SOCIAL SUPPORT AND INTERPERSONAL COMPETENCE AS A PREDICTOR OF ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE AMONG SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
The study examined social support and interpersonal competence as a predictor of academic performance among senior secondary school students, a case study of 2 private and 2 public schools at ilishan-remo, ogun state. The study employed the survey design and the purposive sampling technique to select 450 students across all faculties. A well-constructed questionnaire, which was adjudged valid and reliable, was used for collection of data from the respondents. The data obtained through the administration of the questionnaires was analyzed using the Pearson correlation analysis.
The results showed that there is positive and significant relationship between social support and academic performance (r=0.772; p<0.05). Furthermore, a positive and significant relationship interpersonal competence and academic performance (r=.896; p<0.05). Also, a positive and significant relationship between social support and interpersonal competence (r=0.772; p<0.05).
The study concluded that social support and interpersonal competence are crucial factors and strong predictors of academic performance among senior secondary school students.
The study suggested that; Children should be given financial supports by there parents so they won't be intimated when seeing there friends; The government should give all brilliant secondary school students scholarship, as that will enhance there academic performance; Children should be given free hands at home and schools sometimes to enable the teachers and parents know what they are capable of doing, which will be seen as competence test; Parents should should make an educational investment for there children, either in the banks or insurance companies, as that will enhance the student future confidence, even if the parent dies.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Academic performance is of maximum importance to parents, educators, guardians and even the Government. This of course is because of the huge impact education has on the national and economic development of the country. According to Davison institute (2004), Performance is a measure of quality and quantity of success one has in the mastery of knowledge, skills or understanding. Performance is also defined as the observable or measurable behavior of a person or an animal in a particular situation usually experimental situations. (Simpson and Weiner, 1989). This means that performance measures the aspect of behavior that can be observed at a specific period, to determine a performance, a performance test has to be conducted.
Academic performance specifically, has been described by O’Donnell, Reeve and Smith, (2005) as the extent of an individual’s knowledge in a given task in school. In this context academic performance is the ability or level of success of the students in their academic work ( which could either be excellent or poor). Students should therefore put up personal effort in their academic works in order to achieve excellence or success in their academic work. Research have attributed students academic performance to; parental factors, peer factors, teacher factors and interpersonal competence. This study will examine the effect of social support and interpersonal competence proficiency on students’ academic performance.
Social support can be broadly understood as an individual’s perception of general support or space for supportive behaviors (available or enacted upon) from people in their social network, which enhances their functioning and may buffer them from adverse outcomes (Malecki and Demaray, 2002). First social support comes from people in one’s social network and for students students, these potential resources may include parents, peers and teachers. Additionally, social support can take many forms such as emotional or caring support (communicating love or trust), instrumental support (providing time or resources), informational support(providing information needed) and appraisal support (providing feedbacks).
Numerous studies and review articles published during the past 50years provide evidence of the important role that parental support plays in lives of children (Lamborn and Felbab, 2003; Peterson and Rollins, 1987). Parental support refers to “gestures or acts of caring, acceptance and assistance that are expressed by a parent toward a child (Shaw, Krause, Chatter, Comell and Ingersoll Dayton, 2004). Support from parents received during childhood is thought to have significant and lasting implication of a child’s academic life.
Research has also demonstrated the importance of parents in the academic success and performance of children across a range of ages, populations and settings. Findings from parental monitoring research suggests that parent-child communication and support are important predictors of academic performance (Verner, 2007). Regarding the socialization process in minority families (i.e. African American and Hispanic) support (maternal and/or paternal) is related to indicators of pro-social adjustments in adolescents such as academic performance (Bean, Bush, Mckenry and Wilson, 2003; Kim, Brody and Murry, 2003), self esteem. These findings extend the notion that social support is important in the normal development of children and adolescents from diverse ethnic backgrounds. In addition, aspects of parent-child relationships specifically parental provision of emotional support, are among the strongest predictors of subjective well-being (SWB) scientific term for “happiness” during youth (Huebner, Suldo, McKnight and Smith, 2004).
For young children, the family (parents in particular) is typically their most important and influential source of support (Hall and Brassard, 2008). As individuals move from early childhood into later childhood and adolescence, however they spend increasingly more time outside of the home interacting and developing relationships with others including classmates and/or peers.
Within a school context, the transition to high school can be very difficult as adolescents shift from being the oldest and most physically mature in their school to the youngest and least physically developed and recognized as students move from middle school to larger high schools (Newman et al,2007). Peer support during this transition is critical to the academic performance of adolescents as studies have shown a positive link between supportive peer relationships and academic performance i.e. Higher grade.
Researchers have defined teacher support as the “degree to which students feel supported, respected and valued by their teachers” (Doll, Zucker and Brehm, 2004). The literature has consistently shown positive, supportive teacher-student relationships to be fundamental to fostering desirable academic outcomes (Hamre and Pianta, 2006). For instance, positive teacher-student relationship serve as a resource for helping students at risk of academic failure, while conflicting, negative relationships exacerbate that risk (Ladd and Burgess, 2001). Teachers have been shown to have an important influence on students’ academic achievements and they also play crucial role in educational attainment because the teacher is ultimately responsible for translating policy into action and principles based on practices during interaction with the student (Afe, 2001). Both teachers and learners depends on teachers, no wonder an effective teacher has been conceptualized as one of who produce desired result in the course of his duty as a teacher (Uchefona, 2001). Many studies have revealed that students academics achievements is enhanced where the teachers possess adequate knowledge of the subject matter and a good command of pedagogical skill have a strong positive effect on students’ academic achievement in regular classroom teaching (Olarewaju, 1995, Lockhead, &Verspoor 1991).
On the other hand Interpersonal Competence, this is the skill which helps a person communicate well. As the name implies interpersonal, it means when the interaction takes place between two individuals or more. The communication can take place in any form like verbally, non-verbally, through gestures, through eye movements, different postures and so on. In order to make interpersonal competence successful both individuals must have a common interest in field of experience. Interpersonal competence is required from students to achieve good academic performance. Every student is required to have this skill, when a teacher is teaching the students are required to respond, if this is not happening it means the communication is not interpersonal. Students need to be interpersonally competent for the following reasons;
- To clear doubts, if a student had any doubt related to any subject, it can go away only when they communicate with the teacher. Any concept left to be understood can only be expatiated by talking or asking questions.
- To learn more, a student should indulge in two way communication in order to learn the concept and clear all doubts, unless the student asks the queries, the individual won’t understand the study well.
- To diminish the communication gap between the student and the teacher
With all these points mentioned above, if a student does not have interpersonal competence, the individual student may not be able to perform well academically, but with a student’s interpersonal skill he/she is being able to talk freely, ask further questions on subjects which are not well understood and with that it broadens a student knowledge on that particular subject being taught.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
One cannot indeed gainsay the fact that social support and interpersonal competence play fundamental roles on the academic performance of students. It has equally been observed and established that the success or otherwise of a student is largely determined by the students social support and interpersonal competence. Against the backdrop of the above understanding, one can therefore, submit here that barring exceptional cases, students from well-to-do background tend to do well in schools compared to their counterparts from penurious background This indeed has an influence on the performance of and achievement of the students from the opposing/divergent backgrounds.
In other words, the motivation (both intrinsic and extrinsic) that will bring about academic success is lacking. The government or public schools lack adequate facilities such as textbooks, good classroom building and furniture. Also, such schools lack access to the internet. They have poor library, inadequate human resources in the form of teachers. Therefore, most of them have to struggle to learn on their own unlike their contemporaries from the elite background. For a few of them who see the need to study hard to succeed in life, getting admission into the tertiary institution becomes very difficult. Besides, they either seek for a scholarship or struggle very hard through sheer labour to meet up with the financial demands.
In the same vein, the highly educated or parents in the higher social class send their children to private schools where everything is provided for the children to learn. Relevant academic materials such as internet services, textbooks and the like are made available. This category of students have good learning environment and are often motivated to learn. A growing speculation holds that some of these children from the highly placed homes do not perform well at schools. Some of the reasons that may be advanced include: they are spoon-fed, over pampered, lazy and often not disciplined to study or work hard. They come to school and refuse to learn. They just want to fulfill the desires of their parents. Some of them are of the view that they just need to learn how to read and write so that they can sign cheques or take over the businesses or chains of companies that are owned by their parents. Their parents because they are highly placed have promised those schools abroad or even going to the extent of paying people to write exams for them. This research is therefore geared towards examining and unravelling the fundamental influence of social support and interpersonal competence of students academic performance in Ikenne local government area of Ogun State.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to investigate if social support and interpersonal competence predicts academic performances. The specific objectives are to;
To find out whether social support has significant influence on students‘ academic achievement in secondary schools.
To find out the influence of interpersonal competence on the academic achievement of students in secondary schools.
To find out if there is any relationship between social support and interpersonal competence on students academic performance.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions guided this study;
(1) Will social support significantly predict the academic achievement of senior secondary schools students?
(2) Can interpersonal competence predict the academic performance of senior secondary school students?
(3) Will social support and interpersonal competence predict academic performance of senior secondary school students?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The following hypothesis formulated;
(1) There is no significant relationship between social support and academic performance among senior secondary school students.
(2) There is no significant relationship between interpersonal competence and academic performance among senior secondary school students.
(3) There is no significant relationship between social support and interpersonal competence among senior secondary school students.
1.6. OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS
Senior secondary School: It refers to the higher part of senior secondary school education.
Academic performance: Academic performance specifically, has been described by O’Donnell, Reeve and Smith, (2005) as the extent of an individual’s knowledge in a given task in school. In this context academic performance is the ability or level of success of the students in their academic work ( which could either be excellent or poor).
Social support: Social support can be broadly understood as an individual’s perception of general support or space for supportive behaviors (available or enacted upon) from people in their social network, which enhances their functioning and may buffer them from adverse outcomes (Malecki and Demaray, 2002).
Interpersonal competence: Interpersonal Competence, this is the skill which helps a person communicate well. As the name implies interpersonal, it means when the interaction takes place between two individuals or more. The communication can take place in any form like verbally, non-verbally, through gestures, through eye movements, different postures and so on.