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This study attempted to examine the effect of punishment and reward on the performance of secondary school students and to determine the gender difference in the students’ performance in schools.

The participants for this study comprised 120 respondents made up of 60 male and 60 female students. The instruments used were questionnaires and multiple choice test, based on Mathematics and English Language which were administered to the selected respondents.

The Pearson Product Moment Correlational Coefficient and the t-test were used to analyse three null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The results showed that there is a significant relationship between reward and academic performance of students, that a significant relationship exists between punishment and academic performance of students in secondary schools.

Also, it was revealed that there is significant gender difference in the academic performance of students in secondary schools.














Title page                                                                                            i

Certification                                                                                         ii

Dedication                                                                                           iii

Acknowledgements                                                                              iv

Abstract                                                                                              v

Table of contents                                                                                 vi


Chapter One: Introduction                                                               1

1.1         Introduction to the Background                                                    1

1.2         Statement of the Problem                                                            4

1.3         Purpose of the Study                                                                  5

1.4         Research Questions                                                                    5

1.5         Research Hypotheses                                                                  6

1.6         Scope of the Study                                                                     6

1.7         Significance of Study                                                                   6

1.8         Definition of Terms                                                                     7


Chapter Two: Literature Review                                                      8

1.1         Causes of Indiscipline in Schools

1.2         Guidelines on the Proper Use of Punishment and Reward

1.3         Behaviour Modification as a Remedy for Improving Academic Performance

1.4        Technique for Increasing Performance

1.5        Methods of Decreasing Maladaptive Behaviour that leads into inadequate performance

1.6        Punishment

1.7        Guidelines for using seclusion time out


Chapter Three: Research Methodology                                            36

1.1         Research Design                                                                         36

1.2         Population of the Study                                                               36

1.3         Sample and Sampling Technique                                                  37

1.4         Instrument and Validation                                                           37

1.5         Administration of Instrument Sample                                            37

1.6         Statistical Method of Data Analysis                                               38



Chapter Four: Data Analysis and Presentation of Results               39

4.1         Introduction                                                                               39

4.2         Testing of Hypothesis                                                                  39


Chapter Five: Discussion and Conclusion                                         42

5.1         Discussion                                                                                 42

5.2         Conclusion                                                                                 43

5.3         Recommendation                                                                       43

References                                                                                46

Appendix                                                                                   49




1.1   Introduction to the Background

Punishment according to Ilogu (2004) is defined “as the presentation of any annoying (aversive) stimulus as a result of the performance of a response”.

Reward is that which is given in return for performance or service. Reinforcement is compensation. It is the fruit of men’s labour or work. Often, the term reward is used as a synonym for positive reinforcement.

Punishment is the act of inflicting penalty for an offence or fault. Punishment is chastisement or castigation for an offence or fault. Punishment and reinforcement are two concepts used in educational context to maintain a good discipline in the classroom, and the school at large. Psychologists have systematically investigated the effect of number of reinforcement variables on the course of learning.

The greater the amount of reinforcement the more rapid the rate of learning. Punishment and reinforcement can be of good advantage to the teacher, in the sense that they promote good discipline in the school. One aim of maintaining discipline in school is to teach the child that there is moral orderliness in the world, and that certain behaviour and performance call for praise (reinforcement) and some call for blame (punishment).

For the child, reinforcement and punishment are both essential for regulation of good performance. One important aspect of the child development is that he becomes responsive to social praises and blame (reward and punishment). This implies that in the process of growth of the child, social control is necessary as to enable him or her acquire positive habits necessary for growth and development of character and ethical standards.

As punishment is effective in producing submission, so reinforcement are used to produce desirable behaviour which leads to good performance in learning in schools. Punishment makes the child realises his mistakes and so avoid it in future. It makes the child to respect the authority. Punishment for wrong doing is part of a child’s training, this gives room to good performance in their academic activities. The student should be encouraged to cultivate the habit of self discipline rather than authoritarian methods of controlling their performance (Nwanna, 1975).

To be of any use to the child, both punishment and reinforcement must be understood and deserved by the child being punished or rewarded or else according to Awoniyi (1985) the child will be confused, he may not even value it and so make jest of it, thereby making it loose its usefulness which it is intended.

Although reinforcement should be more employed than punishment, yet they both serve the same purpose of maintaining good discipline in the classroom. Punishment serves as a warning, so that a particular act that leads to poor performance should not be repeated by the child. Reinforcement on the other hand is meant to build up pleasant memories for acting desirably, which can lead to good performance which a child will some how like to maintain if possible in his learning.

For the child, punishment and reward are both essential for regulation of good performance. For punishment and reinforcement to work effectively, they must be used together. While punishment is a warning or corrective measure reward is a sign of approval of a good performance in the school or classroom. They exist in close relationship. The problem of classroom situation towards learning activities which can lead to good performance is largely solved through punishment and reinforcement. Hence, the need to justify and straighten out its use for effectiveness in maintaining good performance in schools.

1.2      Statement of the Problem

It has been discovered that indiscipline among youths of Nigerian schools have become a source of worry in the school system. These have resulted to poor performance of the students in the schools. Students in schools are involved in indisciplinary behaviour which rages from noise making, rioting, truancy, creating confusion, examination malpractice, drug abuse, sexual harassment, rape, stealing, truancy, absenteeism etc.

Even the teachers are not playing their own roles. Some teachers are involved in trading instead of teaching the students. While some come to the classroom only when they fill like coming rather than using minor punishment and reinforcement in order to get the best performance from the students.

1.3      Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of punishment and reward on the performance of secondary school students in Bariga Local Government Area of Lagos State. Also to determine whether there is gender difference in the students performance in school.

1.4      Research Questions

The following questions were raised in this study:

  1. Is there any relationship between punishment and students’ performance in school?
  2. Is there any relationship between reward and students’ performance in schools?
  3. To what extent will there be any gender difference in the students’ performance in schools?

1.5      Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated in this study:

  1. There is no significant relationship between punishment and student’ academic performance in school.
  2. There is no significant relationship between reward and academic performance of students in schools.
  3. There is no significant gender difference in the performance of students in schools.

1.6      Scope of the Study

The study is limited to selected schools. The study examines the effect of punishment and reward on the academic performance of students in selected secondary schools in Bariga Local Government Area of Lagos State.

1.7      Significance of the Study

Just as students tend to learn fast under a conducive environment. The use of punishment and reward will bring forth:

  1. Useful result in the learning process of the students.
  2. Punishment can effectively eliminate an undesirable responses.
  3. In learning it is most effective to reward or punish the student immediately after the desired response occur.
  4. The more reinforcement is delayed the less effective it becomes.

1.8      Definition of Terms

  1. Punishment: According to Ilogu (2004) punishment is defined as the presentation of any annoying (aversive) stimulus as a result of the performance of a response.
  2. Reinforcement: According to Hilgard and Atkinson (1972), reinforcement is defined as any event that increases the probability of a response.
  3. Positive Reinforcement: Ilogu (2004), positive reinforcement is defined as a presentation of a reinforcing stimulus so  as to increase or maintain the rate of response or frequency of behaviour.


  • Format:  Microsoft Word
  • Pages: 54
  • Price:  ₦3000
  • Chapters:  1-5


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