Academic performance of the students may be affected by several factors. Literature has widely identified and categorized the factors into teacher, student, school and home factors. In secondary school, students are taken through a formal process by which society deliberately transmit its accumulated knowledge, skills, customs and values which have been going on from one generation to the other (Kevin, 2012). Academic performance is globally recognized as a tool to measure learning in educational institutions.
School and student factors have been significantly associated with students’ achievement in school. Among these factors that may make contribution directly or indirectly to academic performance, peer influence has always been ignored. Education scholars and researchers are increasingly getting interested in investigating how peer influence affects academic performance. Peer groupings may play a major role in academic performance of the students.
A study done in Washington on family, peer and neighborhood influence on African American Junior students revealed that peer influence had detrimental effects on the academic achievement. This was not supportive to developmental theories that suggest that peer groups promote well developed and skilled child that is motivated for better academic performance (Gonzales, Cauce, Friendman & Mason, 2002). A longitudinal study carried out in Florida State found out that peer effects was significantly associated with classroom performance depicting the importance of identifying strong and stable peer groups in the class. In his article on peer effects on academic performance among public elementary schools in Boston public schools, Kevin (2012) asserts that there is sufficient evidence that peer influence affect child academic performance. He argued that a low performing student improves significantly when he/she interact with peer of high performance. Still in Louisiana State, a study carried out to find out the association between the peer relationship and academic performance showed that children who had positive peer relationship performed better academically (Zitzmann, 2000).
In other developed countries such as Japan, China and Canada, elementary, middle and high schools leave the students to interact freely. Principals have established schools as a resource centre to students and their families by ensuring schools have strong counseling, a special education program and before and after school child care programs. They meet with superintendents, legislators, and members of the community to ensure the school has the resources it needs to serve its students adequately (Brook, 2000). In most schools in Malaysia, the school structures vary by the size of the school and the school district, a factor that greatly impacts on the level of student interaction. In larger schools and districts, principals have more resources and staff to help them achieve goals and meet standards which promotes good relations and enables good child interaction. In Nepal, most schools record different performances among students basing on whether they are in some social grouping or not. Teachers in Nepal, though, fully aware of the differences in performance caused by the peer groupings; tend not to do much to ensure that the students’ grades are harmonized (Brown, 1996).
In many African countries, some of previous studies conducted have revealed a wide variety of discriminative behaviours among students that significantly affected their academic performance (Michele & Barret, 2010). Students tend to come up with small groupings based on unobservable and immeasurable factors common to their members. A study carried out by Southern and Central African Consortium for monitoring Education Quality(SACMED) targeting six countries namely Nigeria, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia found that social influence have large effects on learning of the students. The study attributed poor academic performance to peer effects and it was more evidenced among girls (Michele & Barret, 2010). In Uganda, Mozambique, Rwanda and many West African countries, students in the same class reach different levels in educational achievement due to their peer groups (Ralph & Mortimer, 2006). One reason for this discrimination relates to students’ interest in being associated with others than being alone giving them a sense of belonging (Brown, 1996).
Nigeria’s education system is dominated by examination-oriented teaching. Passing examinations is highly rated as a benchmark for academic performance among students and students. There is over reliance on scores and transition rates as core measures of achievement (Kamau, 2002). The quality of school administration plays a vital role in academic performance as it is concerned with students, teachers, rules, regulations and policies that govern the school system. This leaves the school focused on the administration and student academic performance not considering the social well being of the individual students which are dependent on their peer groupings (Lane, 2005). This study therefore sought to establish the relationship between Influence of peer pressure and gender on students performance in Junior secondary school
Statement of the Problem
Students’ academic performance may greatly depend on the internal school environments to which the students are subjected. Several factors have been documented to have significant contribution on students’ performance. Research conducted in 2001 in Nigeria by the Ministry of Education showed that more than 70% students performed poorly in examinations due to school environment to which they were subjected (Kamau, 2002). From Evaluation Test Report (2012) by Lagos state Education Board, there has been a trend of low examinations performance among students in the upper classes by consistently having class four on the top among the upper classes in the three terminal examinations. Students in class 7 had scored the lowest score of between 40 to 46 points for three consecutive examinations in 2012. This might be associated to their developmental stage. According to Kirk (2000), students at adolescent stage are in the process of developing a value system and are vulnerable to peer influence.
Programs have been rolled out by various stakeholders among secondary school in Nigeria to enhance student performance through various methods such as better learning environments and provision of equipment for easier learning (Odeng, 2007). However, little gains have been realized. It is against this background that this study was conducted to establish peer influence on academic performance of students in secondary school.
Objective of the study
The main objective of the study was to establish Influence of peer pressure and gender on students performance in Junior secondary school
The specific objectives of the study were to:
- Investigate the impact of school type on peer influence and academic performance among the
- Determine the impact of students’ gender on peer influence and academic performance.
- Determine the impact of students’ age on peer influence and academic performance.
- Determine the relationship between peer group discussions and academic performance in secondary school in Lagos state.
- Determine the relationship between peer group behaviour and academic performance in secondary school in Lagos state.
- Determine the effect of peer group conflict on academic performance in secondary school in Lagos state.
The study collected data to answer the following questions:
- What is the effect of school type on peer influence and academic performance among students?
- What is the effect of students’ gender on peer influence and academic performance among students?
- What is the effect of students’ age on peer influence and academic performance among students?
- What is the relationship between peer group discussions and academic performance in secondary school in Lagos state?
- What is the relationship between students peer group behaviour and academic performance in secondary school in Lagos state?
- What is the relationship between peer group conflict and academic performance in the secondary school in Lagos state?