Influence Of Teachers’ Characteristics On Students’ Achievement In Chemistry In Senior Secondary Schools In Edo Central Senatorial District

Project and Seminar Material for Chemistry Education

Influence Of Teachers’ Characteristics On Students’ Achievement In Chemistry In Senior Secondary Schools In Edo Central Senatorial District


The study assessed teacher’s characteristics on student’s achievement in senior secondary schools in Edo Central Senatorial district. Teacher’s characteristics were based on professional qualification, experience and quality of teaching on students’ academic achievement.

The research design used was the survey research design. 500 SS2 chemistry students and all the chemistry teachers were randomly sampled from 25 senior secondary schools in the area of study. Questionnaire, standardized objective test and teacher’s interview were instrument used to collect data. Three research questions and three hypotheses formulated in this study were tested and analyzed using t-test of independent samples.

The results of the data analysis showed that: There is no significant difference in achievement in chemistry between student taught by professional teachers and students taught by non-professional teachers. Experienced teachers are superior to the inexperienced teachers in the course of relevance of test construction skills, evaluation of knowledge of student understanding etc.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to Study

Science is very important in the modern technology. Like every other things, science has brought a lot of improvement to the life and property of all inhabitants of the earth. It must be emphatically said that the survival of man and all that man has depends heavily on is science. It is a useful tool which is capable of keeping and sustaining the world.

In recognizing this emphasis in science education has been on the increase. The fact has been evident in the high priority accorded to the teaching and learning of science subjects both at primary and secondary school levels. It’s importance led to the introduction of Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN), comparative Education Study and Adaptation Centre (CESAC) and Mathematical Association of Nigeria (MAN) to foster and increase science education in Nigeria.

Federal, State and Local governments have over the years done quite much to encourage the teaching and learning of science. This is demonstrated in various ways. Such as government budgetary votes, scholarship grants, quiz and other forms of science competition, organization of science seminar workshops and symposia, establishment of University of Science and Technology in various parts of the country and even admission policies into institutions of higher learning, yet achievement in science education especially in chemistry, is low.

Many educationists, scientists have attributed the poor achievement in science education especially chemistry to; lack of professional chemistry teachers, lack of instructional materials, poor methods of instruction, quality of teaching and teacher’s experience among others. These are what constitute teacher’s characteristics.
In Nigeria, there has been live and cry by members of the public over what is regarded as falling standards in education. One notices that such lives and cries come immediately after the release of the yearly senior school certificate examination results. It stands to reason therefore that the notion of the falling standard of education could not be anything else other than the inability on the part of secondary school students to pass the school certificate examination (Oteze, 2009).

Arzi, White and Fensham (1987) identified that one of the causes of poor performance in science education (chemistry) is poor teaching methods employed by teachers. He maintained that teaching means learning with full meaning but oriented towards memorization and recall of facts.

Furthermore Urevbu (1984) identified that lack of instructional materials is also a bane. He explained that due to lack of instructional materials, teachers only carry out experiments while students watch and take notes. Some teachers place students in large group, which does not give room for real participation by all. Thus, often leads to a situation where students abandon the scientific way of thinking in favour of the learning of definitions and standard procedures. He concluded that there is a belief that real science can be found only in the laboratory amidst fancy and expensive equipment and not among the ordinary everyday things of life.

He also stated that lack of qualified teachers militates against high performance of students in sciences especially in chemistry, he noted poor staffing, not taking into consideration on the compatibility of the teacher with the learner as well as teaching the subject they are not at home with and not giving the teacher training opportunities within and outside the country. Teaching depends on education who deeply understands subject matter and how to teach in ways that motivate children and help them learn, this is known as pedagogical content knowledge.

Acquisition of pedagogical content knowledge is within the limits of teachers’ preparatory programmes which in Nigeria includes Colleges of Education and Universities at the respective science departments leading to the award of NCE and B.Sc. (Ed) degrees. (These preparatory programmes admit and graduate thousands of trained teachers annually yet the poor performance of science subjects especially chemistry persist.

Today, the knowledge possessed by chemistry teachers is not quite clear. Some have pedagogical skills as a result of their teacher preparatory programmes, while others had never offered a course in pedagogy. Thus, this study takes an in-depth analysis of assessing teacher’s characteristics on student’s academic achievement in chemistry.

1.2 Statement of Problem

There has been a public outcry on the poor standard of educational system resulting in the production of poor quality output that are neither self reliant nor able to contribute effectively in the world of work (Ochuba and Ifedili, 2008).

The general impression that Nigerian educational system is whirling out of control is very embarrassing to many concerned citizens. There is a general feeling that the high rate of students’ poor performance in chemistry can be attributed to teacher’s characteristics in terms of; inadequacy of chemistry teachers, professional qualification, method of instruction, quality of teaching and experience. Nigerian needs to meet global standard in delivery education in Nigeria.

It is a common knowledge that there are not enough qualified chemistry teachers in the secondary schools, Edo State in general, Edo Central Senatorial district in particular. Many chemistry teachers in the secondary schools are not professional teachers. Could this be the reason for poor achievement in chemistry? The teacher is the hub of the educational system because the school cannot be better than its teachers. The training of the young minds is not a thing to toy with; this is why it is wrong to assume that teaching is what anybody can do if he knows his subject.
The study therefore, will assess the effect of teacher’s characteristics on students’ achievement in terms of; qualification of chemistry teachers, experience, method of instruction, quality of teaching, attitude of caring, the number of chemistry teacher available and the level of students’ performance at senior secondary schools.

1.3 Research Questions

For the purpose of this study, three (3) research questions were raised:

  1. Is there any difference in achievement in chemistry between students taught by professional teachers and students taught by non-professional teachers?
  2. Is there any difference in achievement in chemistry between students taught by experience teachers and students taught by inexperience teachers?
  3. Is there any relationship between students’ achievement in chemistry and the teacher’s quality of teaching?

1.4 Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were tested:

  1. H0: There is no significant difference in achievement in chemistry between students taught by professional teachers and students taught by non-professional teachers.
  2. H0: There is no significant difference in achievement in chemistry between students taught by experience teachers and students taught by inexperience teachers.
  3. H0: There is no significant relationship between students’ achievement in chemistry and the teacher’s quality of teaching.

1.5 Purpose of Study

This study was undertaken for the purpose of assessing teacher’s characteristics in terms of:

  1. Teachers’ professional qualification.
  2. Methods of instruction.
  3. Teaching experience.
  4. Quality of Teaching.
  5. Teachers’ instructional knowledge
  6. Teachers’ representational knowledge.
  7. Teachers’ subject matter knowledge.
  8. Teachers’ evaluation of knowledge of student understanding.

All these affect student’s achievement in senior secondary school chemistry in Edo Senatorial district.

1.6 Significant of the Study

This project work is necessitated by the low level of achievement of chemistry students in external examination in Nigeria. This has led to lack of trained personnel in science oriented careers as well as a fall in the understanding of contemporary technology. The result of this research work would provide useful information for the basic steps needed to construct a valid and reliable test items.

This investigative study would be useful to the curriculum developers who will know the area of emphasis for better results in the future.

The finding of this research work would also be useful to teachers, as it would provide opportunity to reflect on their classroom teaching. Furthermore, it would provide information for improving the pedagogy content knowledge of pre-service science teachers.

Lastly, this project work is beneficial to the academicians since data and materials available were based on empirical studies.

Delimitation of the StudyThe study covers twenty-five (25) senior secondary schools in Edo Central Senatorial District. Simple random sampling technique was used to select five (5) senior secondary schools in each Local Government Area of the five (5) Local government Areas in Edo Central Senatorial District. These schools were selected based on the following, viz:

State public secondary schools, Private secondary schools, Christian secondary schools. These schools chosen are good representation of single and mixed schools.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

Limiting factors or constraints is a common feature to any venture in which a project of this kind is not excluded.
It was not possible to consider a large sample because of time. Finally, some teachers were rather reluctant to give necessary information regarding their personal and academic data.

1.8 Operational Definition of Terms


This is the act of judging or forming an opinion about written and oral examination.

Teacher’s Characteristics:

This is a typical feature or quality of a teacher.

Pedagogical Content Knowledge:

In this work, it is used as the teacher knowledge of the subject matter (content) and the general knowledge of the instructional methods or teaching methods in which teacher use to effect learning in the classroom.

Instructional Knowledge:

It deals with teachers’ teaching strategies and the extend it explains and cover the content.

Subject Matter Knowledge:

It refers to the extent to which the teacher explains and demonstrates a comprehension of purposes and ideas within the discipline.

Representational Knowledge:

It deals with the extent the teacher can use diagrams, graph stories and analogies to explain scientific ideas concept and principles.


This is the systematic application of scientific knowledge or thoughts to practical tasks, in industry aimed at producing goods and services for the benefit of mankind.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain the influence of teachers characteristics on the achievement of secondary school students in chemistry.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of on the influence of teachers characteristics on the achievement of secondary school students in chemistry.

5.2 Summary

This study investigated the influence of teacher characteristics on secondary schools students’ academic achievement in chemistry. The findings reveal that student academic achievement (in 2007, 2008 and 2009) was below average for 45% of the schools, achievement was on average while (25%) of schools had high student academic achievement. The poor performance was attributed to inadequate number of teachers in most secondary schools within the District. On teacher qualification, the study established that 65% of teachers were degree holders, 25% had diploma certificates while only 10% were untrained. Cross tabulation results suggest that there was no difference in performance between teachers who had degrees or diploma suggesting that teacher qualification did not result to increased student academic achievement. The chi square result illustrate that there is no significant result between teacher qualification and student academic achievement. Participation of teachers in professional development programmes has benefited a lot with improvisation of teaching methods. Teachers with 3 years and above of teaching, recorded higher student academic achievement. This led to rejection of null hypothesis that there was no significant relationship between teacher experience and student academic achievement.

5.3 Conclusion

From the study, it is concluded that three out of four independent variables could predict the dependent variable. For student’s achievement, school location, laboratory adequacy and frequency of practical classes were predictors as they have significant effects on the academic achievement of chemistry students especially at secondary schoollevel. School type was found to have significant effect on students’ achievement in chemistry. These factors have indicated the area that need to be addressed in order to enhance the learning outcomes of students in chemistry. If the government and other stakeholders in education industry could improve on the school factors, it is very likely that students’ achievement in chemistry will improve.

5.4 Recommendation

The following recommendations are hereby made based on the findings of the study. Government and school authorities should through the allocation of funds, materials and apparatus for sciences teaching make school laboratories more adequate for effective implementation for Chemistry curriculum so as to enhance the performance of students. A range of authentic assessment such as hands on performance tasks, constructed response investigations and open-ended questions are recommended. Students should be exposed to more laboratory applications and activities so that they can recognize laboratory materials and equipment. A compulsory practical examination at the JSCE is also suggested. It is the investigators’ opinion that various schools should find a way of helping in generating funds for the laboratories. Chemistry teachers too should try to improvise materials for practical work where possible so as to lighten the financial burden of school administrators while the government should improve on the funding of schools to alleviate this problem. Practical activities should be taught by techniques that will generate interest in students. It therefore follows that the students who do not show significant interest in Chemistry are not likely to internalize concepts learnt inthis subject and may consequently not able to apply them in life experience.

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