The Effect Of Class Size And Availability Of Laboratory Facility Of Student Performance In Chemistry
The study was undertaken to investigate the “Effects of Class Size and Availability of laboratory on Students‟ Performance in Chemistry among Junior Secondary School Students in Kaduna Metropolis” to proffer solutions to the problem of poor performance in Chemistry. The study made use of experimental design in which three secondary schools were used with a sample of one hundred and fifty (150) students, ninety (90) students from school I representing large class, forty (40) students from school 2 representing medium class and, twenty (20) students for a small class size. Chemistry Achievement Test (CAT) was used for the students while observation schedule was used for the Chemistry teachers. Three (3) research questions were generated to guide the investigation. Also, three (3) hypotheses were postulated and tested at 0.05 level using Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), T-test and descriptive statistics (Mean and Standard Deviation). The findings revealed that students‟ performance in Chemistry improved as class size decreased. There was no significant difference in the performance of male and female students irrespective of the class size. The findings also revealed that students in chemistry performed better when taught by teachers who have high qualification and teaching experience. Based on the research findings, it was recommended that stipulated maximum class size of 20-40 in Nigerian schools, be observed, government is to ensure adequate employment of dedicated and qualified Chemistry teachers to teach the subject and tutorial should be encouraged where by students with high availability of laboratory take it upon themselves to instruct their colleagues with low availability of laboratory in Chemistry.
1.1 Background to the Study
Chemistry has always been regarded as the language of science. It is an important discipline in the training of logical reasoning and it is an important instrument used in attaining practical goals. Concepts in chemistry are useful in solving problems in applied engineering (Andre, 1985). Chemistry has an important role to play in the task of national development. It is an instrument for effecting economical, social, political, scientific and technological changes. In order to achieve these goals of education, the teachers are required to perform their duties efficiently, need to be given controllable and adequate class size of 35 students to teach for effective learning in chemistry, (Balogun, 2002). The history of development of knowledge and much of the development in science and technology has been greatly facilitated by applications of CAThematical knowledge and procedures.
The role chemistry plays in the realization of scientific skill is well known that any society that is serious in its quest to develop its technology, must be serious in the teaching and learning of chemistry. Chemistry is always overlooked by many students even when they know that they need it for solution to problems in area of science. They claim that if it was possible not to take chemistry at all, they would have preferred it but would continue their study of science. Hence they put up negative attitude towards the learning of chemistry which consequently appears to affect their performance in the sciences. Because students have already conditioned their minds on the impossibility of learning chemistry, they therefore fail to get a grasp of the subject CATter, no CATter how hard they persevere (Uhumuavbi and Umoru, 2005). The researcher is of the view that something has to be done to change students‟ negative attitude towards the learning of chemistry. There is need to arouse the interest of students towards the learning of chemistry.
This study attempts to expose some of the numerous problems facing chemistry that prevents the effective teaching and learning of chemistry in Nigerian secondary schools. The issue of class size is one important area of this study as it relates to teaching/learning of chemistry in junior secondary school level. Alio (2003) attributes students’ development of negative attitude towards chemistry teachers to what is called “idiosyncrasy” of chemistry instruction. The usual way some chemistry teachers approach the teaching of chemistry contributes to the students’ development of negative attitudes to both the subject and the teachers. Effective and good chemistry performance cannot be possible when students’ attitude towards the teachers and the subject is negative.
The need for development of science and technology in this nation will not be successfully achieved without solving the problem of poor performance in chemistry (Betiku, 2002). According to Onu (2003), the usefulness, power and place of chemistry in the field of human endeavor continue to be recognized. In trying to develop science and technology in a nation, chemistry is the key. It is seriously needed to gain access into the world of scientific knowledge and understanding. The importance of chemistry is not a doubt, that is why in the first ordinance enacted by Fredrick Lord Luggard (1914), enforcing western education, Arithmetic, writing and reading were the three areas in which the pioneers of formal education in Nigeria were trained. The need to identify suitable class size by which students, especially with medium and low ability can be made to receive teachers’ attention to grasp the content of the subject easily and intelligibly is the focus of this study.
Education (FRN, 2007) recommended an average class size of 30. Anikweze (2004) recommends teachers/pupils ratio to be 1:35 in order to be more effective to, cope with an over-crowded classroom in our schools. The present study considers class size as the total number of students in a class at a given time to a teacher. That is students/teacher ratio of 20 students to a teacher, which constitutes a small class size; 40 students to a teacher as average class and 90 students to a teacher as a large class. These are to be tested in this study to see the effectiveness. The National Policy on Education (FRN, 2007) recommends an average class size of 40 students to a teacher, but hardly is this attained in Nigerian schools. Duyilemi (2004) observed that in most Nigerian schools what exists in the class ranges from 50 to a large number of 120 students to a teacher in many secondary schools. Oakes (1992) and Lynch (1994) defined ability grouping as dividing students into separate classes of high, average and low achievers, that is classifying students according to their academic performance. This can best deal with individual differences in the classroom. Feldhusen (1992) noted that students of lower and average ability often flourish or become better students when the high ability level students are present and leading to competition. High ability or gifted students are needed in all classrooms in order to stimulate, motivate and inspire other students. Salau (1996) concluded that the achievement profile of high achievers declines as the class size becomes larger. This means that increase in class size tends to reduce the performance of students generally, despite the level.
The researcher is of the view that the use of heterogeneous class could be of more advantage since low and average groups would gain more knowledge from their interactions and sharing with the high achievers whether the class is large or small. The major objective of this study is to determine the adequacy and effectiveness of class size and availability of laboratory on the academic achievement of different group of students in chemistry, when taught with chemistry concepts in junior secondary schools in Kaduna metropolis. This is with the view to establishing what might be considered appropriate class size that will promote teaching and learning in schools. This is then the rationale for this study.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The roles of school facility in enhancing students academic performance cannot be over emphasized. Therefore this study has the problem of the influence of school facilities on student performance. The problem of vailability, adequacy, management and utilization of school facilities is also examined.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The objectives of this study are to:
- Investigate the relationship between class size and varying availability of laboratory and students‟ performance in Chemistry in junior secondary schools.
- Determine the effects of class size and availability of laboratory on gender-related difference in the performance of students in Chemistry in junior secondary schools.
- Determine the relationship between teachers‟ qualification and students performance in Chemistry in Junior secondary schools.
1.4 Research Questions
In an attempt to come up with relevant findings in this study, the following questions were raised to guide and give focus to the study:
- What is the relationship between class size, availability of laboratory and students performance in
- Chemistry in Junior secondary schools?
- What is the effect of class size on male and female students with different availability of laboratory and students‟ performance in Chemistry in junior secondary schools?
- What is the relationship between teachers‟ qualification and students‟ performance in Chemistry in Junior Secondary Schools?
The following hypotheses were postulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance.
- H01: There is no significant relationship between class size and performance of students exposed to various class sizes and availability of laboratory in chemistry.
- H02: Class size does not significantly affect the performance of male and female students exposed to different class sizes and varying availability of laboratory in chemistry.
- H03: Teachers’ qualifications have no significant relationship with the students’ performance in chemistry in secondary schools in Kaduna metropolis.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will hopefully provide the following benefits:
- It is hoped that this study would contribute in enhancing the standard of teaching/learning of chemistry in any given class size and the students’ availability of laboratory. This study would encourage chemistry teachers particularly in junior secondary schools to acquire skills and appropriate teaching methods so as to encourage interest and comprehension of the principles and concepts taught in any given class size and varying availability of laboratory of the students.
- Education planners, chemistry educators and curriculum designers would hopefully benefit from the findings of this study through the evolution of teaching/learning of chemistry in secondary schools with the aim of improving students’ performance in any given class size.
- This study would provide chemistry teachers with a guide on how to control various class size at any given time in order to improve students’ performance in chemistry.
- Education authorities and state ministry of education would be alerted to the extent to which various class size effects can contribute to the achievement of various availability of laboratory in teaching/learning of chemistry in junior secondary schools.
- This study would hopefully enable other researchers to identify areas for further studies in relation to the effects of class size and students’ availability of laboratory for the improvement of teaching/learning.
- The findings would be useful in educational policy making and finding may arouse instructional educational agencies such as Federal Ministry of Education, Facilities or
- Schools of Education, National Teachers’ Institute as well as professional bodies such as Chemistry Association of Nigeria (MAN), Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN) to formulate educational policies which would be useful in implementation of chemistry curriculum.
1.7 Basic Assumptions
This study is guided by the following assumptions:
- The students used were familiar with the area of staffing, facilities as well as students enrolment.
- The selected topics were appropriate for the level of subjects used for the study.
- Most chemistry teachers in the secondary schools do not know how to cope with overcrowded class rooms.
- Teachers are employed to teach chemistry in secondary schools without considering the effects of class size and availability of laboratory of the students.
- The teachers cannot give individual attention to the medium (average) and low achievers in schools where chemistry are overcrowded.
1.8 Scope of the Study
This study is basically on the effects of class size and availability of laboratory on students‟ performance in Chemistry among Junior Secondary School Students in Kaduna Metropolis. The study sought to expose some of the numerous factors responsible for poor performance in Chemistry. It was therefore restricted in its coverage to all J.J.S. two (2) students in the Government Secondary Schools in Kaduna Metropolis with total students‟ population of three hundred and two thousand, one hundred and sixty-one (302,161) students.
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