Problem Solving Approach and Students’ Academic Performance in Chemistry

Problem Solving Approach and Students’ Academic Performance in Chemistry
Problem Solving Approach and Students’ Academic Performance in Chemistry

Abstract: The study was on problem solving approach and students’ academic performance in chemistry was carried out in Ikono Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. The purpose was to determine the influence of problem solving approach on students’ academic performance in chemistry. Two research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The review of the related literature was used as a guide in establishing principles for the study.  A descriptive survey design was adopted for the study.

Chemistry Achievement Test (CAT) and questionnaire were used as the instruments to obtain data from the respondents for the study. A total of 120 students randomly selected from six secondary schools in the study area was used under experimental and control group. The independent statistical t-test tool was used in testing the hypotheses. Finally, the results from the analysis of data showed that problem solving approach has influence on students academic performance but not on gender differences




1.1 Background To The Study

The teaching of science subjects and chemistry in particular in Nigerian secondary schools is dwindling in spite of various innovations introduced into science teaching, the performance of students still remain low. This is confirmed by the poor performance of students in both internal and external examinations.

Fridman (2000) also supported the idea that achievement in science is low and he attributed the reason for this among other things to the way chemistry is taught by teachers with neither a major nor minor qualification in the subject. Several other reasons have been advanced for the under-achievement in chemistry and other science subjects. Some of the reasons include; poor capital investment in terms of provision of  traditional teaching methods, which are ineffective in science pedagogy, perceived difficult nature of topics in chemistry by students poor computational skills, inability to apply learned concept, principles, formulae and lack of procedural guide or problem-solving skills.

Furthermore, the importance of chemistry in the studying and understanding of science has been recognized worldwide that no nation can progress in socio-economic sphere without learning chemistry in school.

Problem solving refers to the ability to come up with workable solutions to different problem situations and it involves appreciating the nature of the problem by analyzing the causes and looking for possible solutions (KIE, 2008). Hence for improving education, it is necessary to address students’ academic achievement and factors affecting it as one of the educational system components, to suggest required mechanisms for improving it.

Since education is an instrument for national development, Wittrock (2006) asserts that problem solving is fundamental to education because educators are interested in improving student’s ability to solve problems.

Similarly, Antoni and Albert (2004) stressed that problem solving is considered a copying strategy that increased general competence and adaptation in the real world setting. Therefore, since problem solving help young people cope with various challenges and demands in their lives and take responsibilities of their actions. It becomes necessary that students offering chemistry as a subject in secondary schools have a better chance of being grounded in other to meet the twenty first century standard and also to attain the state of national development among the committee of nations.

However, it saddens the concerns minds, that the performance of students in both internal and external examinations are consistently poor. This ugly situation for the post decades have been confirmed by administrators and teachers of secondary schools and thereby seeking a redress,  since the school system is an integral part of the society as it is seen as important agent of  socialization where knowledge and core values are highly inculcated in students, it becomes imperative that the influence of problem solving approach on the performance of students in chemistry be held with high esteem by the researchers.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Post primary schools are faced with different challenges ranging from lack of qualified teachers to handle the subjects, poor teaching delivery, poor teaching aids, and inadequate knowledge of methods and approaches of teaching and low attention to students’ performance in their respective subjects. This low attention leads to the consistent. Poor outcome in the students’ internal and external examinations.

Many principals have noticed with dismay the dwindling state of students performance in chemistry and several time, supervisors from ministry of education and local education committee (LCE) have also confirmed this fact based on the a aforementioned facts. Stake holders, education boards, and administrators have made efforts to bringing in policies and also providing necessary  facilities like well equipped laboratories that would move the system forward but still, positive result have not yielded due to poor performance  of students in school system.

To this end, the researcher seeks to find out how problem solving approach affects the performance of students in chemistry.

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Peter Hezekiah Lawson (Sir Pee). The CEO of A reputable researcher, Web Developer, ICT Instructor and a publisher of many research works in Education.