Effect Of Biology Practical On The Secondary School Students Academic Performance In Biology In Enugu State (A Case Study Of Enugu North Local Government Area Of Enugu State)
This project work was carried out to determine the effect of biology practicals on the secondary school students academic performance in biology in Enugu State (A case study of Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State).
The long held notion is that practicals offer students a more realistic experience in sciences but Hunetta (2008), reported that some educators have begun to question seriously the effectiveness and the role of laboratory work. They opined that practical method of teaching is not self-evident as it once seemed. The result obtained from the sample schools, showed that biology practicals has a positive effect on academic performance of students. In all cases that was tested, practical method of teaching biology was found to be superior to traditional theoretical methods.
Chapter one and two is the background of the study and the review of the related literature respectively. In chapter three, the research methodology and over all design of the study was presented. Chapter four, dealt with data presentation and analysis. The educational implication of the study, recommendation and summary were contained in chapter five. References and appendices were inclusive.
1.1 Background of Study
According to Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary (2001) “Effect” means (i) a change produced by an action or cause; a result or an outcome; (ii) an impression created in the mind of a spectator, read, etc while watching a play, listening to music or looking at a painting. Effect as used in the research topic can then be defined as a positive change produced by an action, a desirable outcome or a result. Science is the study of the natural things around us (Modern Biology). Biology being a branch of science involves the study of living and non-living things (Sarojini, 2001) similarly, World Book Encyclopedia (1995), defined biology as the scientific study of living things. Traditionally, biology is divided into two branches viz; botany, the study of animals. Some of the usefulness of biology were cited by Sarojini (2001), as follows: it helps in (i) scientific research and development of new tools and techniques which invariably improve the quality of our lives, (ii) finding applications in medicine, dentistry, vetenary science, agriculture and horticulture; (iii) biotechnology which include fields like genetic engineering and hybridoma technology (i) dealing with ecological problems such as over population, food shortage, erosion, pollution, disease etc. Practical biology is the scientific study of the life and structure of plants and animals and their relative environments in real or experimental set-up rather than dwelling in the theory and ideas (Opuh, Eze and Eze Magu; 2008). On its preamble to the international senior secondary school certificate examination syllabus; West African Examination Council WAEC (1998-2003), buttresses the need for biology practical in teaching and learning of biology in the secondary schools.
The syllabus was designed to assess candidates in;
- Understanding of the structure and function of living organisms as well as appreciation of nature.
- Acquisition of adequate laboratory and filed skills in order to carry out and evaluate experiments and projects in biology.
- Acquisition of necessary scientific skills.
Example observing, classifying and interpreting biological data etc. In previous edition WAEC Syllabus (1985), stated that great importance should be attached to experimental work and use of control experiments. It was recommended that, whenever possible through out the whole courses, candidates should be aware of practical application of what is being studied. From the foregoing, we can understand that biology practical lesson is most essential for effective teaching and learning of biology in secondary schools. According to Oxford Dictionary (2000), “Effective” in the context of the research topic means; having desired effect or producing the intended result. Whereas, Akinpelu in Aguokogbuo (2002) defined teaching as a deliberate effort by a matured or experienced person to impact information, knowledge, skills and so on to immature or less experienced person. Consequently, National Teachers Institute NTI (2000) course book on education, defined learning as the acquisition of new knowledge, ideas, skills, value and experience which enable the individual to modify or alter his actions. It also involves the utilization of newly acquired knowledge or experience as well. It further stated that learning brings about permanent change in the learner. The National Policy on Education (2004) defined secondary education, as the education children receive after primary education and before the tertiary stage. According to Post Primary School Management Board (PPSMB) statistical records PRS (2009). There are nine government secondary schools in Enugu North Local Government Area.
Enugu North Local Government Area, is in Enugu East Senatorial District of Enugu State, Nigeria. The area is predominantly an urban settlement with a few rural communities. Some of the community in Enugu North L.G.A include Enugu Ngwo, Iva-Valley, Coal-Camp, G.R.A, Independent Layout, Ogui and Asata.
1.2 Statement of Problem
According to Nnamonu (2003), students perform poorly in biology practicals leading to their failure in biology examinations. Similarly WAEC Chief Examiners (1993) reported that performances of candidate in biology fell below expectation. The report discussed the candidate’s weaknesses under the following sub-headings:
- Poor spelling
- Poor mathematical skills,
- Poor deduction reasoning;
- Poor observation
- Misinterpretation of question and
- Poor knowledge of biology.
The examiners lamented that “there were many candidates who could not answer correctly a single question in section A. In most cases, they have wild guesses and quite unrelated answer that were sometimes un-biological. Basically, on the academic performance Obidiwe (1992) stated that the objectives of practical biology are not being realized to a satisfactory extent. He pointed out that the poor academic performance were caused by; lack of well-equipped laboratory, lack of qualified science teachers, limited time table hours, poor observation, poor drawing and labeling, poor comparison of specimens, etc. This poor state of affairs is disturbing. This study therefore intends to examine the effect of biology practical in effective academic performance of students in Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State. Specifically, one would like to ask, what effect has biology practicals on academic performance of
- Senior secondary school students?
- Female biology students?
- Male biology students?
- Students from urban area?
- Students from rural area?
1.3 Purpose of the Study
Based on the background and problems of this study, the main purpose underlying the project is to investigate the effects of practical biology on the effective teaching and learning of biology in senior secondary schools in Enugu North Local Government Area. The study specifically seeks to determine the effects of biology practicals on students achievement in biology examination. We believe that the result of the research will be of significance with the reforms in Biology education.
1.4 Research Questions
- What is the effect of biology practical on students performance?
- What are the reasons for ineffective biology practicals in senior secondary schools in Enugu North Local Government Area?
- To what extent do biology practical affect students examination performance?
1.5 Significance of the Study
- The practical activities in biology are designed to help students acquire basic scientific skills and improve their performance and achievement as well. The study tends to uncover the benefits of practical biology to the students, parents, teachers, government and the entire society. If the result of this research is properly utilized, it will:
- Promote the ideas that science is both a product and process in students by arousing their interest in practical work;
- Motivate the parents to provide basic requirements of practical lessons for their children;
- Convince the biology teachers that practical lessons are mostly essential for effective teaching and learning of biology.
- Make the government, through the ministry of education to realize the need for provision of science equipment to schools and posting of qualified biology teachers to secondary schools, it is not the issue of lack of trades master of non teaching has attained professionalism and specialization;
- Help the Nigerian society in their quest for improved technology and industrialization.
1.6 Scope / Delimitation of the Study
The study is targeted on the senior secondary schools in Enugu North Local Government Area Enugu State. The scope is also delimited on SSII biology students and the following contents of SSII biology scheme of work. Digestive, reproductive and respiratory system is animals.
This study was delimited by the uneasily access to respondent and not cooperative. It took a long time before the questionnaires was collected and collated for the study. Also, the study was also limited by financial, time and logistic constraints.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
The research studied effect of biology practical on the secondary school students academic performance in biology in enugu state (a case study of enugu north local government area of enugu state.
- Chapter one of this study gave a brief background to the topic of the study, statement of the problem and highlights of the purpose of the research. Based on the purpose identified, four research questions were formulated for the study. Chapter one also highlighted the significance and limitation of the study; it also gave the definition of terms used in the study.
- Chapter two presented a review of related literature to the study. Special effort was made to review the works of authors related to concepts of biology.
- Research methodology, with special attention on research design, population, sampling technique and sample size, method of data collection and method of data analysis were presented in chapter three.
- Chapter four presented the analysis of the data collected in the course of this research. The presentation was made according to the three research questions stated in the study and the findings were highlighted accordingly.
- This chapter aims at presenting a summary and conclusion of this study as well as the recommendations made by the researcher.
This study has made it crystal clear that biology has a positive impact on secondary school students acad3emic performance in biology.
From the study, it is discovered that lack of qualified science teachers, limited time table hours, poor observation among others are responsible for ineffective biology practical in secondary school students in Enugu North LGA.
Finally it was also revealed by the study that biology practical has highly affected students examination performance in biology.
- State ministries of education should ensure that each and every secondary school have at least one multipurpose science laboratory before giving such approval and grant aiding. This will help in ensuring that schools have minimum requirements to carry out practicals.
- School proprietors, principals and the relevant school authorities should find ways of motivating their biology teachers so as to encourage them carryout the practical work as frequently as possible.
- Laboratory technicians should be employed by either state, local government or school authority to assist biology teacher(s) so that workload and time management are realistic to enhance students’ achievement.
- Workshops and seminars should be organized for in-service biology teachers to keep them abreast of the practical work. This will enable them to plan and organize adequately for practical work.
- There should be strict monitoring and supervision by supervisors and school heads to ensure that practical work is carried out each time it appears on the time table by both teachers and students.
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