Problem Solving Learning Strategy And Students’ Academic Performance In Stoichiometry In Chemistry

Project and Seminar Material for Chemistry Education

Problem Solving Learning Strategy And Students’ Academic Performance In Stoichiometry In Chemistry


Abstract


This study on an evaluation of problem solving learning strategy and students’ academic performance in stoichiometry in chemistry. The study is was specifically focused on examining if problem-solving method can enhance critical thinking among secondary school student; ascertaining if brainstorming as a problem-based technique has the capacity of inculcating problem solving skill into secondary school student; investigating if problem-based teaching method is more innovative and preferable that the traditional lecture method and examining if teacher’s problem-solving skill as a student centred method is capable of influencing student academic achievement. The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 100 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are students selected secondary schools in Lagos state. It is hereby concluded in this study that problem-solving skills is more effective than conventional lecture method in improving students‟ achievement and that the use of the problem-solving method is the solution to the dwindling performance of students.


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 of the Study

The success of any nation’s education and manpower development is crucial to that nation’s economic growth. Education is the bedrock of any country’s economic development and technological advancement. Education, as one of the oldest industries, is the primary tool used by society to preserve, update, upgrade, and maintain the social heritage in a balanced state. According to the Federal Ministry of Education (2013), education’s goal is to teach students rational thinking, knowledge, skill, self-efficiency, and self-reliance in addition to literacy. One of the major goals of education in Nigeria, according to Uza (2014), is the acquisition of appropriate skills, development of mental, physical, and social ability that houses human and individual endeavor to live and contributes to the development of society. Teachers are expected to use innovative teaching methods during instruction in order to achieve the educational goal, resulting in poor academic achievement. This pattern of poor student achievement in class subjects indicates that the vast majority of students who enroll in examinations graduate without understanding the fundamentals of those subjects. According to research reports (Agba, 2004), most teachers prefer to use traditional teaching methods when delivering curriculum. As a result, Efe and Efe (2011) advocated for teachers to use a variety of innovative teaching methods, such as problem-solving, in delivering lessons as an intervention. Poor teaching and learning methods obstruct learners’ acquisition of functional knowledge, science process skills, and the development of problem-solving abilities. According to ipaye (1991), the traditional lecture method is ineffective in achieving the goals of teaching Social Studies. Ipaye (1991) came to the conclusion that Nigerian students’ performance in the West African School Certificate Examinations (WASCE) had deteriorated over time. As a result, he suggested that professional teachers experiment with new teaching methods in order to stem the tide of poor exam performance. Adewuya (2003) also discovered that, as a result of the lecture method used in schools, the rate of absorption in secondary schools is as low as 20 to 30%. In Ekiti State, Nigeria, Abdu-Raheem (2010) concluded that the lecture method is ineffective in teaching Social Studies in secondary schools.

In order to meet this challenge, education must seek more dependable and effective ways of instruction for pupils, in order to develop abilities in learners that will enable them to compete successfully in a technology and scientific-dominated society. Long (1991) suggests that instructors will need to be adaptable, dynamic, insightful, and ready to cope with change while presenting a new vision for teacher educators. He went on to say that competent instructors will be able to reflect on their teaching practices in order to suit the requirements of their pupils. When compared to the traditional technique used by science instructors in Nigeria, these novel tactics have not been used (Owolabi, 2006). Questioning, sorting, field excursions, interviewing, brainstorming, role-playing, projects, utilization of resource individuals, library searches, and other creative activities are all used in problem-solving (Adewuya 2003).

Chemistry is one of the most important subject in science and therefore it is offered in the Nigerian secondary school curriculum. A credit pass in the senior secondary certificate examination is required to get admission into almost all basic and applied science discipline in tertiary institutions.

Research has shown that Nigerian students persistently perform poorly in chemistry owing to poor problem- solving in stoichiometry (Opara, 2013; Udosoro, 2011; Badru, 2004). West African Examinations Council (WAEC) Chief Examiners, perennially report on students’ weaknesses in chemical arithmetic, poor mathematical skills and inability to determine mole ratio from stoichiometric equations (2007 – 2017). The field of stoichiometry involves all forms of measurements and the calculations that relate to each other. Stoichiometry is at the heart of chemistry since it refers to the relationship between the measured quantities in a chemical reaction as well as the calculation which include the assumption of the laws of definite proportions and of the conservation of matter and energy. Stoichiometry requires that the number of atoms or molecules involved in chemical reaction be converted into measured quantities expressible in convenient units. Parker (1983) proposed four groups that constitute the principle of stoichiometry.
They are:

  1. The law of conservation of matter
  2. The law of chemical combining weights
  3. The law of combining proportions
  4. The rates of reaction relationships in a system.

Calculations involving these principles are of great significance in engineering practice and existing operations or designing new manufacturing particles and equipment. A solid foundation in stoichiometry is necessary for understanding quantitative deductions in physical chemistry.

Despite the relevance of stoichiometry in physical chemistry studies have shown that learners find stoichiometric calculations difficult (Evans, Yaron and Leinhardt, 2008; Fach, de Boer and Parchmann, 2007 and Furio, Azconu and Guisasola, 2002). Evidence of students’ misconceptions and understanding of stoichiometry exists in literature (Gauchon and Meheut, 2007; Arasasington, Taagepera and Potter 2004). Other researches attempted to develop problem-solving models and instructional strategies to foster students’ success in stoichiometry (Chandrasegran, Treagust, Waldrip and Chandrasegaran, 2009). There is a clear relationship between students’ proficiency in mathematics and their understanding of chemical arithmetic (Badru, 2004). Thus, it is essential to create anxiety-free environment within a social, democratic field where learners can fully participate in the learning process and engage one another’s intellectual, academic and social aptitudes.

Within the last decades, observation has shown that in spite of the various innovations introduced into science teaching in general and chemistry in particular, the performance of students still remains low. This is buttressed by the poor performance of students in West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

Problem solving is an application of previously acquired knowledge and skills to achieve certain goals. Various definitions of problem-solving abound in the literature. Every researcher and author defines it in terms of his/her own psychological orientations. Krulik and Rudnick (as cited in Carson, 2007) defined problem solving as the means by which a person uses previously acquired knowledge, skills, and understanding to satisfy the demands of an unfamiliar situation. The student must synthesize what he or she has learned, and apply it to a new and different situation.

Behaviorists view it in terms of association between the problem situations and ideas or objects that may have the greatest potentials for providing the correct solutions. The solution to a problem is seen as a matter of scanning and association; connecting chains of conditioned responses; turning up the right association or searching for the responses that can be associated with the problematic situation. It is described as reproductive thinking such as drill and practice; trial and error. Gestaltist view problem solving as an insightful or intuitive process involving the perceptual processes of the solver. Cognitivists view problem-solving in terms of information processing involving internal mediating factors and refer it to the mental process that people go through to discover, analyze and solve problems. This involves the entire discovery of the problems, the decision to tackle the issue, and understanding the problem itself.

If the understanding of the problem is faulty, the attempts to resolve it will also be incorrect or flawed. It is a type of discovery learning, whose emergence depends on the structure of the task, and may be independent of the solver’s prior knowledge. It largely depends on the solver’s ability to discover general procedures for solving problems of particular kinds through certain manipulations at times involving a period of fumbling and search, and of the emergence of correct hypotheses. In this case, the problem-solving is reflective of a process of progressive clarification of means-ends relationships in which formulations, testing and rejection of alternative hypotheses plays a leading role.

Carson (2007) stated three characteristics of problem solving as

  1. Connecting theory and practice.
  2. Problem-solving teaches creativity.
  3. It also teaches transfer and application of conceptual knowledge.

Villegas, Castro and Guterrez (as cited in Mushtaq, 2010) also stated two characteristics of problem-solving as

  1. Providing opportunity for practicing heuristics as a valuable procedure producing added motivation due to their potential for application and
  2. Providing creativity required in using multiple mental representations.

Problem solving is also very important to students. It can also be said that problem-solving is like a fun game, it stimulates the students and makes them enthusiastic. It makes the process of teaching and learning lively. Problem solving provides students with the chance to solidify and extend their knowledge and also stimulate new learning (Akinsola, 2008). Problem-solving can be concluded to be part of classroom instruction as well-developed problem-solving skills are important for a wide variety of reasons.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Over the years, complaints have been raised regarding the deteriorating quality of education in Nigeria. The average students’ performance in the senior secondary school certificate examination (SSCE) and the national examination council (NECO) is nothing to write home about which unfortunately does not favour the technical growth and advancement of the country. Considering the significance of education, it is vital to focus on teachers’ problem-solving abilities to bring about desired improvement in students’ learning result and physics most notably in senior secondary schools.

Recent research have demonstrated that there is a tremendous influence of teachers’ problem solving abilities on students’ learning styles which in turn impacts their performance. For example Rockoff (2004), Hanushek (1998, 2005) revealed that teachers’ problem solving abilities and competency in terms of quality contributes for at least seven percent and one standard deviation rise in students’ academic success. The low performance of pupils in the subject has been a serious issue to many stakeholders in the topic. Like any other science topic, the curriculum of this activity-based course stress the use of the activity-based style of learning. Unfortunately, as reported by researchers such as Lakpini (2006) and Lawal, (2009) teachers shy away from activity-based teaching method and rely mostly on easy go lecture method which in most cases are often inadequate and inappropriate for meaningful learning to take place. It is on this point that the study explored the teachers’ problem-solving skills and their impact on students’ academic achievement.


1.3 Objective of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to examine teachers’ problem-solving skills and their impact on students’ academic achievement using Lagos State as case study.

Specifically, the study seeks to:

  1. Determine if problem-solving method can enhance critical thinking among secondary school student.
  2. Ascertain if brainstorming as a problem-based technique has the capacity of inculcating problem solving skill into secondary school student.
  3. Investigate if problem-based teaching method is more innovative and preferable that the traditional lecture method.
  4. Examine if teacher’s problem-solving skill as a student centred method is capable of influencing student academic achievement.

1.4 Research Question

  1. Is brainstorming as a problem-solving strategy has the capacity of inculcating problem solving skill into secondary school student.
  2. Does problem-based teaching method more innovative and preferable that the traditional lecture method of teaching stoichiometry in chemistry.
  3. Is the teacher’s problem-solving skill as a student centred method capable of influencing student academic achievement in stoichiometry in chemistry

1.5 Research Hypothesis

  • HO1: Brainstorming as a problem-based technique is not capable of inculcating problem solving skill into secondary school student.
  • HO2: Teacher’s problem-solving skill as a student centred method is not capable of influencing student academic achievement.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study is built on the framework that the findings will have both practical and theoretical significance. The study will benefit teachers, students’ curriculum planners and educational administrators. The study might be deemed theoretically significant because it will provide insights into the current existing theories which could influence problem solving. Curriculum planners would utilize the information from the findings of the study in curriculum planning. The information could help the curriculum planners to determine the adequacy of problem-solving aspect of senior secondary biology curriculum. Finally, the study would contribute empirically to the body of existing literature and it would serve as a reference source to students or other researchers who might want to carry out their research on the similar topic.


1.7 Scope of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to examine problem solving learning strategy and students’ academic performance in stoichiometry in chemistry. The study will determine if problem-solving method can enhance critical thinking among secondary school student. It will ascertain if brainstorming as a problem-based technique has the capacity of inculcating problem solving skill into secondary school student.

It will investigate if problem-based teaching method is more innovative and preferable that the traditional lecture method. The study is however delimited to selected secondary schools Ikeja 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.


1.9 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.

Problem-Solving Skill:

Problem solving method, student learn by working on problems. This enables the students to learn new knowledge by facing the problems to be solved. The students are expected to observe, understand, analyze, interpret find solutions, and perform applications that lead to a holistic understanding of the concept.

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 an evaluation of problem solving learning strategy and students’ academic performance in stoichiometry in chemistry a case study of selected secondary schools in Lagos state. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was on an evaluation of problem solving learning strategy and students’ academic performance in stoichiometry in chemistry a case study of selected secondary schools in Lagos state). The study is was specifically focused on examining if problem-solving method can enhance critical thinking among secondary school student; ascertaining if brainstorming as a problem-based technique has the capacity of inculcating problem solving skill into secondary school student; investigating if problem-based teaching method is more innovative and preferable that the traditional lecture method and examining if teacher’s problem-solving skill as a student centred method is capable of influencing student academic achievement.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 100 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are students selected secondary schools in Lagos state.


5.3 Conclusions

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

It is hereby concluded in this study that problem-solving skills is more effective than conventional lecture method in improving students‟ achievement and that the use of the problem-solving method is the solution to the dwindling performance of students in Social Studies.


5.4 Recommendation

Based on the findings the researcher recommends that;

  1. Government should emphasize the use of problem-solving to teach Social Studies in secondary schools.
  2. Government should also organize on-the-job training, workshops, seminars and conferences for teachers of Social Studies on effective use of problem solving method of teaching.
  3. Teachers should change from the conventional lecture method to the problem-solving method of teaching Social Studies.

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