Chemistry Project Topics

Students characteristics and academic performance of students in Chemistry in secondary schools

Students characteristics and academic performance of students in Chemistry in secondary schools



The main aim of this study was to examine students characteristics and academic performance of students in Chemistry in secondary schools in Etinan Local Government Area. To this end, the work provided the background of the study through the detailed introduction offered in chapter one. Relevant terms were defined; its purposes, significance as well as the limitation of the study were stated. A detailed literature review was obtained from various researchers who had in one way or another contributed to the growth of education; few were from published eBooks. Its review aims at developing appreciation on the previous study done in this area or related area.

A well-structured questionnaire was used as one of the instruments for data collection conducted from a chosen population. The other being raw scores obtained from overall performance in chemistry in a single term which sort to expose the students’ capabilities in Chemistry ranging between males and females. The study undoubtedly conducted an analysis of the responses from the instrument using independent t-test; the first half showed that there were no differences that existed between males’ and females’ academic performance in Chemistry and the latter revealed that there were significant influences that existed between the number of times students study and not study as related to the responses obtained from students’ study habits and academic performance in Chemistry


Students characteristics and academic performance of students in Chemistry in secondary schools




1.1  Background to the Study

Students are different across a vast range of variables; not only are they different in terms of personality characteristics, family backgrounds, age, gender etc, they also exhibit different characteristics which makes them prepared for having different world views, and in turn giving their differences in behaviour in various settings. These differences are in terms of their attitudes, skills, habits which have been focused on over the years as having an impact on academic performance (Akerlind and Trevitt : Kennedy et al 2008). In fact, taking these differences into account help educators recognise students’ individual characteristics.

Students’ characteristics are qualities exhibited by students. These qualities could be as a result of societal, cultural, emotional, psychological factors etc. These factors tends to an appreciable amount determine the level of growth or backwardness of a student with respect to the educational setting. It is a matter of common experience that a child who is mentally unstable has a very high tendency of not coping well with his/her academic endeavours. These set of factors are capable of directing the child to a more unfavourable state where it could be a determinant to even the students’ under-performance in Chemistry. By these analyses, it is pertinent to understand the causes of such problems.

Gender is one of such factors to have considerable effects on students’ academic performance in Chemistry. Gender is the range of physical, biological, mental, and behavioural characteristics pertaining to and differentiating between masculine and feminine (male and female) population. The importance of examining performance in relation to gender is based primarily on the socio-cultural differences between boys and girls. Some vocations and professions have been regarded as men’s and others as women’s.

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In fact, parents assign tasks like car-washing, grass-cutting, bulbs-fixing, climbing ladders to fix or remove things to the boys. On the other hand, chores like dishes-washing, cooking, cleaning, and so on are assigned to the girls. In summary, what seems to be a difficult task is allocated to the boys whereas girls are expected to handle the relatively easy and less demanding tasks. In view of this act, the larger society has tended to see girls as a weaker sex.

Over the years, the top candidates at prominent positions have been dominated by the male candidates. Also, gender-related disparities at the national level, between and at all levels of education are always in favour of males. This has been in the form of the better performance in favour of all boys at all levels. (UNESCO, 2003; Mondoh and Mujidi, 2006). It is only in few districts where the performance has been in favour of girls. In fact, it has been the general belief in most parts of the country that male students tend to perform better compared to the female students in science-related subjects with Chemistry inclusive. In view of the belief, students’ gender will have impact on students’ academic performance as a characteristic.

Research on the correlation between students’ study habits in Chemistry and students’ academic performance has for long received numerous attentions from researchers. Similarly, studies of school achievement indicate that most students are underachievers (Dizney, 2003; Adetunji and Oladeji, 2007). A major reason for students’ underdeveloped potentialities may be in their lack of learning strategies. According to Hussain (2006), science students in secondary schools often come from economically poor and average income families. These families face various problems causing emotional disturbance among their children. They have poor academic performance. This factor has caused serious damage to the achievement status of secondary school students especially in chemistry.

Study habits are described as the adopted way and manner a student plans his private readings and not depending totally on classroom learning so as to attain mastery of the subject. These good study habits are good assets to the learners because they assist students to attain mastery in areas of specialisation and excellent performance while the opposite constitute constraints to learning and achievement leading to failure. Study habits are well-planned and are deliberate patterns of study which has attained a form of consistency on the part of students toward understanding academic subjects and passing at examinations. These habits have to be properly indoctrinated into the students’ intellect so as to prevent them from believing all the truths that are behind Chemistry memes. Study habits determine the academic achievements of students to a greater extent. In fact, both reading habits and academic achievements are inter-rated and dependent on each other.

In relation to Chemistry being a natural science subject, poor reading habits would automatically cause the student(s) to be derailed. Chemistry is known to be a natural science subject with lots of concepts which studies nature’s composition, what it constitute, its properties, structures and the changes that occur as they go through reactions with other substances. Thus, the approaches dealt with in this study are those characteristics of students that are identified and used in the hiring of students to increase their performance in Chemistry; gender and students’ study habits amongst others.

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1.2           Statement of the Problem

        The problem of underperformance can never be overemphasised in the Nigerian Educational System. Desperate to make it anyhow, students have devised various means to succeed in examinations even when they are not academically competent.

Gender issues are ever crucial as a concept when dealing with academic performance of secondary school students in natural sciences especially Chemistry. It has been observed over the years that the girl child has not been given the equal right of earning a prominent position in organisations. Well, opinions from one group will attest that the girl child is not being given as much opportunity to express herself as the male child earns merely because it is somewhat certain that she would mess the whole idea up. All of these assumptions boils down to the fact that the girl child is in no way trusted when handed responsibility because the tendency of her ruining her chances is almost one in all cases.

Frankly, that has changed over the years because advocates have been made available by Governmental and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to provide equal right of education and position attainment for the girl child provided she is qualified. Although, while minimal attention is paid to the girl child’s development, it grew in them needs to become mere housewives; even engaging in criminal acts like theft, tramping and even going to the extent of committing suicide which has reduced the population progressively over the years.

In sequence with gender issues, another emerging approach to the study is study habits of students as it influences their academic performance Chemistry. There has been a steady decline in results observed and recorded from internal and external examinations such as Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and National Examinations Council (NECO) over the years. At present, due to the existence of technology, manual ways of studying have been thrown to the corner. Students now bank on the internet not merely for the elaborate parts of the content they plan on studying but for memes. These attitudes have been incorporated into their system and they have taken it to be the best way of learning whereas it should not be so.

Learning under this circumstance will not provide to them the required knowledge they need in passing examinations well and it is a problem that has been identified in this 21st Century. Palami (2012) suggests that at present due to the influence of social media, people do not show much interest in reading books, magazines and journals among others. This is a concern to the educational sector and the upbringing of prospective individuals who would take up the responsibility of the nation one day.



Students characteristics and academic performance of students in Chemistry in secondary schools

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to examine the students’ characteristics as it relates to the academic performance in Chemistry in secondary schools in Etinan Local Government Area. Specifically, the study aims at:

  • examining whether gender influences students’ academic performance in Chemistry;
  • examining whether students’ study habits influences students’ academic performance in secondary schools in Chemistry.

1.4  Significance of the Study

  • To parents; this study will guide our parents decisively by reminding and checking up on their children through motivation to increase the standard of education.
  • To the society; this study will educate the society to see the need to improve not by merely thinking of just farming alone but educating the female child to move further and take up responsibilities as an equal citizen of the country.
  • To students; it will remind them of the best way to always study and also not to rely on memes for full knowledge.


Students characteristics and academic performance of students in Chemistry in secondary schools

1.5  Research Questions

To aid this study, the following research questions were formulated:

  • To what extent does gender influence students’ academic performance in Chemistry as a student characteristic?
  • To what extent do students’ study habits influence students’ academic performance in Chemistry as a student characteristic?

1.6 Research Hypotheses

1.7  Limitations of the Study

A limitation of this study banks majorly on finance.

1.8 Delimitation of the Study

This study will focus its attention within the confines of Etinan Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State which is situated in the south-southern part of Nigeria and constitutes one of the Local Government Areas in the oil producing state of Akwa Ibom.

1.9 Definition of Terms

To set the stage for our survey of factors responsible for students’ characteristics and academic performances; it presents working definition of the following terms;

  • Characteristics: This refers to a distinguishing quality that sets apart an individual from others of the same kind.
  • Students: This is a person who is studying in a school especially in a secondary, college or tertiary institution.
  • Influence: This is the power to affect somebody’s characters, beliefs or action through example.
  • Learning: This is a relatively permanent change in behaviour as a result of experience.
  • Studying: This is the act of looking at and comprehending the meaning of (written or printed matter, by interpreting the characters or symbol of which it is composed).
  • Habit: is a settled or regular tendency or practice of reading by students.
  • Performance: is the accomplishment of a given task measured against present known standards of accuracy, completeness, cost and speed.

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