Effect Of Mode Of Laboratory Work On Senior Secondary School Students’ Achievement In Biology

Biology Education Project Material

Effect Of Mode Of Laboratory Work On Senior Secondary School Students’ Achievement In Biology


Abstract


The study investigated the effects of modes of laboratory activities on students’ achievement in biology. Three research questions and three null hypotheses guided the study. The review of literature in the study was organized under conceptual framework, theoretical framework and review of empirical studies. In the conceptual framework, concept of laboratory in science teaching and learning, organization in laboratory work, concept of academic achievement and gender in science education were reviewed. Piaget’s cognitive constructivist learning theory and Vygotsky’s social learning theory were reviewed under theoretical framework. The empirical study examined studies on modes of laboratory activities and studies on gender and students achievement in science. A quasi-experimental design was adopted for the study, specifically, the non-equivalent pre-test and post-test control group type. The study was carried out in Jalingo L. G. A. of Taraba State. The sample for the study comprised of two hundred and ten (210) students drawn from the population of study using purposive-sampling technique. Two treatment groups were used for this study; they are group and individual laboratory works, which were assigned to experimental group I & II. The treatments lasted for four weeks. The instrument for data collection in this study was a Biology Achievement Test (BAT). Data collected from the field work questions were analyzed using mean, standard deviation and Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) to test the hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The results revealed that students taught biology using group laboratory activity performed better than their counterparts taught using individual laboratory activity. Male students had higher mean achievement score than their female counterparts. There was no significant interaction effect of mode of laboratory activity and gender on students’ mean achievement score. In line with the findings of the study, the educational implications were highlighted and recommendations made which include among others that biology teachers should use group laboratory activity in teaching biology practical. Finally, the limitations of the study and suggestions for further studies were made.


Chapter One


Introduction

The study investigated the effects of modes of laboratory activities on students’ achievement in biology. Three research questions and three null hypotheses guided the study. The review of literature in the study was organized under conceptual framework, theoretical framework and review of empirical studies. In the conceptual framework, concept of laboratory in science teaching and learning, organization in laboratory work, concept of academic achievement and gender in science education were reviewed. Piaget’s cognitive constructivist learning theory and Vygotsky’s social learning theory were reviewed under theoretical framework. The empirical study examined studies on modes of laboratory activities and studies on gender and students achievement in science. A quasi-experimental design was adopted for the study, specifically, the non-equivalent pre-test and post-test control group type. The study was carried out in Jalingo L. G. A. of Taraba State. The sample for the study comprised of two hundred and ten (210) students drawn from the population of study using purposive-sampling technique. Two treatment groups were used for this study; they are group and individual laboratory works, which were assigned to experimental group I & II. The treatments lasted for four weeks. The instrument for data collection in this study was a Biology Achievement Test (BAT). Data collected from the field work questions were analyzed using mean, standard deviation and Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) to test the hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The results revealed that students taught biology using group laboratory activity performed better than their counterparts taught using individual laboratory activity. Male students had higher mean achievement score than their female counterparts. There was no significant interaction effect of mode of laboratory activity and gender on students’ mean achievement score. In line with the findings of the study, the educational implications were highlighted and recommendations made which include among others that biology teachers should use group laboratory activity in teaching biology practical. Finally, the limitations of the study and suggestions for further studies were made.


1.1 Background Of The Study

Science is a special type of discipline with peculiar characteristics, the prominent among which is the approach through which knowledge is sought. This approach is known as scientific method. Scientific method is a logical, rational and systematic process by which knowledge in science is acquired. The steps involved in scientific method are observation, hypotheses, predictions, experimentations, conclusion and host of others (Ezeh, 2013). Science is both a process (scientific method) and a product (knowledge, fact and principles) (Ezeh, 2013). Both the process and product of science are acquired through education and this is specialized type of education such as science education. Science plays important roles in the society because it relates to our daily life and career. The importance of science in our society made the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Education to introduce science subjects in the nation’s secondary school curriculum. Biology is one of such subjects introduced.

Biology is a branch of science that deals with the study of living things, which includes human-beings (Michael, 2012). Biology has many branches which include; zoology, botany, ecology, genetics, morphology, anatomy, physiology, histology, microbiology, evolution, cell biology to mention but a few. Many societal issues are biology-based. These include biodiversity, genetically modified organisms, reproductive technologies, prolongation of life, food production, tourism industry (biological gardens) and processing industries. All of these issues have involved improvements that meet human needs and so this twentieth century has been considered as ‘the age of biology’ (Reiss, 1998). The knowledge of biology helps in checking environmental degradation such as desertification, erosion, water hyacinth, land, air and water pollution. The cardinal objectives of biology education are to prepare students to acquire: adequate laboratory and field skills in biology; meaningful and relevant knowledge in biology; ability to apply scientific knowledge to everyday life in matter of personal and community health and agriculture; lastly reasonable and functional scientific attitudes(Federal Ministry of Education, 2004). Despite the importance of biology, students’ achievement in the subject from West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) has been poor (Glasson, 2009). Available data on students’ performance in biology in School Certificate revealed that on the average, more than 80 percent of students scored below credit level in the past three years in the WASSCE; the aspects of biology which students find difficult in WASSCE are practical questions on food test, examples carbohydrates, proteins and fats/oils, this indicates that students lack basic practical principles such as observation, and interpretation of the specimens provided for the examination (WAEC Chief Examiners Report, 2011, 2012 & 2013). Enebechi (2009) stated that some biology teachers fail to conduct biology practical along-side every topic treated during lessons, until a few days to examination when they will use WAEC specimens to conduct practical for their students. Eze (2011) inferred that practical work is a unique strategy of teaching and learning of biology because it enables science students to observe and manipulate materials to demonstrate certain aspects of the subject matter, which have been learnt in the class through lectures, discussion and textbooks.


Effect Of Mode Of Laboratory Work On Senior Secondary School Students’ Achievement In Biology


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