The mean value showed that urban students had better study habits than rural students. Many studies have been carried out which make it available today of an important catalogue on study habits (Ogunmakin, 2001; Kumar, 2002; Gbore, 2006).
It is argued that study habits have strong relationship with academic performance of students while other researchers (Owolabi, 1996; Whihite & D’ Onofrio, 1993) suggest that it is the combination of the study habits and other factors that could explain students’ academic performance in any course of study.
Participation between teachers and students is integral in the process of learning. Different scholars (Amao, 2009; Fakeye, 2008; Abdulahi, 1996) have identified the extent of involvement of students in teaching and learning as a strong factor that has the potential of the quality and quantity of learning that takes place and eventual performance of students in examinations. The dynamics of teaching is a crucial factor in how much students learn (Kalu 2010; Safadi & Rababah, 2012).
Though students’ performance may not be a simple direct consequence of the teachers teaching act, the latter has a lot to do with classroom learning.
Teachers establish the pattern of general conduct during a lesson, while on their part students establish certain types of behavior to coincide with this pattern. Consequently the students participate to varying degrees in different classes and react differently to different teachers. This combined instructional pattern and student participation lead to a specific classroom environment characterized by specific interaction patterns.
In Nigeria, the few interaction studies (Ajayelami, 1983; Akuezuilo, 1987; Domike, 2002; Emah, 1998; Iyewarum, 1983; Mani, 1986; Okafor, 1993; Okebukola, 1985; Okebukola & Ogunniyi, 1984; Ogunkola, 1999; Udeani, 1992) have indicated that some relationship exists between classroom interaction pattern and students’ achievement.
Okebukola (1986) reports that classroom participation had the greatest independent contribution (22%) to the variance in achievement scores while Udeani (1992) reports that classroom interaction accounted for about 74% and 71% of the variation in students cognitive achievement and process skill acquisition respectively.
Also, Okafor (1993) found a positive relationship between classroom interaction behavior and students’ level of achievement. Incidentally, these few studies on interaction patterns in Nigerian Classrooms were mostly in Biology Classrooms. Not much has been done in the subject matter of Accounting.
There are several reasons why participation is important in the process of learning. Based on a study conducted by Ferguson-Hessler de Jong (in Theberge, 1994), it was found that students, who are active participants, tends to have better academic achievement, compared with students, who are passive in participation. This statement was supported by Astin (1999), claiming that students who are actively involved in the classroom discussions showed higher satisfaction in the learning process.
Active participation of students with discussions in the classroom is important for the purpose of achieving effective learning and plays an important role in the success of education and personal development of students in the future (Tatar, 2005). This is because students will learn how to think critically and enhance their intellectual development if they are an active participant in the classroom (Siti Maziha, 2010).
The relationship between student participation in the classroom and students’ academic achievement is undeniable. Lahaderne (1967) observed that there are interactions between the process of teaching and academic achievement. Cobb (in Abu Bakar, 1986) found that there are linkages between the behaviors of children in the learning of mathematics with their academic achievement.
Therefore, student participation is one of instructional components in the instruction enhanced by school to help students to learn more (Abu Bakar, 1986). A study conducted by Gomez, Arai ; Lowe (1995) and Tsou (2005) showed that students participation in the classroom activities are essential for the purpose of creating effective learning. Based on the literature and selected past researches, it can be concluded that student’s participation in the classroom will warrants the effectiveness of the learning process.
However, many empirical studies on each of these variables (impact of motivation, study habits and classroom participation on academic performance) have been conducted independently by different scholars. But, limited literature has investigated the combined impact of these variables on academic performance of accounting students. Most of these studies were conducted in different environment rather than the environment of the present study. Hence the need to improve students’ academic performance in accounting in secondary schools in Akoko South West Area, Ondo State, Nigeria.
Despite the importance of accounting to individual and nation in imparting behavioral change, it is worthy to note that the performance of students in the subject is diminishing and poor. Poor performance occurs yearly and more students are running away from the subject (Lawal, 2002).
This alarming rate of poor performance in accounting has generated growing concern from various quarters, the parents, teachers, schools and the government. Information gathered from post primary school service commission (PPSSC), showed a decline in the performance rate of students in accounting in external examination from 2013-2015 as 40%, 36% and 32% respectively (Eze, Ezenwafor and Obidile, 2016) and this indicates the need for improvement in students’ performance in the subject.
Many student-related factors may have accounted for the poor state of students’ performance in accounting which includes lack of motivation, good study habits and classroom participation. In frantic efforts to address these problems, researches have been carried out to solve problems of students’ poor performance in accounting.
Enu, Agyman and Nkum (2015) listed the causes of academic performance to include inadequate teaching and learning materials, method of instruction, teachers and students’ self-motivation. Specifically, in accounting, academic performances of students are influenced by related factors such as negative attitude of students towards accounting as a difficult subject, students’ academic aptitude, previous and recent academic performances, insufficient effort and poor motivation (Atieh, 2013).
Also, Ward, Wilson and Ward (2004) attributed causes of students’ poor academic performance in accounting to lack of study, inability to apply the material covered, the speed of coverage of the material, the method used by the instructor, among others.