APPROVAL OF STUDENTS PERFORMANCE IN SCIENCE SUBJECTS IN FINAL EXAMINATIONS IN GOMBE CENTRAL EDUCATION ZONE

APPROVAL OF STUDENTS PERFORMANCE IN SCIENCE SUBJECTS IN FINAL EXAMINATIONS IN GOMBE CENTRAL EDUCATION ZONE

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Abstract

The study sought to assess students performance in science subjects in final examination WAEC/NECO/NABTEB in Gombe Central Educational Zone Gombe State. Among the specific purpose of study are to find out the qualities of teachers, find out the adequacy of laboratory equipments the method of teaching and strategies to be adopted in improving the science students performance in Gombe Central Educational Zone, the study also aimed of finding or determining the extend of government commitment towards the improvement of science and technology in the area. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design and the area of the study is Gombe state. The population of the study of made up of 1105 students, 23 science teacher 6 - exam officers and 6 principals. The instrument for data collection is a structured questionnaire designed to elicit information to answer the 3 research questions. The instrument was validated by three experts and the reliability coefficient was established using person moment correlation coefficient (PPMC) at test which yield a coefficient figure of 0.85. Date for the study were personally collected by the researchers and mean statistics was employed to analyzed the data relating to the three research questions. Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations were made, government should provide schools with qualified teachers and adequate science equipment. Teachers should be retrained by organizing workshops to update their knowledge, skills and teaching methods.


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

THE BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Our world today is largely dominated by science and technology that can fairly describe the earth as a laboratory for observation and expectation of natural phenomena. We seldom listen to television and radio programmes without being in direct contact with science, technology and their discoveries. Science education is primary the training in the art of observing natural phenomena and in the knowledge of deduction of laws concerning the sequence of such phonomina Ozigi (1971). Man has divided science into various branches, four of the branches according to the types of natural phenomena to be studied are Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematic. Combination of these major branches form a number of applied science like medicine, engineering, nursing and others.

Virtually every nation in the world recognizes science and technology as not only indispensable by foremost instrument for national development. Similarly the Federal Government of Nigeria has stated in the National Policy on Education (NPE) that science and technology will continue to be tough is an integrated manner in the schools to promote appreciation by the students of the practical implication of the basis idea (NERDC 2004).

One can not separate technology from science because a technology is the practical manifestation of the scientific theories of discoveries. According Opara (2004), the symbiotic nature of science, technology and mathematic has made them an inseparable trw that shapes the destiny of any nation while science refers to a way of knowing and understanding our world.

The success of learner acquisition of knowledge in science area depends on the science teachers ability to help learners construct relevant knowledge by the application of their professional knowledge of content and pedagogy.

The Federal Government has in National Policy on Education (NPE) in (NERDC 2004) put a lot of premium on appropriate training and retaining of teachers and the recognition of teaching a “legally recognized profession” and has thus set up the teachers registration council (TRC) to control and regulate its practice.

The purpose of study in any academic subject in an institution is not only to pass but also to make one useful in one’s society and science subjects are not in exemption. But with science subjects particularly Chemistry and Physics, the objectives have not successfully been achieved by the science students especially in Gombe Central Educational Zone. The reality is that we are faced with continuous low performance of science students especially in Chemistry and Physics at the external examination such as Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) which include, the National Examination Council (NECO), West African Examination Council (WAEC), National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB), University Matriculation Examination (UME) and many others. Government has introduced several measures to remedy this situation, among them is the Federal Governments Policy to Private/Public partnership in the management of unity school for better academic performance (FME 2007).

The above have prompted this researcher to justify the mass failure of science students performance in both private and public schools particularly in the Gombe Central Educational Zone.       

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Despite all attempts by the Gombe State Government to improve the students participation to compete in the national science and academic capabilities, the students competency is science subjects is always diverging from the objectives. This is what arouse the interest of the researcher to findout, judge and assess the students performances in science field and put the problem in to a more organized out comprehensive way viz:

“Appraisal of students performance in science subjects in the Final Examination in Gombe Central Educational Zone”.

This topic was approved and drafter in letter by project coordinator (Appendix 1).

By this comprehensive topic the researcher is geared towards the implications of science in our daily and natural development as stated earlier, the judgment in the students understanding and professionalism of the teachers, the availability of instrument instructional materials, in the laboratories and workshops

The student readiness and parent’s guide in to the field of science and technology and lastly the government policy and the nature of curriculum because to taught the respective science subjects. All these factors have defined the problems which if properly studied deal away with, the problem hindering the objective of the science education will be a mirage.

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The aim of this study is to seek ways and means of improving the teaching and learning of science subjects in our various secondary schools so as to accelerate the rate of science and technological development in Gombe Central, Gombe State and Nigeria as a whole.

Specifically therefore the purpose of this study are to: 

1.   Identify the performance achievement of science students in science subjects at the final year external examination.

2.   Determine the factors responsible for the students failure in SSCE Examination.

3.   Assess the government efforts towards the improvement of science and technology education across the country and Gombe State in particular

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The findings of this study would immensely contribute towards the enlistment of science students in both public and private secondary schools in Gombe Central Zone. Also its loped that its recommendation will be useful to the students, teachers school administrators, state and the nation at large. 

The investigation would also identifying areas of weaknesses, with the view of improving students performance in science. Similarly, the science teachers will be able to review their teaching techniques and re – orient their teaching towards learners so as to achieve betters performance.

The school administrators and ministry of education will also be able to prepare adequately in – terms of provision of funds for the effective teaching and learning of science subjects in our secondary schools in the Gombe State and the nation at large. The resultant brilliant students will fit the tertiary institutions for the production of scientists, technologist, engineers, doctors and of course teachers for a better state in particular Nigeria.

SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This study was confined to Gombe Central senatorial district. It involves two largest local government which are Akko and Yamal to Deba Local Government comprises of six public and community built science secondary schools.

Also this study is mainly contracted on chemistry and physics as the most and important target of any science student/study using information from past record to students performance in from the year 2006 – 2011 inclusive. There are also three (3) private science schools in the are but none of them is up to graduation stage.

The six (6) science and technical schools in the said senatorial district which are to be covered by the researcher are:

1.   Government Comprehensive Science Secondary School (G.C.S.S.S) Pindiga.

2.   Government Comprehensive Science Secondary School (G.C.S.S.S) Deba.

3.   Government Girls College (G.G.C) Doma.

4.   Government Science Technical College (G.S.T.C) Kumo

5.   Government Science Technical College (G.S.T.C) Amada.

6.   Government Science Technical College (G.S.T.C) Deba.

THE RESEARCH QUESTION

In this section, the purpose of the study were reflected to indicate the number of the research questions. The research questions are compounded into three main categories, they are formulated as follows:

Research Question I: Is there any mass failure in the performance achievement of science students in science subjects at the final year external examination (SSCE)?

Research Question II: What are the factors responsible for these student failures in SSCE.

Research Question III: What are the Government efforts towards the improvement of Science and Technology Education across the Nation and Gombe State in specific?

CHAPTER II

REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE

This chapter gives a review of the related literature from previous researchers, journals, magazine, seminar reports, media          facilities etc. some are obtained via the internet facilities where as some via the verbal discussion/interview with the educational stakeholders in   the state.   the information contained in this chapter are organized under the following sub - heading

·                    Importance of science education to the society

·                    Methods of teaching science subject

·                    Science teachers capses and capacity building.

·                    Student capses in terms readiness and punctuality

·                    Manpower constraints and lack of motivation

·                    Financial constraint

·                    Inadequate educational infrastructures and science instructional materials

·                    Effects of improper and frequency of supervision/inspection of various science schools

·                    A summarized report from the Gombe Central Educational Zone.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SCIENCE EDUCATION TO THE SOCIETY

          Our world today is largely dominated by science and technology that can fairly describe the earth as a laboratory for observations and expectation on natural phenomena. We seldom listen to Radio and Television programmes without been in direct contact with science has its purpose by imposing order of natural events. Numerous  killer diseases one prevalent in the environment have been brought under man's control with his knowledge of medicine, agriculture, nursing, pharmacy and other applied sciences. Technological advancement of a society his intrisically tried to its scientific achievement. Both the technological and scientific growth are indices for measuring prestige and political powers of the society.

          Educationist have generally agreed on the important places of science like Biology, chemistry, Physics and Mathematics in the education of children. Through science education, certain ethnic and values such as honesty, rationality, objectivity and open mindedness are developed in youth. Nwafor 1976 declared that "the scientific method is widely acclaimed in all sphere of our daily life and as such a right attitude to science subjects must be encouraged in students:. Thoroughness he continued this should be achieved in the development of appropriate scientific skills and attitudes in learners. He summed up that some of these skills and attitudes are; curiosity, manipulative ability and mechanical comprehension, good spatial visualization, adaptability and spontaneous flexibility, initiative and enthusiasm, the ability to plane, design and conduct investigation. This is why the Federal Government intends to use secondary education to equip student to live effectively in our modern age of science and technology (NERDC 2004).

          Learning science in a formal institution is very important because of its impact on the life style of the society, the following findings are the supportive evidences.

          Carim and Sound (1967) defined learning as a relative permanent behavioured changes which result from a new experience. This new experience in classroom learning in invariable expressed in terms of students achievements in school subjects and this could best be determine by subject the student to examination condition.

          Learning of science subjects tends to occur under the tested experience, where the student lay emphasis on the requisition of scientific experience in suitable environment. Part of what the student learned can be measured as a specific knowledge and skill in science subjects. the students may be subjected under evaluation on what has been taught, this will determine he performance of the students that is how poor or how the student have acquired in the intended scientific knowledge or skills (Carim and Sound 1967).

          Learning is seen to be the major issue in a classroom environment. according to Paiget and Jerome Bruner on their various cognitive theories of learning, they have shown that the learners has always be seen to be center of learning. Hence for learning to occur, the learner has to be personally involved in interactly with learning materials understanding the experience based on previous learnt ones. by this, learning tends to expatiate human knowledge. Hills (1972) stressed that since learning is such an important factor in what man does, a greater understanding of process would so far towards increasing his knowledge.

          A student of science trade returns back to the society after schooling to fill his/her quarter gearing to the development of his immediate society. With all these we can here say that the society is the feedback center of any educational enterprises. The production of good scientist leads to the societal progress whereas the reverse is the case when quake scientists are produce by the school or institution.

METHODS OF TEACHING SCIENCE SUBJECTS

          The interest of students in science subjects generally depends largely on the method of teaching adopted by the teacher. the method of teaching now depends on the approach of the teacher to the topic in question. The approach will either draw the interest of the students or derived them away from that topic. it has been widely observed that the teaching methods used by teachers in our schools today do not stimulate interest of the students and can not be effective in training manpower for essential profession.

          Adamu (1973) in his study in to role of chemistry textbooks stated that "due to lack of knowledge of teaching skills in chemistry accounts for teachers in ability to arouse the students interests and these causes them to drop the subject at earliest opportunity:.

          According to Abdullahi (1981) the new methodology of chemistry teaching shifted from concern for process of imparting knowledge to process of learning through individual investigation.

          Ogunmiyi (1980) when helping students to learn chemistry, the need to a diversified instructional techniques cannot be over emphasized, as some techniques lend themselves better to learning situation than others. Some of these techniques according Ogunmiyi are practical, inquiry, discovery, demonstration, discussion and field trip. According him these methods help to convey an adequate picutre of chemistry and can be used in the study of all the braches of science.

          Abimbola (1986) the most important function of the teacher in the teaching and learning processes is to facilities the manner in which students organize information in their cognitive structure. It is a known fact that students hold conception others than those generally accepted as correct by other by the scientific community. To enable the student to live effectively in our modern age of science and technology, instruction in science must be geared towards the prevention, minimizing and remediation of the development of alternative conceptions by the students.

          Mc Donald et al (1986) gave similar expression on the demonstration method. He said that "the demonstration is an experiment performed by the teacher or by one or several pupils for the benefit of the whole class:. As science subjects are skilled based, it is of the opinion of these writers too, that demonstration is the best method, if effective learning is to take place.

          Also, on he teaching method, Foster (1987) observed that more anything else, teaching methods affect the response of the pupils and determines whether they are uninterested - motivated and involved in the lesson. In such a way one can be engaged in a good learning, understanding and progressive development of skills.

          Lock et al (1987) someday these views they stressed that one teaching method should be relied upon totally, variety according to them is not necessary to achieved difference sorts of objectives but it is sympathy with broader educational aims encouraging pupils to regards learning as an enjoyable and stimulatly activity.

SCIENCE TEACHERS LAPSES AND CAPACITY BUILDING

          Teachers being focused as the transmitters of existing knowledge have been blamed so far by some writers as being responsible for the poor or low performance of science students.

          In a paper presentation to North Teacher in London, skill back (1975) was quoted as saying: Teacher in school are very aware of constraints and deficiencies, which limit the achievements of desirable educational result. These negative factors are not objectives so far as the teachers are concerned that is they do not result only from the material limitation, the unsatisfactory work conditions, the reluctance of the children to undertake education activity and  so fourth. The teacher needs to experienced, refused to reflect on possibilities and a preference for easy solution and procedures.

          The teachers work with the children in effective ways to provide maximum development towards intellectual, physical, emotional and social maturity. However, these effective ways are only possible if the teacher possess the appropriate background. This mean that the teacher must have necessary wisdom, experience, attitudes, beliefs and feelings towards the task before him, (Aremu 1985). He continued that student's poor performance is into only limited to lack of materials, unsatisfactory work condition, reluctance of students to engage in educative faulty perception of the last before the teacher, who is seen as the role planner or master planner, organizer and implementers of the whole educational program. Thus for the science to perform well, then the teacher has to take up his task seriously and effectively so that the science students can be prepared physically, emotionally and mentally besides be able to teach efficiently and effectively similarly, Musa (1985) was of the opinion that:

          So long as teacher see their role as transmitters of existing knowledge which is the Nigeria context have their root in our colonial heritage to that extend will education continue to serve as an instrument of domestication of the Nigerian child. That is producing Nigerians who are content with things as they are and when faced with problems falls back on superstition instead of science for exploration.

          This implies that old habits of thought and established techniques are poor to the evaluation required for course improvement. Teachers must be capable of changing to the needs of the learner and society since no society is state. Most teachers, today do not drive and knowing the basic principle of how a particular thing has come into existence, but instead accept and stick to the content on how things are therefore producing students with low performance, unprepared for active role in states strive for development and the nation of large.

Blaming the teachers further, Musa (1985) emphasis that:

Teacher see themselves as masters and sole possessors of knowledge, the environment that prevails is not in which reflecting critical thinking is encouraged such method of teaching not only go beyond the superficial treatment of any human phenomena which by nature are complex but they pre - supposed a state words.

STUDENT LAPSES IN TERMS OF READINESS AND PUNCTUALITY

Student is the general body of pupils or children is one place for the purpose of eradication of illiteracy by providing educational facilities to them irrespective of their social or economic background. it is assumed by some writers that when science students perform poorly, there is something wrong with the said student.

Farrant (1984) affirmed that:

"Lack of knowledge and inability of some student to write what they know may be attributed to their laziners and more often their possession to wrong kind of knowledge. students observed with not learning or memorization because they take examination to be a test of pure memory as a result of paying little attention to understanding.

What Farrant (Opcit) is trying to portray is that, science students should be trained towards memorizing answers to questions in examination room but should have sufficient understanding and relevance of what is to be done. Science student may fail to write about what they know when they stay up too late in the night before the examination and fairly to read the instruction on the question paper.

In an attempt to guide science students toward better performance, emphasis should be placed on the need for science to understand what is being asked for and the writing of good essays staking the importance of school equipments tike tools, machineries and so on to performance of science students. On the second hand, failure of the students to attend the lesson environment and in time also massively contribute to student failure during SSCE exams, this is because such a student must have missed  alot of valuable and integrals information taught by the teacher during lesson delivery which may not be contained in the main lesson note. The demand that test be closely matched to aims of a course reflect awareness that examinations of the usual sort determine what is taught.

In addition to these general approaches, Farrant (Opcit) emphasized that "Teachers should give special training to their science students in sound examination techniques. He attributed the following techniques to be followed by science students for examination success.

1. That students should read and follow the instructions given by the examiners.

2. He should organizes answer material  in a logical fashion

3. He should select questions wisely when a choice is offered

4. Respond correctly to key words such as analyze, compare, consider, contrast, discuss, explain, list, state etc.

5. Adapt answer styles that are appropriate to questions

6. Write good, clear and interesting answers for assay questions

7. Distinguish between this importance and unimportance details of questions

8. Prepare rough answers plan quickly before answering (this answer even be off heard).

9. Be disciplined on the use of time in the examination

10. Avoid examination malpractice of any kind.          

MANPOWER CONSTRAINTS AND LACK OF MOTIVATION

The ultimate objective of any education pursuit is to master the area or field concern. To achieve this, there is urgent need for vigorous grooming of those involved. Its is therefore imperatve for both the federal and state Government to recruit qualified and trained teachers, educational planners and carrier counselors who will see to the progress of the created with regard to lack of educational planners, qualified and trained teachers and observe of carrier guidance. This generally leads to the science students performing poorly in their Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE). Manpower supplies are more or less the life - wire of the educational programme as such they should be trained in mass to meet the measurable standard required for ur science students.

According to Eruba (1986); the cause of the poor performance of science students was attributed to the use of unqualified teaching personals in our school system.

Manpower is one of the most requiement for the successful implementation of any educational policy, especially through the supply of more and qualified teachers.

Mbiti (1973) says "some of the methods cultivate motivations among workers are attractive salaries, promotion opportunities, Rnnual leave, at equipping the employee with modern techniques of performable his duty and fringe benefit.

The facts above, if teachers receive regular payment of salaries, promotion, annual leaves as well as having or undertaken in services training will definitely cultivated positive attitudes towards their duties or works. teachers could be motivated to work and became more effective when given necessary incentives.

Similarly an students motivation, Lovek (1976) was of the opinion that:

"Students will work hard at tasks when they feel that result is important to them or what worth as person. Student should be allowed to make suggestions and to contribute to ideas to make them generally feel more responsible in their attitudes in their efforts".

To strike the balance between teacher and students, then the standard of attainment set before the students should be within their capacity provided they work hard and properly motivated by the teachers. The students should be made to recognise the importance of what is to be learnt and giving the room for participation, students could be motivated to learn and perform better when they are part and parcel of the whole learning process by the teacher who prepares the students to excel in challenges of tomorrow.

financial constraints

          Another serious problem that contribute to the poor performance of science students is the finanical constraints of most states in supporting any new educational reforms. In support of above view. Ayepoku  (1989) claims that, from about 1981 when the nations oil revenue divide seriously all the three tiers of government implementation of the 6 - 3 - 3 - 4 system the kind of money that would make the reform a meaningful one. this downturn in the nation's oil fortune had not been foreseen and was therefore totally unexpected. Indelibly, the great educational reform began to letter and this was evident in the half - hearted manner in which the J.S.S segment of the reform was implemented in 1982. In summary, therefore, not only was the financial cost of the new educational system grossly underestimated the grin financial situation was further compounded by dividing oil revenue.

          The provision of funds is an essential ingredient in the smooth running of any establishment, educational institutions inclusive. It is expected that service would be funded to it on a sound footing. The financial cost of new educational programme was grossly underestimated in Gombe State and Nigeria at large. Most states were unable to provide materials and equipment such as text books, stationeries, laboratories, furniture and laboratory audio visual materials, furniture and performance of the science students. The necessary equipment when provided will help to provide effective teaching and learning experience.

          Aiyepeku (Opcit) was of the view that the Federal Government would in the first place make education a joint responsibility involving parents, communities, local and state government so that adequate supply of equipment could be made to enable the science students peform to a measurable good standard.

          INADEQUATE EDUCATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURES AND SCIENCE INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS

          Another major probable that is responsible for poor or low standard performance of science students in the state is that education facilities are made quite, especially teaching materials, workshops and laboratory equipments. This acute shortage of facilities as observed by some educationists affect the science students performance. This view is been acclaimed by Akinpelu (1974) when he identified the importance of library in school. He was of the opinion that, "the school library is essential and indispensable to the school which compensate for whereat textbooks and classrooms inadequate". From this study, Akinpelu concluded that he poor performance of students particularly in the post - primary institutions has a lot to do with lack of good libraries. since libraries could be seen as a place where knowledge is stored and trapped, their existence in schools are of paramount importance to both the science students and teaching staff. Libraries in schools when properly made use of, will help immensely in promoting the general academic performance of science students independent work strength.

           (1977) was of the opinion that:

          "Item of school equipment are essentials and to effective teaching and learning They are the teachers trade tools. As institution that are lacking in essential equipments can not responsibly achieve its man objectives. Not only should be enough and within teachers used for the student work".

          Every school needs a wide range of educational equipments such as textbooks, stationary, laboratories and workshop equipment audio - visual items, furniture and other material. Ozigi was of the opinion that necessary school equipment when provided will help promote effective teaching and learning experience. the insufficiently of well equipped science laboratories, libraries and teaching aids has been re - affirmed by Udeme - Obong (2000).




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