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This study is on student perception on difficult topics in integrated science at the junior secondary school. The total population for the study is 200 staff of selected secondary schools in Abak local government. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made up principals, vice principals adm, senior staff and junior staffs were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies
1.1 Background of the study
Science and technology are concepts in national development which remain indelible in the mind of African and third world leaders according to Ochu and Ekezie (1974). In Nigeria science was introduced into secondary school system as far back as (1880). It was first taught as general science and later speared into physics, chemistry and biology. With the introduction of the core science subject, the general science came to be seen as the science subject who was suitable for the less able and it was recommended to the least science oriented and for those who do not intend to pursue science. Syllabus was therefore devised to contain basic elements of biology, chemistry and physics, which should be taught primarily to pupils in the low secondary school classes. (Anani 1977).
There has been a number of promising developments in science education in the region indicating at least an effort to respond to these challenges. At the primary and lower secondary levels, new curricula have been developed with more relevant approaches to science instruction. These include:
a.) An attempt to integrate science concepts with technology and societal themes.
b.) An emphasis on an inquiry-based approach to instruction. At the upper secondary level, the WAEC continually revises the various science curricula of the Secondary Education Certificate to more reflect the changing social, economic and technological environments of the region. Despite these efforts, data obtained from secondary schools in the region on variables such as student enrollment in upper secondary science courses, student performance and interest in science as well as students’ attitudes to science are not encouraging. For example, information from WAEC reveal that in 2009, although the pass rates in the science subjects at the WAEC level were, as usual, relatively high (Biology-74%, Chemistry-78%, Physics-77%, Integrated science-89%), this masks the recurrent problem of a significantly low percentage of students registering for these examinations. This can be seen when the number of students who sat examinations in the various science subjects (Physics; Chemistry; Biology; Integrated science) are compared to the number who sat English A. In addition, despite the high pass rates, less than 50% of students who sat each of these examinations obtained the highest grades of I and II. This situation is the same throughout the Nigeria, and leads to the assumption that students lose interest in science in the lower secondary level with the result that many drop the science subjects in the upper secondary level. This loss of interest may be influenced by such factors as:
a.) Difficulty of topics in the lower secondary science curriculum as perceived by students.
b.) Teacher factors such as strategies used to teach science, teacher attitude towards science teaching and teacher experience and qualifications.
c.) Location and perception of the academic standard of the secondary school attending.
d.) Students’ study habits
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The study was designed to investigate the perception of students of the difficult topics in the junior secondary school science curriculum, if there were statistically significant differences in (a) students’ perception and teacher perception of difficult topics and (b) students’ perception of difficult topics based on their gender, interest in science, study habits and school location and school category; as well as to determine the inter-relationships among the four student variables (gender, interest in science, study habits, school location).
1.2 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The objectives of the study are;
1. To ascertain about student perception on difficult topics in integrated science
2. To ascertain the significant difference in students’ perceptions of difficult topics based on their gender, interest in science
3. To ascertain the relationship between student perception on difficult topics integrated science and teacher’s qualification
1.3 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
H0: there is no the significant difference in students’ perceptions of difficult topics based on their gender, interest in science
H1: there is the significant difference in students’ perceptions of difficult topics based on their gender, interest in science
H02: there is no relationship between student perceptions on difficult topics integrated science and teacher’s qualification
H2: there is relationship between student perceptions on difficult topics integrated science and teacher’s qualification
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The identification of these difficult teaching topics in integrated science will enlighten the teachers as well as government and expose them to the area they specialized on. Being aware of these, difficult topics school authority, the government and even the science teachers association of Nigeria will be of great help in planning in-service course for the teachers in those areas of science. This also brings to light the need of equipping higher institutions and universities preparing integrated science teachers with adequate training needed for planning and execution of integrated science in our secondary schools. The exposure of these difficulty topics will motivate the integrated science authors and publishers to give a details attention on these different area in their write up.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers student perception on difficult topics in integrated science at the junior secondary school. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;
a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
PERCEPTION: Perception is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information, or the environment
DIFFICULT: needing much effort or skill to accomplish, deal with, or understand.
INTEGRATED SCIENCE: Integrated Science is a revolutionary introductory science curriculum developed at Princeton, intended for students considering a career in science
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study
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