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INFLUENCE OF PEER GROUP ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS IN SOME SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS

Format: MS WORD  |  Chapter: 1-5  |  Pages: 57  |  621 Users found this project useful  |  Price NGN3,000

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Educational activities are geared towards ensuring that students achieve mastery of educational objectives. In school, the extent to which these objectives have been achieved, is determined by their level of peer pressure, time management as students’ success are reflected in their academic performance. Peers play a large role in the social and emotional development of adolescents Allen (2005). Their influence begins at an early age and increases through the teenage years, it is natural, healthy and important for adolescent to have and rely on friends as they grow and mature. A peer could be any one you look up to in behaviour or someone who you would think is equal to your age or ability (Hardcastle, 2002). On the other hand, the term “pressure” implies the process that influence people to do something that they might not otherwise choose to do.

According to Hartney, (2011) peer pressure refers to the influences that peers can have on each other. Peer pressure is emotional or mental forces from people belonging to the same social group (such as age, grade or status) to act or behave in a manner similar to themselves (Weinfied 2010). Jones, (2010) defined peer pressure as the ability of people from the same social rank or age to influence another of same age, bracket peer pressure is usually associated with teens although its influence is not confined to teenagers alone. Mature adults, teens, young adults and children can be seen doing things in order to be accepted by their peers. Peer pressure is commonly associated with episodes of adolescent risk taking (such as delinquency, drug abuse, sexual behaviours), because these behaviour commonly occur in the company of peers. It can also have positive effects when youth are pressured by the peer toward positive behaviour. Such as volunteering for charity or excelling in academics (Kellie, 2013).

However, peers can also have a negative influence. They can encourage each other to skip classes, steal, cheat, use of drugs or alcohol, or become involve in other risky behaviours. Majority of adolescents with substance abuse problems began using drug or alcohol as a result of peer pressure. Negative peer pressure may influence in various ways like joining group who drink alcohol, smoke cigarette and Indian hemp among others. It may also lead to the decision to have a boyfriend/girlfriend, Peer pressure indulges youth into loitering about in the streets, watching films and attending parties during school hours, taping as alternative to stealing which may eventually graduate into armed robbery (Arief, 2011), Peer pressure may be present in the workplace, at school or within the society, it can affect people of all ages. It may affect people in different ways but here, the focus is on peer pressure as it influences academic performance of in-school adolescents. Peer pressure may have a positive influence and help to challenge or motivate one to do best. Peer pressure may also result in one doing thing that may not fit with ones’ sense of what is right or wrong. In other words, when peer pressure makes one do things that people frown at, it is a negative peer pressure. Operationally peer pressure is a force exert by people that is influenced by ideas, values and behaviour either positively or negatively and always associated with adolescents. Study shown that many popular students who do not manage their time well make lower grades than less socially accepted adolescent (Hartney, 1990). This is possibly due to the fact that popular students may spend more time worrying about their social life rather than studying. Time management has to do with planning and scheduling activities, organizing tasks in a prioritized order and allocating time to the tasks according to their order of importance and helping one achieve desired objectives (Achunine, 1995). Time management is the ability to manage and control time. (Lakein, 2003). The use of planners, calendars and the like are effective tools in managing time. Time management is the art of arranging organizing, scheduling and budgeting one’s time for the purpose of generating more effective work and productivity. (Lakein, 2003). Time management is important for everyone, while time management books and seminars often focus on business leaders and corporations, time management is also crucial for students, teachers, professionals and home makers. Time management is mostly about self-management. One may be right to say that time management is the ability of an individual or group of individuals to make proper use of their time in order to achieve set goals. Time management is explained as behaviour that is believed to aid production and alleviate stress, productivity (Misra, 2000). Implementing time management strategies helps to organize aspects of one’s life, therefore allowing one’s time to complete all the tasks necessary to reduce one stress level. In completing the task on schedule, a student will also enhance his academic performance. It can be deduced from Misra (2000) view, that an in-school adolescent who spends his time on irrelevant things instead of concentrating on studies may end up having poor academic performance. The issue of students loitering about, holding parties at the expense of their studies tends to suggests that students in Abia State do not manage their time well. Hence, academic performance might be affected. Operationally the researcher defines time management as the art of setting a goal and following it sequentially in order to achieve the target. Hillary Retting has identified over-giving of attention to family, friends, and work, volunteerism or activism, as prime obstacles to managing ones’ time. This author therefore recommends solutions to management of time to include being aware of one’s motives for instance in striving, to be a “hero” or self-sacrificing “saint,” and avoiding procrastination, setting his motives and working hard towards achieving the motive enhance academic performance. Academic performance refers to how well a student is accomplishing his or her tasks and studies (Scortt’s, 2012). Grades are certainly the most well-known indicator of academic performance. Grades are the student’s “score” for their classes and overall tenure. Grades are most often a tallying or average of assignment and test scores and may often be affected by factors such as attendance an instructor opinion of the student as well. Grading systems vary greatly by county and school; common scales include a percentage form 1-100, lettering systems from A-F, and grade point averages (GPA) from 0-4.0 or above.

According to Ward, Stocker and Murray-Ward (2006) academic performance refers to the outcome of education; the extent to which the student, teacher or institution have achieved their educational goals. Academic performance is the ability to study and remember facts and being able to communicate one’s knowledge verbally or written on paper (Answers, 2010). In the context of this study, academic achievement refers to the extent to which students have achieve mastery of the objectives of the subjects they are exposed to in school. According to (Aremu and Sokan 2003) academic achievement has been observed in school subjects especially mathematic and English language among secondary school students. The trend of poor achievement of secondary school students has also been confirmed by the West African Examination Council (WAEC). The WAEC result analysis for the years 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 revealed the following statistics of the performance of Nigerian student in secondary schools in public examination. The percentages of students who passed during the years were report to be 22, 54, 13.76, 22.54, 24.94, and 25.99 percent respectively. That is, on the average, less than a quarter (21.94 percent) of the students that sat for the May/June West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations obtained credits in five subjects including English and mathematics during the five years (WAEC, 2007-2011).

According to the West African Examination Council Zonal Co-ordinator, revealed the statistics of the 2012/2013 WAEC. A total of 324, 998 candidates registered for the Examination 168,835 are Males: while 141,242 are Females: candidates who registered for the WAEC examination. Withheld results, the results of 51,876 candidates, representing 16. 73% of candidates are being withheld by the WAEC Board, based on various reports, mostly for these candidates alleged involvement in examination malpractice, while another Statistics shows that a whooping number of 250,487 candidates representing 80. 78% have 2 credits and above, while 217,161 candidates, representing 70. 03 of the total 2012 WAEC candidates, have three credits and above. Several factors have generally been identified as causes of poor academic performance. Morakinyo (2003) believes that the falling level of academic performance is attributable to teachers’ non-use of verbal reinforcement strategy. Welsh (2007) also found that the attitude of some teachers to their job, poor teaching methods and the like influence students’ academic performance. The blame for poor academic performance among secondary school students could be attributable to a variety of factors such as student inability to manage their time, peers influence, family factors and the likes. Parents, teachers, curriculum, experts and evaluators have expressed considerable concern over the deteriorating students’ performance in public examinations. Therefore, an in-school adolescent should avoid negative pressure such loitering along the street during school hours holding parties at the expense of their study, skipping school and drug abuse. That will create room for poor academic performance. The adolescent should move with people that study their books in order to have good academic performance.

Adolescence is a developmental period in which an individual changes (over a varying length of time) from childhood into adulthood. This creates confusion about the self because society considers them neither children nor adults. Adolescence is also a period of sexual maturity (of sex organs and the development of hormones) and the development of sexual urge. The pattern of thinking is that in which immediate needs tend to have priority over long term ones and because they lack knowledge and skills to make healthy choices, they tend to go into risky behavior and tryout experiences which often leads to mistakes and regrets in most adolescents it marks the beginning of sexual activity Steinberg, (2008) Adolescents substance use, or antisocial behavior are often considered as “problem” behaviours. Adolescent period is a time when many young people take the opportunity assess themselves as well as begin the process of seeking out their own personal identities. Part of this process includes questioning previously accepted beliefs and guidance given in childhood and maintaining a distance from adult influences. Young ones during this period often, rely on their peer group for support, approval and behavior models (Aribiyi, 2006). Empirical sources indicated that adolescent’s involvement in unguarded and discriminate negative peer pressure is on the increase (Okonofua & Kanfua, 1996; Osarenren, 2000). Adolescents’ use of time is an issue importance to youth, families and society as a whole because the amount of time spent in various activities has been linked to the development of adolescent problem behaviours. Occupying time in constructive ways by participating in co-curricular activities an doing homework, for example, is often viewed by parents and community leaders as well a means of preventing negative peer pressure such as substance abuse, delinquency and sexual activity. Adolescent time use in school and peer experiences may also have profound influences on the development of problem behavior. Some literature shows high level of family support and cohesion are associated with lower levels of adolescent substance use, delinquency and other negative outcomes (Barnes and Farrell (1992); Farrell and Barnes (2000). On the order hand, large exclusive amount of time spent in unsupervised peer context may reinforce or exacerbate adolescent substance use and delinquency. Thus, large amount of unsupervised time spent with peers at parties, “hanging out” at malls, dating and talking on the phone may contribute to a variety of negative peer pressure in adolescents (Osgood and Anderson, 2004). Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to peer pressure, because they are at a stage of development, when they are separating more from their parents’ influence but have not yet established their own values or understanding about human relationship or the consequences of their behaviour. They are also typically striving for social acceptance at this stage and may be willing to engage in behaviours that will allow them to be accepted but are against their better judgment. At this stage whether male or female the pattern thinking is that in which immediate needs tend to have priority over long term ones and because they lack knowledge and skill to make healthy choices. Gender may have positive and negative influence on in-school adolescents. The World Health Organization defines gender as the socially constructed roles, behaviour, activities and attributes that a particular society considers for men and women. To Woolfolk (2010) gender usually refers to traits and behaviours that a particular culture judges to be appropriate for men and women. Cross and Madson (2007) stated that although the majority of the researcher shows that parent attachment is stronger in female, female may also be more likely than boys to draw support from other sources, such as peers, because female may be more active in the pursuit of relatedness in the context of their peer relations. Hay and Ashman (2003) concluded that females were more influenced by peer relations than males. It has also been revealed that girls do better in school, get higher grades and can graduate from high school at a higher level than boys (Aryana, 2010). From the on-going, adolescent boys and girls exhibit differences in behavioural patterns regarding their relationship with their peers, time management and academic performance. This study will investigate the relationship among peer pressure, time management and academic performance of in-school adolescents in Umuahia Education Zone.

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