ASSESSMENT OF AREA OF DIFFICULTIES IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL CHEMISTRY SYLLABUS

ASSESSMENT OF AREA OF DIFFICULTIES IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL CHEMISTRY SYLLABUS


TABLE
OF CONTENTS
Title page                                                                                     
Certification                                                                                              
Dedication                                                                                       
Acknowledgement                                                                                     
Table of Contents                                                                            
List of table                                                                                    
Abstract                                                                                           
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
Background to the study                                                                           
Statement of the Problem                                                                          
Objective of the study                                                                     
Research Questions                                                                        
Significance of the study                                                                           
The scope and limitation of the study                                                    
Definitions of terms                                                                         
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW                                   
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
Research Design                                                                              
Sample and Sampling techniques                                                    
Research Instrument                                                                        
Validity and Reliability of the Research
Instrument                                  
Procedure for Data Collection                                                         
Data analysis technique                                                                             
CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Result of the research questions                                                                
Discussions                                                                                      
CHAPTER
FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND                   
RECOMMENDATIONS
Summary                                                                                          
Conclusion                                                                                       
Recommendations                                                                                      
References                                                                                        
Appendix                                                                                         
 ABSTRACT
The senior secondary two chemistry
course content of the Nigerian science curriculum was assessed using 10 (ten)
selected secondary schools in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti state,
Nigeria, to determine areas of difficulty, magnitude and reasons for such
perceived difficulty. Correlation between the students’ perceived difficulty
and their achievement in a test and the relationship between the students’ sex
and their perceptions of difficulties were also examined using a difficult
rating scale questionnaire and a chemistry achievement test. There was no
significant relationship between students’ perceived difficulty and their
achievement. Reasons given for the perceived difficulty included unfamiliarity
with the ideas, confusing language, ideas too demanding, insufficient
explanation and practical work, topics too mathematical and lack of interest
among both sexes. Based on these findings, a critical re­assessment of the
curriculum was advocated, bearing in mind the cognitive abilities of /and
chemistry (science) background of the students. Proper training and re-training
(refresher) of teachers was recommended so as to ensure that teaching staff are
qualified. Authors of chemistry textbooks should consider the cognitive levels
of students of the different levels for choice of suitable vocabulary
(language). Teachers should re-examine and evaluate their present teaching
strategies so as to be effective and should stop using abstract terms or
concepts in the class. Practical work should be emphasized for the acquisition
of laboratory skills. The government/proprietors should give priority to
equipping the laboratories and improving the teaching and learning environment.
Students need counseling, encouragement and enlightenment in order to motivate
them in the study of Chemistry
CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
The relevance of science to
national goals, aspirations and economy dictates to a large extent, the huge commitment
and support which nations make and give to science and technology advancement.
This may be the reason why Achor (2006) and Ada (2008) opined that as a result
of the speed at which the world is changing technologically, the need and
usefulness of teaching and learning of science therefore cannot be over looked.
The teacher of science and technology is the means through which the skills and
knowledge get to the learners. The classification of nations into developed,
developing and underdeveloped is based on their technological advancement
(Agogo, 2009, Maduawesi, Aboho and Okwuedei, 2010).
In Nigeria, the three major
sciences, Biology, Chemistry and Physics are taught at the senior secondary
school level. This has equipped the young graduates to be prepared for science
and science-based courses at the Tertiary level. According to the National
Policy on Education (FRN, 2004), chemistry education should be emphasized at
the secondary school in terms of its teaching and learning. This is because;
chemistry as an academic discipline plays a very significant role in unifying
other science subjects. Chemistry is therefore seen as the central science and
the mother of all sciences (Agogo & Otor 2013), and as a branch of pure
science that deals with composition of matter and the principle (Mailumo,
Agogo, and Kpagh, 2007).
However, there has been
consistent decline in the performance of students in public examinations
conducted by the west African Examination Council (WAEC) and the National
Examination Council (NECO) in sciences across the country over the years
(Agogo, 2003; Samba & Eriba, 2012). The WAEC also confirmed this decline in
chemistry performance by the students in their WAEC Chief Examiner’s Reports
(2011, 2012).
Many reasons were adduced as
to this poor performance in chemistry. According to Samba and Eriba (2012), it
is due to the abstract nature of chemistry concepts, while Mailumo, Agogo and
Kpagh (2007) hinged it on students and teachers related factors. Others think
it is due to concepts difficulty (Agogo, 2003, Agwi, 2008). There are however
difficult levels of concept difficulty experienced by chemistry students
(Agogo, 2003), and these concepts perceived difficult are experienced by both
boys and girls. It should be stressed that the sex-role stereotyping has
affected the type of education provided for the female in Nigeria and -in many
parts of African (Olikped and Amadi, 2001). Sex-role stereotyping also
influences the classroom interaction patterns of students and teachers. Gender
stereotyping in chemistry therefore arises from different social roles, which
ultimately affect the way they perceive chemistry concepts.
The ability of the chemistry
teachers to comprehend and internalize concepts and skills are determined not
only by individual differences, but also by the teachers’ effectiveness in
terms of his/her teaching experience and qualifications. Educators therefore
emphasized on the qualification of teachers in the proper execution of their
professional mandate. Such teachers are expected to perform academic roles as
well as leadership roles that are related to the successful and meaning
teaching and learning of their specialized subject. The qualification of the
chemistry teacher will therefore enable them to competently handle ail concepts
in chemistry (Mailumo, Agogo and Kpagh, 2007).
Perception is one of the
mental processes or skills human beings engage in. It is a cognitive activity
in learning which is seen as the process of making sense out of something
(Agogo, Ogbeba and Damkor-lkpa. 2013). However Ortese, Yaweh and Akume (2006)
posited that learners’ perception is often affected by a given number of
factors, such as interest, motivation, attention, self-concept as well as
thinking and creativity. This is why Agogo (2003) observed that what may appear
difficult to somebody may be easy to another person because the concepts of
easiness or difficulty as perceived by somebody are dynamic. Whatever is the
case, concept difficulty invariably affects students’ performance in such a
subject.
          The
study seeks to investigate the areas of the chemistry syllabus which students
perceived to be difficult. It is believed that the identification of the
difficult areas will enhance the academic performance of the students. to give
room for effective teaching and learning of chemistry in the secondary schools,
the following conditions are to be met.
i.                  
A good teacher should be
provided, who has studied chemistry as 
major course in tertiary institution
ii.                
There should be provision of
a well equipped laboratory
iii.             
There should be provision
for well equipped library
The economic hardship in the country is worth mentioning, a family
that find it difficult to finance the education of their children in case where
the students were not provided with writing materials, not to talk of buying
textbooks. Moreover, the Nigeria Government has laid little or no emphasis on
the education of the citizens. There are no provisions of facilities that is no
adequate and well ventilated classroom, no adequate library, and lack of
teaching aids etc Teachers are not paid reasonable wages which results in
periodicals strike actions. The teachers engaged more in enterprising job that
will give them more money than emphasis on teaching job. This contributes to
the poor performance of the student in external examination.
     The crux of the matter
is that most of the few students who choose to offer sciences in our secondary
schools are noted for having problems in learning the science subjects
especially chemistry poor performance, according to Jegede (1945) and Okebukola
(1982) is unhealthy to a nation whose adverse goal is to make significant
changes and advancements in science and technology. Eke stated the poor performance
does not connote abnormality in development, but involves those who probably
could perform better. Though caused by many variables such as teachers and
students characteristics, examination patterns and science equipment, poor
performance in chemistry is a pointer to the fact that students have difficulty
in learning and mastering the content and applying these when they are under
examination conditions.
     Though several factors
have been identified for students’ poor performance in the sciences and the
efforts made toward tackling some of the problem during seminars, conference
and workshops but the students performances is still not encouraging as
expected. The identification of areas of difficulty in the chemistry science
syllabus is therefore important. This study was set to identify those areas
that pose some problems or Difficulties to students in the senior secondary
chemistry syllabus in Ikere Local government Area of Ekiti State.
          Curriculum
planners on their part should ensure that the chemistry curriculum is made
purposeful enough to awaken the inner resources of our students [youths] and
not just a mere device for mass production. It should provoke educational
experiences and be sensitive  to higher needs
of the individuals (students).
          The
curriculum-however well planned, developed and interpreted will come for short
of our hopes unless it is applied by teachers who are themselves the product of
its philosophy. Science teachers should be professionally screened and trained
so as to equip them for the effective performance of their duties.
          Therefore,
the study will help to identify some topic that are difficult, then the students
will be able to adjust their study pattern to meet the demand of those areas so
as to complete their course of study successfully and this will improve the
performance of the students in chemistry which is the focus of research.
Significance of the study:
1.       The study is necessary and important because, it exposes the
difficult areas of the subject so that teachers will be more focused in the
areas
2.       It also makes the students to be more serious about the difficult
areas, so as to break the backbone of the sub – leaf.
3.       This also reflects the sources of failure in chemistry to the
government and the general public.
4.       The government will be commended of the need to help in supplying
laboratory equipment and reagent to the school. Also, to pay substantial wages
to the teachers for those to be encourage
more.
Government and proprietors
should increase teacher’s salaries and incentives especially to science
teachers in the form of science allowance, reducing the burden on teachers by
supplying schools with (he basic chemistry equipment. This and the employment of
laboratory technicians.
Will curb the frustrations
teachers face and improve on students’ understanding. Above all, chemistry
teachers in the secondary schools should re-examine and evaluate their teaching
strategies, and resort to modern and effective strategies. Such teachers should
develop not only a new set of attitudes, but also new professional skills and
habits.
With positive attitude,
students will choose to study chemistry because of the interest they have. They
need to have a good background in chemistry and science in general. Scientific
concepts and processes would not appear strange to them if they are introduced
to them in the primary school. Our industries can make toys that can impact
toddling age to bring science closer to children and make it real to their
life. Finally there is a need for the counseling of students who opt for
chemistry right from their senior secondary one. They need to know the
relevance of the subject, how to study it and the attitude necessary. They need
to know that a lot is expected from them in terms of
hard work, dedication
and even resources for successful completion of the course (study),
Purpose of study
1.         The purpose of
study is to ascertain the areas which the student find it very difficult in the
senior secondary school chemistry syllabus which is believed to be one of the
factors that affect student’s performance in chemistry as a subject in the
senior secondary school.
2.         It is also to
suggest ways of improving teaching of chemistry in senior secondary schools.
3.         The study seeks
to determine the level of understanding of chemistry concept among the student
of senior secondary schools.
 Research Questions
      
i.           
Are their enough human and
materials resources for effective teaching of chemistry?
     ii.           
What are the strategies for
teaching chemistry?
  iii.           
What are the factors
militating against the reaching of chemistry?
  
iv.           
What are the topics in the
syllabus which students find to be difficult out of the various aspect of
chemistry been taught in secondary schools?
     v.           
Which areas of chemistry do
upper secondary school students find difficult?
   vi.           
Which areas of chemistry do
upper secondary school students find easy?
vii.           
Which areas of chemistry do
upper secondary school students interesting?
viii.           
How do students apprehend
the working methods during their chemistry lessons?
   ix.           
What recommendations do
students and teachers suggest for making chemistry in upper secondary school
more meaningful and interesting?
Scopes of the Study
The research work was
carried out in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State. The investigation
was carried out in senior secondary school in Ikere Local Government Area of
Ekiti State which comprises of public and private schools.
Definition of Terms
Perceive: The notice or become
aware of something
Difficult: A problem or situation
that cause problem. The state or quality of being hard to do or to withstand.
Senior secondary school: A school
for young people between the age of 12 and 18.
Syllabus: A list of topics, books
in particular subject in schools.
Laboratory: A building or room
fitted up for conducting Scientifics experiments, analysis or similar works.
Private   school:   Schools   owned  
and   managed   by  
private   individual   or  
non   -governmental organization.
Public school: Schools
owned and managed by the government. 
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