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Concept Mapping and Academic Performance of Students in Biology

Concept Mapping and Academic Performance of Students in Biology 

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The study examined concept mapping method and students’ academic performance in Biology in secondary schools in Ika Local Government Area. Two hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The population for the study was all senior secondary II students from eight public secondary schools.

One hundred Biology students were randomly selected from four selected public secondary schools in Ika Local Government Area. A quasi-experimental research design was employed in this study. Biology Achievement Test (BAT) was used as the instrument for data collection and independent t-test statistical method was employed in analyzing the data collected.

Findings revealed that there is a significant difference in academic performance of students taught Biology using concept mapping method of teaching and those taught using conventional method of teaching.

Also, that females scored slightly higher than the males but when subjected to a t-test there was no significant difference in academic performance between male and female students taught Biology using concept mapping method of teaching. Based on the findings, it was recommended that concept mapping method should be used in teaching Biology concepts in secondary schools as to improve academic performance of students, interest and participation in the subject.



1.1    Background to the Study

Learning is a purposeful, conscious and complex process. An important feature of learning is that it involves a complex interactive system including environmental, social, motivational, emotional and cognitive factors (Baron & Byrne, 2003; Huffman, 2004; Joyce, Weil & Calhoun, 2004).

Various teaching-learning strategies have been developed to accelerate learning process of students. Learning strategies evolve from the learning theories defining the role of teacher, students and the content. At present, mostly behavioural practices are in vogue in schools where students are passive and classroom environment is mostly teacher dominated (Iqbal, 2011).

The National Policy on Education (2013) stresses for the paradigm shift from the behaviourism to constructivism to enhance conceptual learning in science and the development of attitude towards learning of science. This curriculum demands such teaching-learning strategies that may involve students in their own knowledge construction, placing them as centre of learning activity and teacher as a facilitator.

Concept mapping is one of the teaching-learning strategies under constructivism having its orientation in Ausubel’s Assimilation Theory (1968) of cognitive learning, which aims at fostering meaningful learning by students. Concept mapping as a learning strategy uses a rich social environment, where learners work individually and in groups to scaffold and mediate learning of each other (Oakley, 2004).

Concept mapping is a technique of visually representing the structure of information, concepts, and their relationship. Research studies in the field of science education reflect that concept mapping can be used as a successful teaching-learning strategy from primary school to university level.

Concept maps are used as a tool for meaningful learning, assessment, instructional planning and finding out the alternative concepts or misconceptions held by the learners (Nesbit & Adesope, 2006; Novak & Canas, 2006).

Learning through concept mapping has long lasting effect on memory demonstrated in the form of better results in delayed post-test as compared with other teaching-learning strategies. It can also be useful in combination with other manipulative learning strategies like experimental method (Hilbert & Renkl, 2007; Donnell, Dansereau & Hall, 2002).

It is therefore important to investigate didactic method validity in view of laying down guidelines to improve the practice of teaching Biology and promote critical thinking of students. It was on this background that the study investigated concept mapping and academic performance of students in Biology in secondary schools in Ika Local Government Area.

1.2    Statement of the Problem

Biology as a study of life is important to everyday life because it allows humans to better understand their bodies, their resources and potentials threats in the environment. It helps people to understand every organism alive, from the smallest bacteria to blue whales. Biology is one of the core subjects offered by all science students up to secondary level of education.

1.7    Operational Definition of Terms

The following terms were defined as used in the study:

Concept Mapping: This is the method of teaching used to represent the relationships among concepts. It is the representation of a set of concept meanings embedded in a framework of proposition.

Academic Performance: Is the students’ examination scores in the schools.

Biology: A natural science concerned with the study of plants and animals.

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