The influence of peer pressure on students academic performance
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Historically, the term peer pressure was mostly associated with teenagers or adolescents. It was common with the variants of adolescent’s risk taking such as delinquency, drug abuse, and so on. Peer pressure had a positive effect especially when youths were influenced by their peers. The negative influence of peer’s pressure was generally perceived to be more prevalent in the society than the positive influences (Arief, 2201). Peers were capable of encouraging individuals to skip classes, steal, cheat, use drugs, take alcohol and cigarettes.
In schools, several students saw some of their peers as role models. Role models such as teachers, parents and peers all provided adolescents with suggestions and feedback about what they were to think and how they were to behave in social situations. Lockwood and Kunda (2002) classified role models into two, namely positive and negative role models. Positive role models according to them referred to individuals who had achieved outstanding success and were widely expected to influence others to pursue similar excellence. Negative role models on the other hand, referred to the individuals who had experienced misfortunes and were widely expected to motivate people to take the steps necessary to avoid similar unpleasant outcome. Positive role models could inspire one by illustrating ideas, desired self-highlighting possible achievement that one could strive for, and the roots for achieving them. Negative role models could inspire one but illustrating disasters and highlighting mistakes that must be avoided to prevent. Because peer groups played a key part of adolescent’s development process, they had a negative effect on young people due to peer pressure. Peer pressure was the demand placed on the individual to engage in certain activities and per conformity was the degree to which an individual adopts actions that were sanctioned by their peer groups.
According to Howard (2004), adolescents have always been exposed to peer influence, but the kinds of per influence that they encounter have changed tremendously in the past years. Peers could influence everything from what and adolescent chooses to wear to whether an adolescent engages in drugs related or other delinquent behaviors. Thus, knowledge of the effects of peer pressure was important for all in the society. Teachers and other educational practitioners and those in related professional trainings took measures in other to understand the issues surrounding negative peer influence. With this knowledge, the concerned educational practitioner became more likely to prevent negative peer influence and to be more adequately prepared to help teenagers facing negative aspects of peer pressure.
Over the years, children have gained more of the present behavioral practices from the childhood peers or from their school mates. The interaction between them daily exposes them to some ills that are plaguing the community. They tend to copy from their peers some of the activities that are been done on daily basis like smoking, wearing of earrings, dating, and involving in online activities like scamming and watching of illicit contents. Peer relations are never prominent than in childhood which falls within the age group under this study. They spend more time than adults interacting amongst themselves and recording a very high degree of happiness in peer contexts while giving the greatest priority to peer norms for behavior (Brown and Larson, 2009) this developmental stage in affiliation motivation appears to be highly preserved across peers.
Conceptually, a Peer group is a group of people of same age group or social status. The peer group is the first social group outside the home in which a student attempts to gain acceptance and recognition. Peer groups are important influence throughout one’s life, but they are more critical during the developmental years of childhood as it is an important socialization agent for students (Castro Giovanni, 2012). Peer pressure refers to refers to the influence exerted by a peer group in encouraging a person to change his/her attitude and values to conform to the group norms (Kirk, 2014).
According to Black (2012), peer pressure is influence that a peer group, observers, or individuals exert to encourage others to change their attitude, values or behavior and conform to the group norms. Babawale (2015) indicated that peer pressure refers to the way that people of the same social group act or believe to influence one another, often in negative ways. Peer pressure is something everyone must deal with at some point in one’s life. How successful one handles peer pressure depends to a greater extent on the individual’s self-concept and position in the world. (Ademorokun, 2013). Peer pressure according to Seel (2009), comprises a set of dynamics whereby a group a group in which one feels comfortable may override personal habits, individual morals and attitudes or behavior.
Academic performance refers to the overall rating of students score usually at the end of each term. The performance level of students can greatly be affected when they have a negative peer pressure which sometimes make them to stay away from classes and not able to study after school hours hence their performances are affected. Statistics form the secondary education examination body GCE board reveals that over the last 3 years, the academic performance of students in public examination has greatly been affected. According to Ward, Stocker and Murray-Ward (2006) academic performance refers to the outcome of education; the extent to which the student, teacher or institution have achieved their educational goals. Academic performance is the ability to study and remember facts and being able to communicate one’s knowledge verbally or written on paper (Answers, 2010). In the context of this study, academic achievement refers to the extent to which students have achieve mastery of the objectives of the subjects they are exposed to in school. According to (Aremu and Sokan 2003) academic achievement has been observed in school subjects especially mathematic and English language among secondary school students.
The trend of poor achievement of secondary school students has also been confirmed by the Cameroon general certificate of education board (GCE board). The GCE result analysis for the last 3 years (2019, 2020, 2021) revealed the following statistics of the performance of student in secondary schools across the national territory in public examination. The percentages of students who passed during the years were reported to be 62.15, 64.04, 59.08 percent respectively for Ordinary levels and 74.24, 64.04, 61.94 percent respectively for advanced level.
The blame for poor academic performance among secondary school students could be attributable to a variety of factors such as student inability to manage their time, peers influence, family factors. Parents, teachers, curriculum, experts, and evaluators have expressed considerable concern over the deteriorating students’ performance in public examinations.
Peer Compliance happened frequently in everyday life, for example, when an individual performed a task when asked to, this individual is complying with a request. The unwritten law of the group and members is to stick to the rules to be considered as being part of the group, this is considered the most important characteristic of compliance. Compliance refers to a form of social influence in which an individual gave in to expressed requests from another person or other people (Vaughan & Hogg, 2011). This is also known as social compliance. There was much research carried out to find out what really influence compliance. Most students want to look up to their elderly ones in school to boost their morals for example a particular dressing fashion and a way of life that tallies with associated peers.
Peer Conformity is a trait that makes people change their behavior to fit social norms and behave according to the wishes of others (Crutchfield, 1955). In a group, people change their beliefs and attitudes to match them to most of the people within the group. When an individual conforms, he is also being obedient and for people to comply, there must be a perceived authority within the group who can influences the behavior of member of that group. Without this authority figure, it is hard to make members of a group to conform. And if a member of this group fails to conform, he faces the punishment of the authority and in turn loses his credibility which is so important for him. It is this pressure that makes people to conform (Cialdini & Goldstein, 2004).
Social self refers to how we perceive ourselves in relation to others. It involves relationship building, empathizing, and communicating. A healthy, social self will also impact your wellbeing and ability to meet life goals. That is because much of our world is social and involves interactions with others. Tom R. Tyler (1999)
Contextually, academic activities are directed towards ensuring that students gain mastery of educational objectives. In schools, the extent to which these objectives have been met is determined greatly by the interaction of peer groups which could possibly reflect in student’s academic performance. Peer group play a large role in the social, school systems to improve student’s academic performance.
Schools in Cameroon face a very complex statue of pressure from corresponding peers. While some experience a positive shift in their daily activities, others are negatively affected. Most schools in Cameroon nowadays face a prevalence of students fighting with teachers to the extent of stabbing them to death. These are all influences generated from peers. Such practices make students’ academic performance to fall and hence poor results. Students also turn to shy away from classes to engage in delinquent activities such as smoking Indian hems, drinking of alcohol and sexual activities. Furthermore, students come to school with mobile phones and harmful objects. The see this as a competition on who has the best phones. These phones however distract them from classes because while the teacher is teaching, they will be watching pornographic contents and listening to music, watching pictures, and playing games.
Positive aspects of peer influence are also recorded in school in Cameron. Students find themselves to organize study groups and grow their network in different aspects of studies which enables them to share their thoughts and participate in class during lectures. They partake in school activities such as cleaning of the school environments, organizing social gatherings which help in promoting the performance academically.
Based on the universal declaration of human rights, education is the fundamental rights of every citizen irrespective of their social class. In response to this, governments provide educational services to its citizens so they can get the best and quality education. One of the indices of this of this quality education is the academic performance of the students. It is however expected that students in utilizing the educational services provided by the state should perform well in their academics, but this is not however the case as the performance of students in schools is depleting as attendance rates, discipline and graduation rates of students are dropping. This therefore leads to wastage of resources for the providers of such educational services. All measures that have been undertaken so far to solve this issue has proved futile.
Peer pressure is a very significant factor prevailing in secondary schools today. It is not however clear whether pressure variants like compliance, conformity and social self can affect students’ academic performance. It is in this light that this study seeks to investigate the influence of peer pressure on students’ academic performance in secondary schools in Tiko municipality.
To investigate the influence of peer pressure on the academic performances of student in Tiko subdivision.
To find out the influence of peer compliance on students’ academic performance in Tiko subdivision.
To find out the influence of peer conformity on students’ academic performance in Tiko subdivision.
To find out the influence on social self on students’ academic performance in Tiko subdivision.