1.1       Background to Study

Academic performance (public secondary school students) has been largely associated with many factors. Most students in secondary schools in Nigeria are daily confronted with challenges of coping with academic under serious emotional strains occasioned by long walk to school, poor school environment, and being taught by unmotivated teachers. Couple with this, is an uncooperative-to-study teaching related factors and learning style of students may make or mar academic success. Academic performance is undoubtedly a research after the heart of educators, teachers, psychologists, policy makers, parents and guardians, social workers. In their attempts to investigate what determines academic outcomes of learners, they have come with more questions than answer. In recent, prior literature has shown that academic performances (academic achievement or academic performance) have been determined by such variables as; school factors, teachers’ factors and students’ factors.

To achieve success in learning, students should be given the opportunity to communicate, reasoning critically, develop self-confidence to solve oriented and difficult topics. One of the ways this can be done is through peer-group. In peer-group, students study in small groups to achieve the same goals using   social skills. Many studies show that peer-group can improve performance, long-term memory and positive   attitudes   towards Business studies, self concept and social skills. More opportunities should be given to peer-group, discussion, problem solving, creating solutions and  working with peers.

Shimazoe and Aldrich (2010)   provides several benefits on the use of peer group approach for students. First, peer-group promotes deep learning of materials. Second, students achieve better grades in peer-group compared to competitive   or individual learning. Third, students learn social skills and civic values. Fourth, students learn higher-order, critical thinking skills. Fifth, peer-group promotes personal growth. Finally, students develop   positive attitudes toward autonomous learning.

Apart from academic performance, attitude is also a major focus in peer-group. A study conducted by Ifamuyiwa and Akinsola (2008) found that students in the experimental group showed   a   positive attitude towards Business studies. Similarly, Brush (2007), also found that students in the experimental group showed positive attitudes towards their subjects.

Peer group is a term that’s been used to describe a wide array of group arrangements, but most of the research on its success refers to students working in pairs to help one another learn material or practice an academic task. Peer group is a learning support service offered by experienced learners to novice learners. This course will guide you through information and activities that will help you develop skills and knowledge on how to offer peer group services. Peer-group has been well documented in the educational research as a successful pedagogy to improve students’ academic achievement.   It is a fundamental principle of peer  group that group  members are linked together in such a way that they cannot succeed unless everyone succeed, they will actively assist each other to make sure that the assignment is done and the purpose of the group achieved (Deutsch, 2009). They acquire this by providing help and cooperation to each other, sharing resources, and encouraging each other’s efforts. As a result,  group  members  who  work  in  cooperative  groups  outperform  students  who  work  by  themselves  or  in competition  with  each  other  (as  seen  in  competitive  conventional  classrooms)  (Johnson  &  Johnson,  2004).

Peer group is one of the two ways of organizing the learning environment of a classroom, the other being competitive. In peer group environment, the goals of separate individuals become so linked that there is a positive correlation between them; on the contrary, in a competitive conventional environment, the goals of the students are so linked that there is a negative correlation between their goal attainments (Johnson & Johnson, 2004). Peer group establishes a community in which students can get help and support from other group members immediately in a non- peer group environment, just raising their hands and waiting for the right answers to be given.

In the recent years, peer group which attracts the attention of many educators represents an alternative to the traditional learning method. Peer-group is a process in which students learn by working in small groups and helping each others’ learning for a common goal. Since peer group is a group working, it is similar to the set working method. On the other hand, every group working is not peer group unless it provides a certain rules. A group working becomes peer group if every member of the group knows that he or she can’t be successful unless the other members are successful. According to Johnson and Johnson (2008), in order to construct a lesson with cooperative method, five Business  studies principles must be provided: (1) positive interdependence, (2) face-to-face primitive interaction, (3) individual accountability, (4) appropriate use of social skills, and (4) processing group functioning.

According to Gupta (2004), peer-group was very well received by students, and expressed willingness to join peer-group groups in studying the other subjects. Students also reported a positive attitude towards cooperative group learning and rated their work in groups as effective. Burron, (2003), indicated that the peer-group students exhibited significant gains in collaborative skills and indicated a high comfort level for the practical studies. Moreover, properly applied cooperative strategies will also contribute to student socialization within the culture of professional industry, better preparing them for the expectations of the professional world.   Education is the totality of life experiences that people acquire and which enables them to cope with and derive satisfaction from living in the world. This is because it enables them to achieve social competence and optimum individual development. It is on this premise that it is halide that the quality of a nation’s education is proportional to the level of its prosperity. Peer group is a teaching method in which students of the same class and of’ the same age bracket undertakes the teaching of themselves through a process whereby one student among the group teaches other students. it is a procedure that enables each member in a group to participate in the group as a tutor and the other as tutee.

According to Griffin and Griffin (1997), evidence shows that peer-group cannot be effective unless the task and the reward structure are compatible, with simple tasks the reward structure barely needs special attention, but with more complex tasks the reward structure needs more fine tuning with the task (Vedder, & Veendrick, 2003). Successful peer-group experiences in the classroom require as much care in their development and implementation as do traditional individualistic and competitive experiences. Cooperative and collaborative learning experiences require that instructors attend to the formation of the group, the composition of the group, the dynamics of the group, the assessment of student work, and the design of group tasks (Ventimiglia, 2004).

Individuals diverse in backgrounds, goals, skill sets, and interests will be required to collaborate with each other in activities directed toward group outcomes. Classroom content taught through cooperative instructional strategies, with heterogeneous teams in an inclusive environment, encourages positive student interactions in pursuit of team goals (Dyson & Grineski, 2001). While realizing the many benefits of cooperation, team learning does allow for appropriate inter-group competition as well. Similarly, when properly employed, cooperation that emphasizes the need for each student’s contributions to achieve collective goals can have very positive impacts on student learning (Dyson & Grineski, 2001). Therefore, an approach that balances cooperation and competition will prove beneficial to students in professional preparation programs. Also, structuring a problem-based competitive project, wherein cooperative student teams compete against one another, is one way instructors can ensure both cooperative and competitive learning opportunities for students. Johnson & Johnson (2008) recognized the necessity to integrate peer-group and competitive individual learning. When properly employed in a competitive environment, cooperation emphasizing each individual’s contributions toward collective goals can have very positive impacts on student learning (Dyson & Grineski, 2001).

Peer-group approach includes many techniques. Some of these techniques are: learning together, teams-games-tournaments, group investigation, constructive controversy, and jigsaw producers. The learning together technique was developed by Johnson and Johnson (2006). The most important features of this technique are the existence of the group goal, sharing opinions and materials, distribution of the work, and the group reward. The present study is trying to explore the impact of learning together technique of peer-group  on achievement of secondary school students in mathematics. Choosing learning together technique to be used in this study was a justified choice, because the unit of biological diversity could be best constructed by this technique.

Johnson and Johnson (2006) reported that certain instructions must be given place when learning together technique is applied, these instructions are: determining of instructional objectives, deciding the group size, diving the students into groups, arranging of the class, planning of educational materials to provide dependence, giving the roles to the group members in order to provide dependence, explaining of the academic work, creating the positive objective dependence, individual evaluation, providing the cooperation among the groups, being explained the criterions necessary for achievement, determining the required behaviors for success, guiding the student behaviors, helping to the group work, having students come together in order to teach cooperation, finishing the lesson, evaluation of students’ learning qualitatively and quantitatively, evaluating the performance of the group, and forming academic contrasts.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

In recent times, teachers and students no longer have time for group study. Teachers on their own part developed non challant attitude towards the  use  of  peer-group  during and after class activities  while students  on their own parts  are lazy to review whatever might have been taught in classroom  in group.  Success of peer relationships is linked to later psychological development and to academic achievement. Therefore if one does not have successful peer relationships it may lead to developmental delays and poor academic achievement — perhaps even incompletion of a high school degree. students with poor peer relationships may also experience job related and marital problems later in life.

Several studies have shown that peer groups are powerful agents of risk behaviors in adolescence. Adolescents typically replace family with peers regarding social and leisure activities, and many problematic behaviors occur in the context of these groups. Both peer group pressure and control were positively related to risky behaviors. However, adolescents who were more committed to a personal identity had lower rates of risk behaviors.

Another observation is that group study might be slow and time consuming while it gives a lot of time for each question to be answered by students. If the group study not properly arranged in the class, some students especially the introverts may not be involved in learning process. Hence, problems of poor study may create apartheid and confusion for students in the class as this may lead students away from what the lecturer/teacher intends to teach in the classroom.

Enamiroro & Atakpo (2008) observed that common problems that affect peer relationship and group study is to students shouting, calling names, sleeping and talking while engaging in group study and discussion during and after class hours. Identified causes of these problems were seen as originating in: overcrowded classrooms; school administrators’ neglect of the health conditions of classroom facilities; and an unhygienic and below-standard teaching and learning environment.

Conventional teaching methods have been in place for a while no and Public secondary Business studies teachers have failed to adapt the modern methods of teaching in their various topics which have not made business studies to record a remarkable success. Many of the students that offered the subjects in examination failed and some of them that secured clerical oh have not been able to adjust to the practical working of Business studies and finally some of those that gained admission for further studies have not been able to cope due to their poor foundation in business studies. It has become necessary to seek strategies that will employ approaches that will ensure and enhance better academic performance of the students in business studies. Thus, this study is to examine the influence of peer group on the academic performance of Business studies students.

1.3      Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to examine Impact of peer influence on pupils’ academic performance. Specifically, the objectives of the study are:

  1. To find out if peer group method can influence academic performance of students
  2. To examine if the  use  of  peer group  is  appropriate  for  teaching  and    learning  in secondary
  3. To examine if availability of instructional resources influence peer group and academic performance of
  4. To find out if the academic performance grades of students taught using peer group method differ from the academic performance grade of students taught the same lesson using conventional method.

1.4      Research Questions

  1. What is the difference in the pre-test and post-test academic performance of students taught with the peer group method?
  2. Is the  use  of  peer group  appropriate  for  teaching  and    learning  of  public secondary  schools?
  3. Is there a difference between the pre-test and post-test academic performance of students taught with the lecture method of teaching?
  4. To what extent do the grades of students taught lesson using peer group method differ from that of students taught the same lesson using the lecture method of teaching?

1.5      Research Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study and would be tested at 0.05 level of significance.

Ho1 There is no significant difference between the pre-test academic performance of students and the post-test academic performance of students taught with the peer group method.

Ho2: The  use  of  peer group  is  not appropriate  for  teaching  and    learning  in  secondary  schools.

Ho3: There is no significant difference between the pre-test academic performance and post- test academic performance of students taught with the lecture method of teaching..

Ho4: There is no significant influence in the academic performance grades of students taught lesson using peer group method and those taught same lesson using lecture method.

1.6      Significance of the study

The significance of  this study would  be of importance  towards  improving the peer-group through  teaching  and learning   in public  secondary  school  level. This study is significant in that its findings are useful for these categories of people:-

Students: The outcome will help students to create interest in their study that will improve academic performance in exam. The outcome of this research will enhance students’ preference for peer-group   and traditional   teaching-learning strategies in any subjects. The study is expected to help students identified those problems area affecting students adoption of peer-group in an environment.  The study will identify major problems affecting students’ approach towards peer-group and traditional method of group studying. The study will aid peer-group  in solving difficult subject in the classroom. The study will enhance cooperative learning  strategy in any subjects.

Teachers:  The  outcome  of  research  study  will  enhance  teachers  usage  of    peer-group and traditional method as  appropriate teaching methods  that  will enhance students understandings in any peer-group learning. The  study will  enhance  teachers to  use  appropriate instructional resources that  will enhance students  understandings  in any education concept.

The research work will enhance teachers to prepare very well in the area of subject scheme of work while impacting on students understandings in education class.   Teachers will be willing to teach and assist the students in any areas of difficulties in education.

Curriculum  Planners: The  outcome  of  study  will  be an eye  opener to  curriculum planner  to review as  at  when  due  as  this  will enhance students  academic performance in  the subject.

Also, there is  need  to consider  adequacy  of  relevant text books  for  students usage  in the classroom and  school library as  this help cultivate constructivist  and collaborative  learning strategies in learning.

The study will help schools to guide the curriculum and ethics of good curriculum planner, also the policy makers in the provision of effective Business studies curriculum as well as recommended materials as necessary for proper implementation of the school curriculum at the secondary school level.

The study would help various government agencies to understand the benefit of effective classroom management at various levels of education. It would enable school administrators to know the best management strategies to adopt in order to have sound classroom effectiveness.

Ministry of Education: The research study will hasten government policies towards supporting adequate provision of instructional materials in Technology.

The Ministry of Education will also benefit from this study through proper planning and implementation of good policies to various classrooms to have relevant Business studies textbooks. Lastly, it would be useful to future researchers in the related line of study.

Parents: Parents will benefit if they can do a lot in providing needs  that will influence  their  children interest in major  subject  like Business  studies. Also, the outcome  of  study will be an eye opener to parents  as  this  will influence parents  to  monitor their  children academic performance in major subject like Business  studies

1.7       Scope of Study

This study examines Impact of peer influence on pupils’ academic performance.


1.8       Operational Definition of Terms

The following terms have been defined as they will be used during the course of this study:

Peer Group: This a group of people of approximately the same age, status, and interests.

Academic Performance: This is the level of academic education attainable by an individual at a particular point in time as depicted by the subjects’ performance. It is how well a student is accomplishing his or her tasks and studies and the ability of the student to attain success in his or her studies.

Conventional Methods of Teaching: is concerned with the teacher being the controller of the learning environment. This is the lecture method or teacher centered method.

Public Secondary School Performance: This is the total educational performance of a child in subject of school curriculum at the public secondary school.

Learning Difficulties:  This  refers to students  area  of deficiencies in Business studies  topics  which could  be poor business study  skills, poor accounting  skills  and so  on.

Method of Teaching: comprises of the methods and principles used for instruction to be implemented by teachers to achieve the desired learning by students.

Performance: This refers to the extent to which students have achieved their educational goals as represented by their examination scores.

Public school: A public school refers to any school funded and managed by the government; be it local, state or federal as well as their agencies.