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This study investigated effects of instructional materials on the academic achievement and retention of SS 2 biology students in Delta State. The study sample consisted of 86 SS2 biology students randomly selected from a population of 5,626 students drawn from 18 public schools. An instrument designed and developed from past WAEC questions by the researcher known as Biology Achievement Test (BAT) was validated by some senior lecturers in science, English and statistic from Ahmadu Bello University and senior biology teachers in Delta State. The instrument used was tested and certified to be reliable at 0.65 coefficient. Quasi-experimental design was adopted which involves two groups: experimental and control groups. The experimental group was subjected to treatment using instructional materials but the control group was taught without any instructional materials. Four null hypotheses were tested using t-test statistics. The following major findings were made: There is a significant difference between the mean academic achievement scores of students taught using instructional materials (EG) and those taught without the use of instructional materials (CG).There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of male and female students taught biology concepts using instructional materials. There is significant difference in the mean retention scores of students taught with instructional materials and those taught without instructional materials. There is significant difference in the retention ability of male and female students exposed to the use of instructional materials. On the basis of these findings some recommendations were made, one of which is teachers should make use of instructional materials to facilitate the

teaching                   of                   biology                   at                   secondary                   school                    level.




1.1         Introduction

Science explains the natural existence of man and his activities. Science could be seen as problem solving in order to improve the living standard of man. There are different definitions of science by different schools of thought; Owolabi (2004) defines science as an integrated part of human activities. It is seen as a dynamic human activity concerned with manipulating spherical world. It is seen as “knowledge covering general truths and laws, obtained and tested through scientific methods as concerned laws with the physical world”. Science can be seen as the bedrock of national development. A nation that is not scientifically advanced is termed a backward nation. Science is used by humans to solve daily problems and control the environment.

The usefulness of science cannot be under-rated. There are many areas of life that science has contributed such as in medicine, geophysics, hydrology, agriculture, communication, technology, education, transportation, healthcare to mention a few. Agriculture has improved greatly through the introduction of high yield improved agricultural seeds. Science has led to breakthrough in medical care. Diagnostic machine for checking different ailments and diseases are now controlled and diseases cured through science. The usefulness of science to humanity cannot be over emphasized.

Biology is defined as the study of living things which include plants and animals. It is a fascinating study that ranges from microscopic-cellular molecules to the biosphere, encompassing the earth’s surface and its living organisms (Sarigin, 2010). Biology is a core subject that is mandatory in all secondary schools in Nigeria as it is a pre-requisite to the study of many courses relevant to humanity which include the following; Medicine, Pharmacy,


Biochemistry,Agriculture, Anatomy, Physiology, Botany, Zoology, Microbiology, Cell Biology, Ecology, Entomology Immunology, Molecular biology, Evolutionary, Genetics and population dynamic among others. Biology can be conveniently taught in a laboratory which is a place designed and equipped with materials for teaching and learning. It is obvious that most secondary schools lack physical laboratories and where they exist, there are inadequate or lack of equipment. One of the problems militating against effort to enrich science is inadequate or absence of teaching aids or materials which include; indoor or outdoor laboratory, reagents, chemicals and unqualified teachers. Nwoji (1999) reported that some essential facilities were not available in the school visited (Baike 2000).

The importance of Biology is so much that it needs to be taught with instructional materials to arouse students’ interest. Tabotndip (2004) lamented that abstract teaching goes on today where teachers do not use apparatus and students are not using textbooks. It is reported that most secondary schools do not have biology laboratory, the few existing ones have been converted into classrooms to create space for the overwhelming population of students arising from the Universal Basic Education (UBE) and Universal Primary Education (UPE). As a result of WAEC specification on SSCE examination, some schools resorts to multipurpose laboratory. There is need for a single laboratory for each of physics, chemistry as well as biology practicals. This ought not to be so for they have their disadvantages such as fire or chemical outbreak or accidents. In case of biology, the charts, specimen and models may not be displayed for recognition and observation. Learning occurs when all the facilities for study are harnessed for work during a teaching and learning experience (Azikwe1990,Tabotndip 2004). Visual imaginary e.g. pictures charts etc has become the most powerful means of communication in the society today. (Ajayi 2004).

Outdoor activities in form of outdoor laboratory learning could be encouraged in form of biology garden, field trips or around the school wall since the activities of the indoor laboratory


cannot unfold true happenings in nature or forms of living things e.g. reproduction of amphibians in water, observation of flowering plants, taxonomy of plants and animal. Morphology of living things can be studied in the laboratory to an extent but their activities, influence and interaction with one another in their habitat would be better studied outside the laboratory. This method of instruction promotes inquiring strategy. Inquiring is a process that encourages students to solve problems in a logical systematic manner using the process skills (James, and Permida (1997, 2000).

The Biology garden as an outdoor laboratory plays a very important role in the teaching and learning process that includes:

1.                  Free movement of teacher and students in terms of observation of specimens and objects.

2.                  It promotes good relationship between students and their teacher.

3.                  It encourages inquiry, discovery and meaningful learning.

4.                  It exposes the students to study plants and animals in their natural habitat.

5.                  Biological garden helps the teacher to collect specimen without travelling long distances.

6.                  It also reduces the cost of providing materials during WAEC examination.

There are still some biology concepts and phenomena that require indoor laboratory attention such as chemical reactions in Biology (Physiology) e.g. osmosis, turgidity, etc. in plants and some physiological activities in animals. It is necessary therefore to introduce the use of materials in teaching and illustration of biology concepts for a meaningful study to take place. These materials include; concrete objects, charts, stored specimens and other teaching materials. It is on this background that the study is focused, finding out the effect of instructional materials on academic achievements and retention of SS 2 Biology Students.


Instructional materials are teaching aids or materials used to illustrate the teaching process and make instruction more compressive to the learner. According to Franzer, Okebukola, and Jegede (1992) professionally qualified science teacher no matter how well trained would not be able to put his ideas into practice if the school setting lacks the equipment and materials necessary to translate potentials into reality. The use of teaching aids or instructional materials is an important tool in the teaching of Biology. The objective of any educational process determines the content, methods and materials needed for achieving such objectives. Different instructional materials are used for different concepts in Biology. Yero, (2000) mentioned four types of instructional aids or materials, which include the following: -

i.                    Visual Aids: - these are instructional materials that make visual impression–that is, itinterprets the vision of the eyes. They include chalk board, posters, models, motion pictures, projected transparences.

ii.                  Auditory Aids: - these appeal to the sense of hearing and include record players, taperecorders and language laboratories.

iii.                Audio – visual Aids: - these involve both hearing and visual senses e.g. based on soundand vision. Advancement in modern technology has led to the production of devices known as Information Communication Technology (ICT), which is also used in teaching.

iv.                Stimulation Devices: - These include devices built to stimulate the actions and functionof real thing or object. Instructional materials according to Oriade (2000) have the characteristics of holding attention of almost all the students because they reinforce verbal messages by providing a multi-media approach.

The importance of instructional materials according to Oriade (2000) emphasized that

no matter how good a curriculum maybe, absence of the use of instructional materials can jeopardize its effective implementation. The selection and use of instructional materials depend


on the teachers, if the science or biology teacher does not have the skills to manipulate the materials, learning becomes difficult. Teachers should be committed and enthusiastic to use instructional materials in teaching biology concepts. The provision and application of instructional materials should be reinforced in the school system, for it is on this note that the effect of instructional materials on academic achievements of Biology students, could be determined by their interactive and participation in class which is based on the teacher’s presentation of the biology concepts or subject matter. Both achievements and long term achievement could be measured by test analysis designed. An instructional material stimulates student’s participation in class, increase knowledge and affects the achievement of biology students. The use of inappropriate teaching materials results such as wrongly labeled charts results in several academic problems which according to Josiah and Okaoboh (2001) ranges from mass failure or under achievement in public examination to the gradual deteriorating situation in educational institution at all levels. Instructional materials are seen as an improvement and great relief for teachers in impacting knowledge and making the message clearer, more interesting and easier for the learners to assimilate (Onasanga and Adegbija 2008).In their view, there is no need teaching if what is learnt cannot be recalled.

Retention is the ability to store what has been learnt and recall what has been stored in the memory. According to Bichi (2002) retention is the ability to retain and later remember information or knowledge gained after learning in to memory. The nature of the materials to be coded contributes to the level of retention. Instructional materials contribute to quality and level of retention in terms of meaningful, concreteness and image evolving characteristic.(Adeniyi 1997). The study therefore investigates the effect of instructional materials on the academic achievement of teaching and learning process in biology concept. Logoke,(1992) in Bichi (2002) investigated the retention ability of two groups of students; experimental group taught biological concepts using the analogical linage strategy while the control group was thought


(skeletal system) same concepts using the traditional teaching method. The results showed that the experimental group performed significantly better and retained more of the biology concepts taught than their counter parts in the control group. Akale and Usman (1993) and Eniayeji (1995) opined, that carefully selected and skillful use of teaching materials make facts and information better retained and learning more meaningful. It is on these findings that this study is focused. The study tends to consider gender factor in terms of biology achievement and retention.

Gender issue has been the concern of all classes and groups of people all over the world especially researchers and educators. The issue of gender is considered and treated based on certain facts such as social and cultural beliefs, pattern of life and priorities of individuals. In the colonial days, boys were allowed to attend school while girls remained in the house to do house chores. Today there is no disparity on gender. From the findings of Ifamuyiwa (2005), a total of 215 candidates that sat for school certificate further mathematics involving 181 males and 34 females; result analysis showed that though the females were much fewer; 16% female, 34% of male, they relatively performed better. Even though there was poor performance of some female student’s which was attributed to certain factors such as negative and discouraging attitudes of female teachers, parents to the ideas of women engaging in “male careers” such as engineering. The learning of boys and girls is associated with the society’s gender norms and perpetuated through informal education in the homes and society. (Erinosho1997).Studies have confirmed the inferiority of females in science enrolments and achievements.(Arends, (1991),andAgholor, 1993). According to Aleboisus, (2000) there is inequality in access to education, health and employment. This study tends to access the effect of instructional materials on academic achievements and retention among SS2 Biology students in Ika North East Local Government Area of Delta State considering gender factors.

1.1.1 Theoretical Framework


The theoretical framework of this study is based on constructivism theory, which is about providing material which is more effective for the opportunities of the student to test ideas and give them time to construct relationship among concepts and the use of higher level embedded assessment (Ronande dios 2012).

According to Good (2003) the modem teacher sees the child as akin to a plant that is helped to grow according to its abilities and aptitudes. The understanding of an individual derived from a learning situation depends on both the incoming ideas and knowledge and individual’s organization of the knowledge and deliberate re-structuring of his pre-existing conceptual framework. Learning becomes more effective when students are actively involved in the teaching learning process. They make their own knowledge as a result of interaction with specific phenomenon as such from the basis on which new knowledge are anchored ( Ronande Dios 2012). Studies of some science educators such as Okebukola (2005) advocated the use of activity oriented instructional strategies such as constructive instructional strategy to enhance the teaching and learning of sciences. The constructive instructional strategy is related to Ausubel’s theory which is concerned with how an individual learn large amount of meaningful materials from verbal /textual presentation in school settings (in contrast to theory developed in the context of laboratory experiment Ronande Dios (2012)

The constructivist instructional strategies involve instructional materials. Constructivist learning encourages learners to acquire necessary knowledge and skills for finding meaningful solution to real world problems. Their learning involves learners-centered, goal-directed and situated activities. There are experiences in a traditional classroom where the constructivist learning process in practiced across various subject disciplines but to transform the constructivist learning to e-learning remains challenging.

There are two main reasons:


1.       It requires adequate learning content design skills to ensure flexibility, re-usability and interoperability to meet learners requirement.

2.       Learning content design must allow a sound educational purpose to enforce knowledge construction. An effective learning design is not driven by the advancement in technology; it has to be rooted in sound learning theories and appropriate instruction strategies (material).

A Primary process in learning according to Ausubel is the subsumption in which new material is related to relevant ideas in an existing cognitive structure on a substantive non-verbatim basis. Cognitive structures represent the residue of all learning experiences; forgetting occurs when certain details get integrated and lose their individual identity. (Ronande Dios (2012) Constructivist theory as related to Ausubel’s learning theory of subsumption and advanced organizers is helpful to provide more clarification for better knowledge of the use of instructional material and strategies. Hollman (2007) according Ronande Dios (2012) is of the view that children who learn science by the discovery approach will discover for themselves the true structure of the discipline in complete harmony with modern philosophy of science

education           .

This study which is focused on instructional materials is based on constructist theory.

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