IDENTIFICATION OF DIFFICULT TEACHING-LEARNING TOPIC IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL COMPUTER SCIENCE CURRICULUM (A CASE STUDY OF ENUGU EDUCATIONAL ZONE, ENUGU STATE)
In 1977, Apple Computer popularized personal computing – Jawa. How to program 6th Edition (2006). Many institutions followed the trend of computer evolution to include computer science in those students curriculum both in the junior and senior secondary school level. In Nigeria some of the junior secondary schools offer computer science as one of the subject contained in the school curriculum. The work is an attempt to identify the difficult teaching –learning topic in junior secondary school computer science curriculum in Nigeria.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The evolution of computer in Animanjo (2007) shows that almost all the inventors in the field of computing are mathematicians and that computer machine language generally consist of strings of numbers (ultimately reduce to Is and Os) that instruct computer to perform their most elementary operations one at a time. Some of the junior secondary school computer science topics are mathematics related. And according to Eze (2006) said that mathematics is a subjects that has been found to be feared and disliked by a lot of pupils ad students. According to Eze (2000) also asserted that mathematics is core subject in that both primary and secondary school in Nigeria but amazing it has become a masquerade and students fail mostly the science subjects in public examinations, some even drop them without understanding that they are basis of strong foundation in science.
There is no doubt that the teacher real battle is concerned with training of the total child and the application of knowledge in his daily life. The teacher are therefore faced with the problem of resource materials the textbooks. Kamalana (1971) observed that the quality of textbooks suitable for Nigeria school have not improved but the teachers are better placed to select teaching materials from the books that are available to them. Some of the problems confronting science education include: difficulty of attracting and retraining qualified science teachers as well as the inadequate library facilities in science subjects. This is why Agogo (1988) stated that science teacher is a legacy of the past but that it is rather getting worse due to the explosive expansion of the primary and secondary education in Nigeria today. As the thirst for western education grew among Nigerians, more subjects were introduced into the school system. These change were eminent and timely for Nigerians to develop scientifically and technologically. The teachers shortage is a snag to achieving. This objective, Aleyiderio (2000:23) observed that is regrettable that the teaching profession is still saddle with a vast army of professionally unqualified staff and that greater shortages, especially in some crucial subject areas have continued to plague the educational system. Yet no educational system can rise above the quality of its teachers, said in Nwuche and Odo (2007) according to the National policy on Education (2004:8). Education shall continue to be highly reeled in the national development plans because education is the most important instrument of change, any fundamental change the intellectual and social outlook of any society has to be proceeded by an educational revolution. This, the same document, the NPE (2004) give the major aims of secondary education as: (a) Preparation for useful living within the society (b) preparation for higher education. i) It gives the specific objective to include: opportunity for education of a higher level, irrespective of sex, social, status, religious or ethnic background.
The fact that pupils fail to understand science and thereby perform poorly in junior secondary computer science does not mean, they are “dullards”, but to some underlying factors which might not be unconnected with the teachers teaching style content and concept difficulty as perceived y the both teachers and pupils. So the interest of the learners towards a particular subject will affect their achievement. Those who develop negative interest in science will invariably perform poorly too. Some pupils even act on wrong information passed to them by their seniors that “science is difficult to learn”. This usually affects the achievement level of the students and this is why Akpan (1986) informed that even though science is skill foreign to African and it should be taught with caution. It means that teachers have to be better oriented about teaching as a profession
1.2 Background of the Study.
Background of this study is to identify the inherent factors and concepts that affect the achievement of students in Computer science. Such factors include; student’s misconception and preconception in Computer science, difficult and alternative conception in Computer science, difficulties with abstract concepts, conceptual changes method at college level. Academic achievement of Computer science students and influence of study habits, psychological factors on academic achievement.
1.3 Statement of the Problem
This study intends to make known the various abstract concepts in Computer science and how they affect the academic achievement of students in senior secondary schools. It also stresses the abstract and highly conceptual nature of Computer science which makes students perceive Computer science as a difficult subject. The study will also look into the general slow pace of the effects and affective characteristic of students and the academic achievement in Computer science and how it’s likely to affect the production of teaching profession competency in Computer science.
1.4 Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of this study is to identify difficult concepts in Computer science and their effects on the academic achievement of students’ in secondary schools in Enugu metropolis. This purpose is further down into the following objective for the study:
- To explore the concepts in Computer science which students perceived as difficult,
- To investigate into the students conceptual difficult and how it affect their academic achievements.
- To examine whether or not the difficult concepts perceived by students influence the students interest towards the study of Computer science and
- To investigate whether or not the students’ gender differences have significant influence on their perception of difficult concepts in Computer science.
1.5 Significance of the Study
Over a number of years, many of the difficult areas in Computer science were subjected to systematic study to identify the point of difficult and to seek common factors among the nature of these difficulties.
The present study however generates data on come concepts perceived as difficult in Computer science and their effect on academic achievements of students.
The study also generates information on whether or not the difficult concepts perceived by students improved their achievements and ability to solve higher order question in Computer science. Curriculum designed will utilize this information to enrich the curriculum for teachers’ preparation at secondary level of our educational system.
1.6 Research Questions
The following research questions were raised in the study
- What concepts in Computer science do students in this study perceived difficult?
- Do the concepts perceive difficult influence the academic achievement of the students?
- Does conceptual difficulty influence the interest of students towards the study of Computer science?
- Are the significant gender differences in students’ perception of the difficult concepts in Computer science?
The following null hypothesis was formulated in this study.
- There is no significant differences in the students perception of difficult concepts in Computer science
- Conceptual difficulty has no significant influence on the academic achievement of students
- Difficult concepts in Computer science have no significant influence on the interest of students towards studying Computer science.
1.8 Scope and Delimitation of the Study
The outcome of this study may not be hundred percent (100%) valid for generalization because some inhibiting factors that serves as limitation to this study. However, the study has been designed to cover large proportion of students in senior secondary schools, but the timeframe and resources requires were hindrances. To make for a manageable representative sample, the study was limited to the students of some selected secondary schools in Enugu metropolis. This work also covers some concepts proved difficult in physical, inorganic, organic environmental and practical Computerz science.
In view of the possible limitations arising from response and non-response errors, the researcher may not be able to guarantee 100% accuracy of the response.