1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The importance of education for national development has placed upper basic schools at the centre of the efforts of governments to increase the rate of literacy at this level in Nigeria by boosting student’s academic performance. Students’ success at this level depends on their academic achievement through several method of preparation for the organized national examinations conducted by West African Examinations Council (WAEC) or National Examinations Council (NECO) in rounding up from all the Junior Secondary schools nationwide. The processes of globalization and technological revolution create greater demands for variation in the department of choice in the senior secondary schools (Benner and Mistry, 2007). Upper basic school students are the potential assets of these diversified educational disciplines. And only students with adequate academic skills and knowledge can score high enough in all the core subjects including social studies will be able to proceed to the senior secondary school. According to Akomolafe and Olorunfemi-Olabisi (2011), senior secondary schools are depending upon the potential academic skills and knowledge of upper basic school students after their completion of basic education. However, the authorities of schools on their own have decided to organize holiday classes for the students to reinforce most of the things that has been taught in their normal classes’ period. These extra classes are organized with the approval from the respective ministry and directorates of education in most cases based on the fact that they intend to improve the academic performance of upper basic school students as they are completing their basic education as specified by the new education curriculum in Nigeria. These extra classes organized in holidays prior to this national examinations are called the extension classes as there will be no holiday for these set of students as their term has been extended thereby keeping students busy with academic activities throughout the holiday period prior to the examination (Alderman et al, 2001). This will however make the students to remember most of the things that has been taught very well till the national examination begin thereby boosting their performance (Tavani and Losh, 2003).
Hence, stakeholders in education consider the students’ academic achievement at this level an important goal to produce the best quality candidates for the senior secondary schools. Intelligence is not the only determinant of the academic performance of the student, constant practice and consistency can increase knowledge and academic performance. Academic performance of a student is always associated with many components of learning environment (Hanushek, 2003). It is worth noting that students’ academic achievement is affected by numerous factors including gender, age, students schooling, father/guardian social economic status, residential area of students, and school factors (Hanushek, 2003).
Extension classes are a type of after-school programs which are separate from the regular school hour. Some extension classes are run by the school management, employing regular teachers. Others are run by non-profit or for-profit organizations (Chawla, 2012). After-school programs can be offered for the purposes of providing extra academic support, enrichment, or a combination of both. After-school programs also can be offered to promote the well-being of “latchkey” children and to increase community safety by keeping children out of trouble. They can be targeted to specific populations that need extra support, or can be offered to all students. The nature and objectives of Social Studies as a core subject in Nigerian upper basic schools emphasize students’ familiarity with their physical and social environment; improved social relationships and interactions; skills and ability to think reflectively, critically, creatively and independently (Akomolafe and Olorunfemi-Olabisi, 2011)
Proponents of extension classes for upper basic schools generally propose it as a means of improving academic performance, although they identify other benefits that may or may not be related to academic performance. Some proponents argue that all students should be in school for longer days, due to the increasing demand for knowledge and skills in the global marketplace and Nigeria has been apparently educationally disadvantaged. The following were suggested by Weinberg (2007) as some of the benefits of extension classes:
1) More time on task;
2) Greater depth and breadth of learning;
3) More time for planning and professional development;
4) More time for enrichment and experiential learning; and
5) Stronger relationships between teachers and students.
The Harvard Family Research Project identified a range of benefits associated with well-designed and well-run school-organized holiday classes and summer programs, including positive outcomes for academics, social/emotional health, risky behavior prevention, and health and wellness. However this study seeks to identify the relationship between extension classes and academic performance of the upper basic school students in social studies.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Extension classes organized by upper basic schools in Nigeria to help candidates who are preparing for external exams have been noted to have some form of influence on their overall performance at the exams. Owing to the fact that extension classes are organized during holidays, it serves as a way to keep these students busy and primed for their forthcoming exams as students who stay behind for extension classes learn and do better more than students who stay at home during the holidays preceding the exams. Also, extension classes serve as a time for consolidating what has been taught during school session and also a time for studying past questions and other related materials. This not only helps the students, but also the teachers as they both benefit from the teaching sessions and most importantly in social studies which is a core subject and the focus of this study.
According to Yan and Lin (2012), extension classes and other related activities has been consistently linked to positive academic and social development outcomes in numerous studies. What appears to be key is that these classes are organized in preparation for the final examinations which are characterized by sustained engagement and effort, and provide opportunities to build or develop skills to improve students’ performance in the exam.
Extension classes however have been found to be compromised these days as they now serve as “miracle centres” with some schools and/or teachers turning extension classes to avenue for making profit and for perpetrating various forms of malpractice. Nowadays, little or no teaching is done to polish up student’s skills at extension classes, rather students are made to pay and contribute money to teachers or hired mercenaries to supply answers during the examinations. This is a heartbreaking situation and it goes a long way to affect the Nigerian educational sector which is currently in a state of logjam.
Studies revealed that students has been benefiting from the extension classes organized by upper basic schools in Nigeria even though skeptics of extension classes argue that it provides only modest benefits in the best of circumstances, and some research has even shown that poorly designed or run extension classes can do more harm than good (Weinberg, 2007).
Furthermore, resources that would be devoted to extended term might be better spent improving the quality of existing school time. Others argue that these resources should be devoted to a variety of other programs that have been proven to be cost-effective in improving academic performance, such as early-childhood intervention and certain evidence-based programs for disadvantaged students. The truth appears to lie somewhere in the middle. Research studies generally have shown that students from low socio-economic backgrounds have the most to gain from extension classes in any of its forms. However, the researcher is examining the relationship between extension classes and academic performance of upper basic school students in social studies.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to identify the relationship between extension classes and academic performance of upper basic school students in social studies while the following are the specific objectives:
1. To find out the relationship between extension classes and academic performance of upper basic school students.
2. To examine the influence of extension classes on performance of students in social studies.
3. To determine the students attitude to extension classes
4. To find out the factors influencing student academic performance in social studies.
5. To ascertain the quality of teaching and learning received during the extension classes
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions were raised to guide the researcher during the course of this study:
1. What is the relationship between extension classes and academic performance of upper basic school students?
2. What is the influence of extension classes on performance of students in social studies?
3. What is the student’s attitude towards extension classes?
4. What are the factors influencing student academic performance in social studies?
5. What is the quality of teaching and learning received during extension classes?
Ho: There is no significant relationship between extension classes and academic performance of upper basic school students
Ha: There is significant relationship between extension classes and academic performance of upper basic school students
HO: There is no significant relationship between extension classes and performance of students in social studies
HA: There is significant relationship between extension classes and performance of students in social studies
HO: There is no significant relationship between extension classes and student’s attitude towards learning
HA: There is significant relationship between extension classes and student’s attitude towards learning
HO: There is no significant relationship between extension classes and good grades in social studies
HA: There is significant relationship between extension classes and good grades in social studies
HO: There is no significant relationship between extension classes and quality teaching and learning
HA: There is significant relationship between extension classes and quality teaching and learning
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research on the relationship between extension classes and students academic performance will beam light on all the benefits of extension classes for upper basic school student including the academic advantages. Almost all the junior and senior secondary schools in Nigeria organized extension classes in the holidays prior to the national examinations. The result obtained from this study will be a useful guide for the government of Nigeria and policy makers and administrators in the education sector in determining if the extension classes are effective way of boosting student academic performance and therefore whether the schools should keep organizing it or not by supporting it with appropriate policy formulation. Furthermore, the outcome of this study will also educate the general public on the benefits of extension classes so that parents will give their support for the program. Finally, findings from this study will also be a useful contribution to the body of literature as this will be the first study to determine the relationship between extension classes and students academic performance.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study on the relationship between extension classes and students academic performance will cover all the upper basic schools in Nigeria which is made up of Junior secondary school one to three (JSSS 1 – 3). Their performance in social studies will also be used to determine the effectiveness of extension classes organized in holidays prior to the national examinations.
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