Senior Secondary School Student’s Misconceptions In Physics
This study investigated the senior secondary school student’s misconceptions in Physics in various Local Government Area of Lagos state. The major misconceptions were outlined and the hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance using gender, age and cultural as moderator variable. Two hundred and sixty-four(264) SSS I-III Physics students were randomly selected from Eight (8) Senior Secondary Schools purposively selected from four (4) various Local Government Area of Lagos which constituted the sample of the study.. The instruments were subjected to face, content and empirical validations. The data collected were analyzed using Pearson moment correlation, T-test. The results of the study showed a positive significant relationship between students ‘gender and misconception in physics. Other findings of the study are: there was significant relationship between the cultural background of student and misconception in Physics. There was no significant relationship between the students’ age and misconception in physics. The researcher recommended that for students’ understanding of basic concepts in Physics, attention should be focused on enhancing the students’ understanding by providing adequate competent teachers and environmental factors; since students cultural background is an important variable in achievement.
Table of Content
- Title Page
- Table of Content
- List of Tables
- 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
Review of Literature
- 2.1 Conceptual Framework
- 2.2 Theoretical Framework
- 2.3 Empirical Review
- 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
Data Presentation and Analysis
- 4.1 Data Presentation
- 4.2 Analysis of Data
- 4.3 Answering Research Questions
- 4.4 Test of Hypotheses
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
- 5.1 Summary
- 5.2 Conclusion
- 5.3 Recommendation
1.1 Background of the Study
The major concepts which underline and unify the topics in the SSS physics curriculum content are motion and energy. Relevance of the topics to society in terms of application is stressed throughout. Only the topics which are directly derivable from the concepts and their sub concepts were selected. Generally, the approach in the curriculum is to treat the topics under a unifying concept in a general form and provide some elaboration in the applications in order to advocate relevance and use copious illustration to aid understanding.
Research on physics learning has revealed that students come to their physics course with already ideas about the world that differ from accepted scientific ideas. This initial common sense will be used to refer to misconception. There is a research which showed that it is difficult for students to change their initial common sense (McDermott,1990) because their own believes are grounded in long personal experience. Changing initial ideas of students is often difficult. It is necessary to connect the new knowledge with their existing knowledge structure.
The effectiveness of introductory physics instruction is important to improve student attitudes toward an understanding of scientific process; for example, improve ability in quantitative problem solving, improve students’ laboratory skill, improve students’ understanding of physics concepts, and reasoning skill. Some scientific explanation of physical phenomena often differs from the intuitive ideas or existing conceptual structures. How physics is learned and designing more effective approaches to teach physics will be our ultimate goal.
One of difficult topics in teaching physics is electricity and magnetism students often have difficulty in understanding electricity and magnetism because it is the abstract nature of the subject which is difficult to visualize and the mathematical relationships can be complex. Electricity and magnetism is seen as a central area of physics curricula at all level of education, primary, secondary and tertiary. Students’ understanding of concept in electricity and magnetism has not been investigated in as great detail as in mechanics. Some research showed that teaching methods can be developed to change students’ ideas in electricity and magnetism with scientific model like conceptual conflict and analogies (Driver et al.1994).
Over the last 20 years, physics education research has revealed that students already have a number of ideas about how physical systems behave even before they start to study physics. In many cases these ideas often called alternative conceptions or common sense science differ from accepted scientific ideas. Other research has shown that it is difficult for students to change their initial ideas.
The development and extensive use of the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) conceptual test concerning some basic kinematics and Newton’s three laws has raised the consciousness of many physics teachers about the effectiveness of traditional education. Many physics instructors have expressed an interest in assessing students’ knowledge of electricity and magnetism. However, developing an instrument to assess students’ ideas in electricity and magnetism is a very different task than development of the FCI.
Student’s preconceptions in science have since aroused science educators’ interest for over 30years because of the principle idea of constructivist learning theory, which was stated as “students come to the learning environment with the preconceptions, which were formed during their interactions within physical and social environment and those preconceptions affect learning” (Pfundt and Duit, 2006). The main interest of studies focus on those preconceptions of which especially contradict with scientific knowledge and create problems in learning. In this study, the notion of misconception was used for such preconceptions. Research carried out resulted with some findings about the main features of misconceptions. These findings are listed below (Driver and Bell, 1986; Driver, 1989; Mutimucuio, 1998; Widodo et al., 2002; Tyler, 2002).
- Misconceptions of students who have different culture, religion and language arefrequently similar to each other.
- Misconceptions may deeply penetrate into students’ minds and resist to change.
- Everyday language, culture and religion can cause the formation of misconceptions.
- Misconceptions can be parallel to the explanations made by earlier scientists in interpreting scientific phenomena.
Misconceptions may develop after a formal teaching. Many researchers came up with the same findings during the investigation of students’ misconceptions about simple electric circuits (Osborne, 1983; Cohen at al., 1982; Tiberghien, 1983; Shipstone, 1984; Kärrqvist, 1985; Shipstone et al., 1988; McDermott and Shafer, 1992; Barges et al., 1999; Lee and Law, 2001; Küçüközer, 2003).
The most frequently encountered findings are given below:
- The concepts of current, energy and potential difference are not respected as different concepts and used interchangeably with each other.
- Current is consumed by circuit components.
- Current comes out from the (+) pole of the battery and enters to the bulb where it is consumed to light the bulb which is not affected by the second wire connected between the (-) pole and itself.
- Current comes out from the both poles of the battery and clashes in the bulb to light it.
- Current is divided equally in each line of the parallel circuits.
- Positively charged object have gained protons, rather than being deficient in electron.
- A change before the bulb affects the brightness of the bulb in circuit connected in series but the same bulb is not affect by change in anywhere of the circuit after the bulb.
- Batteries are constant current sources.
Misconceptions outlined above were reported in studies conducted with students in different countries and with different age groups. Shipstone et al.’s (1988) study is an important research, which summarizes that students in five European countries also have similar misconceptions about simple electric circuits.
The misconception of “current is consumed by circuit components” which is listed above is almost reported in all studies about electric circuits. Students sometimes may have misconceptions stemming from the use of everyday language (Gilbert et al., 1982; Leach and Scott, 2003). Gilbert et al. (1982)
The misconception of senior secondary student in physics can also be linked to the teacher’s methods of imparting and evaluating physics in classrooms, the teacher’smethod of imparting and evaluating physics is a major cause of misconception among senior secondary school student in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The issue of misconception in physics in senior secondary schools is a major problem that befalls the educational sector.
Yearly, students record massive failure in physics especially in the West African secondary school certificate exam (WASSCE) and the newly introduced National Examination Council(NECO) Examination.
New effective methods of teaching and learning physics needs to be designed to curb misconception of students in physics and to improve the academic achievement of students in senior secondary schools.
Recognizing effective method of teaching and learning, if considered can improve the level of academic achievement of students in senior secondary schools physics. The study is aimed at identifying effects of these methods on academic performance of students and also to determine the extent to which the methods can modify or change students’ academic performance in physics.
1.3 Purpose of Study
The general focus point of this research study is to make an inquiry into senior secondary school misconception in physics. However, this study is set out to achieve certain objectives, which is the main purpose why this research work is embarked upon.
The purpose of the study are as follows;
- To outline the major misconceptions of student in physics.
- To determine the difference between misconception of male students in physics and female student in physics.
- To determine if the misconception of student in physics is dependent on student cultural background.
- To determine the relationship of age and misconceptions of students in physics.
1.4 Research Question
- What are the major misconceptions of students in physics?
- Is there difference between the misconception of male and female students in physics?
- What is the relationship between the misconceptions of students’ in physics and their cultural background?
- What is the relationship of age and students’ misconception in physics?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
H01: There is no significant difference between the misconceptions ofmale and female students in physics.
H02: There is no significant relationship between cultural background and misconceptions of students in physics.
H03: There is no significant relationship between student’s age and misconceptions in physics.
1.6 Significance of Study
The significances of this study cannot be under estimated or over emphasized. Firstly, this study tends add to the body of general knowledge and existing research of the subject inquiry. Secondly, this study emphasizes the urgent need to vigorously examine the misconceptions of senior secondary school students in science (physics). This will not only help to curb the general misconceptions in senior secondary school, it will also enhance and improve the student knowledge and skills in the area of science (physics) as well as related subjects. Furthermore, this study stresses the need to implement the national policies that will aid the training of specialized and qualified teachers in the area of science development in Nigeria. This will further strengthen and increase the nation’s status in terms of science development within the global world as well as enhance the adoption of scientific application in all works of life socially, politically and economically.
1.7 Scope of Study
The scope of study will cover senior secondary school student, specifically senior secondary students within the various Local Government Area of Lagos State. This study is limited to senior secondary students only due to speculated and limited time frame this study is expected to be carried out.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
Like in every human endeavour, the researcher encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher 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. More so, the researcher simultaneously engaged in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.
1.9 Definition of Terminologies
Terms and concepts are very central to the understanding of any scientific research. More so, it is imperative to give operational definitions that will be used for the study. This will help make the study explicit and at the same time give the reader a thorough understanding of the central terms concept used in the study.
Is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanation prediction about the universe.
A view or opinion that is incorrect based on faulty thinking or understanding.
Is a process of acquiring new, or modifying existing, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preference and may involve synthesizing different types of information (Sandman et al, 2000). For the purpose of this study learning will be restricted to the development of science.
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.
Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations
This study investigated the senior secondary school student’s misconceptions in Physics in various Local Government Area of Lagos state. The major misconceptions were outlined and the hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance using gender, age and cultural as moderator variable. Two hundred and sixty-four (264) SSS I-III Physics students were randomly selected from Eight (8) Senior Secondary Schools purposively selected from four (4) various Local Government Area of Lagos which constituted the sample of the study.
Self- structured questionnaire was issued to the respondent of which sixty-two (262) were returned and two hundred and fifty-nine (259) were validated for the study. The study made use of of descriptive analysis and inferential statistics where data from field survey was analyzed using simple percentage presented in frequencies and tables. The instruments were subjected to face, content and empirical validations. The data collected were analyzed using Pearson moment correlation, T-test.
Physics is considered as one of the most prevailing and problematic subject by the students in the natural science. Students believe physics as a difficult subject during high school and become more when they reach university.. The objective of this article is to find out students’ beliefs about physics learning and influencing factors and hence, has been reviewed systematically from over seventy different findings done. These beliefs are internally built in a person and can be difficult to alter. These lead us to perceive how students‘physics beliefs can shape their behaviors as to how they relate to learning physics. Student’ beliefs toward physics are both positive and negative. Students who demonstrated positive beliefs tended to enjoy and learn effectively when they clearly understood physics well. Conversely, students with negative attitudes usually put less effort into their learning process. Most students disliked learning physics because it is believed to be difficult. Different factors have been examined from over hundred articles reviews that influence students’ beliefs towards learning physics. These are the students’ self-concept, self-efficacy and confidence contribute highly students’ beliefs towards learning physics and intern affect for success or failure physics subject. Secondly teachers’ personal experiences affect approaches to teaching; experience with schooling and instruction influences beliefs about children’s learning and the role of teacher and formal knowledge in the context of pedagogical knowledge has been found to influence teacher beliefs. Teachers who do not provide support or show patience can have a negative impact on students’ achievement.
The results of the study showed a positive significant relationship between students ‘gender and misconception in physics. Other findings of the study are: there was significant relationship between the cultural background of student and misconception in Physics. There was no significant relationship between the students’ age and misconception in physics.
From the findings of the study, the researcher recommends thus:
- For students’ understanding of basic concepts in Physics, attention should be focused on enhancing the students’ understanding by providing adequate competent teachers and environmental factors; since students cultural background is an important variable in achievement.
- Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) of the state should endeavour to provide opportunities for refresher courses for Physics teachers for them to be better informed about how to improve the academic performance of their students in the subject for technological advancement of the nation.
- The Ministry of Education ditto the School Principals should ensure adequate and effective supervision of the teaching of Physics in Secondary Schools in the Ekiti State. Government should also provide modern science laboratory equipments to schools and information communication technology centre to all the schools.
- As it is often recognized in policy documents, performance in school-based assessment should be integrated into the grading and assessment framework of external extermination.
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