Influence Of Culture On Academic Performance Of Secondary School Student In Physics

Physics Education Project Material

Influence Of Culture On Academic Performance Of Secondary School Student In Physics


Abstract


This study was carried out to examine the influence of culture on academic performance of secondary school student in physics using some selected senior secondary schools in Etche Local Government, Rivers State as a case study. The study was specifically carried out to determine whether school value statements influences students’ academic achievement in physics subject, ascertain whether school routine practices influences the students’ academic achievements in physics subject, find out whether the contribution of school beliefs influences students’ academic achievement in physics subject, and ascertain the strategies that could be used to promote positive school culture to improve academic achievement of physics students. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprise of physics teachers of some selected secondary schools in Etche Local Government, Rivers State. In determining the sample size, the researcher conveniently selected 53 respondents and 50 were validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using frequency tables, and mean scores. While the hypotheses were tested using Pearson Correlation statistical tool SPSS v23.The result of the findings reveals that there is a significant relationship between school culture and students’ academic performance in physics. The study further revealed that strategies such as guidance and counselling, entrenchment of discipline, strong in-school relationships, collaborative leadership and ICT integration can be used to promote positive school culture to improve academic achievement of physics students. Therefore, it is recommended that the school principals should practice a collaborative approach in decision making and students as the key recipients of every decision in school should form part of the decision making team. This will enhance collective responsibility toward promoting a positive school culture that enhances academic excellence. This would diminish resistance to changes and eventually shape their discipline positively. To mention but a few.


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

Physics is one of the most important branches of science and a core subject in science which plays important role in the day-to-day activities of man. It occupies a very sensitive position in all science-oriented courses such as engineering, mining, medicine and many others. Students who will pick up careers in sciences and engineering must have undergone training in physics in their secondary school level and must not only be good in physics but must have passed the subject at least at credit level in the senior secondary school examination (SSCE). Besides, physics enables learners to understand the world around them, what happens around them. It helps them to solve simple problems they encounter daily. Fahmy (2000) stated that the most physics aspect of physics is that it applies to our daily lives. The importance of physics in making the world worth living are too numerous to mention. However, it is disheartening to know that despite its key role, it is plagued by persistent low enrolment and under-achievement by students. This has elicited a lot of concern and generated researches to establish the causes of repeated failures. Some of these had been ascribed to poor teaching methods, limited number of professionally trained teachers, lack of instructional facilities, unavailability of suitable practical equipment, inadequate funding among others (simon, 2000; stokking, 2000; ogunniyi, 2009; owolabi and oginni, 2013; bello, 2012). Attempts have been made by educational stakeholders to find ways of improving students’ performance in the subject some of which have focused on identifying appropriate teaching methodology (bello, 2011; orora, wachanga and keraro, 2005, kibett and kathuri, 2005), improving on teachers’ mastery of content and provision of instructional materials (omosewo, 2009; adeyemo, 2011; akinfe, olofinniyi and fashiku, 2012. Despite all these efforts, the performance of students in physics is still below expectation; it is therefore pertinent to consider other factors that could be responsible for under-achievement in the subject. A major cause of under-achievement has been traced to the influence of misconceptions which students bring to science classroom especially physics class (samba, 2003; ivowi, 2010). Research had shown that students’ explanations of scientific phenomena are controlled by what they perceived from their cultural beliefs (okebukola, 2008 and yip, 2009). Learning is known to be culture dependent (mwamwenda, 2007). As noted by okoye and okeke (2007), it has been very difficult to explain most natural occurrences and issues in african life using scientific knowledge; this is because most of the people’s beliefs have been crowded with mythology and superstitions. It is mostly based on power of witchcraft and evil spirits which is a departure from scientific explanations. This has resulted to divergence between students’ daily experience in the classroom and the scientific world with most of the students having significant difficulties in describing, understanding, physicspreting and predicting natural phenomena (driver et. Al., 2011, engelhardt et al, 2004, osborne and freyberg, 2011). Science educators are now conscious of the need to relate science more closely to the students’ cultural environment in order to minimize the possible conflicts that might arise from their view of the world and that of science. This could be done by carefully considering the traditional point of view that has appropriate relation to scientific concepts. Considerable research on how mental development proceeds in humans has been reported in the literature, over the last five decades. For instance, it is now known that as the child develops biologically, he becomes more aware of the social pressures and environmental stimuli surrounding him. This observation is supported’ by nwachukwu (2013). A child ordinarily adapts to the society in which he finds himself, prior to his starting school. This is perhaps why sawyerr (2007) informed that most students come to school with mental ideas and beliefs, which were learnt from families, friends and the community, at the earlier stage of their mental development. This conclusion is also true of students when they come to science classes, for the first time. In this connection, ameh (2010) observed that students do not come to science classes with what she calls “clean slate”. This is because children usually bring earlier experiences from families, friends and their communities to their science lessons. Such experiences form part of the cultural practices which they imbibed and which they fall back on in their attempt to make sense of their physics lesson in school. Physics according to bajah (2013)

Ausubel (2010) have argued that the construction of new knowledge in science is strongly influenced by prior knowledge that is conceptions gained prior to the new learning. Since physics is an important science subject taught in secondary schools which relates with physical phenomena and how they are connected to man’s daily lives, there is therefore the likelihood of cultural beliefs exerting influence on learning and manipulation of concepts. It is therefore pertinent that physics teachers assist their students to use their knowledge in ways that draw on their cultural experiences for meaningful learning to take place. This study therefore aimed at investigating the influence of culture on academic performance of secondary school student in physics.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Students who study physics come to this class with certain cultural values, experiences and expectations. Sometimes, the physics teacher may not be aware of the nature and scope of these cultural values, practices, experiences and expectations which the students bring into the physics class, and which may invariably affect the students’ academic achievement the subject. A content analysis of the current Nigerian physics curriculum shows that adequate provision may not have been given to 10 enable students integrate well their cultural values, practices, experiences and expectations with physics. This implies that the physics curriculum may be considered by some as being deficient with respect to addressing the issues of cultural values, experiences and practices that tend to conflict with its teaching and learning. This incidentally, will affect students’ achievements in the subject. There is therefore, the need to identify, empirically, the cultural practices which may possibly influence students’ learning of physics concepts.


1.3 Objective of the Study

The main aim of this study is to examine theinfluence of culture on academic performance of secondary school student in physics. Other aims of this study are:

  1. Determine whether school value statements influences students’ academic achievement in physics subject.
  2. Ascertain whether school routine practices influences the students’ academic achievements in physics subject.
  3. Find out whether the contribution of school beliefs influences students’ academic achievement inphysics subject.
  4. Ascertain the strategies that could be used to promote positive school culture to improve academic achievement of physics students.

1.4 Research Question

  1. Does school value statements influence students’ academic achievement in physics subject?
  2. Does school routine practices influence the students’ academic achievements in physics subject?
  3. Does the contribution of school beliefs influence students’ academic achievement in physics subject?
  4. What are the strategies that could be used to promote positive school culture to improve academic achievement of physics students?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

  • Ho: There is no significant relationship between school culture and students’ academic performance in physics.
  • Ha: There is a significant relationship between school culture and students’ academic performance in physics.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The findings of this study are considered significant for physics students, the physics teachers and curriculum experts in physics. For instance, the study is considered significant because it provides empirical evidence on the need to reform the physics curriculum so that it can positively address the identified cultural practices that negatively affect physics learning. By doing this, the study would provide a basis, which will ensure that the objectives of the physics curriculum are locally harmonized with the contents and methods of physics teaching. Asaru (2007) affirmed this stance when he said that in designing a curriculum, the societal needs and its culture need to be vitally considered. The implication is that physics curriculum designers according to him (Asaru, 2007) ought to draw from cultural experiences and practices of the intended learners. By doing this, students are exposed to familiar contents and learning experiences which do not pose any culture threat to them. This invariably will make positive impact on students’ achievements in physics, there is therefore the need to find out what the students of physics know and believe so as to enable the teacher structure his teaching to take Care of obvious cultural factors that may affect the physics learning. The implication here is that, the attitude of the students towards physics learning is very important. For instance, according to Ali (2009: 40), “improving science work and activity requires that the attitudes of science students towards school and science must be improved”. Under achievement might result from the teaching-learning transactions that precipitate or sustain unresolved crisis between the learners and their environment. The physics teacher should be better informed about the cultural practices of the students he teaches, so that he would direct his teaching to enhance the students’ learning. It will also affect the teachers’ choice of teaching method in mixed cultural classes, and will also enhance his diagnosis of students’ special learning difficulties, and of course, his general practices. The theoretical significance of this study is based on the works of David Au’subel’s meaningful learning David Ausubel in his work revealed -that learning is only meaningful to the extent the learner (students) can integrate new knowledge with the existing knowledge (the cultural ideas, values, customs, experiences, expectations and beliefs, which constitute the cultural practices of the people), which the learner brings to the class (Akpan, 2009). Ausubel’s theory emphasized that learning should be related to the learners’ socio-cultural environment to stimulate the interest and engender learning. This means relating the new knowledge being taught to the learners1 previous (existing) knowledge for proper knowledge anchorage.


1.7 Scope of the Study

The scope is mainly to examine the influence of culture on academic performance of secondary school student in physics. However the study will be delimited to some selected senior secondary schools in Etche Local Government, Rivers State.


1.8 Limitations of the Study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. However, the researcher were able to manage these just to ensure the success of this study.

Moreover, the case study method utilized in the study posed some challenges to the investigator including the possibility of biases and poor judgment of issues. However, the investigator relied on respect for the general principles of procedures, justice, fairness, objectivity in observation and recording, and weighing of evidence to overcome the challenges.


1.9 Definition of Terms

Influence:

Ability to have effect on someone or something

Culture:

The ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular people or society

Academic Performance:

The extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their short or long-term educational goals.

School Cultures

Refer to kind of the underlying set of values, norms, beliefs and traditions that form the unwritten rules of how to think, feel and act in an organization that affect performance in schools.


1.10 Organization of the Studies

The study is categorized into five chapters. The first chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions and hypothesis, the significance of the study, scope/limitations of the study, and definition of terms. The chapter two covers the review of literature with emphasis on conceptual framework, theoretical framework, and empirical review. Likewise, the chapter three which is the research methodology, specifically covers the research design, population of the study, sample size determination, sample size, and selection technique and procedure, research instrument and administration, method of data collection, method of data analysis, validity and reliability of the study, and ethical consideration. The second to last chapter being the chapter four presents the data presentation and analysis, while the last chapter(chapter five) contains the summary, conclusion and recommendation.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on the influence of culture on academic performance of secondary school student in physics using some selected senior secondary schools in Etche Local Government, Rivers State as a 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 to examine the influence of culture on academic performance of secondary school student in physics using some selected senior secondary schools in Etche Local Government, Rivers State as a case study. The study was specifically carried out to determine whether school value statements influences students’ academic achievement in physics subject, ascertain whether school routine practices influences the students’ academic achievements in physics subject, find out whether the contribution of school beliefs influences students’ academic achievement in physics subject, and ascertain the strategies that could be used to promote positive school culture to improve academic achievement of physics students.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 50 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent werephysics teachers of some selected secondary schools in Etche Local Government, Rivers State.


5.3 Conclusions

Based on the findings of this study, the researcher concluded that;

  1. School value statements influences students’ academic achievement in physics subject,
  2. School routine practices influences the students’ academic achievements in physics subject.
  3. The contribution of school beliefs influences students’ academic achievement in physics subject,
  4. Strategies such as guidance and counselling, entrenchment of discipline, strong in-school relationships, collaborative leadership and ICT integration can be used to promote positive school culture to improve academic achievement of physics students.

5.4 Recommendations

Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations are proffered.

  1. The government through the ministry of education should organize in-service training for the principals, and the teachers on issues to do with school culture.
  2. The ministry should encourage principals and teachers to further their education in order to improve academic performance among the learners. The university and college curriculum for student teachers should incorporate the study of school culture in preparation of teachers for the on the job expectations.
  3. The school principals should practice a collaborative approach in decision making and students as the key recipients of every decision in school should form part of the decision making team. This will enhance collective responsibility toward promoting a positive school culture that enhances academic excellence. This would diminish resistance to changes and eventually shape their discipline positively.
  4. The principal should induct the new teacher on the culture of the school for the teacher to embrace the school values and norms necessary for working in school.
  5. The principal should be in the forefront of learning and interpreting the school culture. He/she should be seen as the symbol and centre of the school culture. He/she should mobilize everybody else in the institution.
  6. The principal in conjunction with the school management committee should understand the school’s culture before they embark on the management and leadership in the school.
  7. The teachers as the curriculum implementers should play their roles effectively by ensuring they understand the school expectations and traditions and communicating the same to the learners. They should embrace beliefs of high achievements and provide conducive environments for teaching and learning. They should enhance better classroom management techniques to ensure learning takes place.

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