is the context in which the researcher is focused on is a very good example.


Relating this study to international occurrences are the assertions Williams, Persuade, and Turner (2008) quoting Marden (2005), which reported that safe and orderly classroom environment (aspect of instructional space), school facility (accessories) were significantly related to students’ academic performance in schools. The three researchers, also quoted Glassman (1994), asserting that a comfortable and caring environment among other treatments help to contribute to students’ academic performance. The physical characteristics of a school have a variety of effects on teachers, students and the learning process. Poor lighting, noise in classrooms and inconsistent temperatures make teaching and learning difficult. Poor maintenance and ineffective ventilation systems lead to poor health among students as well as teachers, which leads to poor performance and high absentee rates Frazier (2002), Lyons (2001) and Ostendorf (2001). These factors can adversely affect students’ behaviour and lead to high levels of frustration among teachers and poor learning attitude among students.


Beyond the direct effects that poor facilities have on students’ abilities to learn, the combination of poor facilities which create an uncomfortable and uninviting workplace for teachers, combined with frustrating behavior by students including poor concentration and hyperactivity, lethargy, or apathy, creates a stressful set of working conditions for teachers. Because stress and job dissatisfaction are common pre-cursors to lower teacher enthusiasm, it is possible that the aforementioned characteristics of school facilities have an effect upon the academic performance of students.


Previous studies have investigated the relationship of poor school environment including problems of student-teacher ratio, school location, school population, classroom ventilation, poor lighting in classrooms and inconsistent temperatures in the classroom with student health problems, students behaviour and student achievement Crandell &Smaldino (2000); Davis (2001) ; Johnson (2001), Lyons (2001) ; Moore (2002); Stricherz (2000); Tanner (2000) this study the will examine the aforementioned areas of school environment as it affects students’ academic performance in Cameroon schools especially in Buea Sub Division.


Theoretically, this research identifies four theories related to the study. These theories related to the study are UrieBronfenbrenner, (1917), Ecological System Theory, Pianta, (1999), Theory of Social Development, Bandura (1977), Social Learning Theory and Piajet, (1896), Cognitive




1.2 Statement of the Problem


The notion of relevance of school environment on student intellectual development and school achievement has great intuitive appeal and has been popularized in educational practice. Education now widely acknowledge the importance of the family (leichter, 1974), as they have during earlier historical periods (Clarke-swtewart, 1978b). Because of the importance attributed to the school environment, the specific means through which the environment might influence intellectual development need to be delineated both  physically and psychologically .This is because these two are undergoing changes, such as in the increase number of infrastructures within the school environment and also how parents react toward the educations of their children’s, the increased participation on the side of the government in continues construction of better and bigger classroom sizes and why not good playing grounds and even better library, laboratory will affect the students  and even the area at which the school is located will positively affect both physically, psychologically and why not socially . This chapter discusses some of the ways in which school environment may influence children’s cognitive development and achievement (Goodson and Hess, 1978).


Many factors such as lack of facilities in school, lack of teachers, indiscipline, low intelligence, anxiety, pupils’ need to achieve and soon have been found to cause poor academic performance. While these factors have been identified as possible factors that contribute to the variations in academic performance not much has been done to show the role played by the students’ school environment on his/her academic achievement. This study is aimed at identifying the impact of school environment on students’ academic performance




1.3 Objectives of the Study


1.3.1 General Objective of the Study


The general objective of this study is to identify school environment and its effects on students’ academic performance. In specific terms, the study intends to find out;


1.3.2 Specific Objectives of the Study


The extent to which physical environment affects students’ academic performance.

The extent to which psychological environment affects students’ academic performance.

The extent to which social environment affects students’ academic performance.

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