This chapter gives an insight into various studies conducted by outstanding researchers, as well as explained terminologies with regards to the Influence of Industrial Actions on Academic Performance of Students.
The chapter also gives a resume of the history and present status of the problem delineated by a concise review of previous studies into closely related problems.
2.1 REVIEW OF RELATED CONCEPTS AND VARIABLES
This section reviews various concepts and terminologies related to the study as well as a critical definition of both the dependent and independent variables used for the purpose of the study.
2.1.1 Academic Performance
Students' learning can be evaluated in many different ways, but in a developing country like Nigeria where about 40 percent of the adult population are illiterate, parents use the performance of their children in public examinations to pass judgement on the schools and teachers. To them, the logic is a simple one. The schools are supposed to be staffed by good teachers and supplied adequate facilities and instrumental materials. It is the responsibility of government to ensure through such provisions and regular inspection or supervision that effective teaching and learning go on in the schools. The task of parents is to send children to school and pay whatever fees and levies are charged by the institutions. Though many parents acknowledge shortages of funds, teachers and infrastructures in the schools and their own inability to buy all
the required books and other learning materials for their wards, yet they strongly believe that if the students perform badly in their examinations, the teachers and administrators have not done their job well and should take most of the blame.
Unfortunately, there are many factors that help to determine the academic performance of students. However, the level of education and awareness of many parents does not enable them to participate in such complex theoretical arguments or discussions. For such parents and the general public, the students' performances in recent times give cause for ala-m and school authorities more than the students themselves are being accused of lack of dedication, declining productivity and even mindlessness. Nevertheless, the students have not been doing well, and the situation is not improving.
2.1.2 The Concept of Poor Academic Performance
Poor academic performance accord to Aremu (2000) is a performance that is adjudged by the examinee/testee and some other significant as falling below an expected standard. The interpretation of this expected or desired standard is better appreciated from the perpetual cognitive ability of the evaluator of the performance. The evaluator or assessor can therefore give different interpretations depending on some factors.
Bakare (2004) described poor academic performance as any performance that falls below a desired standard. The criteria of excellence can be from 40 to 100 depending on the subjective yardstick of the evaluator or assessor. For example, a 70% performance of University Students in an exam can judged to be an excellent performance and by all standard a very good performance. However, a cursory look at the performance and the individual examined and the standard of the examination he or she took could reveal that the performance is a very poor one. On the other hand, a Level 200 Accounting student’s performance of 37% in business mathematics can e said to be a poor performance. When in actual fact, the performance is by all standards a very good one. This shows that the concept of poor academic performance is very relative and this depends on so many intervening variables.
2.1.3 Factors That Affect Academic Performance of Students
A number of studies have been carried out to identify and analyse the numerous factors that affect academic performance in various centres of learning. Their findings identify students’ effort, previous schooling (Siegfried & Fels, 1979; Anderson & Benjamin, 1994), parents’ education, family income (Devadoss & Foltz, 1996), self motivation, age of student, learning preferences (Aripin, Mahmood, Rohaizad, Yeop, & Anuar, 2008), class attendance (Romer, 1993), and entry qualifications as factors that have a significant effect on the students’ academic performance in various settings. The utility of these studies lies in the need to undertake corrective measures that improve the academic performance of students, especially in public funded institutions. The throughput of public-funded institutions is under scrutiny especially because of the current global economic downturn which demands that governments improve efficiency in financial resource allocation and utilization.
22.214.171.124 Students’ learning preferences
A good match between students’ learning preferences and instructor’s teaching style has been demonstrated to have positive effect on student's performance (Harb & El-Shaarawi, 2006). According to Reid (1995), learning preference refers to a person’s “natural, habitual and preferred way” of assimilating new information.
This implies that individuals differ in regard to what mode of instruction or study is most effective for them. Scholars, who promote the learning preferences approach to learning, agree that effective instruction can only be undertaken if the learner’s learning preferences are diagnosed and the instruction is tailored accordingly (Pashler, McDaniel, Rohrer, & Bjork, 2008). “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” (Confucius 551-479 BC) – a quote that provides evidence that, even in early times, there was a recognition of the existence of different learning preferences among people. Indeed, Omrod (2008) reports that some students seem to learn better when information is presented through words (verbal learners), whereas others seem to learn better when it is presented in the form of pictures (visual learners). Clearly in a class where only one instructional method is employed, there is a strong possibility that a number of students will find the learning environment less optimal and this could affect their academic performance. Felder (1993) established that alignment between students’ learning preferences and an instructor’s teaching style leads to better recall and understanding. The learning preferences approach has gained significant mileage despite the lack of experimental evidence to support the utility of this approach.
There are a number of methods used to assess the learning preferences/styles of students but they all typically ask students to evaluate the kind of information presentation they are most at ease with.
126.96.36.199 Industrial Actions, Class attendance and academic performance
In his widely cited paper, Romer (1993) is one of the first few authors to explore the relationship between student attendance and exam performance. A number of factors have contributed to declining class attendances around the world in the last 15 years. The major reasons given by students for non-attendance include industrial actions by teachers, assessment pressures, poor delivery of lectures, timing of lectures, and work commitments (Newman-Ford, Lloyd & Thomas, 2009). In recent times, students have found a need to seek employment while studying on a part-time basis due to financial constraints. The numbers of part-time and mature students has also risen sharply. The use of information technology also means that information that used to be obtained from sitting through lectures can be obtained at the click of a mouse.
Indeed, web-based learning approaches have become the order of the day. Given all these developments that either make it impossible or unnecessary for students to attend classes, the question that needs to be asked is whether absenteeism affects students’ academic performance. Research on this subject seems to provide a consensus that students who miss classes perform poorly compared to those who attend classes (Devadoss & Foltz, 1996; Durden & Ellis, 1995; Romer, 1993; Park & Kerr, 1990; Schmidt, 1983). Based on these findings a number of stakeholders have called for mandatory class attendance. Although the existing evidence points to a strong correlation between attendance and academic performance, none of the studies cited above demonstrate a causal effect. The inability of these cross-sectional studies to isolate attendance from a myriad of confounding student characteristics (e.g. levels of motivation, intelligence, prior learning, and time-management skills) is a major limiting factor to the utility of these findings (Rodgers & Rodgers, 2003).
188.8.131.52 Other determinants of academic performance
The influence of age and gender on academic performance has been investigated in a number of studies with widely differing conclusions. Most of the differences in reported findings are due to varying contexts such as subject of study, age and gender interactions. Research has shown that men perform better than women in certain settings while women outperform men in other settings (Haist, Wilson, Elam, Blue, & Fosson, 2000). Borde (1998), on the other hand, found no evidence performance being influenced by gender. Based on an analysis of close to two million graduating students, Woodfield and Earl-Novell (2006) found that female students outperformed male students and attributed this partly to female students being more conscientious and thus less likely to miss lectures. With regard to the issue of student age, recent changes in educational policies around the world have led to an increase in the number of mature-age admissions in educational institutions. While a large proportion of undergraduate students are still 19-year olds, the ages of students in classes are now more variable than 10 to 15 years ago.INFLUENCE OF INDUSTRIAL ACTION ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS