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Education is the backbone of the individual which ensuring to be reflecting in the society as mirror for healthy environment. Peers group and education are closely interdependent; education can mould the child behaviour and ensuring that students attain the mastery of educational purposes through peer group. Peer groups play a crucial role in shaping the educational experiences and outcomes of students. The influence of peer groups on education can be both positive and negative, and understanding this dynamic is essential for educators, parents, and policymakers. Peer groups can provide emotional and academic support to their members. Students who feel connected to a supportive peer network are more likely to have higher levels of motivation, confidence, and engagement in their studies (Brown, et al., 2013). Negative peer pressure can lead to academic disengagement, truancy, and involvement in disruptive behaviors that can hinder educational progress.

Juran and Ramengzaua (2022) observed that the student’s success on academic performance can be determined and reflected by their level of peer pressure. Adeole, Guardione and Salagar (2007) defined peer group as a group of people of same age or social status. The peer group is the first social group outside the home in which the child attempts to gain acceptance and recognition. Peer group is an important influence throughout one’s life but they are more critical during the developmental years of childhood and adolescence. Adolescents are categories of children that usually form groups in the schools. Truly speaking, adolescence is the most chaotic and stressful of all stages in human life. In addition, the complexities of contemporaries’ life have made adolescence a major developmental period compared to the ritualized transition; it has been in traditional culture and past generation.

The peer group influences are more pronounced and noted in secondary school than in primary schools, partly because some of the children go away from home and stay in boarding schools where parental supervision and contact is very limited. The influence of peer group on the child is great both in and out of the school, because there is the tendency for members to be comfortable with the group norms and values. Sometimes peer group influence may lead to aggressive behaviour such as (rioting in school). Peer group influence also prompt students to form clique with nicknames such as, Sniper, Terror, Shark, Snake, Tempo, Blue Queen, Black angel etc. Students are always anxious to initiate their peers whether good or bad, they would want to go to the church or mosque due to their peer influences. They may also join different clubs like Girls Guides, Boys Scout, Brigade, Red Cross, etc (Owuamanam, 2001). The peer group has their own “acceptance” which they have to consider before a child could be accepted or rejected from a group. Some of these characteristics that are likely to make a child to be accepted to a group are friendship, sociability and introversion. Much may also depend on what a particular group values as qualities in its members. 

Academic performance refers to that in what way sound a student’s achieving his activities and studies. Academic performance encompasses students’ ability and performance; it is multi-dimensional; it is intricately associated to human growth and cognitive, emotional and social physical development. Generally, it has been observed that a group which a child belongs to could influence his learning, studies from various cultures have shown that a child right from infancy to adolescence is faced with urge to belong and to be accepted by the group. A basic human need is to acquire an affiliation to a group in the society. Peer relationships are common in the schools and homes and this plays important roles in the socialization of children in Nigeria. Students in the midst of their group transformed into the true picture of their behaviour, they feel more comfortable among fellow students but feel morose at home or at the presence of teacher. The most important influence on student behaviour to learning is not always the teacher but the fellow students.

With this, there is need to identify the effect of peer group relationship on learning, although there are other factors that can influence the learning but the role played by the peer group learning is more than other factors because the attitude of students to learning are not always encouraging. The most common types of peer group to be investigated are the secondary school children who fall into the same group that could have negative influence on their learning. Juran and Ramengzaua (2022) claimed that children throughout their school career will be grouped with their contemporaries so they will become accustomed to having the limitations and addition of each age group intensified. Afolabi (2019) wrote that the peer group outside the home from which does not always conform with adult standard, and each child strive to abide with the ethics of the group they take membership with because rejection by the group may have negative effect on the learning of the child.

Juran and Ramengzaua (2022) felt that acceptance by a peer group improved social relation. These have beneficial effects on individual learning insecurity that arises from satisfying emotional tension enables him to concentrate more on his assigned learning tasks. This indicates that acceptance by the group may have positive effect on the child. A child who is not brilliant enough may do better if he is accepted by a group that is inclined to study. It has been observed that a child learns more easily within his peer group. Where he is wrong, he prefers to be corrected by a member of his peer group than by the teacher.

In support of this view, Bankole and Ogunsakin (2015) advised that the school must therefore use peer group energies to promote rather than impede good learning. It is therefore necessary to let students realize the reason why they have to be careful in choosing their friends so that their attitudes toward learning would be improved as the peer group they belong can have effect on their learning negatively and positively. Peers are so critical and should provide boundaries from which teens form their identity, while peers form the cushion of support during the fragile time that identity is being formed. These boundaries that enables him to internalize the values that form his character to foster his learning that he acts accordingly without generating retribution from authority or rejection from his peers. It is on this basis that the researcher wishes to investigate the effects of peer group on academic performance of students in Langtang North Local Government Area, Plateau State.


It is worrisome that peer groups create distractions and social pressures that divert students’ focus away from their academic responsibilities. Students may prioritize socializing, engaging in non-academic activities which can hinder their academic performance.

Peer groups develop norms that devalue academic achievement, studying, and intellectual pursuits. Students who conform to these norms may neglect their academic responsibilities, leading to a decline in their performance.

In some peer groups, academic success may not be prioritized or valued. As a result, students may not receive the necessary support and encouragement to excel academically. Without peer support or positive academic role models, students may struggle to stay motivated and achieve their full potential.

Peer groups often engage in social comparison, which can negatively impact their self-esteem and academic confidence. Students who perceive themselves as academically inferior to their peers may experience feelings of inadequacy, leading to a decline in their academic performance.


The aim of this study was to examine the effect of peer group on academic performance of secondary school students in Langtang North Local Government Area of Plateau State. Specifically, the study objectives sought to:

  1. find out the causes of peer group pressure that affect academic performance of students.
  2. determine the effect of peer group on academic performance of students in secondary schools.
  3. ascertain the significant difference in the influence of male and female peer group on academic performance
  4. find out the possible solution to the causes of peer group pressure that influence academic performance of students.
  5. What are the causes of peer group pressure that affect academic performance of students?
  6. Does peer group have any effect on academic performance of secondary school students?
  7. What is the significant difference in the influence of male and female peer group on academic performance
  8. What could be the solution to the causes of peer group pressure that influence academic performance of students?

H01There is no significance difference in the academic performance of male and female secondary school students in Langtang North LGA.


Social Cognitive Theory, also known as Social Learning Theory, was developed by Albert Bandura, a psychologist, in the late 1970s. Bandura proposed this theory as an extension of his earlier work on observational learning and self-efficacy. Social Cognitive Theory emphasizes the role of cognitive processes, social interactions, and environmental factors in human behavior and learning. Bandura’s Social Learning Theory speaks precisely to the human interactions involved in learning. Observational or “vicarious” learning is based upon learning by watching then “modelling” or acting similarly to others. If the student views and works with people who appreciate learning by engaging in learning activities, then the student too will engage in learning and might work harder at learning. Peers with positive attitudes and behaviours toward education will allow and teach each other to set goals that include opportunities to learn and achieve. If peer models do not convey positive attitudes toward learning, then the students observing these models will not prioritize learning in their own lives. They will learn to prioritize other goals. Bandura (1996) Social cognitive theory also emphasizes the importance of cognitive representations in the form of expectations about social norms that arise from observational and experiential learning. The theory posits that academic performance can be influenced by the social context in which individuals are situated, such as peer groups.

The effect of peer group on academic performance of students in can be examined within a conceptual framework that considers several key components. These include:

Individual Factors

Personal characteristics, such as self-esteem, motivation, and academic self-efficacy, can shape how individuals respond to peer group influence. Prior academic achievement, cognitive abilities, and learning styles may also play a role in how students engage with their peer groups.

Peer Group Dynamics

Group norms and values: Peer groups establish their own norms and values regarding academic engagement, studying, and achievement.

Group composition: The composition of the peer group, including academic ability levels, can influence academic performance.

Peer pressure: The pressure to conform to the group’s academic behaviors and attitudes may influence individual academic performance.

Social Learning Processes

Observational learning: Students observe and imitate the academic behaviors, study habits, and attitudes of their peers.

Vicarious reinforcement: Students may be motivated by seeing their peers rewarded or praised for their academic achievements.

Modeling: Peers who demonstrate successful academic behaviors and achievements can serve as role models, influencing others to adopt similar behaviors.

Social Comparison

Students engage in social comparison with their peers, evaluating their own academic abilities and achievements in relation to their peers. Upward social comparison with higher-performing peers may motivate students to improve their academic performance. Downward social comparison with lower-performing peers may lead to complacency or reduced effort.

Supportive Peer Relationships

Peer support and collaboration: Students can provide academic support, exchange study materials, and engage in collaborative learning.

Study groups: Peer groups may facilitate the formation of study groups, enhancing academic understanding and performance.

Emotional support: Positive peer relationships can contribute to a supportive and conducive learning environment.

Mediating Factors

Parental involvement: The level of parental support, guidance, and expectations can moderate the influence of peer groups on academic performance.

Teacher-student relationships: Positive relationships with teachers can mitigate negative peer group influence and enhance academic engagement.

School environment: The overall school climate and academic culture can influence the extent to which peer groups impact academic performance.

Academic Outcomes

Academic performance: This includes measures such as grades, test scores, completion of assignments, and overall academic achievement.

Academic engagement: Peer group influence can affect students’ level of motivation, interest, and active participation in academic tasks.


The research work is carried out to examine critically the effects of peer group on the academic performance in secondary school students in Langtang North Local Government Area of Plateau State. Information gathered from this work is pertinent and will go along way in unveiling the influence of peer group on the academic performance of students. The importance of this study is to know whether peer group has any effect on the academic performance of a child as well as making an effect to strike a balance in the educational system in line with the national policy on education.

This study will also provide an insight into the impact of peer group on academic performance of adolescents.  This study is important for students in the secondary school level to be aware of the significant role played by the peer groups in learning and for them to reason and be conscious of the group they join and move with.

The findings of this study will be helpful in determining some of the factors associated to the peer groups in relation to their academic performance. The research will help in findings solutions to the problems caused by poser group influence. It will also help in relating the peer group of male and females together in terms of the relationship. The factors when identified will form a base for proffering appropriate solutions to parents and teachers to beware of the ways they can direct peer group relationship.

The result will also guide counsellors to find the best ways of handling peer groups relationship. The students will also benefit from the study by acquiring knowledge on peers that can hinder their progress in academic. The result will enable the teacher to know more about the peer group which in turn will continue to enhance teaching and learning process.

It is also hoped that the present research study will at least provide some background information for future study on the topic or other related variables.

  • Scope of the Study

The study focused on the effects of peer group on academic performance of students in secondary schools. The study is carried out in the selected secondary schools in Langtang North Local Government Area of Plateau State. The scope is limited to five (5) secondary schools in the area and the respondents used are senior secondary school students. This delimitation to five schools was a result of some participants refusal to participate fully. The research work is limited to the five schools because of the inability of the researcher to cover the entire population of the study, money to produce questionnaire to go round the entire schools in the study area and the distance to the schools respectively. More importantly, the research is expected to be two full semesters which the deadline constrained the work to five schools in Langtang North.

  • Operational Definition of Terms

Peers: This refers to children of same sex and usually within the same age range.

Peer Group: This is the association of close friends of the same sex, which are bound together by common emotional attachment and have a complex social system of which they possess certain code of conduct such as dressing codes.

Peer Group Relationship: This is the form, way and why close friends of the same sex (peers) communicate among themselves whether in public or exclusively.

Academic Performance: This is the level of achievement attained through efforts or skills during the learning processes (theoretical and practical) and has effect on the standard of education of the students.

Effect: This refers to the influence which a peer group pressure has on academic performance of students in secondary schools.

Influence:  This refers to the power of students to be a compelling force on effects on the action, behaviour of another student.

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