Relationship between peer attitudes towards school, selected peer group activities and academic achievement of secondary school students in Nairobi
Mukolwe, Asakhulu Newton
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The study was designed to investigate the relationship between peer group attitudes towards school, peer group activities, and academic achievement of secondary school students in Nairobi urban area. Rapid socio - cultural situation in Nairobi, and the nature of the adolescence period itself, are among factors that have predisposed students to peer group influence more than before. Gender and residential status of the students (that is, boarder and day scholar), as categorical variables, were also investigated in relation to peer influence on academic achievement. Eight public and eight private secondary schools - Single sex and Co - educational, and, Boarding and Day schools - were selected using purposive, stratified and random sampling techniques, in that order. A sample of 240 randomly selected form four students from these schools completed the peer effect questionnaire. The students' mock examinations marks were also collected and used as a measure of their academic achievement. Descriptive statistics were used to describe and summarize the data. Pearson Product Moment Correlation at P<0.05 was used to test the hypotheses related to peer group attitudes towards school, selected peer group activities, and students' academic achievement. Hypotheses on gender and students' residential status at school, were tested using the Kruskal - Wallis Non Parametric test at P<0.05 The statistical analyses indicated a significant relationship with regard to peer group attitudes towards school, selected peer group activities and students academic achievement. A statistically significant difference was also found in the selected peer group activities between borders and day scholars. However, no statistically significant differences were found between boys and girls in relation to peer group attitudes towards school and selected peer group activities. Likewise, there was no statistically significant difference between borders and day scholars in relation to peer group attitudes towards school. Nonetheless, the results indicate that the incidence of students peer group relationships' at school is a significant variable in their academic achievement. Hence, recommendations were made such that both Students, Teachers, Parents, School Counselors and Education Planners, should be aware of the role played by peer group relations in students, and how this role can be manifested in to positive outcomes in students' academic achievement at school, in particular, and school life, in general. Further research is recommended with respect to factors such as age, socio - economic class, race, introversion and extroversion; which may bring variations in peer group influence in students. Research is also recommended in different geographical settings to bring harmony in the understanding of the phenomenon of students peer group influence.