INVESTIGATING RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN AVAILABILITY OF LABORATORY FACILITIES AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN BIOLOGY AMONG SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN ZAMFARA STATE, NIGERIA.

INVESTIGATING RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN AVAILABILITY OF LABORATORY FACILITIES AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN BIOLOGY AMONG SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN ZAMFARA STATE, NIGERIA.

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1Background to the Study

Science is doing and involves regular hands – on practical work for learners to develop scientific literacy to face global challenges. Aleyideino (2000) opined that sound science education is accepted worldwide as bedrock of human development and progress, and also maintained that no educational system can rise above the quality of its teachers, and no nation can rise above the level of its teaching staff. For science teachers to play their roles in teaching science, laboratory facilities must be available and must be used appropriately to improve the performance of students.

The National Policy on Education (FME, 2004) states that science education shall emphasize the teaching of science process and principle. This will lead to fundamental and applied research in science at all levels of education. When laboratory facilities are appropriately utilized, they bring about more effectiveness in teaching and learning process, but this depends on teachers’ ability to use such facilities effectively (Ughamadu; 1992).

In the study of Biology as an integral branch of science, the facilities  and

equipments  which  students  were  exposed  to  remain  crucial  to  the  achievement

made by them. The facilities and equipment here referred to infrastructures, manpower and laboratory equipment, all of which make learning fruitful and rewarding. For the past three decades, there has been tremendous increase in the number of students’ enrolment in biology when compared to other science subjects (Milgwa,


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2000). This is because Biology is seen to be directly relevant to students’ everyday life. On the other hand, it could be observed that students performance in both Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) and the General Certificate in Education (GCE) have constantly been poor. This poor performance has been attributed to students’ inability to tackle biology practical questions (Nworgu, 1999).

According to Ogunkola and Olatoye (2004) practical work is the back-bone

of effective science teaching and learning. It has been repeatedly emphasized that scientific enterprise is an activity packed one, involving continuous exploration and verification of facts. Science is learnt by doing, so the different school curricula should adequately provide facilities for practical work at every stage of learning experiences. Alebiosu cited in Ogunkoya and Olatoye (2004) opined that science is experimentation and its teaching specially focuses on making students learn through the working of hands, brain and the heart. Various studies on the methodology of science teaching such as inquiry, discovery and process approach have shown that students learn more from science lesson by doing rather than by observation. According to Ogunkola and Olatoye (2004) enhancing better understanding of products and process of science cannot be overemphasized and also added that the practical nature of biology is commonly regarded as an important source of pupils’ motivation.

Nworgu (1999) said that teaching of biology involves three major domains of educational objectives namely cognitive, affective and psychomotor. He said teachers of biology mostly emphasize on cognitive domain at the expense of the other two domains. The development of psychomotor domain involves practical activities which require laboratory facilities and equipments. Mustapha (2002) stated that


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practical work in school science provides learners with opportunities to use scientific equipments to develop basic manipulative or inquiry activities and develop problem-solving attitudes needed for future work in science.

Etukudo (2004) opined that laboratory method of teaching is presumed to be capable of fully involving the individual learner in the learning and teaching activities as well as helps to remove individual differences and absent mindedness. He added that laboratory offers singular privilege of manipulating apparatus or

teaching aids to every student to obtain a desirable result. Also he said that the

use  of  instructional  materials  which  laboratory  techniques  offer,  enhance better

understanding of the curriculum     content.   Kuthnfithing   in  Etukudo (2004) said that

experimentation and laboratory teaching are good pedagogy for discovery learning

and

mastering of

abstract skills as well as building up of low ability learners. Ige

(2000) noted

that

biology teacher

is an indispensable human resource who

has a

vital

role to

play

in utilization of

all other

resources and therefore must be

aware

of

various

types

of  facilities

available.

The teacher must also know to get the








equipment/facilities and the situations where they can effectively be put to use. However, Ivowi (1999), observed that lack of science teaching equipments in our laboratories is one of the major problems facing science teaching in Nigeria. Based on the

nature of biology and the teaching of the subject. Abdulrahman ( 2009) believes that practicing biology teachers who are not trained within the scientifically rich environments or moderately rich biology environment do not have the capacity to utilize any available resources or improvise in the absence of such resources.


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1.2 Statement of the Problem.

Many secondary schools claim to offer science subjects, but a visit to

these schools reveals that some of them only offer science subjects but they have

no  laboratories  not  to  talk  of  laboratory  facilities. In addition to this, the available

laboratories in some of these secondary schools are ill-equipped to teach science subjects.

According  to  Abdulrahaman  (2009)  secondary

school  laboratories  are   sparsely

furnished and unused

by

science  teachers

to

the  extent that  spiders  and  other

insects  have  taken

over

the  laboratories

and

their  facilities.  This may be due to

negligence, lack of manpower or unqualified teachers to handle the facilities.

The problem of non-availability of laboratory facilities for effective teaching of Biology in our secondary schools persists thereby giving rise to poor academic performances, as discussion and lecture methods of teaching have been dominating the teaching and learning activities where students need to do practical work (Abdulrahaman, 2009). Based on this, he opined that students always perform very poor in the practical part of their examination thereby leading to poor academic performance in science courses. Thus the focus of this study is to investigate the relationship between utilization of laboratory facilities and students’ academic performance in Biology in senior secondary schools in Zamfara State and make suggestions on how the findings will help to improve the students’ performance in Biology.


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1.3 Objectives of the Study.

The major objective of the study is to investigate relationships between Utilization of Laboratory Facilities and Academic Performance in Biology among Senior Secondary School Students in Zamfara State, Nigeria. Other objectives are as follows;

1)      To examine the level Availability of Biology Laboratory Facilities in Senior Secondary Schools in Zamfara State.

2)    To determine the level of students’ Academic Performance of Biology Laboratory Facilities.

3)     To determine the relationship between the Availability of Biology Laboratory Facilities and Students’ Understanding of Laboratory Facilities.

4)   To find out whether Biology Laboratory Facilities are more supplied to Public female Schools than to Public male Schools.

5)   To find out whether Biology Facilities in Private Schools are more than that those in Public Schools.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions would be answered-

1.   Are there Adequate Biology Laboratory Facilities in Senior Secondary Schools in Zamfara State?


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2.   What is the Students’ level of Academic Performance in Biology Laboratory Facilities and the Students’ performance?

3.  Is there any difference between the Academic performance of students from schools with fairly adequate and those from schools with inadequate Biology Laboratory Facilities?

4.   Are Biology Laboratory Facilities more adequately supplied to Public Female Schools than Public Male Schools?

5.   Are there more Biology Laboratory Facilities in Private Schools than in the Public Schools?

1.5 Null Hypotheses.

Based on the research questions stated, the following null hypotheses are formulated for testing.

1.   There is no significant difference between the academic performance of students from schools with fairly adequate and those from schools with inadequate Biology Laboratory Facilities.

2.   There is no significant difference between the Biology Laboratory Facilities supplie


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