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Understanding Differential Underachievement in English Among Secondary-School Students from Northern Nigeria
Psychology and Behavioral Sciences
Volume 9, Issue 2, April 2020, Pages: 6-11
Received: Mar. 18, 2020; Accepted: Apr. 7, 2020; Published: Apr. 23, 2020
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Amina Ahman, Department of Languages, Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna, Nigeria
Mohammed Kudu Isah, Department of Social Sciences, Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna, Nigeria
Abubakar Musa, Department of Education Technical, Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna, Nigeria
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Low performance of students in English has been an issue of great concern to education stakeholders in Nigeria. Standardized examination results have consistently shown that students from the northern region perform more poorly than those from the southern part. To this regard, this study combined psychological factors of self-concept, locus of control and students’ demographic factors as fundamental in explaining differential English academic achievement of students in northern Nigerian schools. The aim is to identify some of the major factors causing underachievement of students in English. Hence, a quantitative research approach is used for data collection and analysis. The sample comprised 1,227 students drawn from 15 public Senior Secondary Schools in Bauchi, Kaduna and Niger States. Each of the states represents the 3 geopolitical zones of the northern region. A standardized questionnaire was used to measure self-concept and locus of control. The findings indicate a high level of correlation between English self-concept and English achievement, especially in specific domains than the general aspects. The reading self-concept correlated more with the reading achievement. It was therefore suggested among others that teachers should prioritize specific aspect of English to assist underperforming students in particular domains (writing; reading) of English and its corresponding self-concept. Improve in students’ performance in English can lead to better performance in other subjects and higher standard of education in the country.
Underachievement, Academic Attainment, English Self-concept and Locus of Control
To cite this article
Amina Ahman, Mohammed Kudu Isah, Abubakar Musa, Understanding Differential Underachievement in English Among Secondary-School Students from Northern Nigeria, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences. Vol. 9, No. 2, 2020, pp. 6-11. doi: 10.11648/j.pbs.20200902.11
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This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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