Background of the Study
One of the prime purposes of education is for individuals to make useful living. Education in Nigeria, particularly at the secondary school level is aimed at equipping school leavers with the necessary theoretical and practical knowledge and skills in order to make a useful living for themselves and the society they live in (Federal Ministry of Education-F.M.E, 2004). The National Policy on Education [NPE], (FME, 2004) which recommended the 6-3-3-4 educational system re-emphasized the importance of business studies in the secondary school curriculum.
As reflected in the revised policy (NPE, 2014), the objectives of business studies are; to enable the students appreciate the role of commerce and its relationship with the other aspects of production, appreciate and understand the basic concepts and principles relating to commercial activities with practical situations especially in a developing economy, identify types of transactions and open the necessary books of accounts they pass through in the modern business activities, to acquire the ability in office procedure or practices, to acquire skills in typing correspondence letters at a determinable speed/time as well as knowledge of the ethics of an office/organization, to acquire skill in writing correct shorthand outlines by its theories and transcription of simple shorthand passage(s) into long hand with correct spellings at a determined speed and time, as well as to prepare for further work in commerce, book-keeping, office practice/ procedure, typing and shorthand. These objectives are geared towards giving students knowledge and skills that would enable them to adapt to changes in office technology and develop a broad understanding of business activities, the structure and functions of business institutions and their inter-relationships.
Business studies as a subject comes handy since it is widely recognized as a pivotal tool for the development of professional or skilled manpower in all aspects of commercial, industrial and managerial areas. Business studies lays the foundation for technological, economic and commercial advancement (Udoye & Ndum, 2013). Moreover, it is a common notion that business studies is an integral part of vocational education, and taught as an integrated subject (book keeping, economics, commerce, office practice, shorthand and typewriting). This equips individuals with the necessary skills, and theoretical knowledge needed for performance in the business world either for job occupations or for self- employment (Chukwurah, 2006). In other words, business studies provide individuals who intend to work immediately after the junior secondary school with basic skills and the orientation to succeed in the world of works. this is because business studies is seen as education for and about business which aims at preparing its recipients to acquire skills necessary for paid employment or to be self-dependent as entrepreneurs.
In the same vein, Osuala (2004) stated that business studies is a vocational subject that is taught at the junior secondary school level in Nigeria which is aimed at providing youths who may proceed to senior secondary school to graduate with the necessary prevocational skills that will enable them to be useful to themselves and to the community in which they live. Furthermore, Nwogu (2011) explained that business studies is taught at the junior secondary school as a basic subject that will enable students to be equipped with further skills which are common and fundamental to all personal and occupational activities. Hence, it encourages the acquisition of specific practical skills required for business and industry at that level. In other words, the business skills acquired therein enable individuals to make a useful living for themselves as well as prepare them for higher education in commercial subjects or courses. Thus, Osuala (2004) stated that, the advent of business studies stresses the need for the provision of youth with the educational experience which equips them with saleable skills and competencies as well as enable them to become exposed to the educational experiences that would give them comparative advantage in the world of works, nationally and internationally.
However, in spite of commendable attempts made by the government, teachers, parents and other relevant stakeholders in the education sector to realize the aforementioned laudable objectives, student’s failure in business studies examination is among the disturbing issues in the educational sector in recent times (Olujuwon, 2010). Onifade (2010) stated that secondary school students’ poor academic achievements or failures in both internal and external examinations in Business studies are dangerous dimensions to the education sector. This is based on the indices of poor academic achievements of junior secondary school students in business subjects in both internal and external examinations. Accordingly, a study carried out in selected secondary schools in Nigeria with respect to Nigeria Examination Council (NECO) results, West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) results and Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) results by Nwogu (2011) revealed that there is poor performance of students in business subjects such as commerce, accounting, shorthand, and typewriting at the senior secondary level and business studies at the junior secondary level.
Furthermore, Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) results for JSS3 (Upper Basic 3) in Nigeria as observed by Onifade (2010) indicated that in 2009, out of 1530 students that sat for business studies examination, only 699 got credit and above while others were either pass, fail or result withheld. Also the findings by Ahmed (2015) on 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 JSCE results, revealed the percentage failure in business studies as 61.3%, 53.2%, 47% and 55.1% respectively. In this regard, the failure rates of students in business studies examinations are not encouraging in the Nigeria education system. This may in turn affect the study of business subjects like commerce, accounting, shorthand, and typewriting at the senior secondary school level. Hence, the increasing interest about the modalities for reducing the rate of failures in business studies and business related subjects.
In the view of Onifade, (2010), the problem of this massive failure in both internal and external examinations in Business studies goes beyond student’s cognitive ability. In affirmation, Olujuwon, (2010) noted that series of factors affect student’s academic achievements. These factors according to Olujuwon include poor instructional quality, student’s negative attitude to school, overcrowded classrooms and poor facilities among other school and home-related factors. However, it appears students’ sociability, self-confidence, motivation, interest and study habits can exert great influence on students’ academic achievements in any given subject. But literature is yet to show clearly the extent to which achievement in Business studies can be influenced by students’ sociability, self-confidence, motivation, interest and study habits directly or indirectly. Hence, this study seeks to provide relevant empirical evidence in this respect.
From the aforementioned, sociability is a widely used term in the literatures of sociology and psychology. Sociability is considered as a factor and trait of an environment or a person (Kübler, 2008). Swanson and Miller (2013) noted that sociability is the extent to which individuals are able to establish a sound social space where social interactions are encouraged. Okumura (2010) views sociability as the skill of interacting well with other people. These interactions are said to provide a platform where individuals can express themselves freely, thereby creating a meaningful and satisfying relationship. It is also an avenue that motivates and sustains social activities with social benefits that support shared ideas and interactions among people. Thus, sociability plays a crucial role in the development and maintenance of social networks, intimate relationships, and social supports.
It is worthy of note that sociability as a concept has also been applied to the traditional classroom environments (Chen, Rubin & Li, 2010) and should be considered necessary for effective teaching and learning. Chen, Rubin, and Li, further observed that more sociable students achieved higher levels of academic achievements than less sociable students, although not indicated in explicit and empirical terms. Shobhna and Rekha (2009) investigated the relationship between sociability and academic achievement of urban and rural adolescents and the findings indicated that there were significant differences with regard to academic achievement of rural and urban adolescents based on their sociability. In another study by Liu (2012) on the predicting effects of self-concept and sociability on Chinese learners’ performance in English, the results revealed that sociability was significantly correlated with students’ performance in English. In this context, sociability, as a personal factor, is seen as a person’s desire to affiliate with others, which implies people’s need to establish social relationships in order to interact and exchange ideas with others which may have positive or negative influence on school achievement like in business studies. Hence, academic settings ought to provide the platform for social and interpersonal interactions which develop and evolve affective learners’ behaviours and perceptions towards the learning process that may be dependent on their self-confidence.
Self-confidence is an individual’s characteristic which enables the individual to have positive or realistic views of him/herself or the situations that he/she is in (Al-Hebaish, 2012). It can be explained as an individual’s expectation of his or her ability to achieve a goal in a given situation and is a very influential factor in ensuring that a person’s potential is realized. In other words, individuals with high self-confidence may have a realistic view of themselves and their capabilities which makes them to be persistent in their endeavours. However, self-esteem and self-efficacy in combination is what constitute self-confidence (Tunçel, 2015). According to Tunçel, self-confidence generally plays an important role not only in personal and social aspect of life but in school life as well, and at every stage of life towards success. It is evident that self-confident students are enthusiastic about schooling, study harder, have higher motivations, and do not quit when difficulties confront them (Al-Hebaish, 2012) and this can have effect on their school achievements. Moreover, the study by Al-Hebaish (2012) revealed a positive, significant correlation between general self-confidence and academic achievement. This may also be the case in subjects like Business studies. In other words, self confidence may facilitate or debilitate students’ academic achievement. This is because learners who possess high self-confidence are likely to perform well in school due to the belief they have in themselves. Whereas, learners with low self-confidence may be reasonably thought to be prone to uncertainty, insecurity, anxiety and social distance which can affect their school achievement or success in life generally. This is because the learner (s) motivation may also be affected.
Motivation is one of the most important variables that lead people to their goals in life. According to Elliot, Andrew, Covington, and Martin (2001), motivation can be defined as one’s direction to behaviour, or what causes a person to want to repeat a behavior and vice versa. In the same vein, Singh (2011) defines motivation as the zest and determination with a kind of excitement that leads one to persevere to reach greater heights no matter what avenue of their life. It is a drive that inspires one to the accomplishment of task(s). This drive may come intrinsically (internal) or extrinsically (external). Intrinsic motivation is the self-desire to seek out new things and new challenges, to analyze one’s capacity, to observe and to gain knowledge (Ryan & Deci, 2000). It is driven by an interest or pleasure in the task itself, and exists within the individual rather than external pressures or a desire for reward. Hence, Students who are intrinsically motivated are more likely to engage in the task willingly as well as work to improve their skills, which will increase their capabilities (Wigfield, Guthrie, Tonks, & Perencivick, 2004). Conversely, extrinsic motivation is a drive or influence that comes from outside of the individual. It includes rewards for showing the desired behaviour, threats of punishment that accompanies undesirable behaviours, and other external forces that are capable of influencing individual(s)’ actions on task(s).
Thus, motivation is considered as the drive to achieve set goals and the process to maintain the drive which therefore influences school achievements. Akomolafe, Ogunmakin and Fasooto (2013) carried out a study on the role of academic motivation and academic in predicting secondary school students’ academic performance and the results showed that a significant positive correlation between academic performance and academic motivation. In the same vein, Oriahi (2009) investigated the influence of motivation on students’ academic performance and the result indicated that students’ motivation has high positive correlation in their academic performance. For this reason, one may suppose that students’ motivation influences their academic achievements, like in Business studies. Apart from motivation which has been considered as a significant variable in students’ achievement in Business studies, students’ interest in learning also appears to be a strong factor that may affect their academic achievement in the subject.
Interest is an important variable in learning because when one is interested in an activity, one is likely to perform positively. Hidi and Renninger (2006) view interest as a psychological state of engaging or the predisposition to reengage with particular classes of objects, events or ideas over time. Also, interest refers to the preference to engage in some types of activities rather than others (Gardner & Tamir, 2009). Some researchers (Schiefele, 2001; & Koller, 2001) considered interest as a person-object-relation that is characterized by valued commitment and positive emotional valences. Such interest driven activities are attributed to the learner’s competence and personal control, self-determination, positive emotional states and an experience of flow whereby the person and the object of interest coincide. Schiefele (2001) observes that interest leads to goal achievement by learners. Researchers (Krapp, 2000; & Schiefele, 2001) also assert that interest is an intrinsic determinant of academic achievement. Findings have shown that a significant prediction of academic achievement in mathematics by students’ interest in schooling has been reported by other researchers (Tella, 2003 & Adeyemo, 2005). So, it also appears students’ interest may likely influence their academic achievement in Business studies either positively or negatively which this study seek to justify. However, worthy of note is that students’ interest may also influence their study habits.
Study habits are the strategies student(s) adopt in studying, whether systematic, efficient or inefficient. Study habits are learners’ behaviour or habitual ways of exercising and practicing their abilities to learn optimally (Oluwatimilehin & Owoyele, 2012). Study habits are viewed as learning tendencies that enable students/learners to work privately or in group, and include all the adopted ways and manners a student plans his/her private readings, after classroom learning so as to attain mastery of the subject (Akpan & Emeya, 2015). According to Akpan and Emeya, good study habits are good assets to learners because such habits assist learners to attain mastery in areas of specialization and consequent excellent performance, while on the other hand, poor study habits constitute constraints to learning and achievement leading to failure. In other words, it is believed that good study habits produce positive academic performances while inefficient study habits lead to academic failure. Thus, one can believe to an extent that students fail not because they lack ability, but because they have poor study habits. Hence, study habits may play a very important role in the life of students because success or failure among students depends on their study habits(Oluwatimilehin & Owoyele, 2012). Oluwatimilehin and Owoyele mentioned that study habits include; planning before studies, preparation and implementation of studies timetable, reading and note taking, concentration, and attitudes towards schooling, among others, which help to improve the academic performance of students.
Although the forgoing factors are thought to predict students’ academic achievement in any given subject, it is not yet clear to the researcher about the proportion of students’ academic achievements in Business studies that can be attributed to the above variables. However, the study of the combined effects of all the variables discussed is possible using path analysis. Path analysis is an extension of multiple regression which researchers use to test the fit of correlation matrix of a causal model which provides estimates of the extent and importance of the hypothesized causal relationship between sets of variables (Alwin, 1975). Path analysis provides estimates of the magnitude and significance of hypothesized causal connection between sets of variables. The relationship between these variables according to Alwin is best illustrated using a path diagram. Madu and Akobi (2014) views path analysis as a statistical technique used primarily to examine the comparative strength of direct and indirect relationships among variables. It consists of a family of models that depict the influence of a set of variables on others. According to Eme and Iniubong (2011), path analysis is not a method for discovering causes, but a method applied to causal model formulated by a researcher on the basis of knowledge and theoretical considerations. Pedhazur (1982) noted that path analysis is useful in providing plausible explanations to observed correlation by constructing models of cause and effect relationships among variables. Hence, path analysis is useful in carrying-out studies with more than two predictors’ variables. In this study, path analysis will help to make clear the contribution of the variables to students’ achievement and also estimate the direct and indirect effects or influence of the variables on students’ achievement in Business Studies.
In the light of the forgoing, there is need to study the influence of students’ sociability, self confidence, motivation, interest study habits on their academic achievement in Business studies using path analysis. A study by Akomolafe, Ogunmakin and Fasooto (2013) using path analysis found that significant positive correlations were shown between academic performance and academic motivation, self-concept and other psychological variables. In the same way, Adesoji and Olatunbosun (2008) also found that 7.20% of the total effect on achievement in chemistry was accounted for by all the seven predictor variables when taken together. Also, results by Eme and Iniubong’s (2011) using path analysis showed a model involving students’ psychological variables, gender, school location, parents’ socio-economic status and teachers variables and students’ academic achievement in mathematics can be used for predicting students’ academic achievement in mathematics. Hence, this present study is basically aimed at using path analysis to study and estimate the causal relationships between the variables (students’ sociability, self confidence, motivation, interest and study habits) and students’ academic achievement of students in Business Studies.
Statement of the Problem
The quality of academic achievement has become the key factor for personal and general progress in any given society. Parents desire that their children excel academically to as high a level as possible. This desire for a high level of achievement has remained unachieved since academic achievements of students at different levels of education appear to be deteriorating every year. Student’s massive failures in both internal and external business studies examinations is a disturbing trend which has become an issue of great concern to all stakeholders in the educational sector. Consequently, several attempts have been made by the government and stakeholders in education towards improving the academic achievements of students, and these efforts have not been seen to be yielding better result.
However, public opinions have blamed the issue on the falling standard of education which has contributed to student’s poor cognitive development. In contrast, it is the belief of many that the problem of failure in examinations or poor academic achievements goes beyond the student’s cognitive ability. As such, many people assume that student’s sociability, self-confidence, motivation, interest and study habits are some of the variables that could be considered as determinants of student’s academic achievements in any given subject. Notwithstanding, most of these variables have been studied as single predictor variables on the criterion variable using mean, standard deviation, t-test, Z- test, and other test statistics but path analysis in this study could helped to make clear the contribution of the variables to students’ achievement and also estimate the direct and indirect effects or influence of the variables on students’ achievement in Business Studies.
It is on the basis of the foregoing that this present study is necessitated. The study aims at determining the influence of students’ sociability, self-confidence, motivation, interest and study habits collectively on their academic achievements in Business studies. Therefore, the researcher used path analysis in order to establish a clear relationship and gather necessary empirical evidence that may enhance objective estimation of the proportion of variation of academic achievement in Business Studies that can be predicted by students’ sociability, self-confidence, motivation, interest and study habits collectively and respectively.
Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of this study was to develop a path analytic model (causal model) involving students’ sociability, self-confidence, motivation, interest, study habits and their academic achievement in business studies. In specific terms, the study was designed to:
- Construct a causal model involving the predictor variables- (sociability, self-confidence, motivation, interest, study habits) and students’ academic achievements in Business Studies.
- Determine the path coefficients of students’ sociability, self-confidence, motivation, interest, study habits on their academic achievements in Business studies.
- Estimate the proportion of variation in students’ academic achievements in Business studies that can be attributed to each of the predictor variables.
- Identify the predictor variables with direct and indirect effects on students’ academic achievements in Business studies.
Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will be of both theoretical and practical significances.
Theoretically, this study will provide necessary evidence to support and confirm existing theories in this area. Specifically, findings of this study will help explain the social cognitive theory by Bandura which assumes that human functioning is the product of a dynamic interplay of personal and behavioural influences. Also, Vygostky’s social learning theory which stated that people learn through their interactions/communications with others will be supported or rejected by the findings of this study especially findings on students’ sociability. Further, the Deci and Ryan’s self-determination theory which believes that all students possess inherent growth tendencies (eg. intrinsic motivation, curiosity, psychological needs) that provide motivational foundation of their higher quality classroom engagement and positive school functioning will be supported or repudiated by the findings of this study.
Practically, it is expected that the results of this study will be of great benefit to students, parents, teachers, counsellors, educational administrators, government and researchers alike. Thus, the findings from this study will enable the students to be adequately informed about the contributions of their sociability, self-confidence, motivation, interest, study habits to their academic achievement. This will help them in enhancing their academic achievements by developing and improving on these variables through appropriate learning.
The findings of this study will also be a source of information to parents. Parents will become fully aware on how their children or ward’s sociability, self-confidence, study habits, interest and motivation contribute to their academic achievements. This will inform parents to create a favourable home environment that will enable them develop, exhibit and improve on such, for their academic success.
The findings of this study will be of great value to the teachers. In this sense, teachers’ knowledge of the influence of students’ sociability, self-confidence, study habits and motivation on their academic achievements will enable them create a friendly learning environment. It will also enable teachers to restructure their teaching pedagogies and adopt favourable leadership styles to meet the learning needs of the students owing to diversity in their sociability, self-confidence, motivation, interest, and study habits. This will in turn help in enhancing effective teaching and learning of Business studies.
In the same vein, the findings of this study will be a source of information to school counsellors. This is because school counsellors will become exposed to knowledge about the influence of students’ sociability, self-confidence, motivation, interest, study habits and on their academic achievements. This will help counsellors in providing adequate and appropriate result oriented counseling services with regards to the contribution of students’ sociability, self-confidence, study habits, motivation to their academic achievement in Business studies.
The findings of this study will help educational administrators in the education system to formulate and implement different kinds of educational programmes that will duly consider students’ development and improvement on their sociability, self-confidence, study habits and motivation. In addition, the knowledge of the contributions of these variables to students’ academic achievements will help educational administrators in designing the curriculum that will integrate the teaching of relevant sociability skills, development of good self-confidence and, motivational skills, interest and good study habits. This will promote students’ learning and academic achievements.
The result of this study will inform government on the impact of sociability, self-confidence, study habits and motivation on students’ academic achievements. Thus, government will be poised in funding and supporting an educational system that will make provisions for adequate development and improvement on such, for better academic achievements.
The path model that will be developed from this study will serve as a model for predicting Business studies achievement as well as other subjects based on the knowledge of the proportion of contribution of each of the variables (students’ sociability, self-confidence, motivation, interest and study habits) in the model. In other words, with this model, one can predict a student’s achievement given values of their sociability, self-confidence, motivation, interest and study habits.
Finally, the findings of this research work will be of great benefit to future researchers and scholars in education industry, especially in the area of academic achievement and students’ sociability, self-confidence, motivation, interest and study habits. This is because relevant materials and information on these will be made available to them with this project as a ready reference material.
Scope of the Study
This study focused on the influence of students’ sociability, self-confidence, motivation, interest and study habits on their academic achievement in Business studies using path analysis. The study was limited to JSS3 students in Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu State. Variables outside those mentioned were not studied.
The following research questions guided the study.
- What is the causal model involving the predictor variables- (sociability, self-confidence, motivation, interest and study habits) and students’ academic achievements in Business studies?
- What are the path coefficients of students’ sociability, self-confidence, motivation, interest, study habits on their academic achievements in Business studies?
- What is the proportion of variation in students’ academic achievements in Business studies that can be attributed to each of the predictor variables?
- What are the predictor variables that have direct and indirect effects on students’ academic achievement in Business studies?
The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study, and were tested at 0.05 level of significance.
HO1: The standardized path coefficients of the predictor variables in the causal model involving students’ sociability, self-confidence, motivation, interest, study habits and their academic achievement in Business studies are not statistically significant.
HO2: The proportion of variation in students’ academic achievements in Business studies that can be attributed to each of the predictor variables is not statistically significant.