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EFFECTS OF COOPERATIVE AND LABORATORY METHOD ON PERFORMANCE AND RETENTION OF STUDENTS IN CHEMISTRY IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN JIGAWA STATE, NIGERIA
The study examined the effects of cooperative and laboratory method on performance and retention of students in chemistry in secondary school in Jigawa state, Nigeria. The study was carried out with six objectives, which are to; find out the effect of cooperative learning strategy on performance of students in chemistry when compared to conventional lecture method; ascertain the effect of cooperative learning strategy on students‘ retention ability in chemistry; investigate the effect of laboratory method on students‘ performance in chemistry when compared to conventional lecture method and determine the effect of laboratory method on students‘ retention ability in chemistry among others. Six research questions and six hypotheses were formulated in line with the above mentioned objectives. The study employed quasi – experimental design with a total population of one thousand three hundred and thirty-two (1332) and a sample size of three hundred and four (304) which was arrived at using purposive sampling technique. The Data for the study was collected through pre-test, post-test and retention test using teacher made test titled Acid Base Performance Test (ABPT) as instrument. The data collected were analyzed statistically using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), version 20. At descriptive level, the research questions were answered by using mean and standard deviation. At inferential level, hypotheses 1-4 were tested using t-test, also hypotheses 5 and 6 were analyzed using Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). The findings of the study revealed that students taught the concept of acid and base using cooperative learning strategy performed significantly better than those taught the same concept using conventional method of teaching in secondary schools in Jigawa State that is, Significant difference exists between the performance of students taught chemistry concept using laboratory method and those using lecture method in secondary schools in Jigawa State among other findings. Based on the findings of the study, it was concluded that students taught chemistry using cooperative learning strategy performed significantly better than those taught using conventional method in secondary schools in Jigawa State and teaching students using cooperative learning strategy significantly enhanced students‘retention ability in chemistry compared to those taught using lecture method in secondary schools in Jigawa State among others. It was recommended among others that teachers, school managers and school support officers should promote the use of cooperative learning strategy as a commonly use strategy in classrooms as it will promote and encourage students to work together thereby enhancing students‘retention ability; and chemistry teachers should use laboratory method as a commonly used method in teaching in order to enhancing students‘performance in chemistry. The researcher also developed a cooperative learning model tagged ―Field-Jigsaw Cooperative Model (FJCM)‖ with the view to guiding teachers and researchers alike on how to use the model in teaching and learning.
1.1 Background to the Study
Education is the greatest tool for national development and is what makes human beings the greatest specie of all living creatures on earth. Based on this, science and technology play important role toward this human success and it is therefore the keys to development for every individual, community or the nation at large. The basis of every scientific and technological development is education, and the history of teaching science subjects in Jigawa state secondary schools can be traced back to the former Kano state from where Jigawa was created. Learning of science subjects like chemistry, biology and physics at secondary school level served as the foundation which prepares students to take career in science. This is the basis of producing science teachers, medical doctors, engineers, laboratory technologies and so forth that are expected to contribute their quotas towards the development of their society.
However, Jigawa State is regarded as one of the educationally disadvantaged states in Nigeria. It has one of the lowest teacher/pupil ratios and one of the lowest school enrolment figure, compared to its neighbours in the North –west region. According to recent statistics on education parameters/surveys, less than 70% of boys in the state of school age attend schools, while less than 50% of girls of school age attend school (Nagado, 2016). The state also has one of the poorest numbers of classrooms, compared to other states in the North-west with less than 10,000 classrooms in 2015, the ratio of classes versus pupils is so poor that 67 pupils use a class at primary level, with 61 per class at junior secondary school level and 44 students per class at senior secondary school level. By the end of 2015, the number of teachers in senior secondary schools in the state is so pathetic with the schools having a little more than 2,000 (Nagado, 2016). It appears that only few teachers are committed to the business and mostly use traditional teaching method (lecture method).
In related development, the National Policy on Education (NPE) is the major document which guide and gear the educational activities in Jigawa and Nigeria at large. The National Policy on Education state that science and technology shall continue to be taught in an integrated manner in the schools to promote in the students, the appreciation of practical application of basic ideas (FRN, 2013).To this end, the place of chemistry in the national secondary schools curriculum in preparing students to become future scientist cannot be over emphasized. Chemistry occupies a unique position in the school curriculum, and is central to many science related courses such as Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, Agriculture, Biology, Geography and Pharmacy. In view of this, teachers are always on the go, searching for better teaching strategies for a successful and effective delivery which will enhance performance and retention among chemistry students.
Furthermore, the policy stressed that individuals (learners) shall be prepared to become useful members to the society and conversant with the realities of the immediate environment and the world at large (FRN, 2013). Related to this, Dada (2012) opined that the dynamic of education requires that every society device ways not only for ensuring the wellbeing of its members but also, for preparing a better future for the upcoming generation with appropriate knowledge, skill and values. Hence the need for teaching science subjects like chemistry in our secondary schools. Chemistry as a subject is been offered in the senior secondary schools of Jigawa state which are under the control and supervision of the state ministry of education. Therefore chemistry, as one of the science subjects in secondary schools,
has an important role to play in achieving the above policy statement. This can be done by supporting students to learn chemistry concepts like air, water, acids and bases and so forth, which they interact with, in their everyday lives.
However, in every teaching and learning situation, there should be a very good interaction between the teacher, learner and the content or the materials to be learned. The above scenario can be guided by a well stated instructional objectives, which Yusuf (2012) opined that instructional methods should be selected based on the instructional objectives expected to achieved. Therefore, for teaching process to occur successfully, there supposed to be an effective teaching method(s). There are several teaching methods/strategies employed by teachers during teaching and learning which depends on the teaching/learning situation. Many scholars have identified several instructional strategies in teaching sciences particularly chemistry. This includes lecture, inquiry, problem solving, demonstration, cooperative strategy, guided discovery, project laboratories, field trip/ excursion and so forth. But many scholars opined that lecture method is predominantly used in our educational institution (Aina, 2009; Sola & Ojo, 2007; & Suleiman, 2010). Based on this premise, it seems that chemistry teachers in Jigawa state use conventional (lecture) method than any other strategies in their teaching. This method is characterized as teacher –centered because it involved the transmission of knowledge to learners characterized as one – way flow of information from the teacher who is always active to the learner who is always passive.
In contrary, the new trend in teaching now is the learner –centered approach which calls for the teacher to play the role of supporting the learning process. In this arrangement, the learner is exposed to the learning situation under the guidance and support of the teacher. Therefore, chemistry teachers need to create an enabling environment by way of choosing better learning strategies which will pave way to a successful teaching and learning process. It seems that the use of appropriate instructional strategies which favours the learner –centered approach may improve performance. Therefore, this study intends to use cooperative and laboratory method in enhancing performance and retention among secondary school students in Jigawa state.
Moreover, there are consistent reports of students‘low performance in science (chemistry inclusive) in Nigeria (Olatoye & Afuwape, 2004). Jigawa state as one of the thirty-six state in Nigeria is not an exception to the above mentioned trend. Looking at secondary school qualifying examination in Jigawa state, the data obtained showed that out of 856 students that sat for the examination in 2013, a total of 339 (39.6%) pass at credit level while 517 (60.4%) fail the exam. Also out of 706 students that sat for the examination in 2014, a total of 379 (53.7%) pass at credit level while 327 (46.3%) fail the examination (appendix G).
Based on the information presented, the study intends to provide some possible solutions through the use of alternative instructional strategies. Also, to find out which of the strategies will be more effective in promoting performance and retention when compared to the traditional (lecture) method among secondary school two (SSII) chemistry students. It is against this background that this study intends to determine the effects of cooperative and laboratory method on performance and retention among chemistry secondary schools students in Jigawa state, Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Chemistry is one of the science subjects offered in senior secondary schools which form the basis of future scientists and technologists. It appears that chemistry is considered by many of the secondary school students as a difficult subject and majority of the teachers use the traditional lecture method often than the alternative instructional strategies. This may be a reason for students‘poor performance in the subject. Ajewole and Ivowi cited in Goje (2014) stressed that over the years, results of studies have shown that students have continue to perform poorly in science, chemistry inclusive. This is due to so many reasons among which include the choice of the instructional strategies, the non –availability of resource materials, parents support towards education of their children, over loaded curriculum, lack of clearly stated framework for instructional strategies, poor classroom management and lack of scientific equipment in the laboratories usually causes poor performance in chemistry (Madugu & Shuaibu in Abdullahi, 2014). This implies that lack of good instructional strategy employed by chemistry teachers may cause low performance in teaching and learning of chemistry in secondary schools.
In related development, the lecture method is also known to cause lack of interest and poor performance in science as opined by Njoku (2007). In the same vein, science teachers are mostly limited to exclusively adopting this method by telling, reciting and testing of information which is regarded sterile as it does not convey either the meaning or intent of science. Akpan in Shehu (2016) specifically stated that lecture method is the method dominating science teaching in Nigerian Secondary Schools. Therefore, the need for a better instructional strategy like cooperative and laboratory method is necessary. Mari, and Okebukola, cited in Abdullahi (2014) have called for a change from lecture method in teaching Chemistry. Cooperative and laboratory method are therefore very important aspect of student -centered learning. Student learns best when they can work together, discuss what they are doing, help each other and learn from each other. At present student are not being given the opportunity to do this in schools (David, 2010). Therefore, the need for change in paradigm is necessary for better chemistry performance in our schools.
Moreover, it seems that secondary school students perceived science subjects as difficult. To be specific, the teaching and learning of chemistry is widely perceived as a difficult subject because of its specialized language, mathematical and abstract conceptual nature and the amount of content to be learnt. The prevailing teaching practices (the traditional approach) do not actively involve students in the learning process where by making them to be passive listeners. Studies have shown that the use of cooperative and laboratory instructional strategies is a way of improving quality instruction and subsequently improved students‘academic performance (Stephen & Donna; Teresa & Gregory, cited in Goje, 2014). Also from the results of chemistry qualifying examinations (see appendix G), it can be noticed that there is poor performance among chemistry students in Jigawa state. To that effect, this study attempts to investigate the effect of cooperative and methods instructional strategies on performance and retention among chemistry secondary school students in Jigawa state.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to examine the effects of cooperative and laboratory method on performance and retention of students in chemistry in secondary school in Jigawa state, Nigeria. The specific objectives of the study are to:
- find out the effect of cooperative learning strategy on academic performance of students in chemistry when compared to conventional method;
- ascertain the effect of cooperative learning strategy on students‘ retention ability in chemistry;
- investigate the effect of laboratory method on students‘ academic performance in chemistry when compared to conventional method;
- determine the effect of laboratory method on students‘ retention ability in chemistry;
- compare students‘ performance taught with cooperative strategy, laboratory method and conventional method; and
- Compare the retention ability of students taught chemistry with cooperative strategy, laboratory method and lecture method.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions are set for answers in this study:
- What is the mean score difference in academic performance of chemistry students taught using cooperative learning strategy and those taught with conventional method?
- What is the effect of cooperative learning strategy on students‘ retention ability in chemistry?
- What is the mean score difference in academic performance of chemistry students taught using laboratory method and those taught with conventional method?
- What is the effect of laboratory method on students‘ retention ability in chemistry?
- What is the difference in performance of students taught chemistry with cooperative, laboratory and conventional methods?
- What is the difference in retention ability between students taught with cooperative, laboratory and conventional methods?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
To answer the questions raised above, the following null hypotheses were set for testing:
HO1: There is no significant difference in the performance mean score of students taught chemistry using cooperative learning strategy and those taught with the conventional lecture method.
HO2: There is no significant difference in retention ability of students taught chemistry with cooperative learning strategy and those taught with conventional method
HO3: There is no significant difference in the performance mean scores of students taught chemistry using laboratory method and those taught with the conventional lecture method.
HO4:There is no significant difference in retention ability of students taught chemistry with laboratory method and those taught with conventional method.
HO5: There is no significant difference in performance of students taught chemistry with cooperative strategy, laboratory method and conventional method.
HO6: There is no significant difference in retention ability between students taught with cooperative strategy, laboratory method and conventional method.
1.6 Basic Assumptions
The study will be conducted on the following assumptions that:
- The students in the study sample are being taught chemistry lesson using the traditional lecture method but are not exposed to cooperative instructional strategy.
- Chemistry students are not exposed to learning strategies/methods that will enhance students‘retention ability.
- Chemistry students are not used to laboratory method because teachers prepare to take their lessons in conventional classrooms even when laboratories are available in the schools.
- students are only exposed to practical chemistry lesson when it is time for WAEC/NECO practical examinations
- The students‘ performance in secondary school chemistry is nothing to write home about.
- Instructional strategies/methods like cooperative and laboratory method enhances students‘performance in chemistry.
1.7 Significance of the Study
The study will be of significance to education as a system, educational associations/organization and the education stakeholders. The beneficiaries of this study include; teachers, school authorities, educational planners, Teachers Registration Council (TRCN), Science Teacher Association of Nigeria (STAN), students, researchers, text book authors/writers/publishers, ministry of education at both state and federal level. The study will be of great significance to chemistry teachers in the adaptation of the appropriate instructional strategies in teaching chemistry at secondary school level. It will help the teachers to apply alternative strategies such as cooperative and laboratory –based instructional methods.
The study will guide school authorities in appreciating laboratory as the best learning environment for using laboratory method, and it differs from the conventional classroom setting there by equipping it with materials and apparatus for practical activities. Findings from this study will shed more light on how chemistry lessons should be organized, by identifying the basic roles of the teachers, learners and the curriculum materials to be developed for effective teaching and learning of chemistry in line with learner centered approach.
The study will guide educational planners, like science curriculum planners and school administrators to accommodate the reality of modern education trend. This can be achieved by encouraging the teachers to use cooperative and laboratory method in their teaching and learning processes.
Professional bodies such as Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) can benefit from the findings of this study in training their prospective members on the effective use of cooperative and laboratory method. These bodies can encourage professional teachers in using instructional strategies like cooperative and laboratory methods which enhance students‘performance.
Associations like Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN) can benefit from the findings of this study by organizing seminars and workshops to their prospective members on the effective use of instructional strategies like cooperative and laboratory method on enhancing learner centered strategies. These associations can encourage teachers and supervisors in using alternative instructional strategies like cooperative and laboratory method which aid students‘performance and retention Cooperative and laboratory method will be adopted in this study to teach the concept of acid and base. The use of cooperative and laboratory method in enhancing development of skills that encourage the learning of abstract and concrete concepts in line with student centered approach will be considered appropriately in this study in order to make students more active.
The research will be of benefit to students by encouraging teachers to actively involve them during the teaching and learning process. In addition to this, students can make their own decision by voicing out their understanding of a particular learning situation.
Fellow researchers in the fields of curriculum and science education will benefit from the finding of this study. The finding will add to the existing literature and also serve as a foundation for further studies in the fields.
Text book authors or writers/publishers can benefit from this study by using part of the study literature and also by sharing the findings of the research to the wider community. This will enable their readers to adopt modern learning strategies like cooperative and laboratory method in their teaching/learning activities.
In the same vein, the study is of significance to ministry of education at both state and federal level. The ministries can use the findings of this study in enhancing the quality of teaching methods which can change the trend of teaching/learning from teacher –centred to learner –centred approach. Also the monitoring and the supervisory units of the ministries can use the findings to improve the quality of their work in secondary schools.
1.8 Scope of the Study
This study examined the effects of cooperative and laboratory method on performance and retention of students in chemistry in secondary schools in Jigawa state. The study was delimited to two instructional strategies, that is, cooperative and laboratory method. The study only considered the two independent variables that is, cooperative strategy and laboratory method on performance and retention ability of students in chemistry compared to lecture method. Only public senior secondary schools (SSII) students were used for the study. These category of students are stable because senior secondary III students are busy preparing for their final examinations, while the senior secondary one (SSI) are new and not properly settle in the senior secondary school section. Other variables of the study include acid and base, and students‘performance. The study is limited to Senior Secondary school two (II) chemistry students of Kazaure Education zone, Jigawa state, Nigeria. The study covered a duration of twelve weeks, that is for both administering the instrument and for conducting the pretest and retention tests as well.