Journal of Nursing Education

BRIEFS 

The Relationship Between School Climate and Academic Achievement in the Schools of Nursing in Oyo State, Nigeria

Babatunde A Oyeleye, MA, BSN, RN

Abstract

Nursing education in Nigeria is centrally controlled by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria. Nursing students are evaluated through a major final examination conducted by the council despite the many variations in the ways and manners with which the curriculum content is presented by the schools. While some schools are permissive and encourage free student-teacher interactions, others are very strict and are administered according to the rules and regulations in the books. In some schools, staff members appear to be relaxed and at ease with each other; in other schools, teachers exhibit greater tension. Some school principáis emphasize authority and status, formality and correctness; other principals accommodate an easy informality. The subtle differences that pervade the psychological environment of the social system are generally referred to as the organizational climate.

Review of the Literature

The relationship of the school's organizational climate to the performance of its students remains unclear. Although some nurse educators have claimed that student performance in examinations depends largely on the climate of the school, others have related student performance to entry qualifications, social background, innate abilities, and the interaction among staff members. Brookover (1978) reported a positive relationship between school climate and school achievement. Adeboyeje's(1980) study of secondary schools in Ondo State in Nigeria reported a significant relationship between teachers* assessment of school climate and student academic achievement; however, no relationship existed between the students' assessments of school climate and their academic achievement.

Andrews (1965) found that particular climate dimensions, not overall climate type, were related to school achievement. Miller (1968) observed a positive relationship between climate type and school achievement when ability level and socioeconomic status were controlled; teacher dimensions were more important than principal dimensions. McDiIl and Rigsby ( 1973) reported that climate accounted for significant variance in student achievement and aspiration when student background was controlled. In contrast, McPartland and Epstein (1975) observed that school openness accounted for little variance in achievement when student background was controlled.

These varied results indicate that further investigation of the relationship between organizational climate and student academic achievement was warranted. Accordingly, the present study was designed to examine the relationship between both faculty and student perceptions of organizational climate and student scores on the final Nursing and Midwifery Council examinations for five Nigerian schools of nursing.

Methods

Subjects. Subjects were selected from five schools of nursing that had presented candidates for the final Nursing and Midwifery Council examinations for the preceding five years. Potential subjects included instructors who had spent at least two years at their current school, and third-year nursing students at the participating schools. Of the 411 individuals asked to participate in the study, 385 (65 tutors and 320 students) returned completed questionnaires.

Instruments. The Nursing School Organizational Climate Questionnaire (NSOCQ), previously tested for reliability and validity, was used to measure participants' perceptions of the organizational climate. The 40 items that comprise this instrument reflect four basic aspects of organizational climate:

* thrust - the degree to which principals motivate faculty by means of exemplary behavior and their own professional competence;

* control - the degree to which principals emphasize production, by maintaining close supervision of faculty and by assuming an impersonal and authoritative leadership style;

* morale - the degree to which faculty members experience job satisfaction, achievement of individual and group goals, and satisfaction of social needs; and

* disengagement - the degree to which individual or group efforts are not coordinated with the goals of the organization.

The questionnaire was administered to the participants by the investigator.

Student scores on the final examinations over three consecutive years (19811983) were obtained from…

Nursing education in Nigeria is centrally controlled by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria. Nursing students are evaluated through a major final examination conducted by the council despite the many variations in the ways and manners with which the curriculum content is presented by the schools. While some schools are permissive and encourage free student-teacher interactions, others are very strict and are administered according to the rules and regulations in the books. In some schools, staff members appear to be relaxed and at ease with each other; in other schools, teachers exhibit greater tension. Some school principáis emphasize authority and status, formality and correctness; other principals accommodate an easy informality. The subtle differences that pervade the psychological environment of the social system are generally referred to as the organizational climate.

Review of the Literature

The relationship of the school's organizational climate to the performance of its students remains unclear. Although some nurse educators have claimed that student performance in examinations depends largely on the climate of the school, others have related student performance to entry qualifications, social background, innate abilities, and the interaction among staff members. Brookover (1978) reported a positive relationship between school climate and school achievement. Adeboyeje's(1980) study of secondary schools in Ondo State in Nigeria reported a significant relationship between teachers* assessment of school climate and student academic achievement; however, no relationship existed between the students' assessments of school climate and their academic achievement.

Andrews (1965) found that particular climate dimensions, not overall climate type, were related to school achievement. Miller (1968) observed a positive relationship between climate type and school achievement when ability level and socioeconomic status were controlled; teacher dimensions were more important than principal dimensions. McDiIl and Rigsby ( 1973) reported that climate accounted for significant variance in student achievement and aspiration when student background was controlled. In contrast, McPartland and Epstein (1975) observed that school openness accounted for little variance in achievement when student background was controlled.

These varied results indicate that further investigation of the relationship between organizational climate and student academic achievement was warranted. Accordingly, the present study was designed to examine the relationship between both faculty and student perceptions of organizational climate and student scores on the final Nursing and Midwifery Council examinations for five Nigerian schools of nursing.

Methods

Subjects. Subjects were selected from five schools of nursing that had presented candidates for the final Nursing and Midwifery Council examinations for the preceding five years. Potential subjects included instructors who had spent at least two years at their current school, and third-year nursing students at the participating schools. Of the 411 individuals asked to participate in the study, 385 (65 tutors and 320 students) returned completed questionnaires.

Instruments. The Nursing School Organizational Climate Questionnaire (NSOCQ), previously tested for reliability and validity, was used to measure participants' perceptions of the organizational climate. The 40 items that comprise this instrument reflect four basic aspects of organizational climate:

* thrust - the degree to which principals motivate faculty by means of exemplary behavior and their own professional competence;

* control - the degree to which principals emphasize production, by maintaining close supervision of faculty and by assuming an impersonal and authoritative leadership style;

* morale - the degree to which faculty members experience job satisfaction, achievement of individual and group goals, and satisfaction of social needs; and

* disengagement - the degree to which individual or group efforts are not coordinated with the goals of the organization.

The questionnaire was administered to the participants by the investigator.

Student scores on the final examinations over three consecutive years (19811983) were obtained from the academic records of participating schools. Examinations had been graded on a five-point scale ranging from (1) failure to (5) distinction. The mean grades achieved by all examination candidates were calculated for each participating school.

Data Analysis

Initial data analysis entailed calculation of four Pearson's r coefficients, each measuring the relationship of one of the four aspects of organizational climate to student examination performance. The analysis also included tests of difference to determine whether federally controlled schools and state-controlled schools differed on either NSOCQ scores.

Data analyses revealed an insignificant and very low but positive relationship between the following climate variables: thrust (r = 0.180), control (r-0.364), and morale Ir = 0. 324) with school academic achievement; there was a significant but very low and negative relationship between the disengagement variable Ir = 0.001) and academic achievement.

Findings

Of the four organizational climate variables measured by the NSOCQ, thrust, control, and morale showed positive but nonsignificant correlations with student exam scores. The disengagement variable exhibited a significant negative correlation with student exam scores (r= -0. 1621, p<0.001)

Subsequent i tests revealed that federally and state-controlled schools exhibited significantly different scores on the NSOCQ thrust items only, with respondents from federally controlled schools giving higher responses on this variable (p<0.05). Mean student exam scores were only slightly higher at federally controlled schools than at state-controlled schools.

Conclusions

Perceptions of the thrust climate variable differed between federally funded and state-controlled schools, perhaps indicating some differences in leadership style. Student exam scores between these two types of schools, however, differed only slightly. In addition, only the disengagement variable was significantly related to student exam scores, and the correlation coefficient was very low. These findings suggest that faculty and student perceptions of organizational climate, as measured by the NSOCQ, show little relationship to student academic performance.

References

  • Adeboyeje, R.A. ( 19801. The relationship between school climate and academic achievement in secondary schools in Ondo State. Unpublished master's thesis, Department of Educational Administration and Pl aiming, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.
  • Andrews, J.H.M. (1965). School organization climate: Some validity studies. Canadian Education and Research Digest, 5, 317-334.
  • Brookover, W.B. (1978I Elementary school social climate and school achievement. American Educational Research Journal, 15, 301-318.
  • McDiIl, EX., & Rigsby, L.C. (1973). Structure and process in secondary schools: The academic impact of educational climate. Baltimore, MD: Johns H op kins University Press.
  • McPartland, J.M., & Epstein, J.L. ( 1975). Social class differences in the effects of open schools on student achievement. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University, Center for Social Organization of Schools. (ERIC Document Reproduction Services No. ED 106 435)
  • Miller, H. E. (1968). An investigation of organizational climate of a school and personal variables of members of the teaching staff. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Minnesota, Duluth.

10.3928/0148-4834-19911101-09

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