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The level of students’ academic performance in Biology, English and Chemistry subjects was found to be very poor. The declining performance of Secondary School Students in Enugu North Local Government Area. is somewhat disappointing. The purpose of this paper is to identify “Students Academic Performance in English, Biology and Chemistry (A Case Study of Some Selected Secondary Schools in Enugu North Local Government Area.).” The design that was employed in this study was a survey design. The area of study of this research comprises of one local government area in Enugu State, which is Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State. The population of the study comprises of sixteen (16) Secondary Schools with the total population of 6,335 students with 70 teachers respectively in Enugu north Local Government of Enugu State. Therefore, in accordance to Krejcie and Morgan Table the population sample of 361 should be collected for the total of 6,335 which tallies with the total population of Science Students in four schools. A structured questionnaire titled: “The Performance of Students in Biology, Chemistry and English in Some Selected Secondary Schools in Enugu North Local Government Area.” was developed by the researchers to collect relevant data. The data collected with the questionnaire were from some selected Secondary Schools in Enugu North Local Government Area i.e. Urban Girls Secondary School, City Girls Secondary School , Metropolitan Girls Secondary School, Queens Secondary School.
Over the years, many science curricular programs have been developed for use at both primary and secondary levels. For example, Primary Science has developed over the years through programs such as African Primary Science Program (APSP), the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), Primary Science and Mathematics Projects, the Federal
Government Core-curriculum Development Project Primary Science has also developed.
Integrated Science got introduced into Nigeria through the Ayetoro Basic Science Scheme and Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN). Despite the emphasis laid on the study of science in Nigeria, it’s very sad to realize that the country is not making any significant head way and is still besieged with technological problems despite the emanation of Chemistry, English, Mathematics, Biology, Agricultural Science and Geography. Besides there have been problems of unified language, lack of technological know-how, unemployment, illiteracy to mention a few.
For these reasons, Nigeria has been grouped among the ‘’third world countries of the world’’ (Sorunke, 1981).
To solve this problem, there is emphasis on the study of science and technology in schools so as to meet up with the manpower needs of the country. In fact, the government has made it a deliberate policy that admission into the higher instruction of learning should be in the ratio of 60:40 for Science and Arts respectively. This is because Science and technology have become an integral part of the world’s culture. It is almost impossible today to live a full and satisfactory life without the knowledge of Science.
Nigeria therefore needs to solve its problems such as improving its transportation system, developing its mineral resources, controlling soil erosion, introducing modern scientific farming and controlling diseases Sorunke (1981).
In the opinion of Ozoro (1977), ‘’the state of science and technology in the country is now a matter of great concern’’-this arises from increasing realization that Nigeria cannot develop rapidly as it aspires to without creating adequate scientific and technical manpower. This is obvious in the fact that expatriate scientist and technician shall only impart machines and ideas that are directly relevant to the problems which in all sincerity are unrelated to our own. Sorunke
(1981) has this to say, ‘’Nigeria cannot increase its productivity on the farm, industries, factories and all other sector without science and technology.’’ He added that it will amount to selfdeception avoiding realities to impart machines and experts.
Science (the study of Chemistry, English and Biology) is the nucleus of technological development. No science no developed country. As a result, the teaching of science should be given greater emphasis, so that the country can have a large number of science graduates irrespective of their gender, socio-economic status etc. It must also be noted that our country
(Nigeria) is suffering and will still continue to lack behind until science subjects most especially Biology, chemistry and englishare given special attention. Most of the reasons why students fail science subjects is due to the fact that our laboratories are not well equipped and even the little available resources i.e. chemicals and apparatus are not able to measure what they ought to measure as in the case of measuring instruments, Sorunke (1981).
Laboratory is an area equipped with scientific apparatus and equipments where scientists perform experiments based on scientific theories. Thus, the laboratory provides resource materials for teaching and learning of science, the laboratories allow students to have experiences that are consistent with the goals of scientific literacy, so if the laboratories are well equipped and the teachers are experts, the students will be motivated to learn Biology, chemistry and englishwhich will then lead to an excellent performance. In a situation where there are no equipments in the laboratories, the teachers can improvise; improvisation plays an important role in science experimentation. According to Science Teachers Association of Nigeria- STAN (1976), ‘’true improvised equipments are those made by the teachers.’’ Another aspect that affects the performance of students in Biology, chemistry and englishis the quality of teachers, their methods of teaching, influence of peer group, influence of Mathematics etc. For the performance of students in Biology, chemistry and englishto be excellent and encouraging, the teaching must be relevant to the actual Nigerian setting, encouraging the students in actual process of ‘’doing’’ rather than hearing Biology, chemistry and englishso as to boost their ego in terms of their performance in the aforementioned subjects Salman, 2004.
In the past, observation shows that there have been low performance in Biology, chemistry and englishat the ‘’O’’ level Senior Secondary Schools Certificate Examination (SSCE); West African Examination Council (WAEC), National Examination Council (NECO), etc. These observations have raised problems which captivated a lot of attentions from many individuals and organizations. These problems are viewed in various perspectives and blames are shared in various proportions among students, teachers, and the examination body, the curriculum planers and even the state and Federal Government.
The basis of this project is to investigate the performance of students in Biology, chemistry and englishin some selected Secondary Schools in Enugu North Local Government Area..
1.1.1 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
EDWARD LEE THORNDIKE (1874 - 1949). LAWS OF LEARNING AND ITS EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS
First primary law of learning, according to him, is the ‘Law of Readiness’ or the ‘Law of Action Tendency’, which means that learning takes place when an action tendency is aroused through preparatory adjustment, set or attitude. Readiness means a preparation of action. If one is not prepared to learn, learning cannot be automatically instilled in him, for example, unless the typist, in order to learn typing prepares himself to start, he would not make much progress in a lethargic & unprepared manner. The second law of learning is the ‘Law of Exercise’, which means that drill, or practice helps in increasing efficiency and durability of learning and according to Throndike’s S-R Bond Theory, the connections are strengthened with trail or practice and the connections are weakened when trial or practice is discontinued. The ‘law of exercise’, therefore, is also understood as the ‘law of use and disuse’ in which case connections or bonds made in the brain cortex are weakened or loosened. Many examples of this case are found in case of human learning. Learning to drive a motor-car, typewriting, singing or memorizing a poem or a mathematical table, and music etc. need exercise and repetition of various movements and actions many times. The third law is the ‘Law of Effect’, according to which the trial or steps leading to satisfaction stamps in the bond or connection. Satisfying states lead to consolidation and strengthening of the connection, whereas dis-satisfaction, annoyance or pain leads to the weakening or stamping out of the connection. In fact, the ‘law of effect’ signifies that if the response satisfies the subject, they are learnt and selected, while those which are not satisfying are eliminated. Teaching, therefore, must be pleasing. The educator must obey the tastes and interests of his pupils. In other words, greater the satisfaction stronger will be the motive to learn. Thus, intensity is an important condition of ‘law of effect’.
This theory of learning postulated by Thorndike will greatly support this research, this is because, there’s a very clear relationship between readiness, satisfaction, practice and performance. In essence, all the three laws will lead to good students’ academic performance and the absence of one of them could result into low or poor academic performance.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
There are many factors influencing the performance of students in biology chemistry and English, some of which are peer group influence, teacher’s methods of teaching, motivation, lack of availability of Human and material resources, etc. It is the objective of this study to investigate the student’s performance in Biology, chemistry and English in some selected Secondary Schools in Enugu North Local Government Area..
Over the years, the majority of students that sat for the May/ June West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and November/ December National Examination Council (NECO) have been recording mass failure, not only in the area of overall performance of the students, but also in the core subjects like, Biology, English and Chemistry where the high spate of failures have been a dominant feature of the students‘ performance in secondary schools in the Local Government.
Characteristically, statistics reeled out by the two examination bodies, the National Examination Council and the West African Examination Council, which is the particular focus of this study, each time the results of West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO) examinations are released, they point to the fact that students drawn have not been performing up to the required standards despite the high investment which the government, both at the federal and state levels, as well as the parents have been making in the sector, though, some still pull their weight (Amadike; 2005).
Consequently, the out-cry on the persistent poor and unpromising performances of many senior secondary school students in Fagge Local Government of Enugu State specifically, in the past six years (2005/2006, 2006/2007, 2007/2008, 2008/2009, 2009/2010, 2010/2011) in Senior
Secondary School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) conducted by West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) made educationists and the government policy makers and the researcher wonder whether the schools are measuring up to the expectations. However, several factors among the numerous problems confronting Senior Secondary Schools in Enugu North Local Government will without doubt positively or negatively affect students’ performance in WAEC examinations. Some of these factors include:
I. The students are exposed to different studying environment, being less favorable.
II. Inadequacy of teachers required to cope with increasing number of students.
III. Lack of supervision by busy parents may give room for laxity of their wards.
IV. Lack of material resources needed to teach the students.
1.3 OBJECTIVES FOR THE STUDY
The objectives of the study are to find out:
1. Students’ performance and the factors that affect the performance of students in Biology, chemistry and English among Senior Secondary School Students in Enugu North Local Government Area..
2. If mathematics has any effect in the performance of students in, Chemistry and Biology among Senior Secondary School Students.
3. The role of science laboratory in the performance of students in, Chemistry and Biology.
4. Effects of Teachers’ methods of teaching on the students’ performance in Chemistry and Biology.
5. Factors militating against the performance of students in English, Chemistry and Biology.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
This study seeks to find out answers to the following questions:
1. What is the performance of students and the factors that affect the performance of students in Biology, chemistry and English among Senior Secondary School Students?
2. Does mathematics has any effect in the performance of students in English, Chemistry and Biology?
3. What are the roles of science laboratory in the performance of students in English, Chemistry and Biology?
4. What are the effects of teacher methods of teaching on the students’ performance in English, Chemistry and Biology?
5. What are the factors militating against the performance of students in English, Chemistry and Biology?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Nigeria as a developing country places much emphasis on the advancement of science and technology. In order to attain a remarkable height in those areas, appropriate attention must be given to Biology, chemistry and English which will contribute to the advancement of science and technology.
The findings of this study would significantly form basis to explain some basic truth to the State government and officials of Ministry of Education in taking the right decision on the provision of infrastructural facilities to aid teaching and learning process which will help improve the academic performance of Senior Secondary School students.
It will stimulate administrators to investigate and formulate constructive strategies with a view to reducing or eliminating students‘ poor performance through students‘ welfare support services.
It will help the respective Government/policy makers to take corrective measures within their jurisdiction through adequate planning of resources to meet the demands and guide their actions on future projects on the education of staff and students for successful teaching and learning process in the schools.
This research would also help parents to give much attention and supervision to the student‘s work and hence result in improving students‘performance.
It would also help curriculum planners to know some of the factors that contribute to low or poor performance of students in Biology, English and Chemistry. This will enable them to include the most relevant resources when planning a curriculum.
The findings of this research would help future teachers to consider some of the factors that yield poor performance of students. As such, teachers will be able to make necessary preparations for it.
The research will be of immense importance to textbook publishers by enabling them publish some relevance resource materials in their publications which will yield excellent performance in students.
Finally, the findings of this study will serve as a foundation for future researchers to build their studies, thus it will add more information to the existing literature.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The study is directed at examining the performance of students in Biology, chemistry and English in Enugu North Local Government Area., Nigeria.
Due to time factor and financial constraints, it will not be possible to cover all the Schools in Enugu North Local Government Area. Some representative samples will be taken; this will include four Secondary Schools from Enugu North Local Government Area. The study will be restricted to student’s performance in Biology, chemistry and English in West African Examination Council (WAEC) between: 2010-2014. This will provide the basis for conclusion, recommendation and perhaps possible generalization on the study area.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The following terms are defined as used by the researchers in this work.
Performance: refers to accomplishment/ achievement and how well students deal with their studies and how they cope with or accomplish different tasks and studies given to them by their teachers.
School facilities: Human and physical resources within a school system.
Science: a systematic study of nature through hypothesis, experiment, observation, careful reasoning, making valid conclusion and inference on the basis of analysis.
Mathematics: the study of numbers, measurement of space, it deals with the measurement of properties and relationship of quantities as expressed in numbers or symbols.
Facilities: this is something that makes an action easy i.e., an aid or instructional materials, a convenience.
Laboratory a place where scientific work is done, a room or building fitted with apparatus for conducting science investigation or tests.
Poor Performance: the score which is less than the pass mark i.e., less than 40%.
Learning: this refers to how to acquire knowledge or skill by studying instruction, practice or experience and to commit to memory thought the knowledge of awareness. It is also a change in behavior due to exposure to some activities.
Questionnaire: a list of questions in which a person is expected to respond to either in written or verbally. The interpretation or analysis of this Reponses provides necessary data for research.
Equipments: a set of material physical resources apparatus and implements used in laboratory.
Chemistry: it is the study of structures chemical and physical properties of matter.
Biology: it is the study of living thing. It is also one of the science subject that is been attain in school.
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