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A Comparative Analysis of the Academic Performance of Students in Biology and Chemistry in Secondary Schools

A Comparative Analysis of the Academic Performance of Students in Biology and Chemistry in Secondary Schools

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The study was conducted to comparatively analyze the academic performance of students in biology and chemistry in secondary schools in Itu Local Government Area. The population comprises all the (SS2) students in the selected area of study (public/private schools) A simple random sampling technique was used to select four (4) schools two public two privates in the study area. A survey design was employed in the study.

Two hypotheses were stated in the null form to guide the study. Two hundred (200) students were selected, fifty (50) per secondary school. The instrument used for the collection of data was 2017/2018 Biology and Chemistry promotion examination result of (SS2) students. Independent t-test was used to analyze the data collected. The result of findings showed that: students from private secondary schools perform significantly better in Biology/Chemistry than those in public secondary schools.

Similarly, females in private secondary schools perform significantly better in Biology/Chemistry than males in public secondary schools. From the findings, it was recommended among others that privately owned schools should be encouraged in the state, and also government should make effort to implement and provide public schools with the needed facilities to make the environment fit for learning. 



1.1 Background to the Study

Scientists and researchers like Oyekan (2000) saw science and technology as basic tools for industrial and national development. These if properly handled could bring about economic and social happiness by providing and improving the welfare of the Citizenry. The natural Sciences such as biology, Physic and Chemistry have two components, the theory and the practical aspect which make the teaching and learning of science real. However, even when science is real because of its practicability, student studying science in school seems to have more academic problems year after year.

Danjili (2001) expressed his concern on the poor academic performance of students in science by stating that the problem arose from the increasing realization that the nation could not develop as rapidly as she aspired to without adequate tools of scientific and technological man power at all levels of education in the state. WAEC chief examiners report (2002) also in their observation attributed the poor performance especially in practical aspect of chemistry to their non familiarity with the use of simple Laboratory equipment, imprecise statement, spelling errors, Inadequate  exposure to laboratory techniques, lack of observational skills, inability to determine mole ratio from Stoichiometric equation, Omission of units in calculated values, Inability to write symbols properly and assign correct charges to ions among others.

In another Observation by James (2011) mentioned the poor academic performance of student in practical biology is attributed to low ability of manipulating practical apparatus, lack of self- confidence, inability to interpret question and others. From the above observation, different researcher have lamented on the poor academic achievements of student in science.

However, there are various method used in the teaching of science subject such as Biology and Chemistry even when Njoku (2004) argued that there is no best strategy for science teaching/learning, he noted that effective learning of subjects in science (Biology/Chemistry) requires laboratory-centered and student – centered, activities strategy such as discovery, enquiring, lecturing, problems – solving guided inquiring, concept mapping and co-operative learning strategies.

Other authors Including Archibong (2013) discovered problem solving and inquiring strategies to be very useful in Learning science subject like chemistry where as in the study of Biology, Udo (2013) found students taught with collaborative learning strategy performing better academically. He therefore advice that learners of Biology should adopt collaborative learning strategy in Instructional process as this will make students to do science instead of learning about science.

Demonstration method however, is point out by Adekekunle (2014) when he describes demonstration as the repetition of series of planned actions designed to illustrate certain phenomena.

According to him, demonstration is meant to make instruction   clearer and facilitate students’ understanding. It can be used either as a starting point for a particular lesson. It is economically in terms of teaching hours and materials. This method of teaching is very suitable in the teaching of science hence Adekunle (2004) classified the Method into: class demonstration, group demonstration and individual demonstration. The author explains that class demonstration involves the use of demonstration as teaching method for the entire class. The group demonstration according to him is presented to section of class while the rest to the class is engaged in another assignment which may or may not be related to the topic being handled.

Regarding individual demonstration, the author explains that there are times when the need to teach individual learner one at a time in workshop or in a laboratory may arise. Again this is based on the theory of individual difference among learners such as difference in background, mechanical, aptitude and general learning ability. The ultimate objective here is to show individual students in details the procedure to follow in accomplishing a given task. This is the main reason why this method is recommended in science teaching.

In another review Alimi(2004) Argued that teaching and learning variables cannot only altered the academic performance of students when he stated that the idea of proper accommodation is explained in the content of the provision of adequate infrastructural facilities.

Ikpe (2005) confirm this when he sees quality of output of schools as one of the cardinal parameters used to measure the effectiveness of a school which in turn manifested in the academic performance of students. According to Paullina and Wanjobi (2011), this means that the better the performance of the students the more effective the school system is assumed to be.

Okon (2003) Concluded that the influence of environment on student’s performance determines the extent to which an individual students potential can be develop. This observation called for the comparism of private school environment and public school environment; in regard to this, Betty and Stere (2013) noted that teachers cannot impact learning on a non physical environment which consist of temperature, Seating arrangement and others.

There are elements that can alter or increase focus on classroom productivity. Hence in the study of Ekpo (2009) comparing private and public school environment and their effect on student’s achievement noted that performance of students in private schools is significantly greater than in public schools. The author states the following reason that private schools maintain discipline and conducive environment than public schools.

Since the poor performance of student in science subject have been blemed on many factors, such as student perception in science and their manipulative skill and also teaching variables. It is therefore pertinent to compare the academic performance of science students in biology/Chemistry in various schools such as private public and gender factors.

Hence this study is designed to compare the academic performance of student in biology and in chemistry in Itu Local Government Area.

1.3 Statement of the Problem

Academic performance of student is measured by examination and test scores of the students. Recently, there have been a public outcry and criticism on the student external examination result due to poor outcome especially in science subjects such as mathematic, physics, chemistry and biology.

The ministry of education (2001) reports shows that candidate do not perform well in practical aspect of science subject including biology and chemistry. This has also extended the problem to the concerned and the non-concerned body to investigate some of the factors that might. Contributed to the poor outcome. However factors including teaching variable, students and teachers’ perception and manipulative skills have been questioned.

Hence the present study is design to compare students’ academic performance in biology/chemistry in Secondary Schools in Itu Local Government Area.

1.4 Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is comparative analysis of the academic performance of students in biology and chemistry in secondary schools in Itu Local Government Area. Specifically, the study sought to:

  1. Determine the academic performance of student in Biology and Chemistry in private and public secondary school in Itu Local Government Area.
  2. Determine the academic performance of males in public school and females in public schools in Biology and Chemistry in Itu Local government Area.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The findings of this study will be significant to the following bodies.

  1. Science students; it would help the student to understand the concepts involve in the learning of science subject including Biology and Chemistry.
  2. Science teacher would find the result of this study needful as they will understand the strategies involved in the teaching of science subject to the understanding of the student.
  3. Nigeria as a country would benefit from this study as the suggested result would help in the area of technological development.
  4. The school (college) would find this study helpful as it would enrich the college library.
  5. The study would helps the coming researcher investigating on the same factor or variables.

1.6 Research Hypotheses

The following null research hypotheses were formulated at 0.05 level of significant.

  1. There is no significant difference in academic performance of students in Biology and Chemistry in private and public Secondary schools in Itu Local Government.
  2. There is no significant difference in academic performance of males in Public schools and female in public schools in Biology/Chemistry in Itu Local Government Area.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

The study of this nature would have extended to many areas of the state However, because of the following factors time, finance, related resource materials and others have contributed in limiting the scope of this study.

1.8 Delimitation of the Study

The study was conducted in Itu Local government area of Akwa Ibom State. It aimed at comparative analysis of the academic performance of students in Biology and chemistry in secondary schools since the scope is limited to Itu Local Government Area, The findings of this study is not generalized to other area in Akwa Ibom State.

1.9   Operational Definition of Terms

The ambiguity in the meaning of term used in the study is defines as follows.

Biology/Chemistry: Conceptually it is a science subjects taught in secondary school.

Academic Performance: This is measured by examination, test and assignment score of student. It is used in determining the student ability academically.

Comparative Analysis: This is a type of analysis used in various of science and different modification.

Students: A person who studies particular academic subjects.

Science: knowledge about the structure and behavior of the natural and physical world, based on facts that you can prove.

Gender: The fact of being male or female.

Public Schools: These are schools established and owned by government.

Private Schools: These are schools established and owned by individual or group of people.

5.3    Conclusion

A careful analysis of the study and perhaps other finding from reviews of related literature show that academic performance of students in Biology/Chemistry varies in public and in private schools and also males and females academic performance is significantly varies in public and private schools respectively. The finding of this study is correlated with various works of others Educational researches. Hence the above recommendations.

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