ABSTRACT: The study investigated the effect of peer tutoring instructional method on the academic achievement in Biology among secondary school students in Ika Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. The design for the study was Quasi-experimental design. Two secondary schools out of four secondary schools was randomly selected and all the 145 SSII Students offering Biology in these two schools were selected and assigned to experimental and control groups. Two research question and two hypotheses guided the study. The instrument used is Biology Achievement Test (BAT). Pretest and posttest were administered and the data collected were analyzed using independent t-test statistics. The results indicated that students who engage in peer tutoring achieve more than those taught using lecture method. The result further revealed that the male and female students achieved the same level of academic performance with peer tutoring method. It is recommended that teachers need to diversity their method of teaching Biology such as peer tutoring as it will assist in higher academic achievement of learners.



1.1        Background of the Study

Biology is one of the science subjects studied at the senior secondary school level in Nigeria. Biology can be defined as the study of life or study of plants and animals (Michael, 2008). Among the science subjects, Biology is considered the most popular among secondary school students considering the high enrolment of students in this subject at external examination. Despite the relative popularity of Biology compared to other science subjects, it is very disappointing to note that students’ performance in the subject in the nation public examination have remained consistently poor over the years (WAEC Annual report 20082011).

The persisted poor performance in Biology in senior school certificate examination by secondary school students is causing some concern among Biology teachers, school administrations, parents and general public. Biology educators have put in noble and spirited efforts aided at identifying the major problems associated with teaching and learning of Biology in our schools. According to Danjuma (2005), this poor performance might be due to poor method of teaching and insufficient instructional material.

Okoli and Egbununu (2013) asserted that the use of ineffective methods in Biology has resulted in rote memorization of scientific concepts and principles by learners without their having deep understanding of scientific phenomena, concept and theories. Ezaugwa (2009) in his own study identified the following factors as being responsible for poor academic performance namely teacher’s qualification, time allotted to Biology in the timetable, teaching method, inadequate laboratory facilities.


Furthermore, WAEC Chief Examiners Report (2011)  identified causes of academic poor performance in science (Biology inclusive) to include shallow knowledge of the subject matter, incorrect interpretation of questions, poor command of English, poor knowledge of examination techniques, illegible handwriting, spelling errors among others.

Teaching of science in general and Biology in particular requires making necessary provision for all students’ active participation in the learning process. This will enable them to connect scientific theories and concepts to real purposes and practices in the world in which they live (Imoke and Agwagah, 2006 and Ayler, 2003). Among the methods and strategies for teaching science are problem solving method, expository method (lecture method), inquiry-based method, teaching/learning approach and cooperative learning (Mesler, 2009, Momoh and Umar, Rool, Almscheild, 1999 and topping, 2000). Unfortunately, most teachers over the years teach Biology using predominately the lecture method of teaching.

Lecture method entails an oral presentation of ideas, concepts and principles to learners. The teacher focuses the students’ attention on the key points in the lesson and may use graphs, diagrams and other presentation to elaborate on the subject matter (Okoli and Egbunonu, 2012). Ezeani (2009) remarked that in lecture method, the students only listen and take notes and are not encouraged to ask questions. The predominant use of lecture method does not always encourage the understanding of Biology concepts by secondary school students. This is because this method does not take care of the individual differences in learners and does not involve the learners in the learning process.

Although, the method has the advantage of being less tasking allows for wider coverage of content within a short time but it does not always produce positive outcome in Biology students (Okoli & Egbunonu, 2012).

However in an attempt to encourage learning in Biology, the problem of mastery of subject matter skills and interest in scientific concepts could be addressed through the use of students. Interactive teaching method facilitate by the teacher. One of such interactive methods that may enhance students interest in science learning in peer tutoring.


Peer tutoring consist of two or more students working together teaching and learning from each other. using this method the science teachers after presenting a  topic to a group of learners by direct interaction, permits the brighter students or fast learners to teach (tutor) the less bright or slow learners of the group. Miller (1995) posited that peer tutoring is an economically and educationally effective intervention for slow learners and high achievers and can benefit both the tutor and tutee socially and educationally by motivating them to learn.

Several studies have shown that peer tutoring is an important predictor of academic achievement of senior secondary school students in other school subjects home economics, agricultural science etc (Romano & Walker, 2010, Topping, 2005).

Based on this premise, there is need to find out of peer tutoring can produce positive results when applied in the teaching of Biology to students in our secondary schools. This study therefore investigates the effect of peer-tutoring on academic performance in Biology in secondary schools in Ika Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Biology is one of the most popular science subjects offered by students in senior secondary schools. Public examination records have shown that generally, students record low achievement in this subject. This has been attributed to among other things, the use of inappropriate teaching methods by Biology teachers (Graham, 2002, Spencer, 2006).

Several studies have shown peer-tutoring as an important factor that enhanced academic achievement in other school subjects like French, Social Studies, English Language (Hammer, 2001). The need therefore arises for a study of the effect of peer-tutoring method achievement in Biology for senior secondary.

1.3       Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study was to determine the mean academic achievement of the students taught Biology using peer tutoring instructional method and those taught using conventional lecture method. Also, the study sought to examine the effectiveness of the peer tutoring method on gender on students’ academic performance in Biology.

1.4       Significance of the Study

The findings of this study would be beneficial in the following ways:

  1. Curriculum planners may have to include peer-tutoring as an effective instructional strategies in Biology curriculum delivery.
  2. Science teachers’ educators may adopt peer tutoring strategy in teacher educational programme.
  3. Biology teachers will adopt peer-tutoring as an innovative approach for teaching Biology and thereby promoting closer interaction among Biology students.

Originally posted on June 4, 2021 @ 11:08 am

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