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There is underlying complexity of the factors affecting the performance of students in education attainment and this is what has prompted the current study. Despite the complexity of factors influencing students’ achievement, a number of studies are pointing to the evidence that institutional factors are associated with academic performance though mainly in other subjects rather than accounting. Accounting is one of the subjects needed by every individual irrespective of the person’s profession. For any business to thrive, the knowledge of accounting is necessary. Accounting is concerned with the acquisition of knowledge for recording, analyzing, interpreting and summarizing the financial data of an organization or enterprise (Ndinechi & Obidile, 2013). Unfortunately students’ performance in the subject has not been encouraging especially at the post basic education level (secondary schools). Post primary education level is the level between the basic and tertiary level where systematic and organized education is offered. It is believed that at this level of education, desired attitude, skill and knowledge could be obtained by the recipients. 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. Academic performance according to Eze, Ezenwafor and Obidile (2016) is the outcome of students’ effort in examinations. It was observed from the literature that students’ academic performance is determined by a number of factors.

 A number of studies have been carried out to identify and analyse the numerous factors that affect academic performance in various levels of educational attainment. Their findings identified change of school, family break up, teacher absence, parent illness and death of a family member, student’s illness, learning disability caused by visual or hearing impairment and student’s attitude towards learning as causes of poor academic performance (Browny & Sunniya, 2012). Others include shortage of well-trained teachers, inadequacy of teaching facilities, lack of funds to purchase necessary equipment, poor quality textbooks, large classes, poorly motivated teachers, lack of laboratories and libraries, poorly coordinated supervisory activities, interference of the school system by the civil service, incessant transfers of teachers and principals and automatic promotion of pupils (Vundla, 2012). Mbugua, Kibet, Muthaa and Nkonke (2012) listed factors as under staffing, inadequate teaching/learning materials, lack of motivation and poor attitude by both teachers and students as factors influencing academic performance of students.

Igwe and Ikatule (2011) attributed poor academic performance of students to deficiency in teaching method(s) used by teachers. According to Tshabalala and Ncube (2013) lack of materials, bad teacher behavior, poor grounding in the subject area at lower levels, poor teaching methods as well as fear of the subject are factors affecting academic performance of students. 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 teachers’ qualification and experience affect academic performance of students in accounting (Omotayo, 2014).

According to Okon (2012) poor application of teaching methods, lack of fund, inadequate teaching experience, lack of teaching aids, lack of qualified teachers and wrong methods of teaching could influence students’ interest in accounting. Igberi (1999) mentioned unavailability of current text-books in accounting as one of the causes of poor academic performance of students in accounting. Corroborating, Ezeagba (2014) listed inadequate instructional materials and ineffective/poor teaching method as causes of poor students’ academic performance in accounting. Ward, Wilson and Ward (2014) 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. However most of these studies were conducted in different environment rather than the environment of the present study, hence the need to identify the factors influencing students’ academic performance in principles of accounts in post primary institution in Nigeria.


Previous  research  work  on  students’  success  factors  in  accounting,  such  as  Tailab  (2013), Uyor and Gungornus (2011) and Adeleke, Binyuomote and Adoyinka (2013), examined the two extreme  factors  (students-related  and  teachers-related) with  little  or  no consideration  given  to the factor that brings the symbolism between teachers and students (institutional factors). More so, although the high rate of students’ failure in Accounting Education in Nigerian is clearly observable, to the best of our knowledge, there are scanty empirical studies in Nigerian that  have  examined  factors  responsible  for  this  poor  students’  performance.


The study sought to know the factors that lead to student poor performance in principles of accounts in post primary institution. Specifically, the study sought to;

  1. examine the institutional factors that affect students’ academic performance in accounts in post primary institution.
  2. identify parental social economic factors affecting students’ academic performance in accounting subjects in post primary institution.


  1. What are the institutional factors that affect students’ academic performance in accounts in post primary institution?
  2. What are the parental social economic factors affecting students’ academic performance in accounting subjects in post primary institution?


Ho1: There are no institutional factors affecting students’ academic performance in principles of accounts in post primary institution.

Ho2: There are no parental social economic factors affecting students’ academic performance in accounting subjects in post primary institution.


This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this study and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their research work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other study.


This study is on factors that lead to students’ poor performance in principles of accounts in post primary institution.

Limitations of study

Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.


Students: A student is primarily a person enrolled in a school or other educational institution who attends classes in a course to attain the appropriate level of mastery of a subject under the guidance of an instructor and who devotes time outside class to do whatever activities the instructor assigns that are necessary either for class preparation or to submit evidence of progress towards that mastery.

Poor performance of students:  According to Okoye (2012)  poor  academic performance in students or candidates in a learning  situation refers to one who fails to attain a set   standard performance in a given evaluation  exercise such as  test,  examination  or series of continuous assessment.

Principles of account: refers to the broad underlying concepts which guide accountant when preparing financial statements.  Principles of accounting can also mean generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

Post primary institution: The post-primary education sector comprises secondary, vocational, community and comprehensive schools.


Atieh, S. H. (2013). Student perceptions of the causes of low performance in principles of accounting: A case study in Saudi Arabia. JKAU: Economics and Administration, 10, 35-50.

Browny, E. B. & Sunniya, S. L. (2012). Social-emotional facts affecting achievement outcomes using disadvantaged students: Closing the achievement gap. Educational Psychology, 15, 28-36.

Enu, J, Agyman, O. K., & Nkum D. (2015). Factors influencing students’ mathematics performance in some selected colleges of education in Ghana. International Journal of Education Learning and Development, 3(3), 68-74.

Eze, Ezenwafor & Obidile (2016). Effects of problem-based teaching method on students academic performance and retention in financial accounting in technical colleges in Anambra State. Online Scholars Journal of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, 4(6A), 634-639.

Ezeagba, C. E. (2014). Problems in the teaching and learning of accounting as a vocational subject in Nigeria secondary schools. International Journal of Science and Technology, 3(2), 208-226.

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