Abstract: The study was conducted to examine Group Learning Method and Academic Achievement of Students in secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. To achieve the specific objectives of the study, two research hypotheses were formulated and tested. The literatures related to the study were review. The population of the study constituted of two thousand three hundred and fourteen (2,314) senior secondary two (SS2) students from ten (10) public secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area. The sample size employed In the study were two hundred (200) senior secondary two (SS2) Government students in four intact classes in five (5) selected schools out of ten (10) public secondary schools in the study area.
The Government Performance Test (GPT) was used as the instrument for data collection while the quasi-experimental research design was adopted in the study. The independent t-test statistical method was adopted to analyze the data collected and the result was tested at 0.05 levels of significance. Findings revealed that there is a significant difference on academic achievement of students who learn using group learning method and those who learn using individual method in Government in secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area. Findings also revealed that the boys scored slightly higher than the girls but there was no significant difference in academic achievement of male and female students who learn using group method in Government in secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area.
1.1 Background to the Study
The quest for quality in education in nations throughout the world is the foundation for qualitative development. The quality, philosophy and principles have become central to international educational reforms as every nation seeks quality products and services through educational renewal and school instruction (Caldwell, 1985 in Akpan Uwandu & Ekanem (2013). This has given rise to the experimentation of several teaching and learning strategies which are aimed at improving academic performance of the students in terms of their ability to contribute meaningfully to the economy of their nations.
Educators have evolved some strategies which can help the students to construct knowledge. These strategies may not be used independent of the teacher thus it can be combined with any teaching method to attain stated objectives. Some of these strategies include Team Teaching, Concept Mapping, Co-operative Learning, Peer Tutoring, etc. They have been employed in different subject areas and to diverse set of students with varied outcomes.
Group learning is one of the strategies of learning, which are students centered and aimed at making the students use their abilities to construct knowledge. To cooperate simply means working together towards achieving the same aim or goals for common interest. Group therefore pictures ones willingness to assist or help in solving problems in a joint effort often time the teaching/learning system has been seen to be one sided on the grounds that only the teachers do the talking while learners sit and listen. But recently, the teaching/learning process has been made to be learners centered especially in the area of science/social science by introducing new teaching methods that involves the learners.
According to Akpan (2008), activity based method of teaching are the best in getting individual learners into active participation with classroom situation. Here Akpan looks at learning as an individual thing which can only take place when the learners are involve as one cannot learn for another and without being present in the class to be instructed.
Furthermore, the fact that some learners are faster than others makes learning in the general or conventional classroom to suffer some setbacks. To carry everyone along the teacher must often time share learners into groups to work together on a given learning material to achieve a common goal. This is referred to as group learning. For learning to be effective in these groups, some strategies must be put in place by the teacher who will act as the supervisor.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Despite the expected benefits of teaching science (PHE inclusive) in the Secondary Schools as noted by Effiong (2015), the benefits of the study of Government in schools and colleges has not been felt in school certificate examination and awareness of the citizenry. This failure has been attributed to several factors as it has become a cause of concern not only to teachers but to government and society at large.
According to several researchers like Hardner (2014), Noah (2015) most people blame teachers, their qualification, their experiences, limited available resources, method of lesson delivery, lack of student’s concentration amongst others. However, government over the years has trained and re-trained government teachers, provided space and some materials for Government, review the curriculum and enforced students discipline but with limited improvement in academic performance and utilization of this material development.
This become a motivating background for the researcher to ask whether the learning strategies such as group learning could influence the academic achievement of students since it has been noted that group work in schools get everybody involved and benefit all members of the group. The quest for answer to the above question triggers the researcher’s interest to investigate into the influence of group learning on the academic achievement of students in Government in secondary schools in Abak Local Government with a view of proffering a lasting solution to the problem.