Comparison of Students Academic Achievement in Biology between Science and Non Science Secondary Schools
The study was on the Comparison of Students Academic Achievement in Biology between Science and Non Science Secondary Schools in Sokoto metropolis, Sokoto State. The design of the study will be ex-post facto. The population of the study comprises all the senior secondary two (SS2) students of 2021/2022 academic session in the ten (10) public secondary schools in Sokoto Metropolis. The population consisted of ten thousand three hundred and twenty seven (10327) Biology students.
In collecting the data, the researcher structured a twenty itemed multiple choice questions entitled “Biology Achievement Test (BAT)”. Three null hypotheses were postulated and tested using the independent t-test analysis at 0.05 level of significance and the findings revealed that all the null hypotheses were statistically significant. The study revealed that there is a significant difference in students’ academic achievement in biology in science and non science secondary school in Sokoto metropolis.
Comparison of Students Academic Achievement in Biology between Science and Non Science Secondary Schools
This chapter presents the background to the study, statement of problem, purpose of the study, research questions, research hypotheses, significance of the study, delimitation and limitations of the study and definition of terms.
1.1 Background to the study
Science in a broad sense existed before the modern era and in many historical civilizations. Science in its original sense was a word for a type of knowledge rather than a specialized word for the pursuit of such knowledge. In particular, it was the type of knowledge people can communicate to each other and share. It is the bedrock on which modern day technology breakthrough is hinged and also a systematic study of the nature of the behavior of the material and physical universe through observation, experimentation, measurement and recording. Fape (2007) defined science as rationally structured knowledge about nature which embraces systematic methods of positive attitudes for its acquisition, teaching, learning and application.
The objectives of science education in this country according to Maduekwe (2006) includes the need to prepare students to observe and explore the environment, explain simple natural phenomena, develop scientific attitudes including curiosity, critical reflection and objectivity, apply the skills and knowledge gained through science to solve everyday problems in the environment, develop self-confidence and self-reliance through problem solving activities in science. Since the world is turning scientific and all proper functioning of lives depend greatly on science.
The major goal of teaching science is to develop scientifically literate individual that are concerned with high competence for rational thoughts and actions. The overall objective of science as enumerated in Federal Ministry of Education (2008) were to enable students develop interest in science and technology, apply their scientific and technological knowledge and skills to meet societal needs, take advantage of the numerous career opportunity offered by the science and technology, become prepared for further studies in science and technology, to avoid drugs abuse and to be safety and security conscious. Biology as a core science subject that is taught at the senior secondary school level prepares the students for the core science field in tertiary institutions.
The term biology is derived from two Greek words “Bios” and “Logos” which means “life” and “study”, respectively. Biology therefore is the study of living things (plants and animals). Biology engages the people to understand the world around them and so have the ability to make informed choices about their healthcare, the environment and the society in which they live (Karen, 2008). It has become the central intellectual discipline especially in the aspect of biotechnology and indispensable in helping individuals to think more clearly about the values involves in the fast changing world.
It is a natural science concerned with the study of living organisms including their structure, function, growth, distribution and taxonomy (Magna, 2016). Biology is the study of the structure, function, heredity and evolution of all living things: micro-organisms, fungi, plants and animals. There are certain general and unifying concepts within it that govern all the studies and researchers that consolidate it into simple and coherent field.
In general, biology recognizes the cell as the basic unit of life, genes as the basic unit of heredity, evolution as the engine that propels the synthesis and creation of new species. It is also understood today that all organisms survived by consuming and transforming energy and by regulating their internal environment to maintain a stable and vital condition.
Sub-disciplines of biology are defined by the scale at which organisms are studied, the kinds of organisms studied and the methods used to study them. For example Biochemistry examines the rudimentary chemistry of life, molecular biology studies the complex interactions among biological molecules:- Botany is the study of the biology of plants: cellular biology which examines the basic building-blocks of all life cells, physiology which examines the physical and chemical functions of tissues, organs and organ systems of an organism.
Evolutionary biology, examines the processes that produced the diversity of life: Ecology examines how organisms interact in their environment: Zoology, the study of animals: Pathology the study of disease of plants and animals and methods of controlling them. Entomology, the study of insects: Algaelogy which is the study of algae, parastology, the study of parasites and microbiology the study of microorganisms (Magna, 2016).
Biology Education therefore is education in biology which generally aims at training individuals to understand himself or herself, the parts of his or her body and how the body parts function. Hence, the application of principles of education in teaching and learning of biology is known as biology education. It is the art of teaching and training in order to inculcate or transfer the knowledge of biology to students (Okenyi, 2012). For this can afford them the opportunity of contributing meaningfully to the development of the society in one way or the other. The major objectives of biology education in Nigeria are
- To provide the youth with sound knowledge of the basic principles and techniques of biology.
- To produce knowledgeable, highly motivated, professional and effective teachers of biology who will be able to develop in students an appreciation and understanding of biological processes and principles.
- To develop confidence in biology teachers and enhance the ability to adapt to the changing situation in science and the technological oriented society.
- To view biology as a processes of inquiry into the living world.
- To analyze the activities of living things in their environment.
- To demonstrate practical skills in handling scientific apparatus.
- To demonstrate excellence and professional competence in teaching secondary school biology.
- To inculcate positive scientific attitude and value in the society and promote positive disposition towards biology, science and the scientific enterprise.
- To apply concepts and methods acquired in new areas of study and in everyday situation (Ebong, 2011).
Despite the importance of biology in the society, there have been issues of poor academic achievement of students in biology in eternal examinations. The growing incidence of failure on biology rating achievement in external examination was occasioned by poor teaching method adopted by the teacher in teaching of biology. This is because biology as a practical oriented subject needs to be handled in a way which enables the teacher to explain the concepts with concrete evidences minimizing the level of abstraction.
The method used by teachers during lesson delivery to students will determine whether the students will understand or not. When the content is poorly delivered, it will tell on the achievement of the students. It is common to see teachers teaching while students are not learning. This calls for reevaluation by the teachers on his/her method to teaching (Onono, 2016).
Another cause of poor academic achievement of students is lack of extensive reading and poor preparation for examinations. Many students read extensively when examination is fast approaching while others do not even read and resort to examination malpractice. Preparation should be early enough for in-depth/intensive study. It is also noted that some students are hyperactive students. Students in this category tend to lose concentration if not properly handled by teachers and parents and this will tend to reduce their academic achievement in secondary schools among students.
Nyong (2014) in her findings was of the view that the major cause of students’ poor academic achievement is absenteeism among students as some of the students do exhibit truants behavior while they are in school and this influence their behavior in school. Similarly, students who miss classes may have challenges performing optimally.
In view of finding solution to this problem of poor academic achievement, the government has provided supports for students from poor background like scholarships and particularly, in Akwa Ibom State free and compulsory education for children from the primary to the secondary school level (Lazarus, 2014). This has assisted pupils and students in this category to remain focus devoid of trauma of lack of school fees. The state government has also employed more teachers to correspond with the number of students in schools.
On the part of the teachers, there have been several seminars, conferences and symposium for them on the selection and utilization teaching methods proficiency. Also, to arrest students’ attention, interest, curiosity and promote their achievement, the use of activity stimulating and student-centered approach such as concept mapping should be employed instead of depending on the conventional approach during lesson presentation. These have make the current study necessary as it sought to establish the relationship between concept mapping and the academic achievement of students in biology.
Biology as a natural science subject, deals with contents from microscopic organisms to the biosphere in general, encompassing the earth’s surface and all living things (Okwo and Tartiyus, 2004). Looking at the fundamental characteristics and importance of Biology, it is currently viewed as a standard subject of instruction at all levels of our educational systems. It is the only core science subject at Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE), whose study is very relevant to man’s successful living (Akindele, 2009).
Araoye, (2009) opined that exposure to Biology education offer learners a wide range of relevance to all aspects of life. The ideal behind Biology as a course of study is to produce knowledgeable, highly motivated, professional and effective teachers of Biology who will be able to develop in students, an appreciation and understanding of biological process and principles (NCE, 2008). Biology as a subject discipline is quite popular at all levels of Nigerian education. It has a large student enrolment than any other science subject especially at the upper basic level of the Nigerian education (Ofoegbu, 2003).
Poor performance in Biology is also evident among Akwa Ibom State senior secondary school students. The implication of here is that the highest percentage of Akwa Ibom State students that qualified for admission into science and science courses in Nigerian universities is low. This is because of lack of credit pass in Biology. This is quite alarming. Idehen (2017) has been linked to many students’ factors like proper engagement of students in learning processes; school factors such as school type have impacts on students’ academic performance in science (Biology inclusive). School variables here refers to the composition of the school as well as the controlling force in terms of the administration of the school which may include science or non-science schools. It is therefore pertinent to investigate into school variable (science or non-science schools) as they influence the academic achievement of students in the subject.
School is one of the social institutions responsible for the development and training of the mind and development of skills in students. The nation’s overall development is inextricably tied to it educational system as it is the light that shows mankind the right direction as well as being an engine for growth and progress of any society. School is not only imparting knowledge, skills and inculcates values but it also responsible for building, driving innovation and economic growth (Osakinle, 2010).
Sign (2014) stated that learning takes place in a conducive environment within a web of social relationship as teachers and students interacts. All aspects of the school and its surrounding provide survival, protection, development and participation to the students during the teaching of Biology. This means that the focus is on learning which strengthens the capacities of students to act progressively on their own behalf through the acquisition of relevant knowledge, useful skills and appropriate attitudes which help them to create for themselves and others a safety place, security and healthy intervention in promoting students’ academic performance in Biology.
Science education, as enshrined in the Nigerian National Policy on Education, is concerned with qualitative scientific and technological human resources development directed towards a national pool of skilled and self reliant craftsmen, technicians and technologists in science and science schools fields (FRN 2014). Science and science schools are used as a comprehensive term in the educational process involving, in addition to general education, the study of technologies and related sciences and acquisition of practical skills, attitudes, understanding and knowledge relating to occupations in various sectors of economic and social life.
Okoro (2017) and Momoh (2012) defines science schools as a form of education whose primary purpose is to prepare persons for employment in recognized occupation. In the same vein he defines science education as a post secondary vocational training programme which the major purpose is the production of technicians. The terms science education and science schools are often used interchangeably but, they are separate and distinct terms. For the purpose of this paper there is the need to do some clarifications.
Science schools refer to skill based programmes which are designed for skill acquisition at lower level of education. Science schools programmes focus on specific vocations for entry into defined workplace. Science education, on the other hand is not designed for any particular vocation but provides general science knowledge. This type of education prepares people for entry into recognized occupation at a higher level but usually lower than the first degree. In fact science and science schools are usually a merger of science education and science schools i.e the inclusion of basic science and scientific knowledge with the skill based vocational programme.
According to Uwaifo (2019), science education is the training of science oriented personnel who are to be the initiators, facilitators and implementers of technologically development of a nation. Training of its citizens on the need to be technologically literate would eventually lead to self reliance and sustainability. He observed that science education more than any other profession has direct impact on the development of the country. Again, science education contributes so much ranging from electrical and electronics technology, metal work technology, mechanical/automobile technology, building technology, woodwork technology etc, science education is practical oriented education which makes it unique in its content and approach thereby demanding special attention.
Moreover, Sign (2014) stated that learning takes place in a conducive environment within a web of social relationship as teachers and students interacts. All aspects of the school and its surrounding provide survival, protection, development and participation to the students during the teaching of Biology. This means that the focus is on learning which strengthens the capacities of students to act progressively on their own behalf through the acquisition of relevant knowledge, useful skills and appropriate attitudes which help them to create for themselves and others a safety place, security and healthy intervention in promoting students’ academic performance in Biology.
This then formed the background to this present study to investigate into the comparison of students academic achievement in biology between science and non science secondary school in Sokoto metropolis, Sokoto State with the view of proffering possible solutions to the downtrend in the academic performance of students in Biology.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Improving quality in education requires adequate competent teachers, appropriate facilities, materials and methods which are lacking n many schools and these form part of the problems in the study. Thus, one the major challenge of the educational system is the different variables that exist in the school. Researchers have identified variables responsible for poor students academic performance in the subject area such include home background variables, socio economic variables, students characteristics variables and other.
Despite effort made by government ,student academic performance remain poor in senior school certificate examinations such as WAEC and NECO. Hence, this study is to determine the comparison of students academic achievement in biology between science and non science secondary school in Sokoto metropolis, Sokoto State.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study was to determine the Comparison of Students Academic Achievement in Biology between Science and Non Science Secondary Schools in Sokoto metropolis, Sokoto State. Specifically, the study sought to:
- examine the difference in students’ academic achievement in biology between science and non science secondary school in Sokoto metropolis;
- examine the difference in male and female students’ academic achievement in biology in science secondary school in Sokoto metropolis;
- examine the difference in male and female students’ academic achievement in biology in non science secondary school in Sokoto metropolis.
Comparison of Students Academic Achievement in Biology between Science and Non Science Secondary Schools
1.4 Research Questions
Based on the above purposes, the following research questions will be raised to guide this study:
- What is the difference in students’ academic achievement in biology between science and non science secondary school in Sokoto metropolis?
- What is the difference in male and female students’ academic achievement in biology in science secondary school in Sokoto metropolis?
- What is the difference in male and female students’ academic achievement in biology in non science secondary school in Sokoto metropolis?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
In line with the research questions, the following hypotheses were formulated:
- There is no significant difference in students’ academic achievement in biology between science and non science secondary school in Sokoto metropolis.
- There is no significant difference in male and female students’ academic achievement in biology in science secondary school in Sokoto metropolis.
- There is no significant difference in male and female students’ academic achievement in biology in non science secondary school in Sokoto metropolis.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study would be of immense benefit to the school administrator, government, parents, policy makers,
It is hoped that the findings of the study may help school administrators reflect upon various factors that influence the teaching-learning process. By so doing, they could investigate the possibility of introducing those factors to their schools which may consequently lead to reducing absenteeism, dropouts and repetition and consequently effective teaching-learning process.
These findings may also help the government through the Ministry of Education to provide more funds for schools for instructional materials and repair and maintenance of the available physical facilities, and also provide in-service training for teachers in science secondary schools thus improving the teaching-learning process.
Parents may also use findings from this study to help improve the school facilities by organizing for fundraising for instance to construct a classroom, Language laboratory, library among other facilities irrespective of the school types.
Policy makers would use the findings to help them make decisions in developing strategies towards improvement of academic standards in secondary schools.
Future researchers will use the study in identifying priority areas and gaps on which to carry more research about effect of school types on academic performance in other subjects in secondary schools.
1.7 Delimitation of the study
The study is delimited to comparison of students’ academic achievement in biology between science and non science secondary school in Sokoto metropolis, Sokoto State. The study is also delimited to academic achievement of students in senior secondary two classes in the 2021/2022 academic session in Sokoto metropolis, Sokoto State Local Government Area.
1.8 Limitations of the study
This study is expected to face several challenges such as lack of finance, inadequate time and lack of readiness of the respondents to comply with the researcher during administration as well as poor road network to the selected schools. However, the limitations were summoned by the researcher so as to arrive at the conclusion of the study as the sample size of the study was reduced and the Head of Science Teachers were involved as research assistants for easy response by the Biology teachers.
1.9 Definition of Terms
The following terms are defined as used in this study:
Academic performance: This refers to students’ performance in Biology Language test.
Science School: These are secondary schools that are science based in their teaching.
Non Science Schools: These are secondary schools that are not based their teaching to science
Biology: this is the study of plants and animals.