EFFECTS OF COOPERATIVE LEARNING STRATEGY WITH MODELS ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND RETENTION OF BIOLOGY CONCEPTS AMONG PRE-NATIONAL DIPLOMA STUDENTS IN KADUNA STATE
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of Cooperative Learning Strategy with Models on Academic Achievement and Retention of some Biology Concepts among Pre-ND students in Kaduna State. A randomly selected sample of 100 students from the four Federal Monotechnical Colleges in Kaduna State made up the subjects for the study. These subjects were divided into four groups; three experimental and one control. A pretest administered to the subjects established their equivalent ability. Quasi experimental control design was adopted. The instrument used for data collection, the Biology Achievement Test (BAT) was developed by the researcher and validated by biology education specialists. The BAT has reliability coefficient (r)
.89. The subjects in the experimental groups were exposed to treatment, while the subjects in control groups were taught using the traditional lecture method, for a period of six weeks in each case. Six research questions were raised while six null hypotheses were formulated and tested using t test statistics at P≤ 0.05 level of significance. The major findings from this study included a significant difference in achievement of biology concepts between the experimental groups and the control group in favour of the experimental groups. There was a significant difference in the retention of biology concepts between the experimental groups and the control group in favor of the experimental groups. The experimental groups retained biology concepts better than the control group. Based on these findings, it was recommended, among others, that lecturers should be encouraged to use models along with cooperative learning strategy in the teaching of biology concepts in tertiary institutions.
Science and technology are potent sources of social and economy changes. Zopperson (2002) in Mankilik (2007) considers science as an important tool for effective development. In support of this, Bessong (2002) states that many countries of the world, including African countries, seem to have accepted science and technology as corner stone for national development. Ajeyalemi (1991) equally states that the role of science, technology, and mathematical education to national building could not be over emphasized. It is an important instrument for reduction and removal of illiteracy and poverty. It is a very strong instrument for developing a culturally and socially tolerant people, who exercise ethical and moral considerations in local, national and international affairs. It plays a vital role in economic development and is indispensable for personal and community health, and has been described as the basis for building the country’s knowledge and economy. Therefore, in virtually all the countries of the world, educational planners, and policy makers are faced with the problem and task of how to improve the quality of education offered the citizenry (Onimisi, 2003).
The importance attached to science education has drastically changed the objectives of education in many nations including Nigeria. Onwu (2004) thus proposed a research agenda that focuses on the production of knowledge and improved understanding that is linked to the relevance of progress of science, technology and mathematics education, among others. In Nigeria, great emphasis is placed on science as a school subject at all levels of education up to the tertiary level. Accordingly, the National Policy on Education (FME, 2007) states that universities and other levels of Education system will be required to pay greater attention to the
development of scientific orientation. To this end, more colleges of technology and polytechnics will be opened in a bid to improve technological and science education.
The performance in science subjects is very poor at the secondary schools, (Adeyegbe, 1993; Eguabor,2001; West African Examinations Council Chief Examiner’s Report, 2005). This problem has been consistent over the years as is reported by Olayiwola (1993), Ojerinde (1998), Ajagun (2000) and Oloruntegbe, (2000). The failure in science and biology, in particular, appears to be getting worse annually with the report presented by West African Examinations Council to the governing Council of Science Teachers Association of Nigeria in March 1998.
Table 1.1 Statistics of Biology results in May/June SSCE (1999-2006)
|YEAR||TOTAL ENTRY||TOTAL CREDIT (1-6)||% GRADES (1-6)|
Source: WAEC Annual Reports (1999-2006)
Biology is a life science that involves the study of plants and animals. The contents range from microscopic organisms to the biosphere in general, encompassing the earth’s surface and all living things. Some of the branches of biology include anatomy, morphology, cytology, genetics, entomology, parasitology, and so on. The teaching and learning of biology is very important to the development of any nation. To develop a nation includes the preparation of the populace for important careers in medical, para-medical, agricultural, industrial, population, wildlife control, and environmental management studies, to mention but a few. Biology has a universal application in agriculture, human and veterinary medicine, development of vaccines and drugs for the prevention and curing of diseases. Biology has a close connection with agriculture. Agriculture is a biological production, which depends on the growth and development of plants and animals in a given environment (Okwo &Tartiyus, 2004). Biology is one of the core courses being offered at the Pre-National Diploma (Pre-ND) level in Colleges of Agriculture and other monotechnical colleges.
The poor performance in science in the senior secondary school certificate examination (SSSCE) including biology led to the introduction of remedial programmes in the monotechnics and polytechnics in Nigeria. The aim of which was to help those students with weak passes to improve on their poor performances before they were admitted to the direct National Diploma programmes.
The Pre-National Diploma (Pre-ND) course was designed to upgrade the Senior Secondary School Examination results to credit level passes as a prerequisite to undergoing National Diploma. In essence, the Pre-National Diploma Pre-ND programme prepares students for the various Diploma courses in Technical Schools. The students are to remedy their O-Level subjects where they had performed poorly and in most cases in the science subjects. The Pre-ND programme introduces the candidates to vocational training, which may lead to the acquisition of entry-level skills for employment purposes within the proposed field of study. Biology is one of the core courses being offered in the Pre-ND. However, despite the importance of biology in the diploma programme, the performances of the Pre-ND students have been poor still and as such, many have been asked to withdraw. Examples of such poor performances are as shown in
Table 1.2 Summary of Results of Performance of the Pre-ND students (2001 to 2010) in
|Year||No. of students||Pass||Fail||% Failed|
Examination Offices; Monotechnical Colleges, Kaduna State (April, 2011) The poor performance which has continued to the post-secondary level of education has evoked much research efforts aimed at evolving means of redressing the situation. Science education researchers like Akubuilo (2004 a), attributed the poor performance of students in biology to socio-economic background of students, teachers and pupils’ attitudes towards science, unqualified science teachers, inadequate instructional and infrastructural facilities, poor quality teaching and low morale of teachers. In addition, Olayiwola (1999), identifies problems such as low morale and poor preparation of teachers, overcrowded classroom, inadequacy of laboratory and workshop facilities, poor attitude of students to work, gross underfunding and inadequacy of rewards for excellence in science teaching and learning, biology inclusive. As multidimensional as the problems associated with poor performance are, efforts are being made to find solutions to the recurring failure rate among science students. One of such efforts is on the issue of instructional methods which has attracted a lot of researchers. Adamu &Ahmed (1999) view the use of inappropriate teaching methods as a major cause of students’ poor performance in science examinations. Most of the methods used in teaching have been described as inappropriate and uninspiring ( Igboegwu, 2012). Teaching methods are those methods the teacher uses for instruction to impart knowledge to learners. Some popular methods include lecture, discussion, demonstration etc. James (2000), Usman (2001), and Bichi (2002) reveal that the prevailing teaching method in Nigerian schools is the lecture method. Although Okwilagwe (2002) reveals that the lecture method allows a great deal of information to be passed to the learner and favours handling of large classes, it does not stimulate students’ innovation, inquiry and scientific attitudes. He went further to say that teaching strategies that can help the development of reasoning, acquisition of skills as well as skills process through scientific approach, are conspicuously lacking. Rather, lecture method encourages students to cram facts which are easily forgotten. This method, according to Usman (2001) and Bichi (2002) has been found to be inappropriate and ineffective for achieving the high objectives of biology programmes. Therefore, there is the need to search and incorporate modern instructional strategies. Hence the desire and efforts of educators in recent years to improve science achievements through more effective, learner-centered instructional strategies (Danmole & Femi-Adeoye, 2004).
Ajewole (1990), worked on cooperative learning, Otuka (1991) did a research on discovery expository instructional methods, and Ojo (1992) worked on and laboratory, think-and-do, acquisition and development of process skills and classroom interaction patterns. However, the performances of students in the secondary school certificate examination and
Pre-ND examinations in biology continue to be poor. This researcher then set out to find out the effects of another activity-based strategy on the performance of Pre- ND biology students.
The works of Esan (1999), Adeyemi (2002), Amosun (2002) and Olorukooba (2002) reveal that cooperative learning strategy seems more useful than other instructional strategies as it has more positive effects on students’ achievement and retention of information.
The potency of cooperative learning strategy in facilitating students’ performance in sciences and related subjects has also been advocated (Olorukooba 2002). Cooperative learning instructional strategy involves a situation in which students work together cooperatively and interdependently in small groups towards a group goal. Chang and Mao (1999) in his study found that cooperative learning strategies improved the students’ performance. These earlier researches showed that the use of cooperative learning strategy was more effective in the learning of biology concepts yet there is still evidence of poor performance in the subjects by the pre-ND biology students as shown in Table 1.2. Thus, the pedagogical approach in imparting knowledge to learners has become inadequate to their needs. This has created a gap to be filled by this research work. Therefore this study set out to find out the effect of cooperative learning strategy with models on the academic achievement and retention of biology concepts at the post secondary level of education using the pre-ND diploma students in Kaduna State.
Cooperative learning is described as the instructional practice of placing students into small groups and having them work together toward a common goal. Each group member learns new materials and helps other group members learn important information. Cooperative learning strategy consists of social interactions between students based on equal partnership in the learning experience, as opposed to fixed teacher-learner roles. Lessons are designed around tasks, problems and projects, which students work through in small mixed ability groups.
Proponents of cooperative learning claim that the active exchange of ideas within small groups not only increases interest among the participants but promotes critical thinking. There is persuasive evidence that cooperative teams achieve at higher levels of thoughts and retain information longer than the students who work quietly as individuals. The shared learning gives students an opportunity to engage in discussions, take responsibility for their own learning, and thus become critical thinkers (Totten, Sills, Digby &Russ, 1991).
None of the earlier studies on the use of cooperative learning strategy included the use of models in addition. This is a multimedia instructional strategy.
Multimedia instructional strategy has been described by Oyediran, Agoro and Fabiyi (2004) as the use of more than one instructional materials and instructional methods to carry out classroom instruction for the purpose of education. Adewuyi (1994) opined that, objectives of any educational process determine methods and materials needed for achieving such objectives. The materials used for enhancing instructional effectiveness are aspects of media employed for achieving the instructional objectives.
Clark (2009) found that a group of students taught using multimedia tool combined with cooperative learning had an increased student satisfaction and better students’ learning. Oyediran et al (2004) also found that pupils taught with discussion method combined with the use of concrete models and diagram performed better than those taught using discussion method only. Furthermore Afolabi (1995) described instructional media as the system component that may be used to disseminate information or message and idea which makes communication possible in the teaching and learning process. Thus teaching effort and consequential learning may not be effectively or efficiently led to the attainment of the desired objectives unless communication between the teacher and the learner is effective. Due to the massive failure and the consequential withdrawal of pre ND students, it is then left for teacher to use all the resources at his disposal including multimedia instructional strategy to ensure the success of the teaching- learning process.
This study therefore used models with cooperative learning strategy to see the effects on the performance of the Pre- ND biology students as against the use of cooperative learning strategy without models. Models are aspects of media for educational teaching and include concreted objects through which realities can be represented, communicated and appreciated in educational instruction. Example of models include: mental model, analogical model, theoretical models, and mathematical models.
Stone (1996) stresses the importance of learning methods as he indicates that the major difficulty in sciences is the method by which subjects were customarily taught without regard to instructional materials. Instructional materials have been found to enhance the quality of the learning experience of learners in many ways. Betiku (2000) explains that the term instructional material comprise all available and accessible, theoretical, practical and skill oriented resources, which facilitate the learning, acquisition and evaluation of vocational technical skills, According to him, they integrate all the devices that assist teachers in transmitting the facts, skills, attitudes and knowledge to the learners within the instructional system and as may be applied in the world of work.
During cooperative learning, aids may be used as soon as formal contacts have been made with a group of prospective learners and the use of audiovisual methods including models, at an early stage such as during the lesson presentation do much to help consolidate a regular study group by providing materials to stimulate thought and discussion.
Nnaobi (2003) stated that one major factor contributing to the poor performance of students in science is the lack of teaching materials and equipment. Models are teaching aids used in science and technology instructions to represent reality in order to enhance the effectiveness of teaching and learning. Scientists and science teachers often develop models that are useful in communicating the ideas of the abstract concept to the learners in a more tangible or concrete way in order to enhance comprehensions. With good models such as analogy, abstract concepts are made concrete for learners to grapple with and comprehend. Adenipekun (2008) has called upon teachers to use analogical models to explain difficult and process oriented concepts. Models are therefore very important for effective science and technology instruction. Njoku (2004) on the use models found the use of models to improve the teaching and learning of science subjects at secondary school level. The effective use of appropriate models facilitates the attainment of objectives of science and technology. Therefore, this study made use of models with cooperative learning strategy to teach the concepts of osmosis, plasmolysis and transpiration to the Pre-ND biology students. With models, students will learn more, interact with each other more and they will be able to conceptualize the concepts better than cooperative learning without models. Using models will help in concretizing the concepts to the students. The aim therefore, was to determine whether the use of models plus cooperative learning strategy would improve students’ performance and retention.
Literature reveals that retention of concept is an essential factor in determining students’ achievement in given task or activities carried out. According to Oyedokun (1998), retention can be described as a form of reaction to what has been presented in the past. When concepts are taught, the wish of the teacher is that the concepts taught should be remembered. Retention has been defined as the ability to remember things (Hornby, 2005). Retention of concepts learnt would help in reflective thinking and the use of the retained concepts can be used in creative ways to solve novel problem. Ochonogor (1997), said that in depth retention and achievement in science, technology and mathematics is an important need that is becoming highly felt by the Nigerians populace. Research studies have shown that improved instructional strategies lead to the improvement of the learner’s achievement and retention. Studies on retention test in sciences especially biology are very scanty. Most often, studies that are centered on the effects of teaching approaches and students’ achievement in sciences do not include the measurement of students’ retention. However, the very few studies that have included students’ retention test have revealed the effects of teaching strategies on retention. Orji (1996) in his study showed that problem solving model enhanced students’ retention of physics concepts. Lawal (2009) also revealed in her study that the use of activity-oriented teaching strategy, like conceptual change instructional strategy, aided retention of concepts learnt among students. In the present study, therefore, it was intended to determine the effects of models on performance and retention among Pre-ND students.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The consistent poor performance of students in biology at the Senior Secondary School Certificate (SSCE) up to the Pre-ND level leaves one in doubt about the effectiveness of the teaching method popularly used by biology teachers for teaching the subject. Tertiary institution lecturers use lecture method for teaching (Mankilik, 2007).There is very little interaction among the students and between the teacher and students. The use of talk-and-chalk method of teaching leads to memorization of facts and concepts. There is the need to find out the effectiveness of other teaching methods, relative to the traditional method.
Olorukooba (2002), Adesoji and Ibrahim (2009), found that the use of cooperative learning strategy improved the performance of students. Recent records still revealed low performance in biology by Pre-ND students. The use of multimedia learning strategy has been advocated by researchers, such as Afolabi (1995), and Salawu (1999). Abimbade (1997) and Njoku (2004) found that the use of models improved the teaching and learning of science subjects at secondary school level. With models, students learn more, interact with each other better and can conceptualize the concepts better than cooperative learning strategy without models. The aim in this study therefore was to improve the performance and retention of biology concepts by the Pre-ND biology students using cooperative learning strategy with models. Omosewo (1999) concludes that any study carried out on teaching methodology cannot be a wasted effort. This is because the teaching-learning situation must be crowded with reputable method before an effective communication can bring about ideal permanent change. No study, to the best knowledge of this researcher, has been conducted on students’ performance in biology at the tertiary level especially considering the methods employed in teaching. Therefore this research was conducted to study the effectiveness of an enhanced method of teaching; that is, lecture method with models.
Gokhale (1995) equally observed that most of the research studies on cooperative learning have been done at the primary and secondary levels, while majority of the research in cooperative learning has been done in non-technical disciplines. As yet, there is little empirical evidence on its effectiveness at the College level. There is the need to investigate the effectiveness of the use of an enhanced cooperative learning strategy at the post secondary level particularly among the Pre-ND biology students. The application of cooperative teaching and learning strategy has been able to improve the performance of students at the primary and secondary level of education.
This study was conducted to find out if the application of cooperative learning strategy with models would help to improve the achievement of the Pre-ND biology students whose performance in biology have been very poor.
- 3 Objectives of the Study.
The objectives of the study are to:
- determine effects of cooperative learning strategy with models on the achievements in biology concepts among pre National Diploma science students.
- investigate effects of cooperative learning strategy with models on retention of biology concepts among pre National Diploma science students.
- determine effects of cooperative learning strategy on the achievements in biology concepts among pre National Diploma science students.
- investigate effects of cooperative learning strategy on retention of biology concepts among pre-National Diploma science students.
1.4 Research Questions
For the purpose of this study, the following research questions were raised and answered.
- What is the effect on the performance scores of Pre-ND students taught biology using cooperative learning strategy with models (CLS + M) and their counterparts taught using cooperative learning strategy (CLS) without models?
- What is the effect on the performance mean scores of Pre ND students taught biology using cooperative learning strategy with models (CLS + Model) and their counterparts taught using lecture method without models (L)?
- What is the effect on the performance mean scores of Pre-ND students who taught biology using lecture method with models (L+M) and their counterparts taught using lecture method (L) without models?
- What is the effect on the retention ability of preliminary diploma biology students who were taught using cooperative learning strategy with models (CLS +M) and those taught using cooperative learning strategy (CLS) without models?
- What is the effect on the retention ability of preliminary diploma biology students who were taught using cooperative learning strategy with models (CLS + M) and those taught using lecture method without models (L)?
- What is the effect on the retention ability of preliminary diploma biology students who were taught using lecture method with models (L + M) and those taught using lecture without models (L)?
1.5 Null Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance.
Ho1: There is no significant difference in the academic performance mean scores in biology between students taught using cooperative learning strategy with models, and those taught using cooperative learning strategy without models.
Ho2 There is no significant difference in the academic performance mean scores in biology between students exposed to cooperative learning strategy with models, and those exposed to lecture method without models.
Ho3 There is no significant difference in the academic performance mean scores in biology between students who are taught using lecture method with models, and those who are taught using lecture method without models.
Ho4 There is no significant difference in retention ability of biology concepts between students taught using cooperative learning strategy with model, and those taught using cooperative learning strategy without models.
Ho5 There is no significant difference in the retention ability of biology concepts between students taught using cooperative learning strategy with models, and those taught using lecture method without models.
Ho6 There is no significant difference in retention ability of biology concepts between students who learnt by lecture method with models, and those taught using lecture method without models.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study would hopefully, uplift the standard of biology education as detailed in this section
- The Pre-ND programme is a stepping-stone into the National Diploma in Agriculture program. The achievement of students at this level therefore becomes very important in later achievement in the National Diploma (ND) programme. Students who are often taught with the lecture method are already scared of the course. Therefore, it was hoped that the use of cooperative learning strategy with model to teach them would motivate them to be more relaxed as they would be able to learn in a more conducive environment and interact with one another using concrete models.
- Students who register for Pre-ND programme are mostly deficient in one or more subjects, including biology at the WAEC or GCE examination. Such students essentially have academic challenges that could be solved by utilizing the findings of this study.
- Lecturers might find the use of cooperative teaching strategy with models to enhance better interaction among students.
- The NBTE is responsible for the curriculum of the Pre-ND programme and as such, the findings of this would hopefully be of interest to the body and other stakeholders in the diploma programme by introducing cooperative learning strategy with models in the curriculum as an innovation. It was hoped that the Pre-ND students can achieve better through the use of cooperative learning strategy with model and thereby build a better and more solid foundation for their diploma programme.
- Overall, this study by adoption could contribute ideas for improving teaching in Biology in those institutions where Pre-ND programmes are being run all over the country.
- Bodies such as Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN), National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and States Education Resource Centre would hopefully benefit by considering the findings of this study in developing instructional methods.
- Of late, there have been calls for the overhauling of higher education curricula in Nigeria (Olukoju 2011). This cannot be achieved if students are not taught with appropriate instructions and materials. A study as this should throw light into areas where the overhauling of the education curricular should be.
1.7 Basic Assumptions
The basic assumptions for this study were as follows:
- Qualified science teachers teach the students under study.
- The students under study were using the same syllabus and were being taught using appropriate methods of instructions.
- Students in the study sample had had adequate coverage of biology lessons via the traditional Pre-ND methods, such as lecture method, but had not been exposed to biology instructions through effective learning methods such as cooperative learning strategy with models.
- The teachers were aware and had been using instructional materials such as charts in the teaching and learning of biology.
1.8 Delimitation of the Study
The following delimitations were imposed on the study.
The study was limited to the Pre-National Diploma Biology Students in Federal Monotechnical Colleges located in Kaduna State of Nigeria. Both male and female students of average age of twenty years were involved. The curriculum contents were limited to only three biology concepts of Osmosis, Plasmolysis and Transpiration, of the entire syllabus. The use of model was limited to the presentation of curricula content only, as the four groups were exposed to pretest, post and post posttest using pencil and paper approach.
Despite these limitations, the findings were significant particularly the use of models to enhance students’ learning of biology concepts by the Pre-National Diploma students.
EFFECTS OF COOPERATIVE LEARNING STRATEGY WITH MODELS ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND RETENTION OF BIOLOGY CONCEPTS AMONG PRE-NATIONAL DIPLOMA STUDENTS IN KADUNA STATE