THE EFFECT OF PRACTICAL ACTIVITIES ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION

THE EFFECT OF PRACTICAL
ACTIVITIES ON THE  ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS IN JUNIOR SECONDARY
SCHOOL CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION  
CHAPTER
ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background
of the study
Science has been of labeled
as the great instruments nationally and internationally as the wheel of
sustainable and socio-economic development as well as for technological
advancement of nations. Knowledge of science and technology is therefore a
requirement in all countries and needed by all people globally due to numerous
challenges that are facing them. The performance of students in science based
subjects is closely related to their theoretical and practical knowledge while
some are taught in isolation from the process of discovery or the conceptual
applications. However, this solely depends on the subject at various classes
and also on particular factors within and without the teaching and learning
environment (Felder & Nunetta, 2013).
          The availability of laboratory
equipment, chemicals and materials, laboratory personnel, working conditions in
the laboratory and safety measure, substantial recommended textbooks and
accurate periods allocated for the teaching of the subjects are needed for
effective practical work (Adefunke, 2008). Thus, if equipment and apparatus are
available in the laboratory for practical and carefully controlled, then
effective teaching and learning of integrated science could be achieved, which
will in turn created a scholastically rich, rewarding environment (atmosphere)
for the students to learn the basic tools of science  (Frank & Sake 2012).
Laboratory work is an
integral part of most science courses and offers an environment different in
many ways from that of traditional classroom setting. A good laboratory
environment promotes students’ curiosity, rewards creativity, encourages a
spirit of healthy questioning, avoids dogmatism, and promotes meaningful
understanding, where wait-time is essential in promoting thoughtful responses
and dialog.
Laboratory
activities are characteristic features of science teaching at all levels of
education (Adane & Adams, 2011).
Good and adequate educational facilities like laboratory
facilities are needed to be available to students and teachers at all time to
enhance excellent academic performance.
Effective teaching of
Integrated Science is an activity which will bring about the most productive
and beneficial learning experience for students and promote their development
as learners. Effective teaching of Integrated Science goes beyond just
imparting knowledge but it is a purposeful activity carried out by somebody
with a specialized knowledge in Integrated Science in a skillful way to enhance
cognitive, affective and psychomotor development of a person or group of
persons.
They serve as indispensable parts
(components) in this regard since origin of the use of laboratory methods in
science teaching long time ago (Borrmann, 2008). Nowadays, it is rare to find
any science course without a substantial component of laboratory activity in
teaching institutions. During such laboratory experiments, students are
provided with specimens or work guide (manual) and some sort of equipments
which help them to investigate scientific problems in order to understand
theories and principles of science subjects (Adane & Adams, 2011). Students
have a lot to benefit from practical which may include increasing students’
interest and abilities in science subjects as well as their achievement in
science (Pavesic, 2008). Demonstrations by instructors can also be used as an
option to support theories and lectures given in class rooms in institutions
without adequate facilities to let students do the experiments by themselves
(McKee, 2007). However, as stated by Ikeobi (2004), meaningful learning is
possible from a given laboratory experiments if the students are given ample
opportunities to operate equipments and materials that help them to construct
their knowledge of phenomena and related scientific concepts. There are reports
that emphasize teaching a science with the help of laboratory experiments to be
more enjoyable and stimulating to students than teaching the same subject
matter only through lecture (Hofstein, 2004). Similar to other science
subjects, teaching Chemistry is also supported by laboratory experiments
(practical sessions) (Reid & Shah, 2007). Integrated science practical
classes (experiments) are believed to help students in understanding theories
and chemical principles which are difficult or abstract. Moreover, they offer
several opportunities to students. Some of these opportunities include handling
chemicals safely and with confidence, gain hands-on experience in using
instruments and apparatus, develop scientific thinking and enthusiasm to
chemistry, develop basic manipulative and problem solving skills, gain
opportunities to students as investigators of the experimental work, identify
chemical hazards and learn to assess and control risks associated with
chemicals (Ravishankar & Ladage, 2009).
This would provide an opportunity in
identifying the main objectives of the work and in planning and executing it,
of identifying the conceptual and practical difficulties encountered, recording
and discussing the results and observations and of suggesting practical
alterations and improvements (Teixeira-Dias, Pedrosa de Jesus, Neri de Souza
& Watts, 2005). The latter, thus, could result in a significant positive
impact on a students’ ability to learn both the desired practical skills and
also the underlying theory (Akpa, 2005).
There are indications at all levels
of education in Nigeria that females are grossly underrepresented in terms of
enrolment, participation and achievement in science, technology and Mathematics
education (Anaekwu & Nnaka, 2006). The same studies clearly indicate the
state of affairs at the secondary level of education in Nigeria that a greater
proportion of males enrolled and achieved higher than their female
counterparts.
Okeke (1990), reported that boys
perform better than girls on physical science questions and high level
questions (application, analysis and synthesis) whereas girls do as well as, or
better than boys on questions in Biological sciences and lower level (knowledge,
recall and comprehension) questions.
The practical
activities class involves both an illustrative and investigative function
(Akinbobola, 2011). The illustrative function has been emphasized in past
science curriculum. Today, it is recognized that a static practical class
activites in which the student is told the answers to a series of recipe-type
activities is not conducive and stimulating to the spirit of inquiry. Rather,
if the student is to gain an understanding of the nature of science as a process
of inquiry, he must actively participate in investigations of problems to which
he knows no answers. The investigations may or may not lead the learner to
correct answers, but in learning to ask relevant questions to seek reliable
information, design effective experiences and to interpret data efficiently and
honestly, the student will gain an insight into the nature of science. With
problems or questions posed as the basis for an investigation, and with no
answers given the student is faced with an unknown, and the path is open for a
personal discovery (Akinbobola & Afolabi, 2009).
Statement
of the problem
Afolabi and Akinbobola (2012)
asserted that conducting scientific discovery and oriented practical class in
integrated science class requires that students have easy equitable and
frequent opportunities to use a wider range of materials, equipment, supplies
and other resources for experimentation and direct investigation of phenomena.
Therefore, schools must make every attempt to ensure that practical facilities
are well equipped and maintained to ensure safe and effective learning
environment for integrated science. The proper teaching of science in
particular calls for theoretical explanation and demonstrations by the teacher,
enriched by questions and answers, as well as practical work by students and
this in turns call for a space modification to accommodate all these
activities. The practical class can be used for teaching and for practical work
and in the absence of services such as water, electricity and source of heat
are not readily available, they can be improvised by bringing water in buckets,
electricity can be supplied from batteries or portable generators, while heat
can be obtained from spirit-lamps or small stoves. Apart from being cheap and
cost saving, it helps the conceptual unification of theoretical explanations
and practical works. Based on this assertion, it can be deduced that the role
of practical activities in learning of integrated science is vital and crucial
to the academic achievement of students in this subject.
It is in the light of this that the
researcher intends to investigate the effect of practical activities on the
relative academic performance of students in junior secondary school
certificate examination in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State.
Purpose of the study
          The main purpose of this study is to
investigate the effect of practical activities on the relative academic
performance of students in junior secondary school certificate examination in Ikere
local government area of Ekiti State. Specifically, the study intends to
determine:
1.    
Level
of availabilities of practical activities facilities available in junior
secondary school for teaching integrated science.
2.    
Effects
of practical activities on the grade level of integrated science students in
3.     Male and female students’ mean
performance in a test of practical knowledge in integrated science.
4.    
If
there is significant relationship between the availability of practical facilities
and extent of practical work in integrated science in junior secondary schools
in the junior secondary schools in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State.
Significance of the study
          This
study will assist the teachers of integrated science to appreciate the role of
integrated science practical activities in their day to day teaching process.
It will also help to improve the teaching and learning process of integrated
science by making the teaching more concrete rather than being an abstract.
          Also it will help the school administrator and government
at state and federal level to put in more effort in the provision of modern and
adequate laboratory facilities to integrate the student better into the world
of technology and in turn improve the economic growth of our nation through diversification
of science and technology.
This
study will in turn help the students as it will give them the opportunity to
appreciate the need for availability, adequacy and utilization of practical
class facilities in the teaching and learning of integrated science and in turn
propel them to greater academic performance.
Scope of the study
This
study delimited to effects of practical activities on the academic performance
of secondary school integrated science students in Ikere Local Government Area
of Ekiti State. The target population of the study will be junior secondary school
students within the selected local government area. Two research instruments
will be used. A self-designed instrument (questionnaire) and Integrated Science
Practical Knowledge Achievement Test will be used by the researcher. In
analyzing the data collected in this study, percentage and t-test will be used
to answer the research questions and test the hypotheses formulated
respectively.
Research
questions
          The
following questions are raised to guide this study:
1.    
What
is the level of availabilities of practical activities facilities available in
junior secondary school for teaching integrated science?
2.    
Does
practical activities has any effects on the grade level of integrated science
students in integrated science?
3.     Is there any significant difference
in the male and female students’ mean performance in a test of practical
knowledge in integrated science?
4.    
Is
there any significant relationship between the availability of practical
facilities and extent of practical work in integrated science in junior
secondary schools in the junior secondary schools in Ikere local government
area of Ekiti State?
Research Hypotheses
          The following research hypotheses
will be tested at 0.05 level of significant:
1.    
There
is no significant difference in the level of availabilities of practical
activities facilities available in junior secondary school for teaching
integrated science
2.    
There
is no any significant effects of practical activities on the grade level of
integrated science students in
3.     There
is no significant

any significant difference in the male and female students’ mean performance in
a test of practical knowledge in integrated science
4.    
There
is no significant any significant relationship between the availability of
practical facilities and extent of practical work in integrated science in
junior secondary schools in the junior secondary schools in Ikere local
government area of Ekiti State.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*