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Background to the Study
In this era of globalization and technological revolution, education is considered as a first step for every human activity. It plays a vital role in the development of human capital and is linked with an individual’s well-being and opportunities for better living (Battle & Lewis, 2002). It ensures the acquisition of knowledge and skills that enable individuals to increase their productivity and improve their quality of life. This increase in productivity also leads towards new sources of earning which enhances the economic growth of a country (Saxton, 2000). This improvement in performance cuts across all fields of human endeavour and most importantly in the education sector where students’ academic performance is a “ sine-qua-non” for assessing the quality of the education system.
Students’ academic performance has remained a top priority for educators. It is meant for making a difference locally, regionally, nationally and globally. Educators, trainers, and researchers have long been interested in exploring variables contributing effectively for quality of performance of learners. These variables are inside and outside school that affect students’ quality of academic achievement. These factors may be termed as student factors, family factors, school factors and peer factors (Farooq, Chaudhry, Shafiq & Berhanu, 2011). Generally, these factors include age, gender, geographical location, ethnicity, marital status of parents, socioeconomic status (SES), parents’ education level, parental profession, language, income, time management, teacher supply, teacher quality, class size, teacher work load among others. Adepoju and Oluchkwu (2011) further outlined the following as factors affecting students’ academic performance as poor location of the school, incessant changes in government policies, closure of schools, which is contingent upon teachers’ strike action, home-school distance, high student teacher ratio, lack of supervision, monitoring and evaluation machinery, lack of good textbooks, poor content and context of instruction, poor and non conductive learning environment among others. This present study however will look at time management as a factor affecting students’ academic performance in secondary schools.
Time is a universal phenomenon which application knows no bounds. It is so important that everybody, irrespective of race, level of educational attainment, social-economic status are affected by it. Time is fair to all, as it has neither fear nor favour for any individual or corporate bodies. It is in this regards, time has been described as “no respecter of person”. Agabi (2010) defined “time as a continuum in which events succeed one another from the past through the present to the future”. By this definition, time is defined based on series of similar, indispensable events taking place one after another both in the past, the present and even in the future. However, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) English Dictionary defined time as what we measure in hours, days and years. It further defined it as the period that something happens. Here, the definition of time is based on duration or periods, which are in hours, days and years.
From the foregoing, time can be seen as the duration or period similar or different events do occur, either in succession or not. In the school, time is an indispensable asset. According to Agabi (2010), “time is an educational resource that is highly limited in supply and critical but often taken for granted by the providers of education. It is so important and useful that each school activity is regulated by it”.
Time is also seen as one of those limited resources used in the achievement of life goals. Time as a resource is fixed in the sense that one person has only 24 hours a day. For this reason, it cannot be accumulated for another day’s use as material resources. Activities postponed to the next day therefore become an infringement on the next day and this can lead to accumulation of work. Many students are victims of this because due to procrastination, they allow work to be so accumulated that they get overwhelmed, stressed and overcome by the work and the resultant effect is failure (Olubor & Osunde, 2007). The quality of life of an individual depends on his use of the human and non human resources at his disposal. It was also confirmed that time is limited and scarce in its use. It is however one of the most important human resources available to individuals and families irrespective of their socio-cultural, economic and intellectual backgrounds. Therefore, students should consider resource allocations and decisions affecting the limited amount of time available to them to carry out their daily activities which include personal study, assignments and leisure effectively.
Managing time effectively is key to achievement of set goals. Time management is the art of arranging, organizing and undertaking official businesses and personal affairs in such a way that things are done according to plans for the attainment of set goals. It is the period assigned in terms of seconds, minutes, hours and days to get certain things accomplished as soon as possible and to facilitate getting things done as quickly as possible with the least amount of other resources such as energy, money, and people which are necessary for the attainment of set goals. In the school system, a number of programmes are usually planned for to be accomplished. All of such programmes are geared towards enhancing student performances in academics and non-academic pursuits. In this study however, the teaching hour covers the teaching periods within the school hours of 8.00am to 2.00pm or 4.00pm for some schools.
Time Allocated to academic exercise in secondary schools is very important in determining the academic success of the students. The time which is allocated for teaching and learning in the schools especially in the public secondary schools is 5hrs.30mins (8.00am to 1.30pm) or 6hrs (8.00am to 2.00pm). Many schools have 35 minutes per period and others 40 minutes. Time structure in many schools is such that 35 minutes or 40 minutes is allocated for instructions. And in many schools, instructions in the classrooms and laboratories are 8 periods per day. This amounts to five hours and 20 minutes or four hours and forty minutes per day excluding the break periods and outside the normal school periods. Some schools open by 7.30am beginning with morning devotion (Morning Assembly), classroom/laboratory activities, and other out of classroom activities such as sports, gardening, labour, clubs and societies and close by 1.30pm. Some secondary schools set aside 2 additional hours for extra classes between 2.00pm and 4.00pm in non-boarding schools. This practice is prevalent in privately owned schools and seldom practiced in public secondary schools as observed by the researcher. Although some students attend extramural classes in the evenings, this is outside the school hours and therefore not covered in this study. Meanwhile, the time table for Mathematics and English Language subjects in schools is designed in such a way that students are taught the subjects on daily basis. Therefore the period allotted to these subjects daily is 1hr.20mins or 1hr.10mins for 40mins or 35mins per period respectively and 6hrs.40mins or 5hrs.50mins per week for 40mins or 35mins per period respectively.
Time is also allocated for non-academic exercise in schools. Usually, it is referred to as time for extra-curricular activities. This has become very important as; ‘all work and no play is said, makes Jack a dull boy’. Many schools also observe some break periods, this is to enable students enjoy some leisure. Other non-academic work periods are therefore set aside for physical exercises. This is necessary in order to keep the physical, mental ability and health alertness of the student. However, this study focused its attention on students learning hours in school.
Basically, there are two main types of time; work time and non work time. Work time is the period or number of hours and minutes students spend on academic work (study hours) which is usually the periods before break time and the periods after break time which is assigned for teaching and learning activities that takes place in the classroom. Apart from these two periods there is also the extra lesson period and the preparatory (prep) period which is mostly associated with boarding schools. While on the other hand, non-work time is the time students spend on non-academic activities carried out outside the classroom for extra-curricular activities such as break (leisure time), sports and labour (cleaning of the school compound) but this study did not cover this latter.
The allocation of time and the uses into which such time is put in the school system are in different aspect of the school life. It includes all organized and controlled time expended in the affairs of a business or a sector of the business. In the education sector, it is the number of hours and minutes invested in the student’s education within the school for teaching and learning activities. It is only necessary therefore that this study be carried out to look at study hours utilization and academic performance in secondary school students.
Statement of the Problem
The academic performances of students in secondary schools in the past five years as shown by West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC) have not been very encouraging except in 2013. This is because the result of the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) conducted by WAEC and the National Examinations Council (NECO) indicate that the time applied for teaching and learning in the senior secondary school has not yielded the expected results. For the avoidance of doubts; the result released by the West Africa Examinations Council indicate that in 2010, the number of students who had five credits and above in English Language and Mathematics was 337,071 candidates or 23.36%, in 2011, 471,474 candidates representing 30.9% had five credits and above, including Mathematics and English language, 649,156 candidates representing 38.81% in 2012 and 1,085,472 candidates representing 64.26% in 2013. In the recently released 2014 May/June Senior Secondary School Examination results conducted by WAEC, only 31.28% (529,425) candidates out of 1,692,435 candidates who sat for the examination had credits in five subjects and above including Mathematics and English Language as against 38.81% and 64.26% in 2012 and 2013 May/June examinations respectively ( WAEC, 2014).
The major question which arose is; why is the academic performance of students poor? Observations have revealed that many students spend their study hours doing things that have no academic benefit whatsoever to them. This has adverse effect on the overall academic performance as time lost may not be regained. Allison and Ojedapo (2011) in their study revealed that time allocated and utilized for academic exercises were inadequate and they emphasized that time allocated to completion of Mathematics syllabus is not enough and this affects students’ academic performance in external examinations. The need to investigate the relationship between study-hours utilization and academic performance in senior secondary school students in Edo Central Senatorial District becomes important.
The following research questions were raised to guide this investigation:
The following hypotheses were formulated to help guide this study and were tested at 0.05 significant level.
Purpose of the Study
The study investigated the relationship between study hour utilization and academic performance in senior secondary school students in Edo Central Senatorial District, Nigeria.
The study specifically investigated:
Significance of the Study
The results of this study would be of great help to teachers, students, school administrators, educational planners, policy makers, and the general public. The study would help to reveal the actual time spent by students on their studies. This would help the school administrators in secondary schools to come up with ways of engaging the students with their studies in order to improve their reading habits for improvement of academic performance of students. This study would in no doubt provide some insight for educational planners and policy-makers by highlighting some important but neglected educational services such as education resource centre services, library services, in-service training, computer services and internal supervision of instructions which can help to engage the students for a real time academic exercise. Availability of these services may help increase the time spent by students on their studies. The educational planners can therefore include them in the academic programme of secondary schools for effective teaching and learning.
The results of this study would positively help teachers to effectively manage individual students in terms of monitoring and counseling on how to devote quality time for academic exercise for the achievement of academic excellence by students. The results of the study would also be of immense benefit to students who are the direct beneficiary by increasing their pass rate in examinations when quality time is dedicated towards their studies both in school hours and at home. It would encourage better reading habit which can lead to improved academic performance of students in examinations. The general public would also benefit from the quality product that might be produced from the schools for meaningful development of the society. The results of this study would also contribute to existing literature by extending the stock of knowledge on the influence of time management on students’ academic performance not only in senior secondary schools but in secondary schools (junior and senior). It would also provide some useful reference materials for future researchers who might be interested in conducting similar studies elsewhere.
Scope of the Study
The study covered all students in public and private senior secondary schools in Edo Central Senatorial District of Nigeria. Only students in senior secondary schools were used for this study. The study covered students’ time management within school hours, time management and students’ academic performance, academic performance of students, time management by students in public and private schools and urban and rural secondary schools.
Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms are defined operationally as they are used in this study.
Study-Hour: This is the time allocated and utilized for teaching and learning in school. It is the actual time utilized by students for learning i.e., 4hrs.40mins or 5hrs.20mins for schools that close by 1.30pm and 2.00pm respectively. Study hours in this study excludes break periods, time for labour and recreational activities. Moreover, the study-hours for Mathematics and English Language is 1hr.10mins or 1hr.20mins for 35mins or 40mins per day and per period respectively and 5hrs.50mins or 6hrs.40mins per week for 35mins or 40mins per period respectively
Time Utilization: This is the time actually applied or utilized in the teaching and learning in the classroom. In this study, it implies the real time spent in studying Mathematics and English Language in school by students during the school hours calculated in minutes and hours.
Academic performance: This is measured in terms of students’ scores in a standardized test measured in English Language and Mathematics in promotion examinations in senior secondary schools in 2011/2012, 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 academic sessions
Level of Academic Performance: The level of academic performance in this study is graded into three as High, Average and Low. Students who have “A” and “B” were seen as High, students with “C” grades were seen as Average while “D” and “P” grades were seen as low.
Student-Teacher Ratio: This is the number of students per teacher in the classroom for the purpose of teaching and learning. The ideal students – teacher ratio is 40:1 but anything above this is not ideal.