Effect Of Problem Solving Strategy On Academic Performance In Cell Concept Among Senior Secondary School Students In Anka Local Government

Biology Education Project Material

Effect Of Problem Solving Strategy On Academic Performance In Cell Concept Among Senior Secondary School Students In Anka Local Government


Abstract


This study focused on the effect of problem solving strategy on academic performance in cell concept among senior secondary school students in anka local government as case study. The study is was specifically focused on determining if there was any significant difference between the level of achievement of students taught using problem solving strategy and those taught using the conventional lecture method, determining the attitudes of students towards cell concept problems when taught using problem solving strategies and finding out the influence of gender on students’ achievement in cell concept when taught using problem solving strategy. The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 30 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are senior secondary school students in anka local government. The findings of this study showed that the performance levels of both male and female students after treatment improved significantly though male students achieved slightly higher than their female counterparts after exposure to PSS. The results further showed that students taught using PSS performed significantly better than their counterparts taught with conventional lecture approach. Furthermore, the result revealed that students in private schools performed better than the students in public schools after exposure to PSS. The study concluded that the use of PSS promotes students’ understanding of concepts translating to optimal performance in cell concept examinations. It was recommended among others that authors and textbook writers of textbooks should transform textbooks into problem solving forms, apply and provide proper illustrations so as to meet the criteria of PSS as doing this would help in enhancing students’ achievement.


Table of Content


  • Title Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of Content
  • List of Tables
  • Abstract

Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisations of the Study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the Study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Test of Hypotheses

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • APPENDIX
  • QUESTIONNAIRE

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organize knowledge in the form of testable explanations and knowledge that can be rationally explained and reliably applied to everyday life. The field of science education includes work in science content, science process (scientific Skill) some social science and some teaching pedagogy (Yeung, 2006). Bichi, (2008) stated that the purpose of education is not just making a learner literate, but adds rationale thinking, knowledge, skills, self-efficiency and self- independent. Thus, in every human society, education is meant to pass onto new generations the existing knowledge of their physical environment, to introduce them to the organization of the society and teach them skills for performing their daily jobs with ease and as such boost the manpower development and economic growth of the country.

Egbunonu and Ugbaja (2011), observed that the education standards call for more than science as a process in which students learn such skills as observing, inferring, experimenting, etc. In this way students actively develop their understanding of science, combining scientific knowledge with reasoning and thinking skills. To achieve these goals as desired, it is highly required of teachers at all levels to have a high sense of self- confidence for the enhancement of teaching and learning of scientific concepts and principles that can lead to positive scientific and technological development.

The academic performance of senior secondary school students is a subject of perennial interest in the field of education. For these students, the successful mastery of complex scientific concepts, particularly in the domain of cell concept, is not only a foundational step but also a pivotal determinant of their future academic and professional trajectories. Hence, investigating the factors that influence their academic performance, and in particular, the role of problem-solving strategies in the context of cell concept, is of paramount importance.
cell concept stands at the heart of the biological sciences and is recognized as a cornerstone subject within the science curriculum. An in-depth understanding of cellular concepts is not only fundamental for academic success but is also essential for more advanced studies in biology and related disciplines (Alberts et al., 2014). Proficiency in cell concept not only fosters scientific literacy but also opens doors to various career paths in fields such as medicine, biotechnology, and genetics. Consequently, the optimization of teaching methodologies in this subject is imperative.

Problem-solving strategies have long been acknowledged as a pedagogical approach that cultivates critical thinking and deepens students’ comprehension of scientific content (Hmelo-Silver, 2004). These strategies encourage students to actively engage with the material, apply their knowledge, and develop a holistic understanding of the subject matter. Problem-solving exercises challenge students to think analytically, synthesize information, and make connections between different concepts – skills that are invaluable not only in academic settings but also in real-world problem-solving scenarios.

It is important to understand the concept of problem solving as a strategy in the classroom. A problem generally is believed to be a hitch between where one is and where one wants to be. In biology, the problem that is yet to be solved could be in question or exercise form. The term problem solving is used in many disciplines, sometimes with different perspectives and often with different terminologies. Problem solving consists of using generic or adhoc methods in an orderly manner for finding solutions to problems.

It is important to understand that problems generally can be classified into two types: ill-defined and well defined problems. Ill-defined problems are those that do not have clear goals, solution paths or expected solutions while welldefined problems have specific goals, clearly defined solution paths and clear expected solutions. It is important that a physics problem is well defined so as to achieve the goals for which the problem is posed. Some of these problems may be fundamental to future problems students or learners may encounter in physics since learning is from simple to complex, known to unknown, concrete to abstract and so on. When such problems are solved by a learner, attitude towards physics may become positive and learner’s interest is sustained. Thus, the exposure of problem solving strategies that students receive can help them improve their achievement, increase their interest in physics and change students’ attitude towards learning physics (Gok, 2010).

According to Schoenfeld (1994), problem solving is a complex process that engages various cognitive operations such as collecting and sorting information, heuristics and metacognitive strategies. The ability to understand what the goal of the problem is and what roles will be applied will present the key to solving the problem because sometimes the problem to be solved involve some abstract thinking and coming up with a creative strategy. Considered the most complex of all intellectual functions, problem solving has been defined as a higher order cognitive process that requires the modulation and control of fundamental skills. Hence, problem solving are the steps that one will take to achieve one’s own goals. Most students are not actually weak in solving problems, but rather unskilled in planning strategies when solving a given problem (Schoenfeld & Zan, 2000). Problem solving strategy is a method that can potentially produce effective and meaningful teaching and learning. The application of this strategy in teaching and learning can help improve students’ problem solving skills as problem solving is a basic skill needed by all students (physics students alike), but at the same time can also be a complex mental activity (Charles, 1997). The implementation of problem solving in the teaching and learning environment can improve the quality of learning. Through these strategies, physics students have to find information and solve problems through their own efforts; this process compels them to be independent and to think creatively. Problem solving is known as one of the essence in building future engineers and technologists (Jonessen, 2006).

According to Ruhizan, Lilia and Azaman (2012) research conducted found that students fail in solving problems due to a few factors, that is, low understanding of the given problem, low knowledge of how to plan an appropriate problem solving strategy, inability to interpret a problem, application of inappropriate strategy and poor understanding of concepts. Problem solving is a cognitive process that requires the memory to collect the appropriate activities, employ them and work systematically. As a staged process, problem solving was brought up by a Hungarian mathematician, George Polya, for the first time in his book ”how to solve it” published in 1945. This staged process that was widely accepted in problem solving is the first and most popular model. The staged model consists of simplified lists of stages or steps used in problem solving. Each stage leads to the next stage and is as a result of the previous stage. These four stages include understanding the problem, planning, application of the plan and looking back. These skills can be seen as the analytical parts of problem solving process which requires defining the problem, examining the problem, revising and employing it. Problem solving is the core of learning in physics.

Personal classroom experience with secondary school students in Nigeria and results of private and public examinations show that most learners are yet to acquire the vital problem solving skills required for success (Adeleke,2007). The inappropriate utilization of relevant teaching and problem solving strategies has been major concerns of physics educators. Specifically the defective methodology employed by the teachers, as well as the non-use of appropriate problem solving strategies generally lead to students’ low enrolment and poor performance in physics (Adegoke, 2011). This implies that the way learning materials are presented to the students manifests in their nonactive participation in learning, lack of interest and proper understanding of physics. Again, lots of students complain that despite the time and energy put into learning physics, they still find it difficult to solve problems in physics. This is not because they lack an understanding of the physics concepts though; they just lack the ability, skill and strategy to solve these problems. Therefore there is need to consider remedial methods of teaching and learning that will improve problem solving skills quite different from conventional ones.

Moreover, the researcher could not lay hands on any research work carried out on this issue within the designated area. This may be because not much research has been carried out in the area of problem solving in physics in the study area. Therefore the researcher was motivated to carry out this study which examined the effect of problem solving strategy on academic performance in cell concept among senior secondary school students in anka local government.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The academic performance of senior secondary school students is a critical factor in their educational journey and future prospects. Within the science curriculum, cell concept holds particular significance as a foundational subject with implications for advanced studies and careers in various scientific fields. While educators strive to enhance the teaching of cell concept, the role of problem-solving strategies in shaping academic performance remains an area that requires further investigation.

Cell concept is a complex topic that encompasses intricate concepts such as cellular structures, functions, and processes. Proficiency in this subject is not only academically essential but also has broader implications for scientific literacy and future career paths (Alberts et al., 2014). Therefore, it is imperative to explore the factors that can influence students’ academic performance in cell concept.

Problem-solving strategies have been recognized as effective tools for promoting critical thinking and deeper understanding of scientific content (Hmelo-Silver, 2004). These strategies encourage active engagement with the material, helping students connect theoretical knowledge to real-world applications. Problem-solving activities require students to think analytically, synthesize information, and draw connections between various concepts, all of which are skills essential for success in cell concept (Savin-Baden & Major, 2004).

However, despite the theoretical advantages of problem-solving strategies, it remains unclear to what extent these approaches impact the academic performance of senior secondary school students in the specific context of cell concept. This knowledge gap is significant given that the senior secondary school level serves as a crucial juncture in a student’s academic journey, influencing their future choices in education and career paths (Barker & Aspray, 2006).

Moreover, students possess diverse learning styles, preferences, and abilities, and what works effectively for one may not be as successful for another (Savin-Baden & Major, 2004). Therefore, it is essential to determine which problem-solving strategies are most effective in enhancing academic performance in cell concept, as this information can assist educators in tailoring their teaching methods to meet the unique needs of their students.

By investigating the effect of problem-solving strategies in the context of cell concept, this research seeks to provide valuable insights into effective teaching methods and support systems that can be employed to optimize the academic performance of senior secondary school students, thereby contributing to their success in mastering the complex subject of cell concept. In light of these considerations, the research aims to address the following question: To what extent do problem-solving strategies influence the academic performance of senior secondary school students in the field of cell concept?


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study are as follows:

  1. Determine if there was any significant difference between the level of achievement of students taught using problem solving strategy and those taught using the conventional lecture method..
  2. Determine the attitudes of students towards cell concept problems when taught using problem solving strategies.
  3. Find out the influence of gender on students’ achievement in cell concept when taught using problem solving strategy.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study:

  1. What is the level of achievement of students before and after exposure to problem solving strategy?
  2. To what extent does gender affect students’ achievement in cell concept when taught using problem solving strategy?
  3. What is the attitude of students towards problem solving in cell concept?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

  1. There is no significant difference between mean achievement scores of students taught using problem solving strategy and those taught using the conventional lecture method.
  2. There is no significant difference between the post-test mean achievement scores of male and female students who were taught using problem solving strategy.
  3. There is no significant difference between the post-test mean achievement scores of students in public schools and their counterparts in private schools exposed to problem solving strategy?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This research is based on the assumption that the findings will be useful in both practical and theoretical contexts. Teachers, students’ curriculum designers, and educational administrators will profit from the research. The research might be considered theoretically relevant since it will provide light on current ideas that may impact issue resolution. Curriculum planners would use the information from the study’s findings to plan their lessons. The data might aid curriculum planners in determining the appropriateness of the senior secondary biology program’s problem-solving component. Finally, the research would add empirically to the body of existing literature and serve as a reference source for students or other academics interested in conducting research on a comparable issue.


1.7 Scope of the Study

The broad objective of this research is to look into the effect of problem solving strategy on academic performance in cell concept among senior secondary school students in Ankpa local government. The goal of this study is to see if problem-solving techniques may help students improve their critical thinking skills in secondary school. It will be determined whether brainstorming, as a problem-solving strategy, is capable of instilling problem-solving skills in secondary school students. It will look into whether problem-based learning is more innovative and superior than standard lecture learning. However, the study is confined to a few secondary schools. the Local Government.


1.8 Limitation of the Study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scanty literature on the subject owing to the nature of the discourse thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. More so, the choice of the sample size was limited as few respondent were selected to answer the research instrument hence cannot be generalize to other corporate organizations. However, despite the constraint encountered during the research, all factors were downplayed in other to give the best and make the research successful.


1.8 Definition of Terms

Teaching Method:

A teaching method comprises the principles and methods used by teachers to enable student learning. These strategies are determined partly on subject matter to be taught and partly by the nature of the learner.

Problem-Based Learning:

Problem based learning (PBL) is a teaching strategy during which students are trying solve a problem or a set problems unfamiliar to them. PBL is underpinned by a constructivist approach, as such it promotes active learning.

Academic Achievement:

Academic achievement is the extent to which a student or institution has achieved either short or long term educational goals. Achievement may be measured through students’ grade point average, whereas for institutions, achievement may be measured through graduation rates.


1.10 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows.

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on the effect of problem solving strategy on academic performance in cell concept among senior secondary school students in anka local government as case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was on the effect of problem solving strategy on academic performance in cell concept among senior secondary school students in anka local government as case study. The study is was specifically focused on determining if there was any significant difference between the level of achievement of students taught using problem solving strategy and those taught using the conventional lecture method, determining the attitudes of students towards cell concept problems when taught using problem solving strategies and finding out the influence of gender on students’ achievement in cell concept when taught using problem solving strategy..

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 30 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are senior secondary school students in anka local government .


5.3 Conclusions

With respect to the analysis and the findings of this study, the following conclusions emerged;

The study concluded that Students taught using PSS achieved more than those taught through the conventional lecture method of teaching. This by implication means that the use of PSS in teaching improves students’ achievement in cell concept. Students have a positive attitude towards problem solving in cell concept. This means that the use of PSS in teaching is enjoyable to students and that is why their attitude is positive. The findings of this study revealed that gender did not affect students’ achievement significantly when taught using PSS.


5.4 Recommendation

Based on the findings the researcher recommends that;

  1. Authors and textbook writers of biology textbooks should transform cell concept textbooks into problem solving forms, apply and provide proper illustrations so as to meet the criteria of problem solving strategies.
  2. Extensive and result-oriented training programs, seminars and workshops on PSS should be organized by associations, examination bodies, and delegates of education for teachers to equip them with new strategies for solving problems in all topics.
  3. Problem solving strategies and courses intended to instruct these strategies should be added to the curriculum of institutions which train teachers such as colleges of education and faculties of education as doing that would help in producing trained teachers that are equipped with PSS.
  4. More time should be allocated to lessons so that more strategies can be explored in the classroom. When little time is given to lessons, teachers rush through instructions so promote the conventional lecture method rather than take time to follow the lesson step by step with the appropriate strategy.
  5. Teachers should be encouraged to use problem solving method to develop students’ problem solving skills and the related outcomes such as course achievement.

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