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The Impact of Cooperative Learning and Academic Performance of Students in Biology in Senior Secondary Schools

The Impact of Cooperative Learning and Academic Performance of Students in Biology in Senior Secondary Schools

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine cooperative learning and academic performance Secondary Schools Biology students in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area. Three research questions and hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. Quasi experimental research design was adopted for the study. The population of the study consisted of all the SS2 Biology students in the study Area.

The sample size for this study was 120 SS2 Biology students selected from six schools using simple random sampling technique. The instrument for data collection was Biology Achievement test, while the data collected were analyzed using independent t- test. The result revealed that students in instructor assigned cooperative group performed better than those in randomly assigned cooperative group.

Also, students in social integrative cooperative group performed better than those in subject matter cooperative group. The result also indicated that students in geographic cooperative group performed significantly better than those in self selected cooperative group. Based on the findings of the study, it was recommended among others that group work should always be given to Biology students by the Biology teachers in order to enhance classroom interaction.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

School is an institution of socialization as well as being a medium of knowledge transfer and agent of students’ social change through which the educational goals are achieved. Thus, whatever happens in the school system is capable of affecting the entire society. This is because the nation’s overall development is inextricably tied to its educational system since education is a light that shows mankind the right direction to surge as well as being an engine for the growth and progress of any society (Anderson, 2016).

Biology as a science subject is studied or taught by using different methods which employs the use of all sense organs including Olfactory (smell), Gustatory (taste), auditory (hearing), Kinesthetic (skin), and optical (seeing) or which only the application of teacher’s centered method in teaching could not yield 100% accuracy without the use of student’s centered method.

Therefore, teaching methods must be re-examined and organized in such a way that there should be more emphasis on instructional methods that will emphasize less lecture, more students’ centered, more discussion and Biology teachers should design classrooms that will make students feel more successful. Therefore there is need to examine the impact of cooperative learning strategies on the academic performance of Biology students in secondary schools which is the focus of this study.

 Studies have shown that students learn best when they are active rather than passive learners (Amos, 2014). Authors have argued that everyone is capable of learning, but may learn in different ways. Therefore lessons must be presented in a variety of ways. For example, new concept can be taught through play acting, visual aids, and hands on activities, technology and cooperative groups. However, the quality of education that teachers provide to student is depending upon what teachers do in their classrooms (Nash, 2018).

The Impact of Cooperative Learning and Academic Performance of Students in Biology in Senior Secondary Schools

The teaching method used in the class is one of the factors that make students become passive and have less interaction with each other.  Baird (2014) has criticized the traditional (Lecture) method used by teachers because only hardworking students can benefit from it. Therefore, to enhance the understanding of Biology, students must be more active in the classroom and must creatively acquire knowledge, especially in understanding and solving biological problems. Students should be given the opportunities to develop, to interact, and to share with friends through cooperative learning activity.

Cooperative learning is a successful teaching strategy in which small teams, each with students of different levels of ability, use a variety of learning activities to improve their understanding of a subject. It is an educational approach which aims to organize classroom activities into academic and social learning experiences. Cooperative learning requires students to engage in group activities that increase learning and adds other positive outcomes which include academic gains, improved race relations and increased personal and social development.

In addition, students who fully participate in group activities, exhibit collaborative behaviors, provide constructive feedback, and cooperate with their groups and there is every likelihood of their receiving higher test scores and course grades at the end of the instruction. Cooperative learning is an active pedagogy that fosters higher academic achievement and it has also been found to increase attendance, time on task, enjoyment of school and classes, motivation, and independence.

Troper (2015) explained that in cooperative learning, students are encouraged to be active participants in the construction of their own knowledge. The authors added that cooperative learning also encourages students to interact and to communicate with peers in harmony. In this way, cooperative learning promotes values such as honesty, cooperation, mutual respect, responsibility, tolerance, and willingness to satisfy a consensus, and execution of duties in cooperative learning can develop self-confidence in students. There are several numbers of cooperative learning techniques available. Some of them utilize student pairing, while others utilize small groups of four or five students.

 For the purpose of this study, the researcher decided to explore the effect of cooperative learning on academic performance of Biology students in secondary schools.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

Biology is widely used in various fields since it covers a wide range of activities. However, the decline in Biology achievement has been a source of concern to many stakeholders such as educators, government, parents and students themselves to mention but a few.

Despite the relative importance of Biology in science as well as in medicine and social sciences, students’ performance in the subject in both internal and external examinations has remained consistently poor. Science educators are trying to identify the major problems associated with the teaching and learning of Biology in the Nigeria schools. Despite all these noble efforts, the problem of poor performance has continued to surface in nation’s public examination.

Many students especially in the study area have fear and lack of interest for Biology; they shun away from Biology classes, paid little or no attention to lessons and as a result, continue to experience difficulties in answering questions in Biology. Therefore, they have very poor performances and retention in terminal and promotional examinations. Hence, in view of this, the aimed of this study is to find out the effect of cooperative learning on students academic performance.

The Impact of Cooperative Learning and Academic Performance of Students in Biology in Senior Secondary Schools

1.3   Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of this research work is to investigate the effect of cooperative learning on the academic performance of students in Biology in Secondary Schools in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area.

Specifically, the study aimed at:

  1. examining the difference in the academic performance of Biology students between those in instructor assigned cooperative group and their counterparts in randomly assigned cooperative group.
  2. Investigating the difference in the academic performance of Biology students between those in social integrative cooperative group and those in subject matter cooperative group.
  3. examining the difference in the academic performance of Biology students between those in geographic cooperative group and their counterparts in self-selected

1.4   Research Questions

The following research questions were raised to guide the study;

  1. What are the significant difference in the academic performance of Biology students between those in instructor assigned cooperative group and their counterparts in randomly assigned cooperative group?
  2. What are the significance difference in the academic performance of Biology students between those in social integrative cooperative group and those in subject matter cooperative group?
  3. Do students in geographic cooperative group differ significantly from their counterparts in self selected cooperative group in their academic performance in Biology?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study;

  1. Students in instructor assigned cooperative group do not differ from their counterparts in randomly assigned cooperative group in their academic performance in Biology.
  2. There is no significant difference in the academic performance of Biology students between those in social integrative cooperative group and those in subject matter cooperative group.
  3. Students in geographic cooperative group differ significantly from their counterpart in self selected cooperative group in their academic performance in Biology.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study is significant for the following reason;

This study will be of tremendous assistance to all involved in the teaching and learning process.

Specifically, it is hoped that this study would be of help to the Biology teachers. It is hoped to provide a more efficient method of teaching Biology considering the worldwide reports about the capability of cooperative learning strategy.

It is hope to promote students personal relationship as they relate with one another during lessons‟ periods and equally enable the slow learners to learn from the fast learners in the group. The result of this study may also provide curriculum planners necessary information that may be importance during curriculum review.
1.7 Delimitation of the Study

This study is delimited to cooperative learning on the academic performance of students in Biology in Secondary Schools in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area. The population of the study consists of all the SS2 Biology students in the study area. The study examined the following types of group learning, Instructor-assigned group, Randomly-assigned group, Social integrated group, Subject matter cooperative group, Self-selected groups, and Geographic Assigned Cooperative.

1.8 Limitation of the Study

The following challenges will be confronted by the researcher in the course of conducting this study:

Financial Constraint: Due to the high cost of transportation of visiting all the selected schools for this study finance was a great problem to the researcher.

Time Constraint: The period of the time given for the completion of the study was not sufficient based on the fact that the researcher had other school activities to carry out as at the time of the study.

1.9 Operational Definition of Terms

The following terms were defined as they are utilizing in this study.

  1. Cooperative Learning: This is a successful teaching strategy in which students are divided into small teams, each with students of different levels of ability; use a variety of learning activities to improve their understanding of a subject.
  2. Academic performance: this refers to the scores or grade of students recorded in exams or test.
  3. Instructor-assigned group: This refers to the systematic allocation of members into a group by the instructor
  4. Randomly-assigned group: This learning group is a group in which the members are put together randomly. Simple random assignment allocates students to groups with regard only to final group size (Hilton and Phillips, 2008)
  5. Social integrated group: This refers to the cooperative group were the groups members are selected based on their ability to associate and integrate with their peers.
  6. Subject matter cooperative group: This refers to the grouping system of students in different groups with regard to their ability or performance in different subjects.
  7. Self-selected groups: In this group, students choose their collaborators themselves with little or no intervention made by the educators. The educators usually announce the desired number of students in a single group and let the students form the group accordingly.
  8. Geographic Assigned Cooperative Groups: This refers to the process of allocating students into different groups based on the geographical location of their school or home.
  9. Biology: This is a science subject that deals with the study of life.

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