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It is widely recognized that ensuring quality of education is one of the six Education For All goals agreed by over 160 governments during the world education forum in Dakar in 2000; almost every country around the world has committed to enhancing the education quality in an effort to achieve the goals of EFA by 2015. The purpose of those governments is to offer students with an education that equips them with skills, knowledge, and wider perspectives. They need to play a part fully in the social, economic and political lives of their nations (UNESCO, 2009).
Royal Government of Cambodia has prioritized educational sector as a key milestone of country development. Since the capacity building and human resources development is one of the key strategies of the rectangular strategy of Royal Government of Cambodia in the third term of the national assembly, Cambodian government has been making a crucial effort to provide equitable access and efficiency of education quality for all walks of life regardless of advantaged and disadvantaged children. In this sense, the Ministry of education, youth and sport has emphasized the education quality development at all levels such as basic, post basic and high school because it can produce the well-educated and skilled students in order to meet the needs and requirement of the growing market labors.
Education at upper secondary level is supposed to be foundation towards the higher education and if students perform very well at this level, they will not be likely to have any problems while they are learning at university. As a consequence, students have been offered opportunity for future direction. It means to have capacity to continue their studies at higher education or to specialize their studies and participate in social life ( MoEYS, 2004). However, different stakeholders at different times have blamed students for their poor performance in high school since their qualification is not likely to meet the requirement of the labor markets.
The achievement of high school students has been a great concern to educators, parents, and government since they have to perform well in response to the required level that might allow them entrance to a university. In Cambodian high school, there are a number of issues peculiar to the student learning condition which influenced their academic achievement. These can be identified as classroom management, quality of teaching staff, family social-economic status, lack of teaching facilities, inadequate student discipline, lack of student commitment, emotional problems, curriculum contents, learning situation, inadequate teacher instruction, and not enough parental involvement (Nguyen & Griffin, 2010; Asikhia, 2010; Legotlo, Maaga , Sebego, Westhuizen, Mosoge, Nieuwoudt & Steyn, 2002) . Even though the measures have been taken in improving the quality of education, most students seem not to perform very well in their academic year. In the researcher's observation, a large proportion of high school students perform very poor in the classroom because there are some internal and external factors contributing to this achievement. Some students play truant very often and the other are often absent from class. Moreover, they think that some teachers don't pay much attention on their teaching. Although they finish high school, they will not have money to pursue their studies at university.
In attempt to improve the students' academic performance in Cambodian high schools, Investigation on the factors that influences the students' academic achievement in high schools really provides a lot of contribution to enhancing the students' learning abilities in upper secondary school as well as helping them to pursue their study in higher education easily. Since there were probably a little or no existing research conducted on the factors influencing the students' academic performance in high school in Cambodia. This study therefore intends to figure out those factors influencing the students' academic performance in high school
In view of the objectives mentioned above, this study will aim simply to answer the following research questions:
What factors influence the students' academic performance in high schools?
What are the teachers' perceptions toward the students' academic performance?
What are the students' perceptions towards the performance?
Significance of Study
This study is significant for three main reasons. First, it will identify the influencing factors of the students' academic performance in high school. Second, the results of this paper will help all stakeholders, namely, parents, teachers, school communities, and central agents to strengthen the efficiency and quality of education in high school. At last but not least, it will assist students to improve their learning achievement in an attempt to have a chance to pursue their study at higher education.
In order to be well understood, this paper has been divided into different sections. First and foremost, the past literatures which were conducted by many famous authors in different settings around the world will be included in an effort to support this paper. Next the research methodology which is going to talk about participants, method, instruments, tools, data collection and data analysis will be discussed in details. Surprisingly, time frame of this study will be clearly confirmed in order to successfully complete this paper. At last but not least, the reference section and appendix will be also stated correspondingly.
According to Hijazi and Raza Vagvi (2006), the study was conducted to explore the factors affecting college students' performance in intermediate examination in Bangladesh. In an attempt to get the reliable data, the authors selected 300 students randomly from private college. Well-designed questionnaires were given to the students. As a result, this study revealed that attendance in the classroom and mother's education were crucial factors influencing their learning performance. However, the family income and study hours per day after college were not likely to affect their learning achievement. Even though this study demonstrated some important factors contributing to students' academic performance, it didn't describe all factors. This paper didn't reveal the factors leading student's academic performance in high school because it was conducted with the college students so it is not generalized the problems of students' academic achievement in upper secondary education.
Ditcher and Tetley (1999) stated that the factors which students and academics thought were important in students' academic failure. In order to figure out the factors, the authors carried out this study with 49 students and 37 academics in the first semester of the 1995 academic year from the University of Canterbury Student's Association. Random selection method was also used to obtain the participants. As a consequence, the study revealed that self motivation, fair and appropriate assessment, well-structured presentation by lecturers are most fundamental factors leading to students' success. However, some important factors contributing to students' failure are lack of motivation, insufficient effort, poor time management, organizational skills, and inability to manage stress. Although it showed some successful and failure factors which influenced students' performance, there were also some significant different between students and academics perception towards these factors. This study was conducted only with the students and academics from University of Canterbury. Therefore, the results of this paper seemed not to show any relevant factors contributing the students' academic success in high schools