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This study is on assessment of factors responsible for poor academic performance. The total population for the study is 200 staff of selected primary schools in Gwagwalada Area Council Abuja. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made up headmasters, administration staff, senior staffs and junior staffs were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies



  • Background of the Study 

Poor academic  performance according to Aremu (2003) is a performance that is adjudged by the examine/testee and some other significant as falling below an expected standard. Poor academic performance has been observed in school subjects especially Mathematics and English language among primary school pupils (Adesemowo, 2005). Aremu (2000) stresses that academic failure is not only frustrating to the pupils and the parents, its effects are equally grave on the society in terms of dearth of manpower in all spheres of the economy and politics.

Education at primary school level is supposed to be the bedrock and the foundation towards higher knowledge in tertiary institutions. It is an investment as well as an instrument that can be used to achieve a more rapid economic, social, political, technological, scientific and cultural development in the country. The National Policy on Education (2004) stipulated that primary education is an instrument for national development that fosters the worth and development of the individual for further education and development, general development of the society and equality of educational opportunities to all Nigerian children irrespective of any real or marginal disabilities.

The role of primary education is to lay the foundation for further education and if a good foundation is laid at this level, there are likely to be no problem at subsequent levels. However, different people at different times have passed the blame of poor performance in primary school to pupils because of their low retention, parental factors, association with wrong peers, low achievement, low retention, and the likes (Aremu & Sokan, 2003; Aremu & Oluwole 2001; Aremu, 2000).

Morakinyo (2003) believe that the falling level of academic achievement is attributable to teacher’s non-use of verbal reinforcement strategy. Others found out that the attitude of some teachers to their job is reflected in their poor attendance to lessons, lateness to school, unsavory comments about pupil’s performance that could damage their ego, poor method of teaching and the likes affect pupils’ academic performance.

The question therefore is what is the cause of this fallen standard and poor academic performance of pupils? Is the fault entirely that of teachers or pupils or both of them? Is it that pupils of today are non achievers because they have low intelligent quotient and a good neutral mechanism to be able to act purposefully, think rationally and deal effectively with academic tasks? Or of is it because teachers are no longer putting in much commitment as before? Or is it in teachers’ method of teaching and interaction with pupils? Or is the poor performance of pupils caused by parents’ perception of the causes of poor academic performance among  primary school students in Nigeria.

1.2 Statement of problem 

The differential scholastic achievement of students in Nigeria has been and still a source of concern and research interest to educators, government and parents. This is so because of the great importance that education has on the national development of the country. All over the country, there is a consensus of opinion about the fallen standard of education in Nigeria (Adebule, 2004). Parents and government are in total agreement that their huge investment on education is not yielding the desired dividend. Teachers also complain of student’s low performance at both internal and external examination. This problem are attributed to poor foundation from primary school due to poor teaching standards as well as other factors such poor funding of education by government as well as negligence by parents. It is against this constraints that the researcher sees the subject matter as an empirical problem worthy of investigation.

1.3     Objectives of the Study 

The central objective of the study is to assess the factors responsible for the poor academic performance in public primary schools. The specific objectives are:

Ascertain environmental factors as causes of poor academic performance of pupils in primary schools in Gwagwalada Area Council Abuja.

Examine teachers factors as causes of poor academic performance of pupils in primary schools in Gwagwalada Area Council Abuja.

Determine the attitudes of pupils as causes of poor academic performance of pupils in primary schools in Gwagwalada Area Council Abuja.

Find out attitudes of parent as causes of pupils poor academic performance in primary schools in Gwagwalada Area Council Abuja.

1.4       Research Questions

The following are the questions which the study seeks to address:

Are poor academic performance of pupils caused by environmental factors?

Can the poor academic performance of students be attributed to teachers’ incompetency?

Can poor academic performance of pupils be attributed to the pupil’s attitude to learning?

Can the poor performance of the pupils be attributed to the parents’ attitude?

1.5       Research Hypothesis

H0: There is no significant relationship between environmental factors and pupils’ academic performance.

H1: There is a significant relationship between environmental factors and pupil’s academic performance.

H20: There is no significant relationship between teachers’ incompetency and pupil’s poor academic performance.

H21: There is a significant relationship between teachers’ incompetency and pupil’s poor academic performance.

1.6       Significance of the study

The findings of the study are likely to provide information to the stakeholders on the importance of carrying out research in other states on social-cultural factors especially in those areas that are densely populated. The study should also be extended to private institutions within the Federal Capital territory and the entire country with a view of comparing the outcome from the two settings so as to uplift the low academic performance experienced in Schools.


According Best and Khan (1998) limitations are conditions beyond the control of the researcher that may place restriction on the conclusion of the study and their application to other situations. The limitations that were encountered by the researcher included lack of cooperation on the part of the respondents on suspicion that the information sought may be used to victimize them. Another limitation related to the area of study is that, the area is not large enough to capture the findings that would be generalized to cover the whole country.

  1. a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
  2. b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
  3. c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities


POOR ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE: The causes for poor academic performance can be external or internal. External causes include: school environment, social interaction, teachers and teaching techniques. Regardless of what the cause may be, poor academic performance is not a situation that warrants punishment. It shouldn't be about blaming people.

ASSESSMENT: the action of assessing someone or something


This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study