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Effects of Class Size on Students’ Performance in Speech Work at Senior Secondary Level in Mangu, Plateau State

Effects of Class Size on Students’ Performance in Speech Work at Senior Secondary Level in Mangu, Plateau State


Cover Page    –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           i

Declaration Page      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           ii

Approval Page                      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           iii

Dedication Page        –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           iv

Acknowledgements –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           v

Abstract         –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           v

Table of Contents     –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           viii




1.1 Background to the study           –           –           –           –           –           –           1

1.2 Statement of the problem         –           –           –           –           –           –           3

1.3 Purpose of the study      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           5

1.4 Significance of the study          –           –           –           –           –           –           5

1.5 Scope of the study         –           –           –           –           –           –           –           6

1.6 Research questions        –           –           –           –           –           –           –           6




2.0 Introduction        –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           8

2.1 Historical background of class-size    –           –           –           –           –           8

2.2 Concept of class size     –           –           –           –           –           –           –           10

2.3 Concept of academic achievement/performance      –           –           –           11

2.4 The concept of speech work     –           –           –           –           –           –           15

2.5 Importance of speech/speaking activities      –           –           –           –           16

2.6 Theoretical framework –           –           –           –           –           –           –           16

2.7 Empirical studies           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           19

2.8 Summary of literature review  –           –           –           –           –           –           25




  • Introduction – –           –           –           –           –           –           –           26

3.1 Research design –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           26

  • Area of the study – – –           –           –           –           –           –           27
  • Population of the study – – –           –           –           –           –           27
  • Sample and sampling technique – –           –           –           –           28
  • Instrument for data collection – –           –           –           –           –           27
  • Description of the instrument – –           –           –           –           –           28
  • Validity of the instrument – –           –           –           –           –           28
  • Method of data collection – –           –           –           –           –           29
  • Method of data analysis – – –           –           –           –           –           29



4.0 Introduction        –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           31

4.1. Mode of Presentation of Result          –           –           –           –           –           31




5.1 Summary of Findings    –           –           –           –           –           –           –           36

5.2 Conclusion          –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           38

5.3 Recommendations         –           –           –           –           –           –           –           38

Appendixes               –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           39

References    –           –           –           –           —         –           –           –           –           46


This study was carried out in order to investigate the effects of class size on students’ performance in speech work among senior secondary level students in Mangu, Plateau State. The quasi-experimental research design was adopted for the study which was carried out in Mangu Educational Inspectorate Area. The study consisted of a total sample size of 70 students drawn from GSS Ampang West and GSS Mangun. In the two schools, a pre-test was given to assess the level of knowledge of the students before teaching them speech work. After the pre-test, the researcher taught the students for two weeks to find out whether class size would have any effect on performance of the students in speech work. A post-test was given to the students to assess their level of performance in speech work. The study revealed that there was a significant difference in the performance of the students in small and large class sizes in speech work. Results of the pretest showed that students taught in the small class size group had a lower score than the students who were taught in the large class size. On the other hand, results of the post test indicated that the students in the small class size had a much higher score than the students in the large class size. Cumulatively, the result of the pretest and posttest showed that those taught in the small class size group had a much higher score than the students who were taught in the large class size. The study therefore concluded that class size has effects on performance of students in speech work. In the light of the findings, it was recommended, among others that, teachers of English should use small class sizes in teaching speech work among students of senior secondary schools while large class sizes should be discouraged in secondary schools.





1.1 Background to the Study

The teaching and learning of speaking are vital part of any language education classroom, not only does spoken language offer affordances for learning as the main communicative medium of the classroom, but it is an important component of syllabus content and learning outcomes. However, teaching speaking remains challenging for any English teachers. A key issue here is whether what happens in a speaking classroom is concerned with “doing” or “teaching” speaking.

Oral language carries a community’s values, customs, traditions, stones and beliefs. Speaking skills enhances the learner’s language fluency and accuracy and accuracy, and they also boost the learner’s confidence as well. This implies that language is primarily speech. Speech is the prime means of communication, and the structure of the society itself would be substantially different if we had failed to develop communication through speech. A very large number of languages in the world are only spoken with no writing script. Majority of languages even with no writing scripts use their spoken forms more than the written ones.

More so, it is a general fact that language is learnt by speaking it first after al lot of listening to the sounds, words, phrases and sentences from the surroundings (Anunadha, Raman & Hemamalini 2014). Therefore, to be able to communicate well, the learners must be good in pronunciation, which means speaking a language with appropriate stress and rhythm. Good pronunciation is an ornament of a person and a passport to the cultural society (Sacheua 2011).

A similar observation was made by Alhabi (2015) in Saudi Arabia where learners have low oral skills due to absence of authentic language learning situation outside and inside classroom. The author further explained that there are several factors that influence learning skills. For instance, use of mother tongue outside and inside classroom environment, low status of English in a country, learners negative attitude towards English language, use of mother tongue by teachers to explain difficult concepts, use of teacher-centered methodology and passiveness of learners in classroom (Ibid) there factors influences successful speaking skills lessons.

In the acquisition of a second language, speech work is a vital skill to master. Good pronunciation and fluency in speaking is the hallmark of culture and it is the duty of the teacher to accomplish this goal approximately as an English man does. Incessant effort is needed in this direction from the teachers and learners. According to Abenga (2005) and Gudu (2005) a research done in Kenya by Mwaba (2005) found that many students in secondary schools where shy and preferred to remain quite in class because they were unable to express themselves properly in spoken English. This observation is consistent with that of Richard (2009) who found that learners who have no linguistic competence often speak slowly, take too long to compose utterances and do not participate actively in conversation; their spoken language does not sound natural, poor grammar and pronunciation.

In spite of this, in many countries, because skills are not assessed, teachers usually disregard the skills and focus on other areas of language learning features such as grammar and vocabulary (Bakar and Westrup 2003). It is against this background that this research study therefore, intends to investigate in the effects of class-size on students’ achievement in speech work activities at Senior Secondary School Level in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The ability of students to be able to communicate naturally in English is one of the long-term goals that language teachers would like to achieve in class.

According to Bygate (1987) the purpose of teaching foreign language or second language is to prepare the students to use the language. Indeed, it is a demanding task for language teachers to provide sufficient inputs for students to be competent speakers of English.

Parupalli (2018) conducted a research on teaching speaking skills in English language classroom through various techniques and activities, the study revealed that “due to lack of numerous problems in expressing their thoughts and ideas properly in their mother tongue”. Usually, students feel unsecure about their level of English and they face problems communicating as well as expressing themselves in the target language. As a result, they would rather remain silent as they are in fear of making mistakes and do not show active participation in speaking lesson. Iqbat, (2012) conducted a research on speaking skills and students perception, the result of the study suggested that mistakes should be welcome in language pronunciation teaching and in speaking activities in the class.

In addition, language teachers at schools do not give full attention to speech work activities due to some constraints. They are required to complete the syllabus by following the yearly plan, prepare materials for lesson, be involved in non-academic activities to mention but few. Moreover, some English teachers prefer individual and pair work in class due to the fixed seating arrangement. Sometimes, because of limited class time coupled with number of students in the class, speech work activities often get pushed to the bottom of the list. This collaborate the findings of Li (2011). This revealed that “students need more time to practice their speaking skills”.

More so, whether class-size really affects students’ achievement in speech work activities or not remains a matter of concern to the researcher as no study has given a clear proof on the concept. A study conducted by Rivking, Hanushak and Kain (2000), revealed that teaching quality and training are important but class-size is not. On the other hand, Blatch ford, Mojority and Martin (2015) Argued that class-size differences have effects on both teachers and learners because class-size is a major factor that will influence teachers and pupils in a number of ways. It is against this that the effects of class-size on student achievement in speech work activities at senior secondary school level in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State is seen as a problem worthy of study.

1.3 Purpose and Objectives of the Study

The main aim of this study is to find out the effects of class-size on students’ achievement in speech work in some senior secondary school in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State. The specific objectives are;

  1. to test the effect of class-size on students’ achievement in speech work activities in senior secondary schools.
  2. to compare the academic performance of students in large and small class-size in speech work activities.
  3. to determine which of the groups will perform better than the other in a class test on speech work activities at senior secondary level.

1.4 Significance of the Study

This research work contains the researchers’ contributions that would be of useful to the government through the ministry of education in making and implementing policies that will supplement the teaching and learning of speech work activities in secondary schools. Teachers could find some information in this study beneficial to them because they will be exposed to better ways and strategies of handling large classes and also become aware of how to go about classroom management in large class setting.

Policy makers and Educational Administrators may use the findings of this study to update themselves on the current plight to students’ ratio within the area of study in order to assist them in locating educational projects or providing other educational services to the target areas that have needs.

The study will also benefit future researchers in the same field with literature material to support their argument and hence improve knowledge. This implies that this will serve as a reference to any researcher who intends to carry out research on the same topic or related as well as add flesh to this field of knowledge.

1.5 Scope of the Study

This study is limited to the effects of class-size on students’ achievement in speech work activities at senior secondary school level in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State.

1.6 Research Questions

The researcher formulates the following research questions to guide the study;

  1. To what extent does class size affect students’ achievement in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State?
  2. What is the mean difference between the academic performance of students who were taught speech work in small and large classes at senior secondary level?
  3. Which of the two groups will do better in a test on speech work activities at senior secondary level?

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