Academic performance according to the Cambridge university reporter (2003) is frequently defined in terms of examination performance. Mac-farlance (2002) defined academic performance as the ability of student to cope with their studies as well as how various tasks assigned to them by their instructors are accomplished, it include the ability to study and remember facts and to be able to express such knowledge gained either verbally or in writing (Mac-farlace 2002). Students academic gain and learning performance is affected by numerous factors including gender, age, parental social economic status, medium of teaching, workload of course of study, student-teacher relationship, school background, academic environment, teaching aids and infrastructures e.t.c.
1:1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY A major challenge facing higher education institutions around the world is how to achieve quality outcome for students in an increasingly globalized and competitive environment (Harvey and Kamvounias 2008). Education is a reciprocal process, during which the learners acquire knowledge, ability and self thought (University of Wisconsin 2001). Nursing education is designed to educate and train nursing students to become competent and qualified professional Nurses (Mellish, Brink and Paton 2009). In order to provide skilled nursing care, professional Nurses must be educated and trained to make certain skill and be knowledgeable about the science of nursing. (Mellish et al., 2009.) According to Leufer (2007) nursing student need the appropriate knowledge and skill to enable them to deliver safe and competent care to their patient, according to Mellish et al., (2009) students enter the nursing programmes with different expectations of what is to be learnt, different intellectual skills, types and level of motivation and different interest. Furthermore, professional Nurses can also come from different culture, backgrounds, consequently, professional Nurse education, who are responsible for educating and training these students have a challenging task. Many researcher conducted detailed studies on factors contributing to student performance at different study level. Geiser and Santelices (2007), Acato (2006) and Swart (1999) all argue that admission points which are a reflection of the previous performance influence future academic performance. Graetz (1995) said that one’s educational success depends very strongly on social economic status of the parents. Considine and Zappala (2002) argue that families where the parent are advantaged socially, educationally, and economically foster a high level of achievement in their children, this is because students from high social economic background are well exposed to scholastic materials which aid their intelligence. Sentanu (2003), Kwesigh (2002) and Portes and Macleod (1996) as cited in Cosidine and Zappla (2002) all argue that type of school a child attends influences academic achievement. Mr Mabuda, a director in nursing, states that nursing as a profession is still faced with a number of challenges which ranges from education and training, coaching and mentoring, limited facilities for clinical placement of students and the nursing shortage (professional Nurses update September 2008), these challenges inevitably influence the academic performance of students and ultimately threaten the nursing profession. The typical learning environment, comprises of the number of student in the classroom, the academic environment, teaching strategies and the perception of the impact of group size on the learning experience (leufer 2007) the learning environment, plays an important role in captivating the student interest and in maintaining it. It is therefore important to consider how nursing students experience learning in a large class environment (leufer 2007) this would provide information such as:
• Are student distracted by such large number
• Do student feel assertive enough to interact or ask questions.
Large group learning suggests that there is a relationship between class size and participation level, which then affect the learning experience of student (leufer 2007). Furthermore, the recruitment of more students without providing adequate infrastructure, many logistical problem have been encountered for example, inadequate sound system, control of attendance, ventilation increasing noise level, these problems create further problems such as difficulty in managing the group which results in late commencing of lecture. According to leufer (2007) all these has impact on the academic performance of students. Motivation plays a fundamental role in learning (Glynn, Anltman and Owen 2005) increase in enthusiasm and motivation which may result in better academic performance, similarly the lack of inspiration would result in a lack in motivation, resulting in poor performance outcome (Leufer 2007). Baybel et al.(2005) state that there are many factors that adversely affect nursing educational performance like inadequate infrastructure, inefficient use of technologies and educational techniques, student teachers relationship.
1:2 STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM AND IT’S SIGNIFICANCE. Academic performance which is measured by the examination results is one of the major goals of a school, Hoyle (1986) argued that school are established with the aim of impacting knowledge and skills to these who go through then and behind all this is the idea of enhancing good academic performance. It has be noted that while some student perform highly well, others do not perform well, concern is base on those who do not perform well because if this poor performance goes unchecked the reputation of nursing science department in Delta State University will be lost. It is not yet known why some student fail to attain the standard expected of them, there is lack of sufficient research in the case of nursing student in Delta State University as to what factors affect academic performance of the student. This research will therefore help to establish the factors affecting academic performance of undergraduate students of nursing science department in Delta State University.
1:3 BASIC ASSUMPTIONS.