ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to investigate factors affecting academic performance of biology students in secondary schools. To achieve the purpose of the study, five research questions were posed, subsequent five null hypotheses were formulated from the research questions to direct the study. Literature was reviewed on the hypotheses directing the study- survey research design was adopted for the study. A total sample of one hundred and fifty (150) respondents were randomly selected for the study. The selection was done through the sample random sample random sampling techniques. As a rentable tool for data collection four point questionnaire was the instrument used. It was constructed by the researcher under the supervisors guide that gave it face and content validity.
The questionnaire was successfully administered by the researcher and collected upon completing to test the hypotheses and to ascertain whether to accept or reject them, the independent t test analysis, and Pearson product moment correlation analysis were considered the most appropriate statistical technique employed to test the hypotheses, because of one nature of analysis involved in the hypotheses directing the study. All hypotheses were subjected to testing at 0.05 level of significance with critical values and degree of freedom. The result of the analysis indicates that school climate, school facilities, class size and teacher use of instructional material significantly influence academic performance. Based on the findings of the study, recommendations and suggestions for further studies were made.
Factors Affecting Academic Performance Of Biology Students In Secondary Schools
1.1 Background to the study
The factors affecting academic performance of students in biology include the student’s attitude, classrooms, libraries, technical workshops, laboratories, teachers’ quality, school management, teaching methods, peers, etc are factors that has role to play when it comes to students’ academic performance. (Ajayi, 2001 and Oluchukwu, 2000). Hansen (2000) said that: Student’s performance depends on many factors such as learning facilities, gender and age differences etc that can affect student’s performance. A study effort from student and the proper use of the facilities provided by the institution to the student, a good match between student’s learning styles and are positively affect the student’s performance.
Biology is one of the science subjects that senior secondary school students offer at the Senior levels in the Nigerian secondary schools, (FRN, 2004). Biology is a very important science subject and a requirement for further learning of a number of science-related professional courses like medicine, agriculture, pharmacy, etc. In contemporary Nigeria, greater emphasis is placed on science and technological development. As a result, students are being encouraged to take up science-related subjects. Today, Biology pervades literally every field of human endeavour, and plays a fundamental role in educational advancement. This is seen in all the technological advancement in the world today, which is because of scientific investigations. However, the issue remains that in most secondary schools in Nigeria, there is high rate of failure in the subject.
Biology is a branch of science that deals with the study of living organisms. Biology is primarily concerned with the nature of organisms and their relationship to each other and to their environment. Biology as a subject endeavors to enable one understand himself/herself, understand major biological processes that take place within himself/herself; for example digestion, respiration, circulation, excretion and gaseous exchange. Through Biology organisms tend to appreciate the effect of these biological processes and the larger environment as a whole. Biology like other science subjects is a practical- oriented discipline which seeks to develop in a learner scientific inquiry and problem solving skills. The general goals of Biology Education is to equip the learner with the basic knowledge, skills and attitude that will enable one to lead an independent and useful life both to himself/herself and the larger community in which she/he lives.
Considering its fundamental characteristics and importance, biology is today a standard subject of instruction at all levels of our educational systems, from pre-primary to tertiary. It is the only core science subject at Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE), whose study is very relevant to man’s successful living (Akindele, 2009).
The Biology subject caters for the needs of a learner who may pursue his /her studies in the subject and its related disciplines. In many areas, biological knowledge can be applied in general improvement of man’s well-being as evidenced in Medicine, Agriculture and Industry. Success in life has so much been associated with ones performance in examination. Students who do well in examinations get a chance of proceeding to higher levels of studies and consequently, being a source to manpower in many biologically related careers. Failure in Biology means a general shortage of manpower in these Biology-related professions. This is because Biology forms the basis of important disciplines such as Medicine, Veterinary, Dentistry, Agriculture and Forestry. Besides, Biology has played a very important role in providing knowledge for current biological issues such as Biotechnology, Genetic engineering, waste disposal and food security.
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 especially Biology. 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.
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.
Beyond the direct effects that poor facilities have on students’ ability to learn, the combination of poor facilities, which create an uncomfortable and uninviting workplace for teachers, combined with frustrating behavior by students including poor concentration and hyperactivity, 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.
According to Nakpodia and Urien (2011), the teacher stands out as one the most important factors determining the quality of education and its contributions to national development. At every level, people who go to school look on the teacher for the acquisition of the necessary skills to enable them become what they want to be. Thus, students often look on the personal qualities, their educational qualities and professional competence which are rewarding to the learners. It is on this note that the role of educational administrators in assisting teachers to help students achieve the objective of instructions in their various fields of endeavor stands paramount and a challenge in the 21st century.
Previous studies have investigated the relationship of poor school environment including problems with student-teacher ratio, school location, school population, classroom ventilation, poor lighting in classrooms, and inconsistent temperatures in the classroom with student health problems, student behavior, and student achievement (Crandell & Smaldino, 2000; Davis, 2001; Johnson, 2001; Lyons, 2001; Moore, 2002; Stricherz, 2000; Tanner, 2000). To complement these studies, the present research will examine the aforementioned factors as it affect students performance in Biology in secondary schools.
Factors Affecting Academic Performance Of Biology Students In Secondary Schools
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The performance of biology in secondary schools in the study area in recent decades has been rapidly dropping; the trend shows there is speed downfall of performance in biology and other science subjects especially in secondary schools. And the failures in science subjects may results into shortage of science experts like doctors, engineers, and teachers. Therefore there is a need to investigate on what are the root causes and factors influences poor performance in biology, and how to eradicate the problem. Hence this study will investigate on the factors influencing poor performance in science subjects in selected secondary schools.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to examine factors affecting academic performance of Biology students in secondary schools. Specifically, this study seeks to examine:
- The relationship between school climate and the student academic performance
- The impact of school facilities on the academic performance of students in the secondary school
- the factors such as class size that have been perceived to promote or inhibit students learning in the academic process of students in secondary school
- whether teacher use of instructional materials enhance students academic performance.
- the student’s attitude towards learning Biology subject.