In the African context, a number of studies have been done and according to the literature reviewed emotional intelligence was reported to have a significant positive correlation with academic achievement. Ogundokun and Adeyemo (2010) designed a study in Nigeria to investigate the influence of emotional intelligence and academic motivation on learning outcomes of students in secondary schools. The study used descriptive survey research design using a sample of 1563 students (826 male and 737 female) between the ages of 12 and 17 years. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data. Ogundokun and Adeyemo established that emotional intelligence, academic motivation and age predicted academic achievement with a significant positive correlation (r = .736). However, the study did not report on how the specific domains of emotional intellect namely; self-consciousness, self-motivation, emotional management, empathy and interpersonal skills predict academic outcomes, a concern this study sought to address. In Kenya, there is a scarcity of documented literature on the correlation between emotional intelligence and academic achievement, a gap the current study intended to fill.
i. Research Design
This study adopted correlational research design in investigating the relationship between emotional intelligence and academic achievement among form four students in public secondary schools in Kiambu Sub-County. This design is used when the aim of the study is to explore how the research variables are related without any manipulation. This design was successfully used by Mutweleli (2014) in a study carried out in Nairobi County among secondary school students. Therefore, it was considered a robust research design to be used to answer the research questions and test the hypotheses.
ii. Location of the Study
The study was carried out in Kiambu Sub-County, Kiambu County, Kenya. In Kiambu Sub-County, records from the sub-county education office indicated that majority of the students especially from public secondary schools were performing dismally in KCSE. Ruinge (2015) notes that below average performance in secondary schools in Kiambu County has been an issue of concern and the research findings to address the problem are inconclusive.
iii. Sampling Techniques
This study used two types of sampling procedures namely; proportionate sampling and simple random sampling. Proportionate sampling was used to select public secondary schools to participate in the study. This is because public secondary schools were the most affected with poor academic achievement (Ruinge, 2015). The students who participated in the study were selected using simple random sampling.
iv. Research Instruments
The researcher adapted Emotional Intelligence Scale to measure emotional intelligence of the students. Mark sheets were used to collect information on academic achievement. End of term two points and grade were transformed to T score to measure academic achievement.
Discussion of the Findings
The results that emotional intelligence and academic achievement are significantly related support some of the literature reviewed in chapter two. Consistent results for the relationship between emotional intelligence and academic achievement have been reported for samples of secondary school students, college students and university students. Yahaya et al. (2011) reported that the five domains of emotional intelligence namely self-awareness, emotional management, self-motivation, empathy and interpersonal skills were significantly related to academic achievement. In the study, self- awareness, self-motivation and empathy accounted for the greatest variation in academic achievement. Similar results were obtained by Roy (2013) in India using a sample of secondary school students. The researcher established that different levels of emotional intelligence predicted different levels of academic motivation and academic achievement. The positive relationship may be attributed to the fact that when students are able to recognize their emotions and those of others, they are able to exercise self-control and maneuver successfully through academic challenges. As a result the students will be able to develop academic competencies for better learning outcomes. From the Pearson product moment correlation coefficient obtained, an increase in a unit of emotional intelligence led to an increase in academic achievement score by 0.236.
The findings of the study also corroborate the results of studies that used a sample of secondary school students. A study carried out by Maraichelvi and Rajan (2013) among university students reported that all the domains of emotional intelligence were significantly related to academic achievement. Yunu (2014) also found similar results among college students in South Korea. However, contradictory findings on the relationship between emotional intellect and academic performance have also been reported. Bell and Bradshaw (2008) found that emotional intelligence was not significantly related to academic achievement. But the findings may be attributed to the small sample of 60 students that was used. The findings imply that the problem of below average academic achievement scores in KCSE among majority of the students may be attributed to their level of emotional intelligence. Even though the results indicated that majority of the students involved in the study scored averagely in academic achievement, the performance is likely to be below when students sit national exams because they are standardized tests. Therefore, the problem this study sought to address is associated with the emotional intelligence of the students.
The main objective of this study was to find out the relationship between emotional intelligence and academic achievement. The findings showed that the two variables had a significant positive correlation. The findings imply that the higher the emotional intelligence, the better the academic achievement score and vice versa. Students with high emotional intelligence were found to perform better than those who had low emotional intelligence. Based on these findings, secondary school students should be trained on emotional management skills so that they can better understand their emotions and those of others to enhance learning and academic achievement.