Background to the Study
Academic performance of pupils has been a significant source of contention among teachers, parents, school administrators, students, and members of the general public. A number of studies have been conducted in an attempt to understand the complexity underlying pupils’ academic achievement. Psychologists have proposed a slew of explanations for why such differences in academic performance persist. There had been a great deal of focus on external factors such as the type of school, teaching methods, school location, instructional materials, study habits, teacher qualification and experience, and so on(Eyong, David and Umoh, 2014). In addition, there had been a great deal of focus on internal factors such as student performance. Many parents spend a lot of money to get top schools for their children, and those who can afford it even invest in education overseas in the hope that it would improve their children’s academic performance. Opinions differ on what causes certain children to flourish academically while others seem to be underachievers in comparison to their peers. Many psychologists and educationalists have sought to uncover the primary determinants of individual academic success on a regular basis for many years. Intelligent, self-conceptualized students have higher academic achievement than their male and female counterparts. Factors such as home upbringing, peer group influence, socio-economic background, and learning environment, to name a few, have all been extensively investigated as factors influencing academic achievement, particularly in secondary school students(Eyong, David and Umoh, 2014). Intelligence, self-conceptualized students have higher academic achievement than their male and female counterparts. Personality characteristics of students are seen to have a significant impact in their academic success, and this is supported by research (Eyong, David and Umoh, 2014).
Traits Theorists have attempted to determine the key characteristics that describe personality, as well as the features that have a long-term influence on student academic success. In part, this is due to the fact that identifying and understanding the elements that influence academic success has long been a major interest for counseling and educational psychologists. Many researchers are keen to know ahead of time who will do well or poorly in whatever academic activity they are involved in. In order to construct an education curriculum focused at increasing levels of academic performance in secondary schools in Nigeria, it is essential to first identify the elements that influence academic achievement.
Early research has overemphasized cognitive capacity as a primary predictor of academic achievement as a major driver of academic performance (Harris, 1940; Elshout and Veenman, 1992). However, despite the fact that research has demonstrated that cognitive ability is one of the most important predictors of academic success, some schools of thought still believe that cognitive ability factors alone cannot account for all of the differences in academic performance between individuals. A number of researchers, including Furnham, Chamorro-Premuzic, and McDougall (2003), have argued that, in addition to cognitive capacity, there are other elements, such as personality qualities, that account for the diversity observed in students’ academic achievement (s). Due to the fact that cognitive capacity reflects what a student can accomplish, but personality qualities may reflect what a student will do, many academics are becoming more interested in the relationship between personality traits and academic achievement. Characteristics of people’ personalities have been researched in the psychological literature for many decades because of their influence on a variety of psychosocial outcomes, including motivation and academic success. The Big Five personality model (Goldberg, 1999) is the most commonly researched personality trait, and it is considered that the personality characteristics cluster around five elements, which are as follows: Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and Openness. The trait conscientiousness is associated with individuals who are organized, goal-oriented, and sociable, whereas extraversion is associated with individuals who are sociable, assertive and talkative. The trait neuroticism is associated with individuals who are emotionally unstable, anxious, and impulsive. Individuals who are high on openness are associated with individuals who have a preference for novelty and are also intellectually curious. In addition, those who score highly on agreeableness are more likely to be empathic, cooperative, and very helpful to others (Komarraju, Karau, Schmeck and Avdic, 2011).
While much study has been done in Europe and other Western nations, just a few studies have been completed in Nigeria on the relationship between personality and academic achievement in teenagers and younger children in secondary schools. Because of this, the purpose of this research is to determine the significance of personality characteristics on students’ academic progress in secondary schools.
Statement of the Problem
Large sections of literature lexicon assert that students’ academic achievement can be predicted based on factors such as school and home factors, with little consideration given to other factors such as personality traits factors, psychological and sociological factors, and this has resulted in a lack of attention being paid to these factors. As an example, various research done by psychologists and educationalists have shown that personality characteristics variables have a significant influence in determining students’ academic achievement (Rosander, Bäckström, Stenberg, 2011; Conrad and Party, 2012; Rosenberg, Bäckström, Stenberg, 2011).
In the United States, the vast majority of research on the relationships between personality characteristics and academic achievement were conducted outside of Nigeria. These investigations were undertaken mostly in wealthy nations, with a few exceptions. In Nigeria, there is presently a scarcity of research on the relationship between personality qualities and academic success. A further point to mention is that the majority of the studies conducted in the home font by researchers such as Adeyemi and Adeyemi (2014); Eyong; David; and Umoh (2014); Amadi; Ogadimma and Tunde (2015); Litvinova; Balarabe and Mohammed (2015) were largely theoretical in nature, with the conclusion being subjectively influenced by the researchers’ assumptions. As a result, it should be mentioned that previous research did not devote sufficient empirical attention to the correlations between personality characteristics and students’ academic success in Nigerian universities. As a result, the completion of this study endeavor will close the gap by critically examining the significance of personality characteristics on students’ academic progress in secondary schools.
Objective of the Study
The general objective of this study is to investigate the importance of personality traits on students’ academic achievement in secondary schools. Other specific objectives are:
i. To examine the relationship between extraversion personality characteristics and students’ academic achievement
ii. To investigate the relationship between conscientiousness personality factor on students’ academic achievement
iii. To explore the importance of neuroticism trait on students’ academic achievement.
iv. To find out if agreeableness trait factor is related to students’ academic achievement.
v. To investigate the effect of openness trait factor on students’ academic achievement.
This study was guided by the following research questions:
i. What is the relationship between extraversion personality characteristics and students’ academic achievement?
ii. What is the relationship between conscientiousness personality factor on students’ academic achievement?
iii. What is the importance of neuroticism trait on students’ academic achievement?
iv. Does agreeableness trait factor is related to students’ academic achievement?
v. What is the effect of openness trait factor on students’ academic achievement?
Significant of the study
Despite the fact that much research has been conducted on the correlates between personality traits and students’ academic achievement, the resultant effect of extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness personality characteristics on perceived academic performance of students in secondary school in Lagos State have not attracted much scholarly attention as has been done in the developed countries of the world. Thus, this study will be of great significance as it will add to the already existing scanty literatures on the subject matter in the Nigerian context.
Introvert and extrovert personality of an individual is very important in interpersonal influence on other people, especially students academically. This study hopes to bring awareness to the responsible party in institution of education about anxiety problems faced by students to enable action to be taken.
On conclusion of the study and findings and recommendation made, parents and teachers in secondary schools should be enlightened on the need to better manage students’ personality characteristics to ensure better learning and academic performance.
The outcomes of this study will be of significant importance to students, future researchers and scholars especially in the field of education and psychology.
The findings of the study would be significant to policy makers and implementers at large, as they would make use of the findings and recommendations provided.
Scope of the Study
The study will examine the relationship between extraversion personality characteristics and students’ academic achievement. The study will also investigate the relationship between conscientiousness personality factor on students’ academic achievement. The study will further explore the importance of neuroticism trait on students’ academic achievement. More so, this study will find out if agreeableness trait factor is related to students’ academic achievement. Lastly, the study will investigate the effect of openness trait factor on students’ academic achievement. Hence the study will be delimiter to Rivers State.
Limitations on the Study
The researcher faced series of challenges during the course of the study one of which is lack of adequate fund, this points to the fact that the researcher is not yet earning money but rather depend on family supports.
Another factor that almost marred the success of the study was time factor. There was need for the researcher to go to the field, libraries, write report and submit at the required time this also constituted a major constraint to the researcher study.
On the whole, academic stress added to the problems but the researcher made the best efforts in optimizing the available resources and information without allowing the limitations to make the researcher lose sight of the quality of the objective of the study. In essence, these limitations do not impinge on the validity of the result of this study.
Definition of terms
Personality traits: a relatively stable, consistent, and enduring internal characteristic that is inferred from a pattern of behaviors, attitudes, feelings, and habits in the individual.
Academic achievement: performance outcomes that indicate the extent to which a person has accomplished specific goals that were the focus of activities in instructional environments, specifically in school, college, and university