Abstract: This study examined cooperative learning and academic performance of students in Biology in Nsit Ubium Local Government Area. Two null hypotheses were formulated in line with the specific objectives to guide the study. The quasi-experimental research design was adopted. The population of the study comprised of all senior secondary two (SS2) Students in the study area. A sample size of 120 students was used for the study. The sample was drawn from four Secondary Schools in the study area through a simple random sampling technique. The instrument used for data collection was “Biology Achievement Test (BAT)”. The data generated from the study were analyzed using independent t-test.
The result showed that students who adopted cooperative learning technique performed significantly better than those who adopted individualistic approach to learning. Accordingly, it was found that cooperative learning is favourable to male and female students. It was concluded that cooperative learning has a significant positive effect on students’ academic performance in Biology. Consequently, it was recommended that cooperative learning technique should be adopted in the learning of Biology by students so as to improve their academic performance, encourage group activities that increased learning, improve race relations and increase personal and social development of the learners.
Cooperative Learning And Academic Performance Of Students In Biology
1.1 Background to the Study
The sole responsibility of a teacher is to ensure that learning takes place any time he/she engages in the act of teaching. There is a common saying among scholars in education that there is no teaching unless the learner has learnt. Accordingly, both the teacher and the student must be involve in the provision of necessary conditions for learning to take place. The methods, techniques, strategies, interactions and energies exhibited by the teachers are geared towards positively impacting on the student who must also be properly motivated and prepared to learn.
According to Akor (2011) teachers are required to fulfill many roles and perform many duties that may be considered auxiliary. At the core of the roles and duties is the actual practice of teaching. The primary purpose of teaching is to facilitate learning among students. Learning is a change in behaviour, attitude or capabilities of learners as a result of instruction (Ekanem, 2006).
However, it is an incontestable fact that there are a number of learning approaches adopted by students in school for meaningful learning. One of such learning approaches is cooperative learning. It is one of the widely recommended teaching-learning techniques in which student achieve learning goals by helping each other in social setting. Cooperative means working together to accomplish shared goals.
Accordingly, in schools, teachers are a part of a group, in which they discuss their problems, develop new strategies, and find the encouragement and accountability to teach well. Part of the task before teachers is to prepare our students to take an active role in group projects. Cooperative learning therefore requires students to share ideas and responsibilities. This method demands that learners take charge of their own learning and motivate themselves. At the same time the method teaches students how to be a part of group share and to both in success and failure (Neuman, 2010).
Cooperative learning is a learning method in which students work with each other to achieve an academic goal. It may be contrasted with individualistic learning in which student work on their own to accomplish learning goals with the cooperation of their counterparts. To use cooperative learning techniques effectively, teachers must realize that all learners are not the same in terms of intellectual capability. Hence, to ensure improvement in the academic performance of the slow learners. They must be attached to the fast learners in group work in order to step their academic performance. Given this background therefore, the need for teachers to use cooperative learning techniques to improve learning and academic performance among students in school cannot be over emphasized.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
There have been public concern on the declining state of student’s academic performance in both school and public examinations over the years, especially at the secondary school level.
The academic performance of students in school is keeping tasking the already inadequate human and material resources in our educational system. This menace has added weight and continues to militate against the realization of the objectives of the teaching – learning process. This ugly development is becoming increasingly worrisome. Worrisome by the incidence of poor academic performance among students in schools, parent have pointed accusing fingers on teachers in respect to their teaching effectiveness regarding methods and techniques while teachers in turn put the blame on the inability of the government to provide basic educational materials to schools.
Accordingly, several research reports indicate that student’s achieve poorly in secondary school science subjects especially biology (Azubiuke,2009; Nwagbo,2011).
However, strategies have been employed in teaching Biology for over two decades. Not much effort seems to have been made towards finding out the effectiveness of the instructional methods used by biology teachers and the learning approaches adopted by the students. A lot of innovative instructional methods including cooperative learning techniques have been suggested for teaching but records shows that there is a trend of poor academic performance among secondary school students in biology. This has been a subject of concern to the researcher, thereby necessitated this study” cooperative learning and academic performance of students in Biology in secondary schools.”
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to examine cooperative learning method and student’s academic performance in Biology in secondary schools in the study area. In specific terms, the study accomplished the following objectives:
- To examine academic performance of students who adopt cooperative learning techniques and those who adopt individualistic approach to learning in Biology.
- To examine the academic performance of male and female students using cooperative in Biology.
1.4 Hypotheses of the Study
The following null hypotheses were formulated in line with specific objective of the study to give direction to the study.
- There is no significant difference in the academic performance of students who adopt cooperative learning method and those who adopt individualistic approach to learning in Biology.
- There is no significant difference in the academic performance of male and female students using cooperative learning method in Biology.
Cooperative Learning And Academic Performance Of Students In Biology
1.5 Significance of the Study.
It is anticipated that the findings of this study will be of a huge significant to teachers, students, researcher, educational planners, and policy makers as well as other stakeholders in education the following ways:
- It will reveal the learning approaches of students in Biology in the study area.
- It will highlight the benefits of cooperative learning method.
- It will reveal if the use of cooperative learning technique will bring the about much desired improvement in students’ academic performance in Biology.
- The research findings will add to the existing information and bulk of literature on cooperative learning.
- Finally, this study will serve as a reference material for further research on cooperative learning and students’ academic performance not only in Biology but other science subjects.