FACTORS INFLUENCING CHOICE OF SCIENCE CAREER AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS

TABLE
OF CONTENTS
Title page                                                                              
Certification                                                                                     
Dedication                                                                             
Acknowledgement                                                                  
Abstract                                                                                 
Table of Contents                                                                   
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION                                  
Background of the Study                                                                
Statement of the Problem                                                                 
Purpose of the Study                                                              
Specific Objectives of the Study.                                            
Research Questions                                                                
Significance of the Study                                                                 
Scope of the Study                                                                           
Limitation of the Study                                                          
Assumptions of the Study                                                      
Definition of significant terms                                                
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW                     
Introduction                                                                                     
Factors Influencing StudentsChoice
of Science Subjects                
Perception of the Value of the Subject                                             
The Influence of the Subject Teacher on
S
tudents’ Choices of
Science Subjects                                                                     
The influence of Gender-difference on Students’ Choices of
Science Subjects in Secondary Schools                                  
Role of Parents and Teachers in Students’ Choices of
Science Subjects in Secondary Schools                                  
Summary and Gaps                                                                
Conceptual Framework                                                          
Perceived factors that influence the
choice of science subjects by students in secondary schools.                                                                            
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY   
Research Design                                                                     
Target Population                                                                            
Sampling Design and Procedure                                             
Data Collection Technique                                                    
Data Analysis and Presentation.                                                      
CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS                               
Data Analysis and Interpretation                                                
CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION, CONCLUSIONS, AND 41 RECOMMENDATIONS
Summary of the findings                                                                  
Conclusions                                                                                     
Recommendations for Improvement                                      
Recommendations for Further Studies                                             
REFERENCES                                                                     
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ABSTRACT
          Students in Ikere
secondary schools have been often faced with the problem of indecision when
they are about to choose the science subjects in their third form of the
secondary school education. With good background, students still need to
develop themselves on the subject areas they are keenly interested in and
particularly that they have potentiality for. The overall aim of this research
was to gain a deeper understanding of the factors influencing the choice of
science subjects in Ikere secondary education schools, a case study of Amoye
Grammar school in Ikere Ekiti. The study would be of great significance to the
school management because it would help the management fraternity in
understanding the factors affecting the choice of science subjects. The study
adopted a descriptive survey design. The population for this study was all
students in Amoye Grammar school in Ikere Ekiti. Sample size of 11 teachers and
150 students was drawn from the teachers and the students from form two to
four. Primary data was collected by use of a questionnaire. The study generated
both qualitative and quantitative data. Quantitative data was coded and entered
into Statistical Packages for Social Scientists (SPSS Version 17.0) and
analyzed using descriptive statistics. Qualitative data was analyzed based on
the content matter of the responses. The study found that that the school
encouraged students to take up science subjects. Science subjects were
competitive in the job market. Students had developed a career path that they
strived to achieve/attain in life. The study revealed that the teacher
influenced the subject choice. The study found that gender did not influence
choice of subject. Teachers influenced choice of science subjects’. The study
concludes that when students are allowed to choose which classes to enrol in
increased motivation and independence which in turn increased a student’s
performance. Students had developed a career path that they strived to
achieve/attain in life. A student’s attitude about a teacher has a large impact
on their attitude toward a class. Different perceptions men and women have in
regards to their ability and competency in those certain classes influenced
choice of subject. School has a great role to play in influencing students’
choice of science subjects. The study recommends students to have good attitude
towards science subjects. They need to consider their interests, personal
academic goals while choosing subjects. Competent and qualified teachers should
teach science subjects. Science teachers should strive to be enthusiastic, well
spoken, knowledgeable, caring, and helpful. Gender differences should be
discouraged amongst students. Women should be encouraged to change their
perceptions in regards to their ability and competency. Parents need to help students
when making their study choices. The school should support subjects and careers
decision making.
CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
          Science is
recognized widely as being of great importance internationally both for
economic well-being of nations and because of the need for scientifically
literate citizens (Fraser and Walberg, 2013). Knowledge of science and
technology is therefore a requirement in all countries and all people globally
due to the many challenges that are facing them. These challenges include
emergences of new drug resistant diseases, effects of genetic experimentation
and engineering, ecological impact of modern technology, dangers of nuclear war
and explosions and global warming among others (Alsop & Hicks, 2007). As a
result there are rapid changes taking place in industry, communication,
agriculture, and medicine. Science as an instrument of development plays a
dominant role in bringing about these changes by advancing technological
development, promoting national wealth, improving health and industrialization
(Validya, 2008). Weham, Dorlin, Snell and Taylor (2014) emphasized that
sciences are and will remain the fundamental subjects through the ages. Statistics
on international trends in science subjects selection in 46 countries shows
that in the US, among fourth graders in 2007, males continued to prefer science
subjects to females in where males scored significantly higher overall than
females in science (Mullis, Martin and Foy, 2008).The 2005 National Assessment
of Educational Progress (NAEP) carried out in the United States earlier had
reported that boys had outperformed girls in sciences achievement and the
gender gap increased as students progressed in school. A later assessment by
NAEP in 2005 revealed that males preferred sciences subjects to females in
grades 4, 8 and 12. Females at all levels made relatively little gains in their
average science scores since 2006. In most cases by grade 11, the areas of
largest male advantage were physics, chemistry, earth science and space science
(Kahle and Meece, 2007). In the final year of secondary school, males had a
significantly higher achievement in scientific literacy than females in all
participating countries (European Union Report, 2009).
          In Ikere, in the
third year of studies (SS1), students choose to study at least two science
subjects from biology, physics and chemistry and are assessed at the end of the
fourth year. The choice of which science subject to study in third and fourth
forms has been an issue to many of students; an issue that have since received
varied interpretation among the students themselves and the various
stakeholders in the education fraternity. Studies have revealed that most
students will prefer chemistry and biology when allowed to choose science
subjects (Waititu, 2008). Moreover, female student have been noted to shy away
from physics and chemistry citing the reason being the tedious mathematical
calculations involved in such subjects (Murithi, 2006) Implementing Vision 2020
will require more knowledge based skills. This calls for more training in
science and technological related courses. If secondary school graduates are
not realizing the required grades in order to enrol in such courses, the vision
remains just a mirage. There must therefore be concerted effort among all
stakeholders to address the problem of deplorable choice and performance in
science subjects.
Statement of the Problem
          Students in Ikere
secondary schools have been often faced with the problem of indecision when
they are about to choose the science subjects in their third form of the
secondary school education. This problem has plagued many Ikere secondary
school students for quite sometimes. It is such a problem that must be looked
into, knowing fully well that the place of sciences in secondary education
cannot be over emphasized in the educational development of a nation. With good
background, students still need to develop themselves on the subject areas they
are keenly interested in and particularly that they have potentiality for. Many
students have been found choosing subjects for West African Examination Council
without considering the aspect of their potentiality and the directive of the
school counsellor where available.
          In Ikere, secondary
school ends with West African Examination Council (WAEC) examination. Students
are expected to take two science subjects drawn from the cluster of Chemistry,
Biology and Physics. However, most schools treat Biology and Chemistry as
compulsory science subjects which must be taken by all the candidates. It is
very important for students to be proficient in these subjects because they
play an important role in career choices and professional development.
          Dismal performance
in the sciences limits individuals opportunities in competitive professional
courses that are science oriented. Furthermore, Ikere vision 2020 initiative
aims at making the country a newly industrializing middle income country
providing high quality life for all its citizens. The realization of this
vision calls for the harnessing of the science ability of both men and women in
the country so that they can contribute to nation building. However, this
vision is not about to be realized for as long as students continue to
underachieve in subjects that determine their placement in science oriented
fields which are expected to spur industrialization. It is against this
background that this study seeks to establish the factors that influence the
choice of science subjects in Ikere Secondary Schools.
Purpose of the Study
          The overall aim of
this research was to gain a deeper understanding of the factors influencing the
choice of science subjects in Ikere secondary education schools, a case study of
Amoye Grammar school in Ikere Ekiti. The researcher sought to analyse the
effects of perception of the value of the science subjects on students choices
of subjects in Amoye Grammar school, The research’s findings were achieved by
assessing a number of indicators deemed best for the study and also more
importantly through the following specific research objectives;
Specific Objectives of the Study.
          The study was
guided by the following specific objectives:
i) To determine the effects of the value of the science subject on
students’ choices of the subject in Amoye Grammar school
ii) To find out the influence of the subject teacher on students’
choices of science subjects in Amoye Grammar School
iii) To find out the influence of gender differences on students’
choices of science subjects in Amoye Grammar School.
iv. To investigate the role of parents and teachers in students’
choices of science subjects in Amoye Grammar School
Research Questions
          The study was
guided with the following Research Questions:
i. What are the effects of the value of the science subject on
students’ choice of science subject in Amoye Grammar School?
ii. How does the subject teacher influence students’ choices of
science subjects in Amoye Grammar School?
iii. How does gender difference influence affect students’ choices
of science subjects in Amoye Grammar School?
iv. What is the role of parents and teachers in students’ choices
of science subjects in Amoye Grammar School?
Significance of the Study
          The study would be
of great significance to the school management because it would help the
management fraternity in understanding the factors affecting the choice of
science subjects and be able to initiate appropriate measures to improve on
students’ performance in science subjects.
          The relevant
government ministries would also benefit from the study findings and be able to
come up with policy issues touching on subject choice and later career choice
at higher levels of education in Ikere.
          The study would add
to the wide academic knowledge in the area of education which can be used by
other researchers as reference in future. Researchers and research institutes
may use the study to come up with other research studies.
Scope of the Study
          The study
investigated the factors that influence the choice of science subjects in Ikere
Secondary Schools. Specifically the study sought to investigate the factors
that influence the choice of science subjects in Amoye Grammar school in Ikere
Ekiti
Limitation of the Study
          The study faced various
shortcomings that may affect effective research undertaking. Respondents may be
suspicious and fail to answer the questionnaire. The researcher intended to
overcome this by adopting objectivity approach (by asking general questions on
the issues pertaining to science subject selection) to the staff. Simple
questions with answers to choose from will be used.
          The research study
focused on four variables that were addressed by specific objectives; this may
deny an opportunity to explore further on other factors that influence the
choice of science subjects in Ikere Secondary Schools.
Assumptions of the Study
          The assumptions of
this study included the following: that the sample chosen respondents represent
the population; the data collection instrument to be used has validity and is
measuring the desired constructs.
Definition of significant terms
Science subjects: These
involves subjects which are core to the examination board in Ikere secondary
Education and they includes such subjects as Biology, chemistry, physics and
others, for the purpose of this study the focus was on the factors influencing
students choice on selecting them.
Choice: Refers to
the students’ preference over one science subject as compared to the other
science subjects the study focused on identifying the critical factors that
influenced students’ choice on the subjects. The choice of subject can either
be to great extent or to low extent.
Secondary schools: This
is an education level in Ikere that precedes primary education in the Ikere curriculum
system which follows 6.3.3 systems where students sit for the WAEC to signify
transition to the next level after four years.
WAEC: Refers to
the West African Examination Council. This is the summative evaluation exam
given to the students at the end of form four.
Performance: The outcome
or result of an exam which can be good or poor.
Value of science subject: Content and relevance of the subject as related to career
aspirations.
Teacher influence: The
way a teacher make students choose a subject or not choose it.
Gender influence: Perception
of male or female while choosing subjects
Role of teacher in subject selection: what is required/the responsibility of the teachers when students
are choosing subjects.
Role of parent in subject selection: what is required/the responsibility of the parents when students
are choosing subjects.
CHAPTER TWO:
LITERATURE REVIEW
Introduction
          The chapter gives
detailed information on effects of perception of the value of the science
subjects on students’ choices of subjects. It looks at the value of the science
subject, influence of the subject teacher, influence of gender differences and
role of parents and teachers on students’ choices of science subjects. At the
end of the chapter, there is a conceptual framework by the researcher of the
various variables used in the research and an explanation of their
interrelation.
Factors Influencing StudentsChoice of Science Subjects

          Students look forward to the
opportunity to choose their academic plans and classes (Smith, Feldwisch and
bell, (2006). According to the enhanced 

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