The Factors Associated With Mass Failure Of Students In Chemistry In Secondary School

Project and Seminar Material for Chemistry Education

The Factors Associated With Mass Failure Of Students In Chemistry In Secondary School


Abstract


This study examined the factors associated with mass failure of students in chemistry in secondary school. It employed a survey design. The study used a five-point likert scale questionnaire, which contains a total of 25-items, as a major instrument. In all, three hundred and eighty-seven (387) students and fifteen (15) chemistry Teachers made up the sample for the study, giving rise to a total sample of four hundred and two (402). Arithmetic mean and standard deviation were the major statistical tools used for the data analysis. A reliability co-efficient using this conbach alpha was used. The result showed that non availability of standard and functional instructional materials, workshop and textbooks, lack of tools and equipment, poor teacher qualification, insufficient time, poor funding and nonchalant attitude of the government towards education are some of the causes and effects of mass failure in chemistry. The study recommended among other things, that the Federal and State Ministries of Education should ensure that standard and functional workshops are built in all secondary schools across the nation, qualified teachers and ample time should also be provided to aid students.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of Study

In recent years, student academic achievement in senior secondary school certificate examination chemistry.
The word “chemistry” is a Greek word, meaning things that are learned. Majasa (1995) further defined it as the science of counting, measuring and describing of the shape of objects. It deals with logical reasoning and quantitative calculations. chemistry as a school subject is recognized as the foundation of science and technology without which a nation will never become prosperous and economically independent. This underscores the importance of mathematical competence of all the learners at all levels of education and a reason for making chemistry compulsory and one of the leading core subject in the secondary schools curriculum. This importance accorded the recognition of the vital role it plays in contemporary society. Despite the effort put in by government, and various stakeholders of education, chemistry still remained one of the most difficult subject in schools.

There is a general impression that chemistry is difficult by its very nature, and because of this impression, there is poor performance among junior secondary school students who are the focus of this study. This poor performance in chemistry has been attributed to two broad factors which include: Hereditary and environmental factors which can be subdivided into students, home, teachers, and school factors. Ola (1998). For proper implementation of the program, effective teaching methodology, adequate teaching aids, workshop tools, equipment, conductive workshop and classroom are basic requirements. It is evident that these subjects are now being taught at different levels in Secondary schools. The program is capital intensive and in some cases requires specialized and expensive tools, equipments, materials, and facilities to provide effective training. There is also a need to sustain a maintenance culture to prolong the life of these equipment, machines and tools. Technical education is facing a great challenge today, especially with the increase in its demand. Arfo (2006) stated that “the present effort by the federal government to reduce unemployment and eradicate poverty cannot be achieved unless Vocational and Technical Education is given prominence in the country through proper funding and provision of required infrastructure, while the curriculum is enriched with entrepreneurial skills.


1.2 Statement of Problems

Vocational education had suffered vigorously from the colonial era up to the beginning of 1980s. It has been confirmed by Adeniyi (2004) that the problems related to curricula became noticeable soon after Nigerian independence from colonial rule in 1960. By min-1960s, educators and educational planners were rethinking Nigeria’s education and in particular the curriculum being taught in the schools. It was observed, for instance that the type of education offered from the mid-nineteenth century until 1960 was meant to serve colonial masters’ interest. These and other factors lead to the introduction of the 6 – 3 – 3 – 4 system of education. One of the subjects introduced in order to remedy the problem of vocation education in the country was chemistry. It has now been observed that the implementation of the 6-3-3-4 system is facing some setbacks which include:

  • Lack of sufficient materials and equipments
  • Lack of adequate funding
  • Lack of qualified personnel
  • Poor infrastructure such as classroom, workshops and storage facilities
  • Poor attitude toward practical.

It is difficult to make any meaningful progress if these issues are not addressed. The researchers intend to take a look at these areas and suggest areas where improvements can be made.


1.3 Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to find out the factors associated with mass failure of students in chemistry in secondary school. Specifically, the study sought to:

  1. Find out instructional material the causes and effects of mass failure in chemistry in Secondary schools
  2. Determine teacher-related causes of mass failure in chemistry in Secondary schools
  3. Ascertain time-related causes of mass failure in chemistry in Secondary schools and finally
  4. Find out strategies that can be used to minimize these challenges

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What are the instructional material related causes of mass failure in chemistry in secondary schools in Plateau State?
  2. What are the teacher-related causes of mass failure in chemistry in secondary school in Plateau State?
  3. What are the time-related causes of mass failure in chemistry in Plateau State?
  4. What strategies could be used to minimize these the causes and effects of mass failure in chemistry in Plateau State?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The present study is of great relevance to many. Beneficiaries of the findings of this work include teachers, students, curriculum planners, parents and other stake holders in education.

The findings of the study will improve the teaching styles of teachers. They will be made aware of the importance of effective ways to reach different types of learners and assess student understanding through multiple means. chemistry teachers will understand the importance of training and re-training themselves in order to enhance competency in the subject area. The training could be geared towards enhancement of relationship between teachers and students. Through this, teachers could become better advisers, content experts and coach and through such means, make teaching and learning more meaningful. (Eyibe, 2017)

The findings of the study will help students to appreciate the importance of technology, deepen their interest in the subject, and help them to understand what skills they need to survive in a complex, highly technological knowledge based economy. Being aware of the challenges confronting mass failure in chemistry, students will be better enabled to learn and easily refine their analysis and problem-solving skills. Also experiment and observe phenomenon and to view results in graphic ways that aid in understanding. And, as an added benefit, findings will help students with technology tools and a project-learning approach. With these, students are more likely to stay engaged and on task, reducing behavioral problems in the classroom.

Curriculum Planners like the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) will benefit from this study.


1.6 Scope of the Study

This study is delimited to the causes and effects of mass failure in chemistry in the Public Secondary schools in Plateau State. The study investigated instructional-related, time-related and teacher-related challenges. It also focused on strategies that could be employed to ameliorate the causes and effects of mass failure in chemistry in secondary schools in Plateau State.


1.7 Limitation of study

Finance, inadequate materials and time constraint were the challenges the researchers encountered during the course of the study.


1.8 Definition of Terms

1. Cultural Background

The cultural background refers to tribal, religious, racial, gender, linguistic or other socioeconomic factors and values that shape an individual’s upbringing. A cultural background can be shaped at the family, societal or at primary school level. In this study it refers to what do students do to help themselves excel in their academic
carriers.

2. Performance

Accomplishing or achievement of specific goals, objectives set in any academic undertaking in basic chemistry.

3. Teacher Characteristics

This refers to the attributes and practices which contribute immensely to teacher success or failure. These are such as displaying fairness, having a positive outlook, being prepared, using a personal touch, possessing a sense of humor, possessing creativity, admitting mistakes, being forgiving, respecting students, maintaining high expectations, showing compassion, and developing a sense of belonging for students— center around the theme of caring.

4. School Environment

School environment encompasses physical environment such as buildings like classrooms and teachers’ houses, classroom size, how dark or light it is, temperature, the arrangement of chairs, the noise which affects teachers and students’ attraction.

5. Curriculum

A sequence of potential experiences, set up in the schools to discipline children and youth in ways of thinking and acting whether it is carried out in groups or individually, inside or outside the school.

6. Teaching Method

This comprises the principles and techniques used for instruction. Commonly used teaching methods may include class participation, demonstration, recitation, memorization, or combinations of these, teacher centred and student centred methods.

7. Qualified Teacher

This is the teacher who holds the following certificate such as: Diploma in Education, B.Ed., B.Sc. (Ed), B.Sc. and PGDE, Masters in Education and PhD from a recognized university or college in Nigeria and outside Nigeria.


1.9 Organizations of the Study

The chapter one consist of the introductory part of the study which includes the study background, the statement of the research problem, the study objective and scope of the study.

The second chapter is a critical review of other literatures relevant to the study and its objectives including the theoretical framework for the study. While the third chapter is methods of data collection, sampling and data analysis used in conducting the study.

The fourth chapter centres around the research findings including an analysis of how it relates to previous findings. The fifth chapter consists of the summary of findings, conclusion and recommendations base on the study objectives.


Chapter Five


Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

If the technology of our country must grow, then a firm foundation is required at the basic education levels. Government, stakeholders and relevant school authorities must endeavour to provide the basic instructional materials. The workshops and laboratories must also be built and well equipped to enhance proper mass failure in chemistry at the junior secondary levels. This is important, so that these students will not be left behind, bearing in mind the ever impelling forces of globalization and localization. In the light of Allen (2009) globalization refers to the transformation of local and regional realities into global ones, uniting the peoples of the world in a single global market and society. For Eyibe (2004) Globalization is a process of continuing integration of the countries of the world, and localization is the desire for self-determination and the devolution of power; whichever way, advancement in technology is necessary and acutely needed in our society.

Chemistry has become common in many countries and has been taught in different forms and with different motives. A focus in chemistry education should be on infrastructural development and technological advancement and thus should be viewed as fundamentally critical. Its duty is to prepare young students and even adults to engage positively and meaningfully with their environments and the world to build a formidable and durable scientific culture, industrialization and a robust economy. The Federal and State Ministries of education, stakeholders and other relevant authorities in education should develop in chemistry a pedagogical methodology that consists of the raising of scientific awareness, the nurturing of scientific passion and engagement in technological skill acquisition and development, Raising scientific and technological awareness involves promoting the understanding and appropriation of scientific knowledge by a wide audience as a recognized necessity in a world where technological considerations play a major role in terms of economics and society. For Woodman and Long (2014) technology crucially contributes to a country’s market development, and boosting productivity, Nurturing the scientific passion is about engaging in activities that will make science and technology have an appeal for the people both young and old. This step aims to transform beliefs of impossibility and unnecessary dogmatism by giving students the chance to explore ex experiment and practice some hitherto theoretical inundations. The final step is an invitation to action.

This action involves proper implementation of the chemistry curriculum through correct teaching methods. This is why it is important that care is taken to employ all the necessary means possible, namely: sufficient and adequate instructional materials, good chemistry teachers, ample time and proper funding, to ensure that the mass failure in chemistry is a worthwhile venture. Clearly, it is a cliché that actions speak louder than words. Practical reality is far more useful that illusory dreaming about future scientific and technological bliss. It is a known fact that technological development has not been at its best here in Nigeria. We ought to develop our own technology and shun unnecessary importations in respect of which Ume-Martin & Ebede (2013) believe that one of the major constraints hindering the country’s march towards human development, industrialization and robust economy is the massive and exploitative importation of technology, goods and services from other countries. It is against this benchmark that Onwumere (2014) opined that if Nigeria still nurses the dream of becoming relevant in the technological arena, she must of necessity pay a rapt attention to the development of science and technology or run the risk of occupying the position of a western technological dumping ground. One may then conclude that more resources both human and material be ‘channeled in order to rescue the dismal technological condition of Nigeria.


5.2 Recommendations

Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations were made:

  1. For effective delivery of chemistry, sufficient and varieties of instructional materials
  2. Chemistry textbooks should be made available in all secondary schools.
  3. Standard and functional workshops should be built in schools. Other instructional materials like audio-visual media and information and communication technologies should be installed and their use made compulsory in schools.
  4. Alternative steady power supplies should be made available for the schools so as to allow the insufficient time with the electrically operated equipment/facilities in the workshops.
  5. Chemistry curriculum is not difficult to teach and learn if qualified science specialist teachers handle it.
    Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria, (TRCN) should therefore ensure that only qualified and professional teachers, who are legally registered, are allowed to teach.

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