1.1 Background to the Study
In Nigerian secondary schools, agricultural science has been recognized as a core curriculum subject because agriculture remains an important sector of the Nigerian economy. It has a high potential for absorbing unemployed and underemployed persons; provides raw materials for industries; provides food and at the same time generates foreign exchange for the country.
Agricultural science is one of
the core vocational curricular subjects taught at both junior and senior
secondary schools in Nigeria. According to Egbule (2004) agricultural Education
can be defined as a process of training learners in the process of agricultural
productivity as well as the techniques for teaching of agriculture. Wikipedia
(2009) described agricultural science education as a broad multidisciplinary
field that deals with the selection, breeding and management of crops and
domestic animals for economic production. It is a subject taught in secondary
schools as a means for self- reliance and preparation for further studies.
Agricultural science is therefore designed to inculcate the necessary skills
for the practice of agriculture for effective citizenship and contribution to
food security for national sustainability. The Federal Republic of Nigeria
(2009) outlined the major objectives of teaching and learning of agricultural
science to reflect ability to: stimulates students’ interest in agriculture,
enable students acquire basic knowledge of agriculture, develop basic
agricultural skills in students, enable students integrate knowledge with
skills in agriculture, expose students to opportunities in the field of
agriculture, prepare students for further studies in agriculture and prepare
students for occupations in agriculture.
The number of students in a class is regarded as class size which can vary. Hoffman (2001) describes class size as the number of students per teacher. Adeyemi (2008) defines class size as an educational tool that can be describe as average number of students per class in a school, while Kedney (1999) describes it as a tool that can be used to measure performance of the education system. The number of students in a class has the potential to affect how much is learned in a number of different ways (Ehrenberg, Brewer, Gamoran and Willms, 2001). For example, it could affect how students interact with each other. This may result in more or less noise and disruptive behavior, which in turn affect the different kinds of activities the teacher is able to promote. It could affect how much time the teacher is able to focus on individual students and their specific needs rather than on the group as a whole. Since it is easier to focus on one individual in a smaller group than in a larger group, the smaller the class size, the more likely individual attention can be given, in theory at least. Class size could also affect the teacher’s allocation of time and hence, effectiveness in other ways too, for example, how much topics can be covered.
EFFECTS OF CLASS-SIZE AND FIELD TRIP ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE STUDENTS IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS