Students , Teacher And School Environment Factors As Determinant Of Academic Achievement In Senior Secondary School Chemistry
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Science is a body of knowledge that carefully and systematically collects data, verifies and predicts events about the natural world. Science is defined as the study of natural phenomena, Mandor(2002) saw science as a body of knowledge with the goal to investigate and understand nature, to explain events in nature and to use these explanations to make useful predictions. In view of the above definitions, science therefore solves man’s problems and improves his/her welfare economically, medically, technologically, and so on. There are so many branches of science, such as chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, and so on.
Chemistry as an aspect of science studies the composition, properties and uses of matter (Ababio, 2007). It probes into the changes that matter undergoes under different conditions. Chemistry focuses on the properties of substances around us. It could be revealed that most of the things you touch, taste or smell is chemicals. It is the explanation for everyday life, like why laundry detergent works better in hot water or how baking soda works or why not all pain relievers work equally on a headache. Chemists can make informed choices about every product that they use. The study of chemistry is important in almost all fields of study but it is commonly seen in the sciences and medicine. Chemists, physicists, biologists and engineers study chemistry: Doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, physical therapists, and veterinarians all take chemistry courses: science teachers study chemistry. Fire fighters and people who make fire-works learn chemistry. So do the truck drivers, plumbers, artists, hair dressers, etc. (Marie, 2011). Scientific and technological fields such as Medicine, Pharmacy, Biochemistry, Agriculture, Engineering and Microbiology have chemistry built into them. Students need sound background knowledge in chemistry at least up to the school certificate level before undertaking courses in any of the fields mentioned above. There are some topics in chemistry that are regarded as difficult area of study in understanding chemistry. Such topics include writing and balancing of chemical equations, chemical bonding, electrolysis, etc.
Science as a whole embraces many subjects which include mathematics, physics, biology, agriculture, health, science and chemistry (Olagunju, 2001). Chemistry is one of the three main branches of pure science, the other two being biology and physics, chemistry deals with composition, properties and uses of matter. It probes into principle governing the change that matter undergoes Duyilemi,(2003).
Chemistry concentrates on the use of chemicals, minerals resources and other substances around us. The knowledge of chemistry is therefore is indispensable for the development of technological knowhow and industrial advancement Hazed, (2002). For an individual to understand his environment and make maximum use of the available resources, he needs knowledge of chemistry. In fact, while other sciences focus on the biological and physical existence of the creature, Chemistry focuses on the application of the available resource to better our living here on earth.
Industrial fabrication of all the materials cannot be possible outside the knowledge of chemistry Alarepe, (2001).Virtually no substances could be created except through chemistry. In plastics, fiber, fabrications, papers, textile and cloth industries, production of biro and many more are result of the knowledge of chemistry and the chemist Wilkin, (2001). In wood industries, paint, photographic materials manufacture through the understanding of the branch of science known as chemistry (Edward 2000).
In chemistry, pharmacist, doctors, nurses, and others in medicine line can only become such through the knowledge acquired from chemistry (Duyilemi, 2003). Through the knowledge of chemistry, the manufactures of drugs which are so essential to living are only possible. Hence, without chemistry much soul would be impossible to rescue from death (Ukoh, 2001). Without science, technological, agricultural, industrial and economical advancement would be impossible to achieve in many society. Therefore, science teaching in schools today is of great importance to students and the society in general if technological advancement is to be experienced (Alarape, 2001).
For better agricultural output, chemistry cannot be left out. The application of fertilizer on plantation is the outcome of chemical research and for better productivity; chemistry also help in the preservation of the farm produce through the use of suitable chemicals. Without chemistry therefore, effort of many farmers and agricultural would be in vein.
In the field of transportation without the availability of many machines and engines would be of no value (Morrish, 2005).
The importance of chemistry and its relevance to other discipline and even life had made the subject the core of science without which all other areas of life and technology many become paralyzed. One would expect then, that teaching and learning of chemistry will arrest the interest of every student. Some students perceive chemistry as a very difficult subject while some of the teachers assigned to teach chemistry are not up to the task, as a result of this most of the students perceive it as difficult subject to understand. Also some unqualified chemistry teachers may even teach without any instructional materials, so the subject will be abstract, dry and meaningless to student to the extent that the end result will yield no development in the life of both student and the teacher. (Obaiya, 2003).
The qualified chemistry teacher in another way may be discouraged by the attitude of the students and the lack of instructional and other materials needed to make the lesson practicable and chemistry textbooks especially one whose topic have been simplified and make easier to understand by the students to encourage person reading are not readily available. Therefore, the teaching of chemistry in secondary schools based on the teaching techniques and skills which turn hinder the students to successfully acquire the desire knowledge in chemistry is absent.
In view of the unfavorable obstacle hindering the acquisition of the knowledge of chemistry, the researcher believed that teaching condition in chemistry could be improved to bring a better improvement and necessary development in life to every individual and the nation in general. The research will focus on senior secondary chemistry students in Nigeria upon recognition of schools and teacher factors towards their academic achievements. There is a need to look into previous studies that accounted for factors of motivation as adopted by secondary schools, preliminary literature analysis is a most factors in this research in order to gain desirable insight from chemistry students in Nigeria ideally, research toward academic achievement of teachers and schools has increasingly focused on certain students goals as research has focused on such types of achievement goal, the task goal and ability goal.
The understanding of teacher and schools academic achievement goal theory, motives influences on students- schools related attitude and behaviors to develop antecedent and consequences of teacher and school factors. In addition, there is sample need to discuss ways in which learning environment may influenced chemistry students. Thus, encouraged school based motivation can help students achieve academic success, the need to help students develop academic intrinsic motivation, it is importance to define the factors that is predictor of academic achievement by means of teacher and school into variable academic achievement, senior secondary school students in Nigeria. The purpose of research will be to propose and test of teacher and school process model of academic achievement (Bryne, 2004).
The model posit parent, teacher and school administration support for student’s autonomy positively influences students. Perceived school competence and autonomous as school competence and autonomy affect positively self-determined, school motivation which in turn influence academic achievement. Simpson, (2001). Indeed, describing value responsibility for parents and teacher and on how it is promoted within the school thus, promoting interactions with teachers and peers and from motivational perspective providing students with reward to keep (Olagunju,2001).
The importance of school environment and students in secondary schools today in particular cannot be overemphasized. This is because, school environment has tremendous affect in the quality of teaching students receives and the extent of attention they pay to lesson in school. This implies that schools that fail to provide the necessary learning facilities and create a conducive atmosphere for teaching and learning may hardly put in the best in their students especially in the area of academic achievement. This scenario has been among the reason for poor academic achievement of students in many primary schools in the study area.
The school environment, which include the classrooms, libraries, technical workshops, laboratories, teachers’ quality, school management, teaching methods, peers, etc are variables that affect students’ academic achievement (Ajayi, 2001 and Oluchukwu, 2000). Hence, the school environment remains an important area that should be studied and well managed to enhance students’ academic performance.
The issue of poor academic performance of students in Nigeria has been of much concern to the government, parents, teachers and even student themselves. The quality of education not only depends on the teachers as reflected in the performance of their duties, but also in the effective coordination of the school environment (Ajao 2001)
School environment which include instructional spaces planning, administrative places planning, circulation spaces planning, spaces for conveniences planning, accessories planning, the teachers as well as the students themselves are essential in teaching-learning process. The extent to which student learning could be enhanced depends on their location within the school compound, the structure of their classroom, availability of instructional facilities and accessories. It is believed that a well planned school will gear up expected outcomes of education that will facilitate good social, political and economic emancipation, effective teaching and learning process and academic performance of the students.
Relating this study to international occurrences are the assertions of Williams, Persaud, and Turner (2008), quoting Marsden (2005), which reported that safe and orderly classroom environment (aspect of instructional space), School facilities (accessories) were significantly related to students’ academic performance in schools. The three researchers, also quoted Glassman (1994), asserting that a comfortable and caring environment among other treatments helped to contribute to students` academic performance.
The physical characteristics of the school have a variety of effects on teachers, students, and the learning process. Poor lighting, noise, high levels of carbon dioxide in classrooms, and inconsistent temperatures make teaching and learning difficult. Poor maintenance and ineffective ventilation systems lead to poor health among students as well as teachers, which leads to poor performance and higher absentee rates (Frazier, 2002 Lyons, 2001; and Ostendorf, 2001). These factors can adversely affect student behavior and lead to higher levels of frustration among teachers, and poor learning attitude among student. , lethargy, or apathy, creates a stressful set of working conditions for teachers. Because stress and job dissatisfaction are common pre-cursors to lowered teacher enthusiasm, it is possible that the aforementioned characteristics of school facilities have an effect upon the academic performance of students.
Statement of the Problem
The fact that students’ performance in Chemistry and in the sciences at the secondary school level is low is no longer news. Several researchers have reported the downward trend in the performance of Nigeria students in science and chemistry in particular. Finding shows that the results of students in chemistry getting worse but also the recipients are getting progressively unscientific in their thought pattern and approach to solving problems. Several factors have been reported responsible for this decline in students’ performance.
The continued poor performance in Chemistry have been attributed to a number of factors including students‟ attitude towards Chemistry, teachers‟ attitude towards students abilities, inadequate teaching and learning resources, school environment, lack of good qualified teachers and poor teaching methodologies. However, it is not clear which of these factors are responsible for the poor achievement of Chemistry in Ikere- Ekiti. The study therefore sought to isolate students, teachers and school environment factors as determinant of academic achievement in senior secondary schools chemistry in Ikere Local Government area of Ekiti state.
Purpose of the Study
The main objectives of this study is to investigate students, teachers and school environment factors as determinant of academic achievement in senior secondary school chemistry in Ikere Local government area;
The specific objectives is;
- To determine the influence of school environment on students academic achievement
- To investigate the factors affecting students academic achievement in chemistry
- To determine if students, teachers relationship have impact on students academic achievement in chemistry
- To find out if school location have impact on students academic achievement in chemistry
The following research questions were generated to guide the study
- What are the influence of school environment on students academic achievement in chemistry?
- What are the factors affecting students academic achievement in chemistry?
- Does students- teachers relationship have impact on students academic achievement in chemistry?
- To what extent does school location have impact on students academic achievement in chemistry?
The following null hypothesis where formulated to guide the study
- There is no significant difference between school environment and students academic achievement in chemistry
- There is no significant difference on the factors affecting students and academic achievement in chemistry
- There is no significant difference on teachers students relationship and students academic achievement in chemistry
- There is no significant relationship between school location and students’ academic achievement in chemistry
Significance of the Study
The study would throw more light into the causal relationships among the student, the teacher and the school environment related variable under investigation and achievement of students in chemistry. It would help students to appreciate chemistry thereby helps arousing their interest in chemistry. The result of this study can help re-orientate student’s attitude positively in chemistry. The study will also help,
Classroom teachers- It would help them in selecting methods that would improve the quality of teaching and learning.
School administrators- They would benefit from suggestions on how to ensure an enabling learning environment for students and teachers to enhance performance in Chemistry.
Students- Would benefit from suggestions on particular characteristics and study habits that enhance performance in Chemistry.
Teacher trainers-Would get useful information on how teachers‟ attitudes contribute to performance in Chemistry and how it could be enhanced.
Policy formulators- Would gather useful information which would shed light on why the interventions implemented have not so far yielded required outcome. This would enable policy implementers adopt only those strategies that promotes good performance in Chemistry.
Scope of the Study
The study covered Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State and more especially to the teacher and student and school environment factor as determinant of academic achievement in chemistry in Ikere Local Government Area. Five (5) schools were randomly selected and allotted chemistry.
Operational definition of terms
Achievement: this is performance of a student measured by the school through test and national examinations.
Assessment: the process of determining students‟ achievement through tests, projects and examinations.
Chemistry: the branch of science that deals with the study of matter.
Chemistry achievement: the competency level attained in chemistry including mastery of basic skills (observation, recording, reporting), knowledge and concepts measured in terms of grades a student scores at SSCE level.
Chemistry curriculum: all the experiences a learner goes through in learning Chemistry. They include: content, practical work, project, group discussions, excursions and field work.
Curriculum: all the experiences a learner goes through in a learning institution. The experiences include time-tabled content (subject) and co-curricular activities.
Learning environment: all the surroundings and conditions under which students study.
Peer group pressure: the power to influence another person‟s beliefs, character or actions of a person of the same age.
Science: a vast body of connected knowledge of theories, concepts and facts developed by scientists through scientific methods.