relationship between emotional intelligence and academic performance among senior secondary school students

Relationship between emotional intelligence and academic performance among senior secondary school students


Background to the Study

The concept of intelligence is one of the prized possessions a person can have. It is a fundamental concept that has become a convenient evaluative expression covering a wide variety of domains (Davey, 2004). Over the years the concept has passed through the laboratories of many psychologists trying to find a definition and explanation for the term. For example, singers are described as having intelligent voices, footballers as having intelligent feet, horses as running intelligent races (Davey, 2004)

Many people use the term in their daily language in a way that suggest that there is agreement about what intelligence is, but psychologist cannot agree at all. According to Santrock (2009) even the most intelligent people have not been able to agree on how to define the concept of intelligence. Some experts describe it as the capacity to adapt and learn from experiences. Some still argue that intelligence includes characteristics such as creativity and interpersonal skills (Santrock, 2009). In general term, some psychologists see intelligence as being a single aptitude while others see it as representing a cluster of aptitudes or mental skills (Davey, 2004)

No common definition, interpretation, understanding and conceptualization of intelligence have been found because of the differences in social and cultural definition of what an intellectual behaviour is. The term is socially constructed, that is, different cultures and people group see it as being whatever attribute that brings success within that group (Sternberg and Kaufman, 1998). . A working definition that would encompass both academic and non-academic definition of intelligence and applies to people of all social and cultural background is what is searched for.

Since 1916, when Binet came out with the first ability test till now, the discussion on intelligence has produced various dimensions of intelligence. Modern scholars of intelligence consider the question of whether intelligence is a single mental ability. (You are either intelligent or not) or whether a number of specific abilities make up the overall intellectual ability. If intelligence comprises a number of abilities, there is also the question of what these specific abilities might be (Plutchik, 1980))

In addressing these issues contemporary research on intelligence has opened new dimensions of the concept of intelligence that makes the definition of intelligence more comprehensive. Sternberg and Defferman (1986) as reported by Davey (2004), asserted that intelligence comprises of learning and adaptive abilities; ability to understand and control oneself; practical problem solving ability; verbal and social competences. It is the ability to learn from experience; apply knowledge to solve problems and to adapt and survive in different environment. Sternberg (2008) and Gardener (1983) argue that the concept of intelligence should be expanded to encompass a greater variety of abilities. Sternberg (2001) proposes what he called Triarchic intelligence in which he propounded that intelligence consists of three forms- the contextual, which specifies behaviors considered to be intelligence in a particular culture; the experiential, which specifies how experience affects intelligence and how intelligence affects a person’s experience; the componential, which specifies the cognitive processes that underlie all intelligent behaviours.

Sternberg believes that the cognitive processes that contribute to intelligence fall into three groups;

  1. Meta component, which controls, monitors and evaluate cognitive processing
  2. Knowledge acquisition component which encodes, combines and compare information and
  3. Performance component which executes strategies assembled by meta component.

According to Him (2009) all the above mentioned components contribute to three aspect of intelligence namely, analytical intelligence which has to do with abstract reasoning, evaluation and judgment. This is the type of intelligence that is crucial to most academic work and that is assessed by conventional Intelligence Quotient (IQ) test; Creative Intelligence, which involves the ability to generate new ideas and to be innovative in dealing with new problems; Practical Intelligence which involves the ability to deal effectively with the kind of problems that people encounter in everyday life, on the job or at home.

For Sternberg, creative and practical intelligence move beyond what the IQ measures and enter into the realm of what Wechsler (1940) called non-intellectual intelligence. That is intelligence applied not by mental or cognitive ability. This is also related to what Gardner (2002) called personal intelligence. In Gardner’s view, there is nothing as a single intelligence; rather he argued that there are at least eight intelligences namely, Verbal skill, Mathematical skill, Spatial skill, Bodily kinestic skill, Musical skills, Interpersonal skills, Intrapersonal skills and Naturalist skills.

In their view, intelligence include for instance, interpersonal and intrapersonal capacities to discern and respond appropriately to the feelings, moods, temperament, motivation and the desires of other people. It also has to do with the ability to access one’s emotion and to discriminate among them and draw upon them to guide behaviours, knowledge of ones strength and weaknesses.

Some scholars as seen above agree that combination of emotion with cognition would lead to a better day to day adaptation and conflicts resolution by not only using ones intellectual capacities but also by the additional information provided by one’s emotion. This aspect of intelligence focuses on what is called emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to perceive and express emotion accurately and adaptively, to understand emotion and emotion knowledge, to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions and feelings, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions (Mayer, 1990). .Emotional intelligence (EI) has to do with the ability to know, express, monitor, manage and use one’s and others people’s feelings, moods and temperaments, so that it works for a person and not against him.

Most scholars in the field of emotional intelligence have described it to include one or more of the following key components; the ability to recognize, understand and express emotions and feeling; the ability to understand or decipher how other people feel and relate with themselves; the ability to manage and control emotion; the ability to manage, change, adapt and solve problems of personal and interpersonal nature, the ability to generate positive influence and be self motivated (Santrock, 2009). It is those set of skills that allow a person to use emotion to adapt, to perceive, understand and regulate moods and to use emotional information to improve cognitive processes and reasoning.

At this point, it is important to describe what emotion is. Emotion is a very important experience that one encounters in life. According to Weiten (2009), emotion lies at the core of mental health. To give a specific definition of the term has been very difficult. It is described to involve a subjective conscious experience accompanied by bodily arousals and by characteristic behavioral expressions (Le Doux, 1999).

Psychologists have identified eight basic emotions that seem to be experienced universally (across gender, age, and cultural groups). The eight basic human emotions include fear, anger, joy, disgust, acceptance, sadness, surprise and anticipation (Davey, 2004). These are innate and directly related to adaptive behaviour that is designed to enhance one’s survival. Emotions are feelings that accompany thinking. An emotion involves physiological arousal, expressive behaviour and conscious experience, so that, when one is scared, one’s heart beats faster, eyes become wide and one consciously judges that the situation is dangerous and responds either with fight or flight.

Psychologists agree that emotions contain both cognitive and physiological elements. Cognitive factors play a major role in determining how a subject interprets his bodily feeling (Schacter, 1979). Therefore cognitive interpretations could shape emotional experience. This brings the link between emotion and intelligence. One who is able to interpret, manage and regulate his emotion adaptively is said to be emotionally intelligent. This aspect of intelligence focuses on what is called emotional intelligence.

To be emotionally intelligent means to effectively manage personal, social and environmental changes by realistically and flexibly coping with the immediate situation, solving problems and making positive decision, being sufficiently optimistic, positive and self motivated.  In this way one is able to manage emotion so that they work for and not against the person and when effectively managed by a student can improve his academic achievement in the school

Achievement is defined as an act of accomplishing or finishing something successfully, especially by means of exertion of effort, skills, practices and perseverance (Roth & Gulbert, 1961). It is the successful accomplishment of a task. Oxford English Dictionary defines achievement as things done successfully with effort, skills and courage. According to (Welten, 2009), achievement is the successful accomplishment of an academic task by a student or teacher in his study. Achievement tests are set for students to evaluate or gauge a person’s mastery and knowledge of various subjects. To achieve a task, there must be what McClelland(1983) called ‘Achievement motive’ which is the need to master difficult challenges, to outperform others and to be high in standard of excellence. Achievement is measured by instrument called achievement test. This is a test that measures what the student has learned or what skills the student has mastered (Santrock, 2009). The need for achievement involves the desire to excel; especially in competition. Achievement has to do with the application of the achievement drive or maturation to improve better performance of student in the school work. This researcher hypothesizes that effective management and usage of ones emotion will improve motivation which would positively influence achievement drive. This in the long run will influence the academic achievement of the student.

Academic achievements are the level of academic performance in school subjects as exhibited by a student (Busari, 2000). Test scores or marks assigned by teachers to students are indicators of this achievement. In this study academic achievement will be taken to mean the general performance of students in the acquisition of skills from learning experiences which will help him to solve daily problems and succeed in life. In this study it is measured in terms of scores obtained in subject studied in school. Would students who have high scores in school subjects have high scores in emotional intelligent or vice versa? This  is the focus of this study.

Statement of problem

            Over the years the assessment of students’ intelligence has been based on the measurement of the cognitive ability. This practice of finding intelligence Quotient (IQ) only emphasized verbal and numerical skills at the exclusion of other important skills like emotional intelligence among others. Recent research evidence indicates that despite the popular use of grades or examination scores for student’s placement selection, certification and other purposes of life, it is not comprehensive enough to give valid and reliable measure and assessment of students’ achievement.

Such studies reveal that there is other non-intellect, practical and creative variables that can contribute a long way to influence students’ performance in school positively or negatively, namely, management and control of students’ emotions, moods and temperament called emotional intelligence. The training and evaluating of students on these aspects of intelligence may result in a better and more comprehensive assessment. The possession of this intelligence helps one to control anger and anxiety so that it does not affect a person’s productivity in his daily life, work and even his academics.

The problems of restiveness, lack of interest, violence, lack of internal motivation, indiscipline and cultism have been identified in schools presently. The inability of students to regulate their emotions positively may be responsible for low concentration in school, indiscipline, aggression, deviance, low self concept, low motivation, high students’ drop out from school and the consequent poor performance in academics.

These are problems which have been identified among students in Katsina state. It is expected that the learning and application of the emotional competences can help students to achieve outstanding performance. These are lacking among students in Katsina state in particular and in Nigeria as a whole. This has directly or indirectly affected their academic achievement.

Purpose of the Study

            The purpose of the study was to investigate relationship between emotional intelligence and academic performance among senior secondary school students of funtua local government,katsina State. Specifically, the study seeks to determine:

  1. how mood regulation predicts the academic achievement of secondary school student;
  1. the predictiveness of Inter-personal skill on students’ academic performance;
  2. how Internal Motivation of students can predict their performance in school
  3. whether self Awareness predicts students’ academic achievement;
  4. how Empathy Response predicts students’ academic achievement;

6 whether gender has any influence on the predictive power of Emotional Intelligence  on students ‘academic achievement.

  1. how school location influences the predictive power of Emotional Intelligence on academic performance of students.

Significance of Study

This study is deemed theoretically significant because it will provide further insight into the new construct of emotional intelligence. The findings in the study are bound to stimulate more research interest in this field.

It is expected that the result of this study would lead to the application of emotional competences in the lives of students in their academic work to enhance motivation, control and management of emotions which will arouse their interest and lead to better academic performance. When students acquire these emotional abilities and capabilities and learn to utilize them effectively, it would help to improve their academic performance in school and help them to succeed in life and work outside the school.

If the learning of emotional competencies is introduce in the school, both in teacher-education and student-education, it will help to train and develop teachers and students of high managerial abilities.  This will help student to control their mood, feelings and temperaments. The result will be reduction of anxiety, tension, violence and deviant behaviours among students to give room for discipline in schools. Teachers will then have condusive environment for effective, efficient and successful teaching and learning process.

The learning of emotional intelligence skills will help the teacher and the students to build human development behaviour that are intricately related to the positive outcomes of achievement and personal wellbeing. Personal and interpersonal relationship will positively improve thereby reducing conflicts in schools, homes, offices and the society.

If the study is confirmed, it will help the curriculum planners to know how the variable of emotional intelligence could be taken into consideration when planning and developing the students and teachers education curriculum in Nigeria to improve education.

Scope of the Study

The dimensions of emotional intelligence that were tested in this study included Empathy Response, Mood Regulation, Inter Personal Skill, Internal Motivation and Self Awareness. These are the dimensions or domains of emotional intelligence according to Goleman’s model (1995). The students’ scores on these competences were correlated with the students SS1 final term examination and SS 2 first term results. The test on emotional intelligence was taken in the second term of the SS 2 class. These results were used to measure the cognitive abilities of the students.

The study was done in funtua local government,katsina state.

Research Questions

Seven research questions were raised to guide this study.

  1. Does mood regulation predict students’ academic achievement?
  2. How does Interpersonal skill predicts students’ academic achievement?
  3. How does Internal Motivation predicts academic achievement of students?
  4. Does Self- Awareness predict students’ academic achievement?
  5.  To what extent does Empathy Response predicts students’ academic achievement?
  6. Does gender have any influence on the predictive power of Emotional Intelligence on the students’ academic achievement?
  7. What influence has School location on the predictive ability of Emotional intelligence on students’ academic achievement?

Research Hypothesis 

Seven Hypotheses were raised to direct the research study.

H01  Mood regulation does not significantly predict students’ academic achievement.

H02  Inter- personal skill does not significantly predict students’ academic achievement.

H03 Internal motivation does not significantly predict the academic performance of students.

 H04 Self Awareness does not significantly predict the academic achievement  of students.

H05 Empathy response does not significantly predict the academic achievement of students.

H06 Gender does not have any influence on the predictive power of Emotional intelligence on students’ academic achievement.

H07  School location does not influence the predictive power of Emotional Intelligence on the academic achievement of students.


This Chapter contains the report of the reviewed literatures. It is divided into four sub headings: conceptual framework, theoretical framework, empirical framework and summary of review of literature

  1. Conceptual Framework

The following concepts are treated under this framework:

  • Concept of Emotion;
  •  Concept of intelligence;
  • Concept of emotional intelligence;
  • Concept of achievement;
  • Concept of academic achievement and
  • Concept of gender.
  • Theoretical framework

Salovey & Mayer Model of Emotional Intelligence Coleman Model of Emotional Intelligence by Donald Goleman Baron Model of Emotional Intelligence by Reuven Bar-On

  • Empirical Studies

Studies on Emotional Intelligence & Academic Achievement Studies on gender relationship with emotional intelligence Studies of students’ location and influence on emotional intelligence

  • Summary of Review of Literature


Background of the Study 1
Statement of the Problem 10
Purpose of the Study 11
Significance of the Study 12
Scope of the Study 13
Research Questions 13
Research Hypotheses 14
Conceptual Framework 16
Concept of Emotion 16
Concept of Intelligence 20
Concept of Emotional Intelligence 21
Concept of Achievement 24
Concepts of Academic Achievements 24
Concept of Gender 25
Diagrammatic Representation of Conceptual Framework 26

Theoretical Framework 27
Salovey and Mayor Model of Emotional Intelligence 28
Goleman’s Model of Emotional Intelligence 30
Baron’s Model of Emotional Intelligence 33
Empirical Studies 35
Studies on Emotional Intelligence & Academic Achievement 35
Studies on gender relationship with emotional intelligence 39
Studies of students’ location and influence on emotional intelligence 42
Summary of Literature Review 43
Design of the Study 46
Area of the Study 46
Population of the Study 47
Sample and Sampling Techniques 47
Instrument for Data Collection 47
Validation of the Instrument 49
Reliability of the Instrument 49
Method of Data Collection 49
Method of Data Analysis 50
Research Question One 51
Hypothesis one 52
Research Question Two 52
Hypothesis Two 53
Research Question Three 53
Hypothesis Three 54
Research Question Four 55
Hypothesis Four 56
Research Question Five 56
Hypothesis Five 57
Research Question Six 58
Hypothesis Six 59
Research Question Seven 60
Hypothesis Seven 61
Summary of the findings 63
Discussion of the findings 64
Conclusions 70
Educational implication of the findings 71
Recommendations 72
Limitations of the Study 73
Suggestions for further Studies 73
Summary of the Study 74
References 79
Appendices 82
APPENDIX A: Students’ Emotional Intelligence Rating Scale 82
APPENDIX B: Statistical data of students Sample 85
APPENDIX C: Request for Validation of Instrument 86
APPENDIX D: Ebonyi State Students Enrolment Schedule 87
APPENDIX E: Reliability Analysis 88
APPENDIX F: Result of Data Analysis 89


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