This research work investigated the influence of motivation on junior secondary school students’ performance in writing in Ogbomoso South Local Government, Oyo State. Specifically, the study was to determine Junior Secondary School students to ascertain the difference in students’ performance in writing based on motivation, gender of students, the type of school students attend and location of the school.

 Descriptive research design of cross-sectional survey type was used for the study. The total population of study comprised 100 respondents selected from Ogbomoso South, Local Government using purposive and simple random sampling. The researcher designed questionnaire was used to gather the required information. The analysis of data was used for frequency counts, percentages, mean scores and rank order while the formulated hypotheses were tested using t-test and analysis of variance (ANOVA) at 0.05 alpha level.

 The study revealed that: there is a significant difference in the influence of motivation on junior secondary school students’ performance based  on students’ gender,  school type and school location; there is a significant difference in influence of motivation on academic performance of junior secondary school students in writing in junior secondary school students’ gender has influence on their academic performance in writing in junior secondary school students’ school type does significantly influence their motivation in writing in Ogbomoso South Local Government, Oyo State.

 Based on the findings of the study, it was concluded that there should be seminar on the importance of motivation on junior secondary school students’ performance in writing in Oyo State; there should be seminar on the influence of gender on the academic performance of students in Oyo State; there should be seminar on the influence of school type and school location on the academic performance of  junior secondary school students in Oyo State.



Background to the Study

An indispensable instrument for human progress, development and empowerment is education. Any individual, community or nation that plays down the importance of education, stands the risk of decay and retardation. It is evident then that education plays a vital role in both the human and non-human development of an individual or a nation at large. Junior secondary education has the broad aim of preparing students for useful living within the society and preparing them for senior secondary education (National Policy on Education (NPE), 2013). One of the major roles of educators is to encourage learners to work harder in order to perform well in their academic pursuit.

The junior secondary school level is a very critical period in the education pursuits of students. This is because it is a period of adjustment from childhood to adolescent. Hence, they need encouragement to achieve success in life. This form of encouragement given to learners is called motivation.

Motivation is a prerequisite for students at the secondary school level. Motivation is thought of as some kind of internal forces which arouse, regulate and sustain all important actions. Omolehin (2010) opines that motivation is regarded as a factor within an organization that influences behaviour directed towards satisfying needs and drive. Motivation is seen as the complex internal process in man, originally initiated as felt need which leads man to an activity that will satisfy the need.

It can be deduced that motivation plays a major role in students’ academic work and in their achievement. It is seen in students’ choices of learning tasks, in the time and effort they put in their studies, their persistence on learning tasks and coping with the obstacles they encounter in the learning process.

Furthermore, motivation is the process whereby a goal-directed activity is instigated and sustained. It is a force that energizes and directs behaviour towards a goal (Ibrahim, 2012). It plays an effective role on academic achievement of students in general and writing learners in particular. It is a concept that cannot do without actual action and ability.

Student motivation is the element that leads students’ attitude towards learning process. Number of studies have been conducted to probe the role of students’ motivation toward academic performance in writing especially in English Language. Student motivation is often separated into two types: Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. A student is intrinsically motivated when he/she is motivated from within. Intrinsically motivated students enthusiastically engage themselves in learning out of peculiarity, attention, happiness or in order to achieve their own scholarly and personal aims.

Therefore, students with intrinsic motivation are more enthusiastic, self-driven, challenging and feel pleasure in their studies and students with extrinsic motivation try to drag themselves with academic coursework, feel compelled to learn, and always put minimum efforts to attain maximum appreciations. Intrinsically motivated, students tend to use strategies that require more effort and that allow them to process information more strongly.

Language, a step designed to give a level playing ground for the task at hand, has been variously defined by many scholars such as (Lyons, 1991; Lehman, 1999; Pearson, 2000 & Mounin, 2004). According to Lehman (1999), language is a system for the communication of meaning through sounds. There is no doubt that Lehman’s definition is not comprehensive enough. How about the writing aspect of language? Language is human vocal noise or the arbitrary graphic representation of this noise used systematically and conventionally by members of a speech community for purposes of communication.

There are four skills of language. These skills are listening, speaking, reading and writing. In the context of first-language acquisition, the four skills are most often acquired in the order of listening first, then speaking, then possibly reading and writing. For this reason, these capabilities are often called LSRW skills.

Listening is the first language skill we acquire in a language. It is what is known as a receptive skill, or a passive skill, as it requires us to use our ears and our brains to comprehend language as it is being spoken to us. It is the first of two natural language skills, which are required by all natural spoken languages.

Speaking is the second language skill we acquire in a language. It is what is known as a productive skill or an active skill, as it requires us to use our vocal tract and our brains to correctly produce language through sound. It is the second of two natural language skills.

Reading is the third language skill we may acquire in a language. As with listening, it is a receptive or passive skill, as it requires us to use our eyes and our brains to comprehend the written equivalent of spoken language. It is one of the two artificial language skills, as not all natural spoken languages have a writing system.

Writing is the fourth language skill we may acquire in our native language. As with speaking, it is a productive or active skill, as it requires us to use our hands and our brains to produce the written symbols that represent our spoken language. Along with reading, it is one of the two artificial language skills, as not all natural spoken languages have a writing system.

        Therefore, writing is a comprehensive  ability  involving  grammar, vocabulary, conception, rhetoric  and  other  parts  of  the  language  (Zhang  &Chen,1999).  Writing  enhances  language  acquisition as  learners  experiment  with  words,  sentences  and  other  elements  of  writing  to  communicate their  idea    effectively  and  to  reinforce  the  grammar  and  vocabulary  they  are  learning  in class (Bello,1997).  Writing  is  an    important  skill  to  be  mastered  in  learning  English  as  a foreign language. It  is  not  only  a  means  of  communication  where  students  can  share  their views  and  thoughts, it  is  actually  a  prerequisite    to  master  other  language  skills. Man has primitive needs to write. Children want to write, in fact need to write, before they want to read” (Elbow, 2003).

The  purpose  of  teaching  writing  as  one  of  the  four  language  skills  is  to facilitate students’ learning, career and their daily communication. Writing as a psychological need  in the  sense  that  it  provides    learners    with  evidence  that  they  are  making  progress (Takrouri, 2002). Writing  also  makes  language  learning  more  effective    and  authentic    through  creating a  variety  of  activities inside  and outside the  classroom.   Al-Mutawa  and  Kailani  (2009)  considered  writing  as    significant  language  skill  that should  be  developed  at  an  early  stage  of  learning a language. Yet, writing is a skill that should not be learned in an isolated form, it should be taught interactively with other language skills, i.e. listening, speaking and reading. Writing  has  many  important  aspects, it  makes  students  more  relaxed  and  confident in other  language  skill because  it  allows  them  to  work  at  their  pace.  It  also  allows  them  to  make changes  and  revision  without  pressure  to  perform  on  the  spot  that  is  associated,  for  instance, with speaking (Mahmoud,2000).

Writing  plays  two  distinct  roles  in  schools;  First,  it  is  a  skill  that  requires  mastering basic  sub  skills  and  processes  such  as; handwriting, spelling, a rich  knowledge of  vocabulary, mastery  of  the  conventions  of  punctuation,  capitalization,  word  usage,  grammar, and  the  use of  strategies;  planning,  evaluating and  revising  text. All  are  necessary  for  the  production  of coherently  organized  essays  containing  well  developed  and  pertinent  ideas, supporting examples and  appropriate  detail. The role can be characterized as “learning to write.” Second,  writing  is  a  means  to  extend  and  deepen  students’  knowledge,  it  acts  as  a  tool  for learning  subject matter  (Graham&Perin,2007). So, writing is a psycho-socio-mental linguistic skill.  

Prakash  (2007)  explained  that  motivation  is  the  heart  of  significant  age  level.  When motivation  is  high,  students  learn  things  without  taking  much  time  ,  but  when  it  is  low  ,  they take  longer  time  to    learn    the  writing  skill    aspects  and  they  are  exposed  to    make  many  errors in learning  the  material.   Motivation is considered as the central construct in  both educational and psychological research  and  plays  a  significant    role  in  several  theories  of  human  development  and  learning (Weiner, 1990). Learning  is  equally  essential  for  performance,  learning  enables  learners  to acquire  new  knowledge  and  skills,  whereas    motivation  provides  the  impetus  for  showing what we  have  learned . Motivation  is  an  important  psychological  construct  that  affects  learning  and performance  in  at  least  four  ways. Firstly, it increases an individual’s energy and activity level (Pintrich, Marx, Boyle, 1993).  Secondly, it directs an individual toward certain goals (Eccles & Wigfield, 1985). Motivation  affect  choices  people  make  and  the  results  they  find rewarding  . 

Thirdly,  it  promotes  initiation  of  certain  activities  and  persistence  in  those activities (Stipek, 2008). It  increases  the  likelihood  that  people  will  begin  something  on  their own,  persist  in  the  face  of  difficulty   and  resume  a  task  after  a  temporary  interruption.

In addition, it  effects  the  learning  strategies  and  cognitive  processes  an  individual employs  (Dwek  & Elliot, 2009). It increases the likelihood that people will pay attention to something, study and practice it and try to learn it in a meaningful fashion. It also increases the likelihood that will seek help as they encounter difficulty. Educational  psychologists  have  long  recognized  the  importance  of  motivation  for supporting  student  learning.  More  recently,  the  partnership  for  21st  century  skills  has identified  initiative  as  one  of  the  life  and  career  skills  necessary  to  prepare  students  for  postsecondary  education  and  the  workforce.  However,  many  educators  may  be  unfamiliar  with methods  for  evaluating  and  encouraging  motivation,  particularly  at  the  junior  secondary  level (Emily, 2011).

Various factors have been ascribed to the poor performance of students in English language. Tella (2007) enumerates the various factors facilitating the poor performance of students in mathematics. These factors can also be used as yardsticks for the poor performance of students in writing. These factors are: students’ lack of interest, poor mastery of the language, students’ personality and self-concept, feeling of inadequacy, motivation and self-confidence, anxiety. Other factors are poor facilities, equipment and instructional materials, poor teaching methods, large students’ ratio and so on.

Moreover, individual students have peculiarities such as intelligence, cognitive styles and personalities which play an essential role in learning and instruction as does the context of learning. Many researchers have established the fact that individual students’ characteristic variables such as motivational orientations, self-esteem and learning approaches are important factors influencing academic achievements.

In view of this, the problem of students’ poor performance in writing seems to be a major one that requires urgent and serious attention since students lack of motivation has been identified to influence their performance in writing.