EFFECT OF COOPERATIVE LEARNING ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN BIOLOGY

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background to the study
Cooperative
learning has been well documented in the educational research as a
successful pedagogy to improve students’ academic achievement. It is a
fundamental principle of cooperative learning that group members are
linked together in such a way that they cannot succeed unless everyone
succeed, they will actively assist each other to make sure that the
assignment is done and the purpose of the group achieved (Deutsch,
1949). They acquire this by providing help and cooperation to each
other, sharing resources, and encouraging each other’s efforts. As a
result, group members who work in cooperative groups outperform students
who work by themselves or in competition with each other (as seen in
competitive conventional classrooms) (Johnson & Johnson, 2004).
Cooperative
learning is one of the two ways of organizing the learning environment
of a classroom, the other being competitive. In cooperative learning
environment, the goals of separate individuals become so linked that
there is a positive correlation between them; on the contrary, in a
competitive conventional environment, the goals of the students are so
linked that there is a negative correlation between their goal
attainments (Johnson & Johnson, 1994). Cooperative learning
establishes a community in which students can get help and support from
other group members immediately in a non-competitive learning
environment, just raising their hands and waiting for the right answers
to be given.
Pollock, 2001). Attitudes and values of learners are formed through
social
interaction. Borich (2004) noted that most of our attitudes and values
are formed by discussing what we know or think with others. Continuing,
in this manner, we exchange our information and knowledge with that of
others who have acquired their knowledge in different ways. This
exchange shapes our views and perspectives.
Our attitudes and values are among the most important outcomes of schooling
(Borich,
2004). They provide the framework for guiding our actions outside the
classroom. Cooperative learning is important in helping learners acquire
from the curriculum the basic cooperative attitudes and values they
need to think independently inside and outside of the classroom.
Academic
achievements of students have been found to be enhanced by the use of
cooperative learning (Lampe, Rooze & Tallent-Runnels, 1998; Johnson
& Johnson, 1989; Slavin, 1990, 1991; Webb, 1989). Stevens and Slavin
(1995) stated that, the fact that it has been linked to increases in
the academic achievement of learners at all ability levels is another
reason for its use. Bramlett (1994), Megnin (1995), and Webb, Trooper,
and Fall (1995) in their contributions noted that cooperative learning
activity engages the student in the learning process and seeks to
improve the critical thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving skills of
the learner.
While research efforts on cooperative-learning indicate that it enhances student
achievement
(Johnson & Johnson 1989; Slavin 1990; 1991; Webb 1989), Lampe,
Rooze and Tallent-Runnels (1998) stated that peer interaction is central
to the success of cooperative learning as it relates to cognitive
understanding. They further noted that comprehension is facilitated.
Lampe et al (1998) again emphasized that as learners, some of who might
normally “turn out” or refuse to speak out in a traditional setting,
become actively involved in the learning process through group
interaction. Stahl and Vansickel (1992) noted that every
cooperative-learning strategy, when used appropriately, can enable
students to move beyond the text, memorization of basic facts, and
learning lower level skills. This method which results in cognitive
restructuring leads to an increase in understanding of all students in a
cooperative group.
Apart from academic benefits, cooperative
learning has been found to promote self-esteem, interpersonal
relationship and improved attitudes toward school and peers(Johnson
& Johnson, 1996). Lampe et al (1998) stated that in a competitively
structured classroom, except for the few “Winners” or students who
succeed, self-esteem can suffer.
When competition is promoted,
students may learn to value winning at all costs, and cooperation may be
discouraged (Lampe, et al 1998; Conrad, 1988). Although the advocates
of cooperative learning are not opposed to all competition, they do
oppose inappropriate competition (Johnson & Johnson, 1996; Johnson
& Johnson, 1991). Stahl (1992) stated that inappropriate competition
tends to widen the existing differences and abilities, which, in turn,
can widen negative perceptions of others on the basis of gender, race,
or ethnicity. Studies by Glassman (1989), and Johnson, Johnson and
Stanne (1986) and comments by Johnson and Johnson (1996) and Trowbridge
and Bybee (1996) on cooperative learning found cooperative-learning
groups to equalize the status and respect for all members, regardless of
gender. Research by Klein (1985) noted by Lampe et al (1998) revealed
that competitively structured classrooms have the effect of favouring
boys or reinforcing sex role stereotypes that may limit opportunities
for girls. In cooperative learning this usually is not the case, where
interaction among students is intense and prolonged and students
gradually take responsibility for each other’s learning (Borich, 2004).
In
general, cooperative learning can be said to lead to the formation of
attitude and values, provision of models of prosocial behaviour,
presentation of alternative perspective and viewpoints, building a
coherent and integrated identity, and promotion of critical thinking,
reasoning, and problem-solving behaviour (Borich, 2004; Stevens &
Slavin, 1995; Abruscato, 1994; Zehin & Kottler, 1993). All these
result in collaborative skills improvement, better self-esteem and
increased achievement. (Johnson & Johnson, 1996).
Science
teaching and learning today is to a great extent focused on activities
by which the learner acquires facts, rules and action sequences
(Kpangban & Ajaja, 2007).
In a student-centered instructional
approach like this, using student ideas means incorporating student
experiences, points of view, feelings, and problems into the lesson by
making the student the primary point of reference. A completely
studentoriented lesson is always initiated by asking students questions
and assigning specific roles to them on the content to be taught and
their answers and dispositions would become the focus of the lesson.
This approach, according to Borich (2004), is intended to heighten
student’s interest and to encourage positive attitude and feeling
towards the subject. Research by Johnson and Johnson (1991) on learning
together and alone showed that cooperative learning enhanced more
positive attitude towards subject members and the teacher.
Evidences
from research works in Nigeria indicated that very little research
efforts had been directed at cooperative learning. This approach has
been highly recommended for teaching at all levels, as stated by the
Federal Government of Nigeria
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Despite
the relative importance of biology in science and information based
courses as well as in medicine and social sciences, students‟
performance in the subject in both internal and external examinations
has remained consistently poor.
Science educators are trying to
identify the major problems associated with the teaching and learning of
biology in the nigeria schools. Despite all these noble efforts, the
problem of poor performance in has continued to surface in nation‟s
public examination. Researchers also conducted studies on the factors
responsible for students academic performance in biology.
Yet
performance and attitude of students in biology is generally poor . Many
students especially in the study area have fear and lack of interest
for biology; they shun away from biology classes, paid little or no
attention to lessons and as a result, continue to experience
difficulties in answering questions, particularly in genetics and
biology in general. Therefore, they have very poor performances and
retention in terminal and promotional examinations. To corroborate the
above statement West African Examination Council (WAEC) Zonal
coordinator reported that 80% of candidates that sat for the WAEC
examination in the year 2015/2016 failed Biology. This agrees with the
report of registrar and chief executive of National Examination Council
(NECO) who said that 71.92% of candidates who registered for biology in
the examination failed the subject.
This without any argument
cooperative learning was reported as effective strategy of teaching
biology at various places (Johnson & Smith, 1998). Hence, in an
attempt to possibly promote the performance students in biology while
non cooperative attitude of students towards the teaching and learning
of biology have effect on their academic performance, in view of this,
the aimed of this study is to find out the effect of non cooperative
attitude on students academic performance
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The
major objective of this research work is to investigate the effect of
non cooperative attitude of students on academic performance in biology
The specific objectives of this study were:

  1. To identify the effects of non cooperative attitutude on students’ achievement.
  2. To
    investigate whether the cooperative learning method is more effective
    than the regular methods of teaching with respect to academic
    achievement of students in biology
  • II. To establish the attitudinal change towards cooperative learning as a method of learning biology

RESEARCH QUESTION

  • What are the effects of non cooperative attitude on students’ achievement.
  • Does
    cooperative learning method more effective than the regular methods of
    teaching with respect to academic achievement of students in biology
  • To what extent does the attitudinal change of cooperative learning as a method of learning biology

Research hypothesis
2       
Is there any difference between the mean performances scores of
students taught Biology using cooperative learning strategy and their
counterparts taught using lecture method?
2) Is there any
difference between the mean retention scores of students taught geometry
construction using cooperative learning strategy and that of students
taught using lecture method?
Significance of the Study
The
significance of this study lies in its potentiality of addressing key
issues to the teaching and learning of biology as a compulsory science
subject as well as being it prerequisite for further education. This
study is significant for the following reason:
This study will be
of tremendous assistance to all involved in the teaching and learning
process. Specifically, it is hoped that this study would be of help to
the biology teachers. It is hoped to provide a more efficient method of
teaching biology considering the worldwide reports about the capability
of cooperative learning strategy. It is hope to promote students
personal relationship as they relate with one another during lessons‟
periods and equally enable the slow learners to learn from the past
learners in the group.
The result of this study may also provide
curriculum planners necessary information


that may be importance when
curriculum review is needed. The curriculum planners may use the result
to measure students‟ performance in achieving the set objectives of SS
III biology curriculum. On the other hand, professional bodies and
associations would also be beneficiaries of this study as their members
meet annually to review and update their members‟ knowledge in current
researches in the field of mathematics education.
Fellow
researchers might also find the study valuable from the design, method
and the research gap been identified for their further study in the
field. Text book publishers may also find the study valuable as they
consider good methods of teaching when writing text book.
The
problem areas of the students identified from this study would serve as a
vehicle for further research work, the result of this study may further
show how to overcome the difficulties.

Scope of the Study
In this study, the researcher investigated the effect of non-cooperative attitude on students academic performance in Ekiti state. Senioir
secondary schools (SSS) III in Ikere Local government area were
considered during the research. The choice of SS III was because; they
are the students preparing for SSCE examination. Five selected secondary
schools will be used for the study.
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