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  • Background to the Study

Learning involves acquiring and modifying knowledge, skills, strategies, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. People learn cognitive, linguistic, motor, and social skills, and these can take many forms (Schunk, 2012). At a simple level, children learn to solve 1+1, to recognize y in the word daddy, to tie their shoes, and to play with other children. These are simple concepts that simple ones can be built upon with maturity. At a more complex level with maturity, students learn to solve long-division problems, write term papers, ride a bicycle, and work cooperatively on a group project.

To Sequeira (2017) learning is about a change: the change brought about by developing a new skill, understanding a scientific law, changing an attitude. The change is not merely incidental or natural in the way that our appearance changes as we get older. Learning is a relatively permanent change in behaviour, usually brought about intentionally. When we attend a course, search through a book, or read a discussion paper, we set out to learn. Other learning can take place without planning, for example by experience e.g. riding a bicycle and driving a car both need experience. Generally, with all learning there is an element within us of wishing to remember and explaining why something happens and to do it better next time. An important feature of learning is that it involves a complex interactive system including environmental, social, motivational, emotional and cognitive factors (Baron & Byrne, 2003).

According to Wikipedia (2021) teaching is the process of attending to people’s needs, experiences and feelings, and making specific interventions to help them learn particular things. They are grouping together teaching, learning and assessment – and adding in some other things around the sort of outcomes they want to see. To Caleb (2002) teaching is to cause the pupil to learn and acquire the desired knowledge, skills and also desirable ways of living in the society. It is a process in which learner, teacher, curriculum and other variables are organised in a systematic and psychological way to attain some pre-determined goals. In the view of Yiljep (2018) teaching is a process in which one individual teaches or instruct another individual. Teaching is considered as the act of imparting instructions to the learners in the classroom situation.

It is worth pointing out that teaching and learning can be hampered by various factors which includes, teaching method, teacher qualification, school characteristics, class size, among others (Usman, 2020). For the purpose of this study, the researcher shall concentrate on class size as a variable influencing learning outcome. Nigeria with a population of 210 million citizens (World Population, 2021) cannot discuss the challenges of low performance without mentioning class size.

            Class size is a measure of the average number of students in any given course in a school or education system, and it is often expressed as a ratio of thirty five (35) students to one (1) teacher. The term class size may also refer to total number of students in a particular grade level or class in a school. In Nigeria, the national policy on education (NPE, 2004) states that, a class size should be in proportion of one teacher to thirty five students. Anything outside that is referred to as overcrowded class. But in practice one would find 40 and above number of students in a class. This is the reason why it is often said that, the problem of Nigeria is not policy formation or planning but implementation that counts.

            Class size is a key variable and basically a thing of concern in this study. Teachers, parents, students, government and other stakeholders have been showing a lot of concern and worry on recent poor academic performance of students and the degeneration of our educational standard in schools to the issue of class size. Class size can be said to be the structure of the class or the proportion of students to teacher in the class. Class size can either be large or small. When a class is large, it means the proportion of students in such class contradicts the national policy in education on Nigeria which states that a class should be in proportion of 35 students to 1 teacher in a class. Over-crowding or overcrowded class affects the conveniences and conformability of the students and in-turns mitigate the assimilation as well as understanding level of the students since the teacher may not be able to effectively deliver his lecture due to large class size.

            A large class is one with more students’ than the available facilities can support, there is no fixed number of students in the class even though there is agreed definition of large class in the literature. Itodo (2020) perceived large class as too many students in a class where the teacher finds it difficult to know all their names by the end of the term or semester. On the other-hand, small class also has no agreed definition in literature but some teachers’ perceive it as one with fewer students than the available facilities which could be under utilization of such resources or injudicious use of such. One thing is certain whether or not we have the definition of class size (large or small) the phenomenon exists since we have identified some of its features.

            In Pankshin Local Government Area, awareness have been made for more children to enroll in school year after yearand this is causing a strain on the limited facilities available in the schools as it leads to overcrowding of students in many secondary schools and classes across the local government area which is absolutely a threat to effective learning outcome especially in public schools where emphasis is laid on quantity rather than quality of students. Achieving good academic heights will indeed be a herculean task in an overcrowded classroom because the teacher will not  be able to properly inculcate, evaluate, and manage bogus population to bring about a relative and fairly permanent change in behaviour of these students and that is contrary to effective learning.

Effective teaching can be said to be a situation whereby every required material or resources essential for meaningful learning to take place are readily available at the disposal of both the teachers’ and students. When there is a fluent and good rapport between the teacher and students in the classroom as well as conditional learning activities taking place then we can say that teaching and learning is effective. Effective teaching and learning requires a proper proportion of students to teacher, conducive classroom environment, adequate learning resources, quality of the teacher, ability of the students, class size among others are some of the many variables affects effective teaching and learning in any ideal classroom (Ajao, 2002).Thus, effective teaching in such class lies heavily on the class size as that is one of the major determinants of effective teaching and learning in any discipline.

            The importance attached to the students’ academic achievement and what causes or affects it, derives from the fact that it is not just a pointer to the effectiveness or otherwise of schools, but that it is also a major determinant (especially by the secondary level) of the careers that students would subsequently pursue and how effectively they would contribute to national development. According to Aremu (2002), it becomes the concern of research to unravel the influence of class sizes and the factors that give rise to them. Some of these factors that give rise to large class sizes include increase in school enrolment due to the implementation of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme, high teacher turnover, and school environments that are conducive due to adequate learning.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

            The classroom is the heart of any educational system. No curriculum planning is complete without implementation and evolution, both of which are mainly carried out in the classroom. However, this proper implementation could be hampered by class size. With the introduction of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) in 1999, the population explosion in primary and secondary schools inPankshinhas increased outrageously. There is a great demand for education today but with little provisions made to accommodate students.

In some schools, the class size is large because of insufficient land space to build classrooms to meet the demand for education. Other problems associated with large classes are congestion, noisy classes, little or no interpersonal relationships between teacher and students; students are not engaged in like instructional activities, teachers instructional and management techniques is very poor, poor seating arrangement etc. Deductively, the problem of this study therefore is to establish the impact of class size o learning outcomes of junior/senior secondary students in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State.

When one examines statistics from examination bodies such as Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB), pathetic condition of falling standard reigns supreme. In Pankshin Local government area,most of the students fail JAMB, no wonder most of them end up with scores barely enough to acquire the NCE programme in Federal College of Education, Pankshin. Furthermore, the NCE programme which fixed 160 as its cut off point for admission has cut it down to 130 with state colleges even accepting 120. The university cut off point which was earlier slated for 200 has reduced to 180 with other state universities like Plateau State University Bokkos even accepting 170.With these scores, it has shown that education has grossly dropped and it is because of poor performance on students academics.

In the view of the researcher, this can be traced to lack of proper educational planning and over-crowded population of students in secondary schools that serves as hitches to teaching and learning.It is in the light of the above statement that this study seeks to examine the impact of class size on learning outcomes of junior/senior secondary school students in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State.




  • Purpose of the Study

            The main aim of this study is to appraise class size on learning outcomes of junior/senior secondary school students in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State. The specific objectives of the study include:

  1. To examine learning outcomes of students in small class size.
  2. To determine the learning outcome of students in largeclass size.
  3. To evaluate the differences in the learning outcomes of students in large and small class size.

1.4       Research Questions

            The following research questions guided the study:

  1. What are the learning outcomes of students in small class size?
  2. What are the learning outcomes of students in large class?
  3. Are there any differences in the learning outcomes of students in large and small class sizes?

1.5       Research Hypotheses

              The following null hypotheses were postulated to guide the study:

H01: There is no significant relationship between small class size and learning outcomes of students.

H02: There is no significant relationship between large class size and learning outcomes of students.

H03: There is no significant difference in learning outcomes of students in large and small class size.

1.6. Assumption of the Study

It is assumed that:

  1. Class size affects the use of instructional materials.
  2. Class size affects teacher’s classroom control.
  3. Class size affects students’ learning outcomes..

1.7Significance of the Study

              This study after completion will be useful and beneficial to the following persons, groups or institutions. Teachers could find some of the information in this study beneficial to them because they will be expose to better ways of handling classes and also become aware of how best to go about classroom management.

              Policy makers and educational administrators may use the findings of this study to update themselves on the current plight of teacher to students’ ratio within the area of study in order to assist them in locating educational project or providing other educational services.

              Donor agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGO) who are interested in education could use the findings of this research to have some insight into critical areas that requires intervention within the educational system so as to ensure optimum utilization and beneficial use of intervention funds, and facilities.

              The government could hopefully benefit from this study by using it to get a better understanding of manpower strength of their schools in order to guide them in recruiting teachers and also improving the academic standard of the schools in times of student’s learning outcomes.

              Finally, to future researchers this study will serve as a reference to any researcher who intends to carryout research on the same topic or related topic as well as add flesh to the field of knowledge by making students themselves know the impact of class size and how to make the best out of such situation.

1.8Scope/Delimitation of the Study

              This study focuses on impact of class size on students’ learning outcomes. The study is limited to selected secondary schools in Pankshin Local Government Area. These selected secondary schools are private and public schools. The study will be limited to only 4secondary schools which will be randomly selected. However, despite the fact that the study is restricted to the selected Local government area, its findings will be generalized to other parts of the state and country at large.



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