TITLE PAGE                                                                                                             i

APPROVAL PAGE                                                                                     ii

CERTIFICATION                                                                                               iii

DEDICATION                                                                                                    iv

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT                                                                            v

TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                                           vi

LIST OF TABLES                                                                                        vii

LIST OF FIGURES                                                                                        x

ABSTRACT                                                                                                xi


Background of the Study                                                                   1

Statement of the Problem                                                                                10

Purpose of the Study                                                                                    11

Significance of the Study                                                                                12

Scope of the Study                                                                                      13

Research Questions                                                                                       13

Research Hypotheses                                                                                   14

CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF LITERATURE                                         15

Conceptual Framework  16

Concept of Emotion                                                                                16

Concept of Intelligence                                                                           20

Concept of Emotional Intelligence                                                    21

Concept of Achievement                                                                       24

Concepts of Academic Achievements                                                       24

Concept of Gender                                                                             25

Diagrammatic Representation of Conceptual Framework                26

Theoretical Framework                                                                    27

Salovey and Mayor Model of Emotional Intelligence                          28

Goleman’s Model of Emotional Intelligence                                30

Baron’s Model of Emotional Intelligence                          33

Empirical Studies                                                            35

Studies on Emotional Intelligence & Academic Achievement         35

Studies on gender relationship with emotional intelligence                   39

Studies of students’ location and influence on emotional intelligence             42

Summary of Literature Review                                         43

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHOD                                   46

Design of the Study                                                                            46

Area of the Study                                                                            46

Population of the Study                                                                          47

Sample and Sampling Techniques                                                         47

Instrument for Data Collection                                                        47

Validation of the Instrument                                                             49

Reliability of the Instrument                                                              49

Method of Data Collection                                                         49

Method of Data Analysis                                                                   50

CHAPTER FOUR: PRESENTATION OF RESULTS                               51

Research Question One                                                                     51

Hypothesis one                                                                                52

Research Question Two                                                               52

Hypothesis Two                                                                       53

Research Question Three                                                                  53

Hypothesis Three                                                                  54

Research Question Four                                                                        55

Hypothesis Four                                                                                     56

Research Question Five                                                                        56

Hypothesis Five                                                                                 57

Research Question Six                                                                           58

Hypothesis Six                                                                                           59

Research Question Seven                                                                       60

Hypothesis Seven                                                                                  61

Summary of the findings                                                                          63


RECOMMENDATIONS                                                                   64

Discussion of the findings                                                                                                     64

Conclusions                                                                                           70

Educational implication of the findings                                                71

Recommendations                                                                     72

Limitations of the Study                                                                            73

Suggestions for further Studies                                                                 73

Summary of the Study                                                      74

References                                                                                                     79

Appendices                                                                                   82

APPENDIX A: Students’ Emotional Intelligence Rating Scale     82

APPENDIX B: Statistical data of students Sample                 85

APPENDIX C: Request for Validation of Instrument                    86

APPENDIX D: Ebonyi State Students Enrolment Schedule                             87

APPENDIX E: Reliability Analysis                                        88

APPENDIX F: Result of Data Analysis                                         89 

List of Tables

  1. Pearson’s Product moment Correlation Analysis of Mood Regulation and Academic Achievement                                                              53
  • Regression Analysis of Mood regulation and academic achievement.                       54
  • Pearson’s Product moment Correlation Analysis of Inter-personal skill and Academic Achievement.                                                                         54
  • Regression Analysis of Interpersonal skill and academic achievement.        55
  • Pearson’s Product moment Correlation Analysis of Internal motivation and Academic Achievement.                                                             56
  • Regression Analysis of Internal motivation and academic achievement.       56
  • Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation Analysis of self awareness and Academic Achievement                                                                                  57
  • Regression Analysis of self awareness and academic achievement.               58
  • Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation Analysis of Empathy Response and Academic Achievement                                                                58
  • Regression Analysis of Empathy response and academic achievement.        59
  • Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation Analysis of Students’ Emotional intelligence and academic achievement based on gender.             60
  • Regression Analysis of Students’ Emotional intelligence and academic achievement based on gender.                                                                               61
  • Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation Analysis of Students’ Emotional intelligence and academic achievement based on school location.                                                                       62
  • Regression Analysis of Students’ Emotional intelligence and academic
  • achievement based on school location.                                       63

List of Figures

  • The interaction of cognitive, emotional and school environment to produce      Students’ achievement                                  28
  • The five domains of the emotional intelligence according to Goleman’s Model.            35


The purpose of the study was to investigate the predictive ability of emotional intelligence on the academic achievement of senior secondary school students in Ebonyi state; Nigeria. The population for the study was 21,000 seniour secondary school students of the state. Through stratified random sampling 3 schools were selected from each of the three educational zones, giving nine schools. Using systematic random sampling, 1,200 students were sampled from the schools comprising of 630 females and 570 males. Correlation Survey Design was used in the study. Seven research questions and seven hypotheses were raised to guide the study. Instrument titled Students’ Emotional Intelligence Rating Scale (SEIRS) was used in collecting data for the study. The instrument was validated by three professionals from the faculty of Education of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The reliability index was 0.87. A self delivery technique was used in administering the instrument on the students directly by the researcher. The data collected were analyzed using Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation (PPMC) to provide answers to the research questions, while Multiple Regression Analysis (MRA) was used to test the hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The response format used in analyzing the data was a 4- point – modified Likert rating scale of Strongly Agree (SA), Agree (A), Disagree (D) and Strongly Disagree (SD) with values of 4,3,2,1 respectively. The result of the study revealed that emotional intelligence predicted academic achievement of senior secondary school students. The five emotional competences: empathy response, mood regulation, interpersonal skills, internal motivation and self awareness have significant correlation with the academic achievement of senior secondary students in Ebonyi state. It was also found that males have relatively more emotional abilities that influence their academic performance than the female counterpart. The result showed that the correlation coefficients obtained for males and females were 0.49 and 0.48 respectively.  Students in schools located in the rural areas were found to have more emotional competences than students in the urban areas. The correlation coefficients obtained for urban and rural students were 0.47 and 0.51 respectively. It was concluded that emotional intelligence is very crucial in students’ academic achievement and when students are trained on the skills, it will significantly improve the performance of students in the schools. Among other educational implications of the study is that, basing students education on the training of the cognitive domain alone is not comprehensive enough for the total development of their intelligence. It was therefore recommended that the study of emotional intelligence and the skills should be introduced in the school system so that students will be trained on how to develop, manage and control emotions for better academic performance in Ebonyi state schools and Nigeria in general. 



Background to the Study

       The concept of intelligence is one of the prized possessions a person can have. It is a fundamental concept that has become a convenient evaluative expression covering a wide variety of domains (Davey, 2004). Over the years the concept has passed through the laboratories of many psychologists trying to find a definition and explanation for the term. For example, singers are described as having intelligent voices, footballers as having intelligent feet, horses as running intelligent races (Davey, 2004)

          Many people use the term in their daily language in a way that suggest that there is agreement about what intelligence is, but psychologist cannot agree at all. According to Santrock (2009) even the most intelligent people have not been able to agree on how to define the concept of intelligence. Some experts describe it as the capacity to adapt and learn from experiences. Some still argue that intelligence includes characteristics such as creativity and interpersonal skills (Santrock, 2009). In general term, some psychologists see intelligence as being a single aptitude while others see it as representing a cluster of aptitudes or mental skills (Davey, 2004)

No common definition, interpretation, understanding and conceptualization of intelligence have been found because of the differences in social and cultural definition of what an intellectual behaviour is. The term is socially constructed, that is, different cultures and people group see it as being whatever attribute that brings success within that group (Sternberg and Kaufman, 1998). . A working definition that would encompass both academic and non-academic definition of intelligence and applies to people of all social and cultural background is what is searched for.

          Since 1916, when Binet came out with the first ability test till now, the discussion on intelligence has produced various dimensions of intelligence. Modern scholars of intelligence consider the question of whether intelligence is a single mental ability. (You are either intelligent or not) or whether a number of specific abilities make up the overall intellectual ability. If intelligence comprises a number of abilities, there is also the question of what these specific abilities might be (Plutchik, 1980))

          In addressing these issues contemporary research on intelligence has opened new dimensions of the concept of intelligence that makes the definition of intelligence more comprehensive. Sternberg and Defferman (1986) as reported by Davey (2004), asserted that intelligence comprises of learning and adaptive abilities; ability to understand and control oneself; practical problem solving ability; verbal and social competences. It is the ability to learn from experience; apply knowledge to solve problems and to adapt and survive in different environment. Sternberg (2008) and Gardener (1983) argue that the concept of intelligence should be expanded to encompass a greater variety of abilities. Sternberg (2001) proposes what he called Triarchic intelligence in which he propounded that intelligence consists of three forms- the contextual, which specifies behaviors considered to be intelligence in a particular culture; the experiential, which specifies how experience affects intelligence and how intelligence affects a person’s experience; the componential, which specifies the cognitive processes that underlie all intelligent behaviours.

            Sternberg believes that the cognitive processes that contribute to intelligence fall into three groups;

  1. Meta component, which controls, monitors and evaluate cognitive processing
  2. Knowledge acquisition component which encodes, combines and compare information and
  3. Performance component which executes strategies assembled by meta component.

        According to Him (2009) all the above mentioned components contribute to three aspect of intelligence namely, analytical intelligence which has to do with abstract reasoning, evaluation and judgment. This is the type of intelligence that is crucial to most academic work and that is assessed by conventional Intelligence Quotient (IQ) test; Creative Intelligence, which involves the ability to generate new ideas and to be innovative in dealing with new problems; Practical Intelligence which involves the ability to deal effectively with the kind of problems that people encounter in everyday life, on the job or at home.

              For Sternberg, creative and practical intelligence move beyond what the IQ measures and enter into the realm of what Wechsler (1940) called non-intellectual intelligence. That is intelligence applied not by mental or cognitive ability. This is also related to what Gardner (2002) called personal intelligence. In Gardner’s view, there is nothing as a single intelligence; rather he argued that there are at least eight intelligences namely, Verbal skill, Mathematical skill, Spatial skill, Bodily kinestic skill, Musical skills, Interpersonal skills, Intrapersonal skills and Naturalist skills.

         In their view, intelligence include for instance, interpersonal and intrapersonal capacities to discern and respond appropriately to the feelings, moods, temperament, motivation and the desires of other people. It also has to do with the ability to access one’s emotion and to discriminate among them and draw upon them to guide behaviours, knowledge of ones strength and weaknesses.

            Some scholars as seen above agree that combination of emotion with cognition would lead to a better day to day adaptation and conflicts resolution by not only using ones intellectual capacities but also by the additional information provided by one’s emotion. This aspect of intelligence focuses on what is called emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to perceive and express emotion accurately and adaptively, to understand emotion and emotion knowledge, to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions and feelings, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions (Mayer, 1990). .Emotional intelligence (EI) has to do with the ability to know, express, monitor, manage and use one’s and others people’s feelings, moods and temperaments, so that it works for a person and not against him.

            Most scholars in the field of emotional intelligence have described it to include one or more of the following key components; the ability to recognize, understand and express emotions and feeling; the ability to understand or decipher how other people feel and relate with themselves; the ability to manage and control emotion; the ability to manage, change, adapt and solve problems of personal and interpersonal nature, the ability to generate positive influence and be self motivated (Santrock, 2009). It is those set of skills that allow a person to use emotion to adapt, to perceive, understand and regulate moods and to use emotional information to improve cognitive processes and reasoning.  

          At this point, it is important to describe what emotion is. Emotion is a very important experience that one encounters in life. According to Weiten (2009), emotion lies at the core of mental health. To give a specific definition of the term has been very difficult. It is described to involve a subjective conscious experience accompanied by bodily arousals and by characteristic behavioral expressions (Le Doux, 1999).

            Psychologists have identified eight basic emotions that seem to be experienced universally (across gender, age, and cultural groups). The eight basic human emotions include fear, anger, joy, disgust, acceptance, sadness, surprise and anticipation (Davey, 2004). These are innate and directly related to adaptive behaviour that is designed to enhance one’s survival. Emotions are feelings that accompany thinking. An emotion involves physiological arousal, expressive behaviour and conscious experience, so that, when one is scared, one’s heart beats faster, eyes become wide and one consciously judges that the situation is dangerous and responds either with fight or flight.

           Psychologists agree that emotions contain both cognitive and physiological elements. Cognitive factors play a major role in determining how a subject interprets his bodily feeling (Schacter, 1979). Therefore cognitive interpretations could shape emotional experience. This brings the link between emotion and intelligence. One who is able to interpret, manage and regulate his emotion adaptively is said to be emotionally intelligent. This aspect of intelligence focuses on what is called emotional intelligence.

            To be emotionally intelligent means to effectively manage personal, social and environmental changes by realistically and flexibly coping with the immediate situation, solving problems and making positive decision, being sufficiently optimistic, positive and self motivated.  In this way one is able to manage emotion so that they work for and not against the person and when effectively managed by a student can improve his academic achievement in the school

          Achievement is defined as an act of accomplishing or finishing something successfully, especially by means of exertion of effort, skills, practices and perseverance (Roth & Gulbert, 1961). It is the successful accomplishment of a task. Oxford English Dictionary defines achievement as things done successfully with effort, skills and courage. According to (Welten, 2009), achievement is the successful accomplishment of an academic task by a student or teacher in his study. Achievement tests are set for students to evaluate or gauge a person’s mastery and knowledge of various subjects. To achieve a task, there must be what McClelland(1983) called ‘Achievement motive’ which is the need to master difficult challenges, to outperform others and to be high in standard of excellence. Achievement is measured by instrument called achievement test. This is a test that measures what the student has learned or what skills the student has mastered (Santrock, 2009). The need for achievement involves the desire to excel; especially in competition. Achievement has to do with the application of the achievement drive or maturation to improve better performance of student in the school work. This researcher hypothesizes that effective management and usage of ones emotion will improve motivation which would positively influence achievement drive. This in the long run will influence the academic achievement of the student. 

              Academic achievements are the level of academic performance in school subjects as exhibited by a student (Busari, 2000). Test scores or marks assigned by teachers to students are indicators of this achievement. In this study academic achievement will be taken to mean the general performance of students in the acquisition of skills from learning experiences which will help him to solve daily problems and succeed in life. In this study it is measured in terms of scores obtained in subject studied in school. Would students who have high scores in school subjects have high scores in emotional intelligent or vice versa? This  is the focus of this study.

            Researchers have conducted extensive research on variables predictive of academic achievement of students. For instance, such areas as social behaviour (Taylor, 1994); self- concept (Steele & Aronsin, 1995); learning strategies (Covington, 1984); motivation (Deci & Ryan, 1992); parenting styles (Baurund, 1991); socio- economic status (Shults, 1993), and self perception (Adeyemo & Oluwole, 2001) have been investigated. There is very little in the literature on work done in Nigeria on the influence of emotional intelligence on the academic achievement of secondary school students. Currently, there is no literature on the predictive power of the emotional competencies or skill on the academic performance of students in Ebonyi state.

           Ebonyi state is ranked as one of the most educationally disadvantaged states in Nigeria. Most of the children are found in the street hawking. It is acclaimed that about 70% of street hawkers in the Eastern Nigeria are Igbo kids from Ebonyi state (Akusoba, 2013). Most of the Ebonyi children who roam about in the street are students who drop out from schools due to one reason or the other. Lack of interest, lack of parental motivation, low self concept, poverty etc have been identified as part of the reasons (Enyi, 1984). According to Akusola, high restiveness, violence, deviant behaviour, disobedience and cultism have been reported among the youth in Ebonyi state’s schools. The consequence is low self concept and low motivation for academic work in the secondary schools which leads to poor academic performance

        Some of the studies done in UK and  USA indicate that emotional intelligence can help students to know and value self, build and maintain a variety of strength and work well with others in achieving positive results, and effectively deal with the pressure and demands of daily life and work (Nelson and Law, 2005). When students acquire these emotional abilities and capabilities and learn to utilize them effectively, it would help to improve their academic performance in school and help them to succeed in life and work outside the school. Therefore, the development of emotional intelligence is an intentional and engaging effective process that requires a person- centered process for teacher and students’ growth and development (Chermis, 2000).

            The learning of emotional intelligence skills will help the teacher and the students to build human development behaviour that are intricately related to the positive outcomes of achievement and personal wellbeing (Goleman, 1998).  Goleman, (1998) asserted that the ability to motivate self, to show empathy and regulates ones mood so that it works for and not against the person is to be emotionally intelligent.

            The intention of this study is to find ways the application of these competences can influence the attitude of students in Ebonyi state to change positively towards their studies. This knowledge may help students to improve their motivation and self concept, mood regulation and interpersonal relationship which will help to improve their academic performance in school activities. It is expected that the result of this study would lead to the application of emotional competences in the lives of students in their academic work to enhance motivation, control and management of emotions which will arouse their interest and lead to better academic performance

             There are two other moderating variables that are used in this study to determine how they influence the predictive power of emotional intelligence on students’ academic achievement. The variables are gender (male & female) and location of schools (rural & urban).

             Gender is a term that is extensively used throughout one’s everyday life including schools and education. It refers to the characteristic of people as a male or as a female (Santrock, 2007). According to Weiten (2009), gender refers to culturally constructed distinctions between feminity and masculinity. Individuals are born male or female. Bassow (1991) describes gender psychologically as the behaviours and attributes expected of an individual on the basis of being either a male or a female. Scholars agree that there are some differences in behaviour that appear along gender disparity in cognitive abilities, social behaviours and so on. (Halpern, 2004 and Archer, 2005).

          As it concerns emotional intelligence, the area of the brain involved in emotional expression tend to show more metabolic activities in female than in males (Gur, 1995). An important skill in emotional intelligence is to be able to regulate and control ones’ emotions and behaviours. According to Eisenberg, Spinrad, & Smith, (2004), boys usually show less self control and are more aggressive while females are more socially oriented and can control their emotion. Block & Block (1980), maintains that such emotional differences can translate into emotional advantages or problems which can affect a student positively or negatively.

  Therefore, the effort to investigate how gender can influence emotional intelligence becomes very important and significant. This understanding informs the inclusion of gender as a moderating variable in this study to find out its influence on the ability of emotional intelligence to predict students’ academic achievement..

          Location of school is another important moderating variable used in this study. The purpose is to find out how school location can influence the predictiveness of emotional intelligence on students’ academic achievement. School location is the institutional environment that sets the parameters of students learning environment. For instance, school size, school location (rural & urban) school funding, and student teacher relationship are few of the important school factors. Barry (2005), says that test scores will increase if the necessary environmental factors are available which can directly or indirectly influence scores that students may achieve in school. Interpersonal skills and internal motivation are socially oriented and the location of school can influence the exercise of these emotional skills. The location of a school, urban or rural can influence how a student can respond to emotional clues. This influence that school location can have on emotional expression underscores it inclusion in this investigation, to find out whether school location has any influence on the predictive value of Emotional intelligence on students academic achievement.

 Despite the many literatures in the field, there is still more areas that need to be studied especially in Nigeria where research on emotional intelligence is still scarce. The acquisition and application of these emotional skills by students in Ebonyi State may help to minimize some of the emotional problems identified such as restiveness, deviance, lack of concentration, low self concept, drop out from school etc. These will enhance their interest and motivation, thereby leading to improved performance in the school. Most children have emotional problems sometimes during theirschool years. A small percentage hasproblems in serious and persistent way that they are classified as having an emotional and behavioral disorder (Gasgiulo, 2009; Kauffman & landrum, 2009). Emotional and behaviour disorders consist of serious and persistent problems that involve relationship, aggression, depression, fears associated with personal or school matters and other inappropriate socio-emotional characteristics like anxiety

Statement of problem