LEARNING STYLES AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN INTEGRATED SCIENCE
The study examined learning styles and academic performance of secondary students in Integrated Science in Oruk Anam Local Government Area. Four null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. A sample of one hundred and eighty (180) students from five public secondary schools were selected using simple random sampling method.
An expost-facto research design was adopted. The instrument used for data collection was Integrated Science achievement test (ISAT). The data collected were subjected to statistical analysis using percentage and t-test. The results revealed that there is a significant difference in the academic performance of students on the basis of learning styles. This was evidence in the calculated t-value of 8.34 against a critical t-value of 1.98 (table 2).
However, there was no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of male and female students using visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles in Integrated Science. Therefore, it was recommended among others that students should adopt visual learning style in the learning of Integrated Science in order to enable them remember what they were taught during test and examinations.
1.1 Background to the Study
Research in recent year has focused on identifying the key factors that promote academic success among students whose demographic learning styles and school circumstances place them at high risk of failure.
A learning styles means an individual natural or habitual pattern of acquiring knowledge Keefer (2004) defined learning styles as the composite of characteristics cognitive, affective and physiological factors of how a learner perceives, interacts with and responses to the learning environment.
Learning styles are points along a scale that help us to discover the different forms of mental representations. Felicetti (2003) defined learning styles as those educational conditions under which a student is most likely to learn.
The literature basically indicates that there is a wide acceptance of the concept of learning styles, there is even a study proving learning styles (Thompson-Schill, Kramer & Rosenberg, 2009). Which the teaching profession has long recognized the need for innovative instructional activities that relate to the diverse learning styles of learners, there are some questions as to just how meaningful they are to the learning environment, that is, most resources agree that we do have various learning styles and preferences.
However, the research tends to agree that it is important when designing learning programs to match the presentation with the nature of the subject, such as providing correct learning methods, strategies and context (Cofield, 2009).
It has been observed that one’s attitude towards a thing can be favourble, unfavourable or neutral as a result of number of factors such as previous knowledge, misinformation about things, other factors include decent or indirect interaction with the element of the things under, consideration (Huly, 2010).
Marzano (2002) found that graphics and textile representations of the subject matter had noticeable effects on learning outcomes regardless of any attempt to match them with learner’s learning styles.
Another study found that visual presentations though the use of pictures was advantageous for all students irrespective of a high or low learning style preference for visual images. In addition, it was especially advantageous for those with a high preference for verbal processing constantinidous, (Baker, 2004).
According to Merrill (2003), he argues that most students are unaware of their learning styles and if left to their own means, they are unlikely to start a new way of learning. Thus, knowledge of one’s learning styles can be used to increase self-awareness about their strength and weakness as learners.
To this end, therefore, the researcher attempts to examine the influence of learning style and students’ academic performance in junior secondary school students in Oruk Anam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
There have been identified poor scores in secondary school students’ examination in integrated science. This indication points to how level of academic performance and skill acquisition amongst students. A number of factors have been reportedly said to be responsible for this low level performance, one of these assumed factors is learning style.
The researcher sought to identify the types of learning styles that could be used to improve academic performance of students in Integrated Science and to also confirm or otherwise whether learner’s learning styles have any relationship on students’ performance. The problem statement put in a question form therefore is:
What relationship has learning styles on academic performance of secondary school students in Integrated science in Oruk Anam Local Government Area?
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to examine the influence of students’ learning styles on students’ academic performance in Integrated Science.
The specific objectives include:
- To examine the learning styles used by integrated science students in Oruk Anam Local Government Area.
- To find out if there is any difference in the mean achievement score of students on the basis of their learning methods
- Ascertain the differences in the mean achievement scores of male and female students using visual learning style.
- Determine whether there is any difference in the mean achievement scores of male and female students using auditory learning style.
- Determine whether there is any difference in the mean achievement scores of male and female students using kinesthetic learning style.
1.4 Research Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study:
- There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of students on the basis of their learning style.
- There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of male and female students using visual learning styles.
- There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of male and female students using auditory learning style.
- There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of male and female students using kinesthetic learning styles.
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study is considered significant for the following reasons:
- The study will help in identifying different learning styles used by students in integrated science. This is important because it will make the teachers to tailor their teaching materials to achieve maximum result from the students.
- The study will as well serve as a spring board upon which other related researches could base, thus adding to existing literature.
- The findings out of this study will also open the avenue or opportunities for practicing teachers learning styles.
- The study will be of great significance to future researchers who may wish to carry out more studies on the topic related to learning styles of students.
1.6 Limitation of the Study
In the course of carrying out the investigation, the researcher was faced with certain problems which posed reasonable threats to the success of this exercise, prominent among them are:
- The time given for the completion of this study was inadequate to make a research like this have wielder scope
- Financial constraint exerted pressure also on such as the research.
1.7 Delimitation of the Study
This study focuses on examining students’ learning styles and their academic performance in Integrated Science in five (5) Junior public Secondary schools in Oruk Anam Local Government Area.
1.8 Definition of Terms
The following words are defined to avoid ambiguity:
Academic performance: This refers to the students’ examination scores or result in Integrated Science after an achievement test or examination has been administered.
Auditory learning style: This refers to a learning style in which the learner learn best through hearing the information passed which might be through the use of human voice, recorded tape or audio compact disc.
Integrated Science: This is a combination of all areas of science or the introduction of some areas.
Kinesthetic learning style: Kinesthetic refers to the learning style in which learning takes place by the students carrying out a physical activity rather than listening to a lecturer or watching a demonstration.
Learning styles: This refers to an individual’s natural or habitual pattern of learning or acquiring knowledge. In this study they are:
Visual learning style: This is a learning style in which ideas, concepts, data and other information are associated with images, chart, and graphics.