Academic achievement is an important indicator of the success of a country’s educational system, and emphasis is constantly put on the academic achievement of citizens (Dambudzo, 2009). In Zimbabwe, universities have certain minimum academic requirements for entry into specific programs. For example to gain entry into Medicine and Law Degree Programs at University of Zimbabwe, learners need to have obtained at least 15 points in 3 Advanced level subjects (University of Zimbabwe Admissions Circular 2015).
There is an increased awareness of individual differences and the question, “what factors beyond intelligence are responsible for the variance in the academic achievement of students,” has been asked (Nilsen, 2009). In response studies have shown that aside of intellectual abilities; self-determination, motivation, self efficacy, perceived value, stress, anxiety and learning strategies play a role in the learning and academic achievement of students (Rodriguez, 2009). Further studies have indicated that self-concept and motivation are the most vital elements for success (Sikhwari, 2014). In Zimbabwe research on academic achievement has focused on global issues and concentrated on secondary schools in Harare (Dambudzo, 2009). By so doing schools in other parts of the country are neglected especially schools in the marginalized Matabeleland (Nkomo, 2017) amongst these is Msiteli High School.
Msiteli High School in Bulawayo has made headlines for negative reasons’ with a student caught cheating in his Ordinary Level examinations (Gama, 2014). Furthermore 3 of the school’s pupils were hospitalized after having drunk a concoction of drugs that was being sold around the community and also within the school premises (Tshili ; Katongomara, 2016). This drug is believed to function like “ecstasy” that is used recreationally and to increase energy, focus and mood that students need to study and go through classes (Hillman, 2016).
The school has a dark cloud of news mystifying the capability and achievements of students. It is against this background that this research seeks to investigate the significance of the relationship between the Msiteli High School students’ academic self-concept, motivation and academic achievement.