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Education is the process of nurturing and developing the skills, capacities and potentials of the students to prepare them to be successful in their chosen careers. From this point of view, education is serving primarily as an individual development function. Education is constant and ongoing. It is a never ending process. Formal education usually starts at the age four when children are gathered together for the purposes of specific guidance related to skills and competencies that society deems important. In the past, once a student finishes formal education in the tertiary level, the process was finished. However, in today's changing world, individuals do not only learn inside the four walls of the classroom and continue to learn throughout their working lives.
In its broadest sense, education may be defined as a process developed to instill the knowledge, skills, talents and attitudes necessary to enable individuals to adjust and cope effectively with their environment. Its main purpose is to foster and promote the fullest self-realization for all individual. Achieving this goal requires understanding of commitment to the proposition that education is a primary tool or instrument for the advancement of human welfare both on social and economic aspect (Verma, 1990).
Ramaswamy(1990), stated that we are in the generation where the world is becoming more and more competitive, performance and quality of work has become the key factor for personal progress and development. Every arents want the best and only the best for their children. They want their children to excel and to be on top. With this desire to excel and be on top, the pressure is not only with the students but with the teachers, the schools and in general the education system itself. In fact, it seems as if the whole educational system revolves around the students' academic achievement, though other various outcomes are also expected from the school system. Thus the school exerts a lot of time, effort and resources in helping students to achieve better in their scholastic endeavors. The importance of academic and scholastic achievement gave rise to important questions for educational researchers. What factors contributes to the academic achievement of students? How do these different factors contribute towards their academic achievement?
Safaya, et al. (1963) mentioned that human life, which is the ultimate creation and gift of god to humankind, has got two aspects: The biological and sociological or cultural. While the former is maintained and transmitted by food and reproduction, the latter is preserved and transmitted by education. It is again through education that he promotes his intelligence and adds his knowledge with which he can move the world for good and for evil according to his wishes. Education in fact, is one of the major "life processes" of the human beings "just as there are certain indispensable vital processes of life in a biological sense. So education may be considered a vital process in a social sense. Education is indispensable to normal living, without education the individual would be unqualified for group life.
Every student's academic achievement may be affected by various factors like intelligence, study habits, different aspects of their personality, attitudes of the students towards school, peers, socio economic status, demographic profile, the school system etc. The desire to be successful is derived from individual's concept of himself and in terms of the meaning of various incentives as they spell success and failure in the eye of others. Thus a child who sees himself to be on top, as scholars, as successful may set as his goal the attainment of the highest grade in the class.
Nuthanap (2007) said that any modern society will not be able achieve its aim of cultural advancement, technical development and economic growth without cultivating and developing the talents of its citizens. One of the major purposes of education is to help children to develop their skills and those skills will help them have a better future. Teachers and counselors in educational institutions are often confronted with students who appear to have above average scholastic aptitude but are very poor in their studies. A recurring question that puzzles them is why some students succeed in their study while others do not. This question is sometimes considered to be closely related to learning than teaching. Jamuar (1974) stated that not only on good teaching methods but also good study attitude affects the students learning. Anwana and Cobbach (1989) are also of the view that there are other factors why students do badly academically other than low intellectual capacity. Tiwari and Bansal (1994) also stated if that an individual has a high academic achievement he is likely to have a better opportunity in life and low achievers will have difficulty in landing a job after graduation.
In our society academic achievement is considered a basis for an individual's potentials and capabilities. Hence academic achievement occupies a very important place in education as well as in the learning process. Academic achievement is defined by Crow and Crow (1969) as the extent to which a learner is profiting from instructions in a given area of learning i.e., achievement is reflected by the extent to which skill and knowledge has been imparted to him. Academic achievement also denotes the knowledge attained and skill developed in the school subject, usually designated by test scores. Achievement is influenced by personality, motivation, opportunities, education and training.
There are several other factors also which influence the academic achievement of student like study habit, self-concept, socio economic status, intelligence etc.