Click here to Get this Complete Project Chapter 1-5



Background to the study

Business Studies occupies a special position in the senior secondary school curriculum in Nigeria. In the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004), each senior secondary school student is expected to take at least one science subject from (Business Studies, Chemistry, Physics and Health Science). The essence is to provide trained manpower in the applied science, technology and commerce at sub-professional grades. This is also aimed to provide technical knowledge and vocational skills necessary for agricultural, industrial, commercial and economic development. Learning Business Studies as well other sciences is, therefore, becoming more essential not only for the well-being of the individual, but also for the entire society (Odubunmi, 2006). Okoye (2006) noted that Business Studies is mostly registered for in the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) of West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examinations Council of Nigeria (NECO).


Learning is a key process in human behaviour; it pervades everything we do and think. It may be defined as any relatively permanent change in behaviour through experience (Osarenren, 2002). This means that learning has three vital elements which include change in behaviour; change that take place through experience, not growth, maturation or injury; the change must be relatively permanent, not one due to maturation, drugs or fatigue.

Attitudes are well established mental set that predisposes a person that evaluate something favourably or unfavourably. They are learnt, relatively enduring and cannot be directly observed, but must be inferred from overt behaviour both verbal and non-verbal. What a person considers as attractive, important and appropriate is a function of attitudes. They could be appropriate or inappropriate. Appropriate ones are those that promote effective behaviour and feelings of satisfaction, enjoyment and happiness while inappropriate attitudes promote self-defeating behaviour and feelings of depression, anger, anxiety, shame and guilt (Okoli, 2005).

Performance is an individual that can be observed by another individual. If the observed behaviour involves a change from one observation to another, it can be inferred that learning has occurred. Learning cannot be observed but can only be inferred from the change in behaviour between two observations. Students’ performance can never exceed learning. It is therefore the aim of a dedicated teacher to make the students’ performance a more representative of what has actually been learned. The teacher’s goal is to assist the pupil in maximizing performance (Ilogu, 2005).

Reinforcement is a stimulus or event that follows the occurrence of a response and maintains or increase the strength or frequency or likelihood of that response occurring again. For instance, if a student attracts the attention of his classmates (the reinforcer) by arguing with the teacher (response) in class (stimulus situation), the frequency of the student arguing with the teacher in class increases because the student enjoys it. Similarly, a student wins a prize (reinforcer) when he answers all the questions (response) in class (stimulus situation). The response is likely to increase in order that he may continue to win prizes (Ilogu, 2010).

Reinforcement will always determine the frequency of classroom behaviour. It can affect students’ attitude to Business Studies either positively or negatively. For instance, if a teacher tells the students that a prize will be given to any student who attempts and gets all the teacher’s questions correctly, a student can begin to develop a positive attitude of attentiveness in class just to win a prize (reinforcer). When he answers all the teacher’s questions correctly (response) and he is given the prize as promised, he will most likely be attentive in class (stimulus condition) just to keep earning the reward. Reinforcement has not only affected the student’s attitude positively, the performance has increased.

Some authors like Uwadiae (1997) & Ikoku (1989)  have investigated reasons for students’ low achievement in Business Studies. Among the reasons were teachers’ instructional techniques and students’ inability to understand lessons (Imhanlahimi & Aguele, 2006), students’ negative feelings towards Business Studies, inadequate learning facilities and quality (Farombi, 1998). With these problems, the effective learning of Business Studies may have limitations. Accepted methods to overcome poor academic achievement in science have included the promotion of more effective teaching strategies and creation of more positive attitudes towards the learning of science. It has also been accepted that an effective strategy for achieving better examination results was to create and maintain more effective learning environments through the development of more student-centered classrooms and greater reflectivity in classroom interaction. An ideal Business Studies classroom should cover the whole range of activities and experiences through which teachers; curriculum, materials, and learners interact. It has to do with the interactive processes through which teachers implement the curriculum and impart learning to students using available materials (Goh and Fraser, 1998). Studies have shown that teacher classroom interactions is central to effective curriculum implementation as it has a strong influence on students’ learning outcomes (Rickards, 1999; Alausa, 2007). Henderson, Fisher & Fraser (2000) reported that students’ perceptions of their teacher classroom interactions influenced attitudinal outcomes, adding that where students perceive teachers as initiating satisfactory classroom interactions, their feelings, motivation and attainment in the Business Studies curriculum, were positively affected.

Business Studies as a science subject is a pivot in the secondary school curriculum since medical careers depend on it. It involves pursuit of truth, a process that instils diligence, patience and objectivity in learners. Learning develops the scientific habits in students, which are transferable to other areas in life. Such habits involve non-reliance on superstition, use of critical thinking and respect for other peoples’ opinion.


Since the teaching-learning process concerns itself with the promotion of desirable behaviour, education must draw some of its principles from psychology. This entails having a good grasp of all theories that influence the teaching and learning process. Attitudes associated with science appear to affect students’ participation in science subjects and impact on science (Linn, 1992).


Chitiyo and Wheeler (2009) pointed out that educators can use naturally occurring positive reinforcements to teach positive classroom behaviours  among students by establishing classroom routines and modelling desired behaviours. This is capable of improving students’ attitudes to learning and impacting well on their performance even in science subjects like Business Studies. Wheatley, West, Charlton, Sanders, Smith, & Taylor, (2009) believed that the use of positive reinforcement is an effective, high-impact strategy for improving students’ behaviours which has been supported by documented research for a variety of school circumstances for both individual student and group of students.

Today, many teachers find it difficult to cope well with the negative attitudes of students in class especially when it keeps recurring.  This could be quite frustrating for many teachers and render some teachers inefficient despite their teaching abilities. Wright-Galla, Higbee, Reagan, & Davey (2006) noted that it is extremely important for classroom teachers to have effective behaviour management skills and earn control over students’ disruptive behaviours. Such negative attitudes could better be managed by science teachers through reinforcements. Conroy, Sutherland, Snyder & Al-Hendawi (2009) established that students are more likely to behave in predictable ways in order to gain their teachers’ attention. Teachers can capitalize on this by providing positive attention through feedback to promote desired behaviours. Furthermore, when teachers are able to avoid using negative attention by ignoring students’ negative attitudes in class, the likelihood of the occurrence of such attitudes would decrease (Conroy et al., 2009).

Benedict, Horner, and Squires (2007) pointed out  that academic failure among other factors like social rejection, drug abuse, and criminal activity in adulthood are all examples of potential long-term, negative consequences of students’ negative attitudes. Teacher, therefore  have the opportunity to utilize positive reinforcement to help reduce the frequency of negative interactions and possibly reduce the likelihood of these future outcomes.

Mather and Goldstein (2001) suggested that educators can use an outlined multi-step process to manage their students’ negative attitudes using consequences. The first step is to define the problem by count or description. The second step is to change the behaviour by developing a behaviour management plan. The third step is to identify an effective reinforcer, and the last step is to apply the reinforcer on a consistent basis in order to change the behaviour. Both reinforcement and punishment can be used to effectively reduce undesired behaviours in the classroom; however, reinforcement is much more successful in teaching students alternative behaviours that are considered to be more appropriate and desirable (Mather & Goldstein, 2001).

Although praise is a simple type of positive reinforcement many teachers regularly use in their classrooms when interacting with students to reinforce their students’ positive attitudes, it is actually a complex reciprocal process that involves both the teacher giving the praise and the students receiving it. It should contain specific statements about the positive attitude demonstrated by the students and immediately follow the desired attitude (Conroy et al., 2009). It is evident that students prefer to receive private praise as opposed to praise in front of peers when they produce quality work and/or display appropriate attitudes. This is because they do not like to be singled out (Infantino & Little, 2005). Teachers can use group praise and/or rewards to suit the preference.

Moore, Robertson, Maggin, Oliver, and Wehby (2010) determined that the delivery of praise as positive reinforcement for students’ appropriate behaviours can lead to a decrease in students’ inappropriate behaviours, as well as an increase in their appropriate behaviours. This study also found that students were given more opportunities to correctly respond to academic demands due to fewer distractions in the classroom.

On the other hand, Deboer (1987) pointed out that students’ achievement is influenced by favourable attitudes towards oneself (positive self-concept) as well as the subject. A student with positive self-concept of ability in a subject has a high probability of developing favourable attitudes towards that subject, and as a result spends more time and energy in the subject thus gaining mastery of the subject resulting in success. He further argues that as a result of this success, the student is reinforced further to continue performing well in the subject possibly developing stronger favourable attitudes, towards the subject, resulting in a vicious cycle.


Although the UK has achieved formal ‘gender parity’ in both educational admissions and achievement, the subject areas in which qualifications are gained still reflect gender stereotypes. It is highly significant that, although the introduction of a common examination and common curriculum removed the separate educational/curriculum tracks for boys and girls that had structured the educational system previously (Arnot, David & Weiner, 1999), it did not prevent young men and women choosing sex stereotyped subjects and in post vocational and academic courses.


There are clear gender differences in the proportion of women and men studying particular subjects at A-level. All Sciences are dominated by men except for Biological Sciences, whereas all the Arts are dominated by women. Gender stereotyping is as prevalent at degree level as at other qualification levels. Men are over-represented in Engineering and Technology whereas women are over-represented in Education and the Humanities. Further education is also heavily gender stereotyped.  Young women are far more likely to study subjects allied to Medicine, the Social Sciences or Creative Arts whereas young men are more likely to study Mathematical Sciences, Agriculture, Engineering or Technology.  Youth training and modern apprenticeships also display gender stereotyping of occupations (EOC, 1998).


There is a positive correlation between attitudes and achievement; dependent on the other; rather they interact with each other in a complex and unpredictable way (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1975). Factors that influence students’ attitudes towards a subject vary from one place to another. Furthermore, there are also other stronger predictor variables outside the school, which influence students’ attitude towards a subject. These include parental influence and beliefs from ones culture (Muya, 2000). As such, the area pertaining to the attitude towards Sciences needs more research because the performance in Sciences is still low.


Garrahy (2001) conducted a study on three third-grade teachers’ gender-related beliefs and behaviours in Kenya, who found out that teachers’ attitude towards the subject significantly, correlate with students’ achievement. Thuo (1984) has investigated the relationship between teachers’ attitude towards Mathematics and Sciences and students achievement in Kiambu District Kenya. The findings of this study showed a positive correlation between teachers’ attitudes towards Mathematics and Sciences and students achievement. These results were strengthened by the observation that the students who were taught by teachers with negative attitudes had low achievement. However, factors which influence teachers’ attitude towards a subject vary from one place to another.


Furthermore, there are also stronger predictor variables outside the school, which influence students’ attitude towards a subject. These include parental influence and beliefs from ones culture. Hence the area pertaining to attitude towards Mathematics and Sciences needs more research since students’ achievement is still low. However, there has been a controversy as to why girls and boys perform differently in Mathematics and Sciences (Dawrey & Watson, 1995).


Ramsden (1998) pointed out the role of “Science” as an umbrella term that covers Business Studies, Physics and Chemistry. It has been suggested that the research of students’ attitude must focus on separate disciplines within science rather than on Science, because students (girls in particular) respond more to Biological sciences than Physical sciences. Freedman (1997) believes that a positive attitude towards Science is related to the laboratory programmeme.


Most people in the science education community tend to agree to a greater or smaller extent that negative attitude towards Science subjects cause a crucial problem. Further research in attitudes should contribute to the explanation of the persisting problem of alienation from Business Studies by young people. If carefully focused and designed, attitude research could go a step further and provide bases on which correct decisions will be taken about aspects for classroom practice. This might get more learner choosing to study Business Studies, feeling that the subject really offer them something useful and interesting. Such positive attitudes, cognitive skills, and knowledge will help the future citizens to make judgments and decisions on issues related to Sciences.


Globally, student interest in science subjects and careers is a worldwide concern that has prompted science education reform efforts. Since student attitudes toward Science affect course and career choices, measuring the impact of reform efforts on student attitude is important and will require measurement tools with robust psychometric properties (Owen, Toepperwein, Lichtenstein, Blalock, Liu, Pruski, & Grimes (2008). Turkmen (2007) stated that attitudinal studies in science education area are mostly pertinent to elementary, middle and high school students’, and in some cases college students’ attitude towards Science. According to Bak (2001) the perception of Science by everyone has attracted growing attention not only from the scientific community, but also from social scientists since Science has become an integral part of day to day living (Bak, 2001).


Some researches in science education are devoted to understanding how to  improve the quality of science education and increase enrolment in science courses and degrees. One of the key factors in learning science is students’ attitudes and the development of positive attitudes toward science can motivate student interest in science education and science-related careers (George, 2006). However, definition or concept of attitude towards science is vague and ambiguous, but attitude is concept that defines emotional trends in response to affairs, persons, locations, events or ideas. Therefore phrases as “I like science” or “I enjoy science courses” suggest the attitude of students to their subjects (Simpson and Oliver, 1990).


From the aforementioned, it is clear that there exist some  factors that influence attitudes and achievement among Senior Secondary Students in Business Studies. Some of the factors are associated with parental background and family environment. Other factors relate to individual characteristics such as self-concept, locus of control and achievement motivation. Still other variables are associated with schools’ influences such as class climate, teachers, and administrative styles (Talton and Simpson, 1985). According to Osborne, Simon & Collins, (2003), studies have incorporated a range of components in their measures of attitude to Science including: the perception of the science teacher; anxiety toward science; the value of science; self-esteem at science; motivation towards science; enjoyment of science; attitude of peers and friends towards science; attitude of parents towards science; the nature of the classroom environment; achievement in science; and fear of failure on course.


Research on human learning has discovered developing student’s ability to monitor their own learning ( meta cognition) is crucial to successful learning (Schraw, 1998; Bransford, 2000; Pintrich, 2002; D’Avanzo, 2003; Coutinho, 2007). The technique of providing students with a Bloom’s test score in combination with recommendations for alternative learning methods  gives students a simple and straightforward means to monitor and change their learning strategies in Business Studies. Unfortunately, by the time the students received their personalized Bloom’s analysis of their second test performance,  there was not enough time for students to make meaningful changes to their existing study habits. As a result, it was not possible to show significant changes to student learning over the course of the quarter.  The personalized Bloom’s analysis of test performance was introduced at the start of the quarter, and greater emphasis was placed on devising methods to help students learn how to implement study skills appropriate for the academic challenge of the course. (Coutinho, et.al., 2007).


Student use of the Blooming Business Studies Tool (BBT), in Business Studies Workshops at a Liberal Arts College was to promote pedagogical transparency and enhance students’ abilities to design and answer questions in an upper-division interdisciplinary science programme. Throughout the year-long programme, students participated in weekly lectures, laboratories, seminars, and workshops taught by three different faculties that integrated topics in organic chemistry, biochemistry, cell Business Studies, virology, and immunology. The workshops provided students with an opportunity to practice their problem-solving skills by answering faculty-generated questions in small groups.


The course activities taught students about Bloom’s method and let them practice using the Blooming Business Studies Tool (BBT) to rank and write good questions at different levels so that they could independently assess the level of their understanding of Business Studies content in the future. Students who were trained to use the BBT were capable of writing and identifying questions at different levels of Bloom’s. Students could apply this knowledge to their studying practices, evaluating the levels at which they understand concepts and adjusting their study skills to reach higher levels of Bloom’s. Collectively, this suggests that formal training of students to use the BBT in ranking science questions, followed by substantive practice at writing and ranking questions at different levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, enhances their study skills and meta cognitive development.

Educators have argued that in the process of constructing a course, assessment is second only to establishing course learning goals for guiding course design (Pellegrino, Chudowsky, Glaser, (2001); Fink,2003).Though many faculty establish learning goals for their courses, they often struggle with how to evaluate whether their formative and summative assessment methods truly gauge student success in achieving those goals.

Most faculties would agree that academic success should be measured not just in terms of what students can remember, but what students are able to do with their knowledge. It is commonly accepted that memorization and recall are Lower-Order Cognitive Skills (LOCS) that require only a minimum level of understanding, whereas the application of knowledge and critical thinking are Higher-Order Cognitive Skills (HOCS) that require deep conceptual understanding . Students often have difficulty performing at these higher levels (Bransford 2000; Bailin, 2002). Before now, considerable effort has been directed toward developing students’ critical-thinking skills by increasing student engagement in the learning process (Handelsman, 2004). An essential component of this reform is the development of reliable tools that reinforce and assess these new teaching strategies.

Alignment of course activities and testing strategies with learning outcomes is critical to effective course design (Bissell and Lemons, 2006). Students are motivated to perform well on examinations; therefore, the cognitive challenge of examination questions can strongly influence students’ study strategies (Gardiner, 1994; Scouller, 1998). Similarly, if faculty primarily discuss facts and details in class but test at a higher cognitive level, students often perform poorly on examinations because they have not been given enough practice developing a deep conceptual understanding of the material. Either case of misalignment of teaching and testing leads to considerable frustration on the part of both instructor and student. Though considerable attention has been given to changing our classrooms to incorporate more active-learning strategies, not enough attention has been placed on how to better align assessment methods with learning goals. Indeed, one of the most significant ways to impact the quality of student learning is through the improvement of our assessments (Entwistle and Entwistle, 1992).

Although Bloom’s lends itself to wide application, each discipline must define the original classifications within the context of their field. In Business Studies, Bloom’s has been used to design rubrics for evaluating student performance on introductory Business Studies examinations (Bissell and Lemons, 2006), develop formative assessment questions at the appropriate cognitive level , and inform course design (Allen and Tanner, 2007). Nonetheless, there is significant need for more comprehensive assessment tools that Business Studies instructors can easily use to assess student learning, guide development of teaching strategies, and promote student meta cognition in the biological sciences.

Theoretical Framework

Reinforcement Theory

Behaviourist Skinner (1948) derived the Reinforcement Theory, one of the oldest theories of motivation as way to explain behaviour and why we do what we do. The theory may also be known as behaviourism or operant conditioning which is still commonly taught in psychology today.  The theory states that “an individual’s behaviour is a function of its consequences” (Management Study Guide, 2013). Behaviourism evolved out of frustration with the introspective techniques of humanism and psychoanalysis. Some researchers were dissatisfied with the lack of directly observable phenomena that could be measured and experimented with. In their opinion, it would make the discipline of Psychology more “scientific” and on par with the exact sciences. These researchers turned to exploring only the behaviours that could be observed and measured and away from the mysterious workings of the mind (Funder, 2010).

In understanding why any organism behaves the way it does, Skinner saw no place for dwelling on a person’s intentions or goals” (Banaji, 2011). For him, it was outward behaviour and its environment that mattered. His most important contribution to psychological science was the concept of reinforcement, formalized in his principles of operant conditioning (in contrast to Ivan Pavlov’s principles of classical conditioning, which along with J.B. Watson’s extreme environmentalism strongly influenced his own thinking).

Reinforcement theory has been used in many areas of study including animal training, raising children, and motivating employees in the workplace. Reinforcement theories focus on observable behaviour rather than personal states, like needs theories do. Reinforcement theory focuses on the environmental factors that contribute to shaping behaviour. Reinforcement theory, which is a form of operant conditioning, includes several components; by analyzing its steps, the Law of Effect and the possible approaches to achieve desired results we can understand the value of the theory through its application within the workplace.

Economists and psychologists commonly assume that behaviour is shaped by its consequences. For psychologists, this is known as the law of effect, by which they understand that we and other animals try different behaviours, assess their effects, and do more of those with better effects and less with those with worse. This states that people engage in behaviour that have pleasant outcomes and avoid behaviour that has unpleasant outcomes (Thorndike, 1913). On this view, the important consequence of a behaviour is the information it provides about behavioural outcomes. The effect of the information is to alter policy (Gallistel, 1998).

Statement of the Problem

It has been observed that some students have developed negative attitudes towards Business Studies as a Science subject in the secondary school. This in turn, accounts for the degree of overall poor performances even in teacher-made tests from time to time. It becomes worrisome when the medical and biological-related careers of young students is at stake due to defective foundation in the knowledge of the subject. Poor teaching style, non-conducive learning environment and poor teaching and learning facilities are some of the contributing factors to the attitude and performance of students in Business Studies.

In view of the challenges enumerated above, this study seeks to investigate the effect of reinforcement on the attitude and performance of students in Business Studies.

Purpose of the Study

The study aims at the following:

  1. To determine the extent at which reinforcement will affect the attitude of students in Business Studies.
  2. To ascertain the extent at which reinforcement will affect the performance of students in Business Studies.
  3. To measure the relationship between the attitude of students due to reinforcement and performance in Business Studies. 

Research Questions

The study was guided by the following research questions:

  1. To what extent will reinforcement affect the attitude of students in Business Studies?
  2. To what extent will reinforcement affect the performance of students in Business Studies?
  3. Would the attitude of students due to reinforcement influence their performance in Business Studies?



The research was guided by the following hypotheses:

  1. There is no significant difference in the attitude of students due to reinforcement and their counter parts without it.
  2. There is no significant difference in the performance of students due to reinforcement and their counter parts without it.
  3. There is no significant relationship between the attitude and performance of students due to reinforcement.


Significance of the Study

The study would in no small measure enables the science teachers especially Business Studies teachers to appreciate the effectiveness of reinforcers and reinforcement in teaching and learning situations. Similarly, it would be incumbent on the study to expose the researcher to various positive and negative attitudes to Business Studies as a subject and the implications on academic performances. Further recommendations on how reinforcers  can be useful to educational stakeholders  was drawn from this work for further research studies. Above all, the school system stands a chance to benefit immensely from the implementation of  robust positive reinforcements  which will improve the attitude and academic performance of students.


Scope of the Study

This research was only limited to schools within Somolu and Yaba Local Government Areas of Lagos State.


Definitions of terms

Attitude: The tendency to respond either favourably or unfavourably to someone or something .

Learning: A long-lasting change in behaviour due to repeated experience.

Motivation: A strong inner drive to achieve a specific goal.

Negative reinforcement: The removal of something desirable in order to make someone do what such considers undesirable.

Performance: The achievement of someone that can be monitored by another person.

Positive reinforcement: The addition of something desirable in order to make someone do what such considers undesirable.

Reinforcement: Anything that follows a behaviour to maintain or increase it.

Reinforcer:  Something or someone that increase the rate of happening of another either when added or removed from it.

Business studies: Business studies is an academic subject taught in schools and at university level in many countries. Its study combines elements of accountancy, finance, marketing, organizational studies, human resource management, and operations.


Get the Complete Project

This is a premium project material and the complete research project plus questionnaires and references can be gotten at an affordable rate of N3,000 for Nigerian clients and $8 for International clients.

Click here to Get this Complete Project Chapter 1-5






You can also check other Research Project here:

1, Accounting Research Project

  1. Adult Education
  2. Agricultural Science
  3. Banking & Finance
  4. Biblical Theology & CRS
  5. Biblical Theology and CRS
  6. Biology Education
  7. Business Administration
  8. Computer Engineering Project
  9. Computer Science 2
  10. Criminology Research Project
  11. Early Childhood Education
  12. Economic Education
  13. Education Research Project
  14. Educational Administration and Planning Research Project
  15. English
  16. English Education
  17. Entrepreneurship
  18. Environmental Sciences Research Project
  19. Guidance and Counselling Research Project
  20. History Education
  21. Human Kinetics and Health Education
  22. Management
  23. Maritime and Transportation
  24. Marketing
  25. Marketing Research Project 2
  26. Mass Communication
  27. Mathematics Education
  28. Medical Biochemistry Project
  29. Organizational Behaviour
  30. Other Projects
  31. Political Science
  32. Psychology
  33. Public Administration
  34. Public Health Research Project
  35. More Research Project
  36. Transportation Management
  37. Nursing



Need a Project Writer for a Different Topic