EFFECTS OF BIOLOGY APPLIED ACTIVITIES ON STUDENTS’ EDUCATIONAL PERFORMANCE IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN ADAMAWA STATE, NIGERIA

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EFFECTS OF BIOLOGY APPLIED ACTIVITIES ON STUDENTS’ EDUCATIONAL PERFORMANCE IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN ADAMAWA STATE, NIGERIA  

ABSTRACT

Thisstudyexamined the effectsof biology practical activities on the academic performance of students that weretaught biology in Senior Secondary Schools of Adamawa State.The study had four objectives which included to: compare the pre-test and post-test performancesof students taught biology usingpractical activities in Senior Secondary Schools in Adamawa State; determine the level of retention of students taught biology concepts using practical activities and lecture method in senior secondary schools in Adamawa state;compare the mean performance score of rural and urban students taught biology using practical activities and lecture method in senior secondary schools in Adamawa state andcompare the mean performance of students taught biology practical activities using real specimen and those taught using chart among senior secondary school students in Adamawa state.In line with the objective four research questions were raised and four hypotheses postulated.The study used a quasi-experimental research design.The population of the study consisted ofall 89,196 SS2 biology students in Adamawa state spread across 288 public secondary schools. From this, a sample of one hundred and sixty (160)studentsdrawn fromfour different schools with two from urban and two from rural areas. The research instrument used for this study was Biology Practical Test (BPT), which consisted of items grouped into three sections (A, B and C) They were all practical skills test itemsconsisting of Essay practical questions on different topics. Section „A,‟ classification of living things, Section „B,‟ Classification of fruits and reproduction in flowering plants, Section „C,‟ Nutrition in animals and digestion in birds. Mean and standard deviation were used to analyze the data while Independent t-test statistics was used to test the hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance.  Findings revealed that: the posttest performance of students taught biology using practical activities was significantly higher than their pre-test performance; students taught biology concepts using practical activities had significantly higher retention level than those taught using lecture method.The used of practical activities significantly enhance academic performance in both rural and urban schools.Students taught biology using real specimen performed significantly better than those taught biology using charts.Hence, the study concluded thatpractical activities produced students with significantly higher academic performance in biology. It was therefore, recommended among others that the use of practical activities in teaching biology should be encouraged in all secondary schools that offer biology in Adamawa state and other states in Nigeria.

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

1.1        Background to the Study 

Science is a great enterprise, which nations depend on in order to advance technologically. Science therefore is receiving much emphasis in education because of its significance and relevance to life and society. Chinwe and Chukelu (2008) defined science as the study of environment through which people can develop both the mind of inquiry, discipline and logical power of thought. Science includes subjects like biology, chemistry and physics. Justiny (2016) stated that science, as dynamic human activity, is concerned with the understanding of the world. According to him, science is more concerned with various investigative processes and activities with regard to developing, acquiring and controlling knowledge, skills, capabilities and attitudes about the natural factors of the environment.  

Biology is an integral part of science that focuses on living things (Plants and Animals). Biology is also a branch of science and prerequisite subject for many fields of learning; it contributes immensely to the technological growth of the nation. This includes medicine, agriculture, forestry, nursing and biotechnology. The study of biology in senior secondary schools can equip students with useful concepts, principles and theories that will enable them face challenges before and after graduation (Nwagbo&Uzomaka, 2011). According to Ogundipe (2013), a place where practical activities takes place is known as the laboratory. Thatbiologist‟s work in the laboratory does not necessarily mean that practical can only be done in the laboratory. It only points to the fact that, the condition in the laboratory can be organized for effective practical activities. Practical activities in biology provide opportunities for students to learn science by actually participating in the laboratory experiment. Ogundipe (2013) maintained that practical activities should engage students in hand-on, mind-on activities, using varieties of instructional materials to drive the lesson home. Nwagbo (2008:41)  has stated that; “the use of practical activities (approach) to the teaching of biological concepts should therefore be a rule rather than an option to biology teachers, if we hope to produce students that would be able to acquire necessary knowledge, and competence needed to meet the scientific and technological demands of the nation”.

Research in biology has shown that students learn more from practical biology lesson when they are given the opportunity to learn through doing than when they are allowed to observe (Ibe 2004; Mandor 2008; Nwosu 2014). They enjoy measuring and classifying data, observing specimens, manipulating apparatus, designing experiments, interpreting data, testing of hypothesis and making inferences. These mental processes can only be developed and acquired if the students are allowed to participate in practical activities. The laboratory activities are usually less formal than conventional classroom teaching. Thus, a biology practical class offers opportunities for productive, co-operative and exchanges among students and with teacher that have the potential to promote learning.

Realizing the importance of science skills as solution to scientific problems, the Federal Government, among other things, stated as one of the national goals of education in Nigeria that; “education should aim at helping the students in the acquisition of appropriate skills and abilities as equipment for students to live in, and contribute  to the development of the society”. (FederalRepublic of Nigeria (FRN), 2013:29). In order to realize this goal, associations such as Science Teachers‟ Association of Nigeria (STAN) and Nigeria Integrated Science Project (NSP) were set up by the government to look into the various curricula used at various levels of the Nigerian educational system. These goal and aspiration cannot be realized except through the effective effort of the classroom teacher.

WAEC Chief Examiner‟s Report (2010, 2013 & 2014), in Sangodoyin (2015:85),  attributed the source of students‟ poor performance in practical biology to the following: “The high conceptual nature of biology practical which make it difficult to understand, lack of interest in the subject on the part of the students and inadequate practical work, shortage of qualified and pedagogically trained biology teachers”. The neglect of the practical aspect of biology in schools has been blamed on such factors as the inability of the school authority to provide materials and equipment for practical work and teacher‟s failure to recognize the importance of practical work in science teaching. Onwu (2017) observed that teachers have an obligation to help students to become critical thinkers   and problem solvers. This is only attainable when appropriate teaching and learning strategies are adopted, particularly at the senior secondary school level.

Bichi (2012) reported that various teaching methods were used by teachers in the teaching of biology aimed at bringing about meaningful learning. These include lecture method, demonstration method, discovery method and experimentation method, among many others. However, the most commonly used is the lecture method. This is mostly employed among science teachers because of some ofits advantages, which include the fact that it can be used to cover a large content area at a time and the students are given the same content at the same time. The discovery method brings home to students their notions of the nature of scientific evidence; students come to learn that answers to questions could often be obtained from investigations they can carry outthemselves.A good demonstration method holds the learner‟s attention, thus facilitating learning by giving students the opportunity to see and hear what is actually happening in the classroom. Thismethod has failed in the recognition of the uniqueness of the inquirybased nature of science and the learner‟s individuality(Awotua-Efebo,

2011).Furthermore, it does not facilitate the development of reasoning skills and processes in the students due to poor retention of students in understanding the biology concepts in practical. These, among other reasons, have not enhanced learning in students and thus have led to poor performance of students in biology practical.Based on the foregoing, the researcher considered it necessary to explore the effects of biology practical activities on students‟ performance in senior secondary schools in Adamawa

State.

1.2        Statement of the Research Problem 

The dwindling students‟ performance in science especially biology has been a source of concern to all stakeholders. Many scholars have tried to find out,various reasons for the poor performancein biology among students in senior secondary schools. Despite the efforts by science educators, the performance of many students in science is still at abysmal level. This situation is easily attributed to factors such as teachers‟ teaching method, inadequate qualified biology teachers, lack of instructional materials and nonavailability of laboratory facilities. Other factors such as wrong spelling of technical terms, wrong representation of view, poor drawing, inability to identify some illustrated organisms, inability to write brief and precise answers and poor grasp of the subject matter lead to failure of students in practical biology (Soyinbo, 2010).

The majority of secondary schools in rural and urban areas do not have laboratories. Where these laboratories exist, they are poorly equipped. The learners, therefore, have to memorise practical work theoretically in order to pass the examination when they are writing practical biology papers. Most of the learners sit for examinations without being exposed to practical work.A sound theoretical and practical knowledge of biology is needed for the management of our natural resources, provision of good health facilities, and favourable life environment. Thus, the teaching and learning of biology has to be encouraged in the schools. Moreover, this neglect, no doubt has relegated these subjects to the background in our senior secondary certificate examination. A close look at the 2016 – 2017 SSCE result in Adamawa state, confirm that students‟ performance has been very poor generally and particularly in biology practical. Failure is a great problem, as it will affect the students‟ performances in science in senior secondary schools.In the light of the above, it should be a general concern of every Nigerian, including the researcher to view this backwardness with some seriousness. There is great need to look into the issue of teaching and learning of the science subjects (biology).Biology is needed in medicine, nursing, pharmacy and food technology. Thus, this study sought to determine the effect of biology practical activities on students‟ academic performance in senior secondary schools in Adamawa state.

Different studies have been undertaken in different subjects in secondary schools on the effects of different teaching methods such as; Emmanuel (2016) carried out a study on the effect of practical on the achievement of students in chemistry. The objective of the study was to compare the mean achievement score of field dependent (FD) and field independent (FI) students taught chemistry using practical method and those taught using lecture method. The quasi-experimental design was adopted for this study. The population comprised of one hundred students selected from the four co-educational schools in Enugu state. The data were analyzed using mean, standard deviation and analysis of covariance (ANOVA). The results revealed that the field dependent and field independent cognitive styles students taught chemistry using practical achieved better than those taught using lecture method.

Agboola (2017) carried out astudy on “The Effects of Project, Inquiry andLectureDemonstration Teaching Methods on Senior Secondary Students‟ Achievement in the Separation of Mixtures Practical Test”. The objective of the study was to assess and compare the relative effectiveness of three methods of teaching and conducting experiments in separation of mixture in chemistry. A quasi-experimental pre-test, posttest control group design was used to conduct the research. The research instruments used for pre-test, post-test was tagged Chemistry Achievement Test (CAT) 1 and 2. A total of two hundred and thirty three senior secondary school one (SSS1) science students constituted the subjects for the study. The data was analyzed using t-test analysis, oneway analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Scheffepost-hoc analysis. The analysis and results of the study showed that the project method brings about a significant difference in the achievement of the experiments of subjects in the experimental group compared with those exposed to inquiry and lecture-demonstration methods of teaching Separation of Mixtures as a Model of Experimental Aspect of Chemistry.

However, the above consulted literatures used the quasi-experimental method to examine the effect between two teaching method (Emmanuel, 2016) and three teaching method (Agboola, 2017). They did not compare the means of students taught biology practical in both urban and rural areas, by extend the difference in means of students taught biology practical using real specimen, and chart which is the gap in knowledge this present study had attempted to fill.

1.3        Objectives of the Study

This study sought to achieve thefollowing objectives:

  1. Compare the pre-test and post-test performances of students taught biology using practical activities in senior secondary schools in Adamawa state; ii. Determine the level of retention of students taught biology concepts using practical activities and those taught using lecture method in senior secondary schools in Adamawa state;

iii. Compare the mean  performance score of rural and urban students taught biology using practical activities and lecture method in senior secondary schools in

Adamawa state; iv. Compare the mean performance of students taught biology practical activities using real specimen and those taught using chart among senior secondary school

Student‟s in Adamawa state.

1.4        Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:

  1. What is the difference on pre-test and post-test performances  of students taught  biology using practical activities in senior secondary schools in Adamawa state?
  2. What is the level of retention of students taught biology concept using practical activities and those taught using lecture method in senior secondary schools in Adamawa state?
  3. What is the difference in the mean score of rural and urban students taught biology using practical activities and lecture method in senior secondary schools in Adamawa state?
  4. What is the difference in the mean score of students taught biology practical activities using real specimen and those taught with charts among senior secondary school students in Adamawa state?

1.5        Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were formulated and tested in the course of the       Study:

H01:There is no significant difference between the  pre-test and post-test performances of students taught biology using  practical activities in senior secondary schools in Adamawa state.

H02:There is no significant difference in the level of retention of students taught biology concepts using practical activities and lecture method in senior secondary schools in Adamawa state.

H03:There is no significant difference between the mean score of rural and urban students taught biology using practical activities and lecture method in senior secondary schools in Adamawa state.

H04: There is no significant difference in the mean score of students taught biology  practical activities using real specimen and those taught using chart among  seniorsecondary school‟s students in Adamawa state. 1.6 Basic Assumptions

This study assumed that:

  1. Students taught biology performs better in their post-test than in their pre-test using practical activities.
  2. The retention level of students is enhanced when taught biology using practical activities than those taught using lecture method.
  3. Students taught biology in urban areas perform better than students taught biology in rural areas using practical activities and lecture method.
  4. Students taught biology practical activities using real specimen perform better than those taught biology practical activities using chart.

1.7        Significance of the Study 

The results obtained from this study will be of great benefit to the following:

biology students, teachers, governments, curriculum planners/developers, textbook writers and future researchers.The study will be of relevance to biology students; when they understand more the importance of biology practical skills, they are equipped to secure employment, and this would in no small measure make them contribute meaningfully to the development of the society. Practical method of teaching can also increase the interest of the student to practical works.

The study will be of benefit to biology teachers, as it will help them in choosing appropriate instructional method and materials capable of releasing students‟ tension toward the subject. It will also motivate teachers to develop interest in utilizing modern instructional materials like using experiments in teaching topics that are experimental in nature and selecting suitable teaching methods that will be a possible means towards reducing failure in the teaching and learning of biology. The study will also sensitize biology teachers on the benefits of the use of practical techniques for teaching, as it will have a great effect on the academic performance of the students.

The study will serve as a revelation to the government, resulting in the proper equipment of secondary schools with necessary practical materials for the teaching of biology, and posting of qualified biology teachers to secondary schools based on their profession.

This study will also enable the curriculum planners to modify, where necessary, the present system of conducting biology practical activities within the scheme of their evaluation techniques by re-examining the units of the subject matter taught in schools and identifying their corresponding indigenous knowledge and instructional material. This will make the teaching of biology interesting and more meaningful to the students.

This study would furnish authors of secondary school biology textbooks with vital information that would enable the textbooks appeal to the interestexperience and abilities of the students by designing functional books and taking into consideration the type of activities that are learner-centered and of interest to students, which if included in the texts they use will make such texts more beneficial to them and promote the

harmonization of biology teaching and learning activities  across the country.

This study could also serve as a source of information for further research work on the topic. Additionally, the findings could augment the pool of data required by other educational researchers in their bid to design interventions for solving educational problems in sciences, and biology in particular.Finally, it is hoped that this study will contribute ideas for improving teaching and learning of practical biology in secondary schools, as well as technological policy formulation and development in the country

1.8        Scope of the Study

This studyon the effect of biology practical activities on students‟ academic performance in biologyisdelimited to Senior Secondary Schools in Yola North EducationalZone of Adamawa State. The study involves Senior Secondary Two (SSII) biology students. The biology content to be covered is delimited to the following topics of practical biology: -Classification of Living Things (Animal Classification), Nutrition in

Animals (Food Test), Classification of Fruits, Reproductive System in Plants and

Digestive System in Animals (Alimentary Canal in bird).

EFFECTS OF BIOLOGY APPLIED ACTIVITIES ON STUDENTS’ EDUCATIONAL PERFORMANCE IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN ADAMAWA STATE, NIGERIA  

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