ABSTRACT: The study was designed to investigated study habits and academic performance of students in air pollution in basic science in junior secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area. Four research questions and four research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study and were all tested at 0.05 levels of significance. The design used was survey. The target population was made up of two thousand one hundred and forty five (2145) junior secondary two (JS2) Basic Science students in Uyo Local Government Area. One hundred Basic Science students randomly selected from two secondary schools constituted the sample size. The Study Habit Questionnaire (SHQ) and Basic Science Achievement Test (BSAT) were the instruments used for data collection. A test–retest method was used to determine the reliability of the instrument and the reliability index of 0.74 and 0.81 were obtained on Achievement Test and Questionnaire respectively by correlation analysis using Pearson Product Moment Correlation (PPMC).
Study Habits and Academic Performance of Students in Air Pollution in Secondary Schools
Mean, standard deviation and independent t-test statistics were used to analyze the data obtained. The result revealed that there is a significant difference in academic performance of students who have personal timetable and those who do not; there is a significant difference in academic performance of students who write note and those who do not; there is a significant difference in academic performance of students who review past questions and those who do not; and that there is a significant difference in academic performance of students who study in group and those who do not in air pollution. In view of the findings, it is therefore recommended that students should be encouraged to adopt good study habits in order to improve performance in Basic Science.
1.1 Background to the Study
Science in its original sense was a word for a type of knowledge rather than a specialized word for the pursuit of such knowledge. In particular, it was the type of knowledge students can communicate to each other and share experiences. It is the bedrock on which modern day technology breakthrough is hinged. It is also a systematic study of the nature of the behavior of the material and physical universe through observation, experimentation, measurement and recording. Fape (2007) defined science as rationally structured knowledge about nature which embraces systematic methods of positive attitudes for its acquisition, teaching, learning and application.
Basic science is one of the science subjects taught at Basic level of education in Nigeria. The subject was formally known as integrated science using the concept of integration of science. It is the first aspect of science a child comes across at the primary and secondary school levels; hence basic science prepares both students (primary schools) and students at the junior secondary school levels for the study of core science subjects (physics, chemistry, biology, geography and even some aspects of agricultural science) at the senior secondary school level (Olarenwaju, 2005).
Basic science in a broad sense existed before the modern era and in many historical civilizations. Basic Science exposes the students to the study of science as a whole eliminating subject boundaries. This implies that for a student to be able to study science subjects at the senior secondary school level successfully, such students have to be well grounded in basic science at the primary and junior secondary school levels.
The objectives of science education in this country according to Maduekwe (2006) includes the need to prepare students to observe and explore the environment, explain simple natural phenomena, develop scientific attitudes including curiosity, critical reflection and objectivity, apply the skills and knowledge gained through science to solve everyday problems in the environment, develop self-confidence and self-reliance through problem solving activities in science. Since the world is turning scientific and all proper functioning of lives depend greatly on science the need to pay attention to how students study basic science becomes imperatives.
According to Ogunleye (2006), science is a dynamic human activity concerned with understanding the workings of our world. This understanding helps to know more about the universe. Without the application of science, it would have been difficult for man to explore the other planets of the universe.
The major goal of teaching basic science is to develop scientifically literate individual that are concerned with high competence for rational thoughts and actions. The overall objective of basic science as enumerated in National Policy on Education (2013) which includes enable students develop interest in science and technology, apply their scientific and technological knowledge and skills to meet societal needs, take advantage of the numerous career opportunity offered by the science and technology, become prepared for further studies in science and technology, to avoid drugs abuse and to be safety and security conscious.
The fundamental aim of the Nigerian Basic Science Project which is a process oriented curriculum is to develop in students’ science oriented skills. The teachings of basic science make students have first-hand experiences of the way scientists tackled problems. Inquisitive about their physical and biological environment; enable students to comprehend the major unifying science concepts and pattern such as the principle of conservation of energy, the structure of materials and the law of gravitation. It provides opportunities for students to use measuring instruments such as thermometers, voltmeters, ammeters and observational aids such as a simple microscope, and it also make students acquainted with science process skills such as measuring, observing, experimenting, inferring, predicting, classifying, communicating, and recording of data.
However, despite the importance of Basic Science, many factors have hindered the successive implementation of the core curriculum in Basic Science which has led to poor academic performance in the subject. Over the years, researches on factors that influence academic performance of students have attracted the interest of teachers, counselors, psychologists, and school administrators as well. A survey carried out by Ajila and Olutola (2014) in some selected schools in Nigeria to identify some major causes of low academic performances in students. Some of the problems identified include inadequate teachers, inadequate facilities in the school, poor parental background, unfavorable government policies and poor funding.
Likewise, Ichado (2015) also argued that the environment from which the student comes from play a major role in influencing study habits which invariably affect academic performance. In a research carried out by (Nuthana and Yenagi, 2012) on the causes of poor academic performance in science among Nigeria students were thoroughly examined. Some factors identified were low student’s intellectual ability, achievement motivation, lack of goals, low self-esteem, low socio-economic status of the family, poverty and poor study habit as a major factor.
Ekwe (2015) posited that the students occupy the central position in the teaching and learning process and learning cannot be forceful and as such the students must be ready to learn before they can learn. However, due to the important position occupied by students in the teaching learning process, their approaches to learning become necessary to be investigated. Bamin, Kazi and Hasan (2013) observed that in addition to personal and mental developments, for students need to study effectively after the lesson in the class as it is critical for ensuring ones access to social, economic and civic life in the 21st century.
In recent time, junior secondary school students attending secondary schools, experience a problem of coping with the transition from junior science learning to senior secondary schools (Frank, 2016). For brilliant students to maintain their grade level from junior secondary school until graduation in senior secondary classes is always taskful and may seem energy-sapping for the students. Also for the dull students to improve in their studying level demands a great task likewise in both instance, studying for examination has been a challenge as some students may “cram” in order to pass while other study in advance before the examination.
The concept of study habit is broad as it combines nearly all other sub-topics under it such as study attitude, study method, and study skills. Study habits are the knowledge and application of effective study skills or techniques by students. The term study habit refers to the way in which students’ study either systematically, efficiently or inefficiently (Rana and Kausar, 2011). In line with what has been said above, one can deduce that good study habit will definitely yield positive academic performance and also inefficient or poor study habit leads to academic failure. Students’ attitude and study habit towards any subject has been described as a function of passion coupled with their belief on that particular which has a long way to go on their academic performances.
In Nigeria, many factors have been highlighted to influence the ability of students to cultivate effective and efficient study habit. Such factors include; state of health, motivation, anxiety and state of mind, conducive and suitable environment for studying, availability of textbooks and well equipped libraries (Yoloye, 2011). In a research conducted by Allport (2016), it was argued that attitude toward study by drafting a good study pattern can greatly contribute to students’ academic performance. Successful students all over the world are said to have adopted positive attitude towards study and are time conscious over what they have to do. According to Hussain (2010) study habit refers to predispositions which students have developed towards private readings through a period of time and maintained that, study habit is a gateway to successful achievement in studies.
Students adopt several study habits and some of these habits include adoption of personal timetable by students to guide them on their daily activities of which study time is included as well as time for other duties. The adoption of personal timetable to studies is the dimension that assesses the habit of students to avoid certain factors that might distract his/her focus from succeeding in the course of studying.
According to Ogbodo (2009), among the objectives of education in Nigeria is the “the need to help the individual to develop his/her full potentials”. This cannot be achieved without a proper time planning to make the students develop positive attitudes toward learning. Personal study timetable is a very crucial factor in the success of any programme educationally. When wrongly managed on planned outcome, it is possible to produce a negative outcome but has a positive outcome if properly planned. A student who developed personal study time table is likely to perform well in academic as such students may prepare effectively well before examination (Chukun, 2010).
Another important study habit is note-taking study habit which is the act of taking note in the class during lesson presentation by the teacher. During note-taking, the students strives to record fast the major points from a lesson or a textbook, it makes wide use of abbreviations, acrostics symbols and cryptic sketches, avoiding clear diagrams and tables. It is important as it helps in summary and organization. These notes will further be expanded of the information in it resulting from notes-taking into detailed and well-illustrated texts, accessible to any person literate in the language and familiar with the subject of the text.
Note-taking enable the students to extract important information from a lesson and book within the time allowed where time is of the essence as in the case of reserved books in the library which one has to read for an hour to two. Also, where scarce books are borrowed from friends which books needed back are soon taking notes of important notes or information is recommended (Eyoh, 2013).
However, Salami and Aremu (2016) are of the opinion that through the internationalization of good study habits, all students will raise their grades and ineffective study habits on the other hand erode self-confidence among students which leads to poor academic performance as well as poor self-esteem and cheating in examination to pass (Ekwe 2015).
Asagwara (2012) described study habits as strategies which students append for acquiring knowledge, skills, idea and competence. He further observed that some student who have good study habits do not spend a lot of time studying before they can achieve success and that students who study very hard without utilizing good habits make little or no progress in their academics. Onyejiaku (2010) further opined that majority of Students who find it difficult to concentrate and ignore distraction while studying lack self-discipline, intrinsic motivation or goal orientation. It is pertinent to note that time management is to be recognized as the control idea of the concepts of study habit.
Although habits differ from person to person, some general principles can be derived about studying efficiently. Here are some good study habits that lead to better academic performance: attending classes regularly; taking down notes during teaching; concentrating on study; studying with aim of getting meaning not cramming; preparing a time table; following a time table; having proper rest periods; facing the problems regarding home environment and planning; facing the challenges posed by school environment; and keeping daily survey of work done Good study habits rest on the attitudes towards work and sense of responsibilities.
Child (2015) reports that, “studies with human subjects have revealed that an ability to learn how to solve problems of a given kind can be developed with sufficient practice on tasks of a similar nature.” Study habits vary from student to student. Some habits are considered to be more desirable than others from the point of view of academic performance. Crow and Crow (2016) asserted that study requires a purpose and what one learns as a result of study depends largely upon the degree to which one succeeds in achieving that aim or purpose.
Child (2015) asserts that we talk about forming bad or good habits in many everyday activities in both social and educational contexts. We behave, by and large, in characteristic ways because we have discovered through experience that some responses are more effective than others. It is therefore against this background that this study has deemed it necessary to investigate the influence of study habit on academic performance of Students in Uyo Local Government Area.
Study Habits and Academic Performance of Students in Air Pollution in Secondary Schools
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The teaching and learning of basic science in Nigerian schools has series of challenges owing to the fact that the process involves the effort of both the teachers and the students. Thus, one of the major challenges of the educational system is lack of students’ participation in the teaching and learning process at the junior secondary level of education, which also affects the quality delivery of educational institutions. This implies that the students occupy the central position in the teaching and learning process and learning cannot be forceful as such the students must be ready to learn before they can learn. However, due to the important position occupy by students in the teaching learning process, their approach or approaches to learning becomes necessary to be investigated upon.
Similarly, there is tremendous pressure on students to earn good grades because academic performance is assumed to possess predictive value on the student’s future endeavor. The importance of academic performance has raised several queries among educational researchers. In search for an answer to the queries, a number of attempts have been made by researchers to identify factors which influence academic performance. It is therefore based on the above importance that a question arises in mind of the researcher whether this study habit is related to academic performance in basic science or not? Little study has been done looking at the study habits of students at any level of the educational system especially in secondary schools in Uyo, much which is directed to mainly the senior secondary school students.
Since we live in the information age, this fact clearly makes new demand on the educational system, requiring radical changes on “what” and “how” students learn and why students are not doing as per expectations. It is important to have a clear understanding of what benefits or hinders one’s educational achievement. This is the premise which motivated the researcher to investigate study habits and academic performance of students in air pollution secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area.