ABSTRACT: The study examined Teachers’ Variables and Students’ Academic Performance in Biology. A descriptive survey research design was adopted in the study which involved eighty one biology teachers. An open fact finding questionnaire tagged “Biology Teachers Questionnaire (BTQ)” was used to collect data for the study. Results of students for 2015 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in biology were also collected from sampled schools to serve as data base.
Data obtained were analyzed using frequency counts, percentage and chi-square statistical technique, findings indicated that students taught by trained, qualified and experienced teachers performed more academically. Also there was a significant relationship between teachers attitude toward work and student academic performance. Major recommendations made based on these findings, are that qualified and experienced teachers should be encouraged by better condition of service to teach biology in our schools and seminars, workshops should be organized for science teachers to inculcate the right and positive attitude to work in them.
Teachers’ Variables and Students’ Academic Performance in Biology
1.1 Background to the Study
Success in academic endeavours may be contingent upon certain factors. This may be true of achievement in schooling. Good achievement in schooling could be the partial contributions of an individual’s gender sensitivity, cognitive, affective (attitude) and psychomotor domains. Adodo (2007) argued that one key overriding factor for the success of students’ academic achievement is the teacher. In the same vein Ibrahim (2000), believed that teachers’ qualifications and exposure can go a long way to bring about student’s high academic performance. It is probably for this reason Ibukun (2009) re-iterated the opinion of the national Policy in Education that no education system can rise above the quality of its teachers.
Considering the assertions of Adodo (2007), and Ibukun (2009) it implies that teachers’ role in the preparation of students to successes in examinations cannot be undermined for good or poor student’s academic performance have been quite exhaustive yet controversy still exists among scholars as to what contribute singly or jointly to students’ poor performance. The teacher variables found to be dominant in cross-country studies are related to; qualification, experience, attitude and personality.
Scholars and researchers generally are in agreement that the school variables, which include teacher administration, perform a critical role in educational achievement than other variable (Patrick, 2005). The important role of the teachers in learning is unquestionable teachers have a lot of influence on the classroom practices. Teachers should have and apply specific abilities without which their influence may not be reflected in their students’ performance in the subject. For students to be able to make connection between what is taught in school and its application in problem solving in real life, the teacher has to be effective in their teaching.
In his study, Adeogun (2013) opined that the quality of the educational system depends on the quality of its teaching staff and that a school without human resources may not be able to achieve the goal and objectives of the educational system. Adesina (1980) also noted that teachers are the major indication and determinant of quality education. Highly professional teachers, who are dedicated, are needed in schools. It has been established that there is a High correlation between what teachers know and what they teach. Thus, the ability to teach effectively depends on the teachers’ knowledge and knowledge occurs in a variety of forms. Teacher effectiveness is impeded if the teacher is unfamiliar with the body of knowledge taught. The implication of this for teachers is that they must thoroughly understand the content of what they teach.
Usman (2003) argued that shortage of qualified teachers is responsible for the poor academic performance observable among the students while Ademulegun (2001) argued that students taught by more qualified and experience teachers in terms of knowledge of the subject matter performs better than those taught by less qualified but experienced teachers.
Biology as a school subject serves as the foundation for advance learning in academic fields such as medicine, nursing, pharmacy and other allied courses. Considering this great importance of biology to the national and educational development, the poor academic achievement in the subject observable among students should be a thing of serious concern to any citizen of Nigeria. The teachers’ attitude, qualification and experience coupled with the students’ attitude towards the subject may be responsible in part for the downward trend in students achievement observed in the examination result.
Attitude as a factor could be viewed as the totality of an individual’s inclination towards object, institution or idea. Teachers are role models to the students because as they act, so do the students demonstrate and perfect such act of teachers. It is a well known fact that the manner teachers handle the teaching of biology as a subject, behave and interact with the students can produce major effect on students’ achievement. For instance, when teachers are frequently absent from class, such negative attitude can cause the students at the foundation laying stage to loose interest in the subject. According to Finlayson (2009), the resultant effect of such teachers absenting from school is negative correlation between students’ performance and high teacher absenteeism.
In his contribution, Okebukola (1980) pointed attention to the quality of biology teachers as the prime factor attributed to the cause of students’ consistent academic performance, in examinations. Teachers’ effectiveness in a subject may be prime determinant of students’ performance in the subject. Ineffective teaching in secondary schools probably from the quality of teachers recruited to teach science. In many secondary schools, science subjects are taught by people who are neither interested nor qualified in teaching the subject.
Studies have also shown that teachers experience exerts a great influence on the academic achievement of students. Ilugbusi, Falola and Daramola (2007) showed that teaching experience in schools count significantly in the determination of students’ achievement in external examinations such as West African Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE), National Examination Council (NECO) SSCE and the unified tertiary matriculation examination. According to them, in-experienced teachers are easily upset and destabilized by unfamiliar situations. This may imply that in experiment teachers could get confused, mixed up the content of the topics taught to the students and hence the students will receive wrong information which would definitely lead to poor academic performance among students.
It is evident that one key overriding factor for the success of students’ academic achievement is the teacher. It is believed that teachers’ qualifications, experience and attitude can go a long way to bring about student’s high academic achievement. Teacher effectiveness is impeded if the teacher is unfamiliar with the body of knowledge taught. The teachers’ output is also limited, if he exhibits non-chalant attitude to work. Consequently, harnessing the different variables of the teachers positively for effective academic work and performance of students becomes challenging.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Scholars and researchers generally are in agreement that the school variables which include teacher’s characteristics, perform a critical role in educational achievement than other variable. The important role of teachers in the learning process is unquestionable. Ehindero and Ajibade (2000) asserted that “students, and other curious stake holders in educational enterprise have long suspected and speculated that some of the teachers lack the necessary professional qualifications. That is, skills, techniques and strategies required to communicate concepts, ideas, and principles in a way that will facilitate learning”.
Most teachers lack the right attitude to work, experience and are sometimes over loaded in terms of students population. They believed that these deficiencies contribute significantly to the growing rate of failure of students in examinations. These observations, necessitated the need for this study to investigate the effects of teachers variables, such as professional qualification, teaching experience, attitude and work load on students academic performance in biology in secondary school in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to establish a relationship between teachers’ variables (Such as qualification, experience, attitude and motivation) and students’ academic performance in biology in secondary schools in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State with a view to proffering suggestions which will help in educational administration in the stake.
1.4 Significance of the Study
It is expected that the findings of the research will be of immense benefit to the school administrators test, measurement and evaluation experts, teachers and other educational stakeholders. To the school administrators, the findings of this study will guide them in method of recruiting teachers as well as effective supervision and monitoring of teaching and learning in schools.
To the teachers, it will create awareness on the need to be effective in their teaching and be supportive to students in order to achieve increased achievement in examinations. Generally, it will enlighten all educational stakeholders on ways to positively achieve higher students’ academic performance.
Lastly, it is interact that the findings of this study will serve as a reference material for future study on relationship between teachers variables and students academic performance.
Teachers’ Variables and Students’ Academic Performance in Biology
1.5 Research Questions
The following research questions were generated to guide the study:
(i) Is there a significant relationship between teachers qualification and students academic performance in biology?
(ii) Is there a significant relationship between teachers teaching experience and students academic performance in biology?
(iii) Is there a significant relationship between teachers attitude to work and students academic performance in biology?
1.6 Research Hypotheses
The following research hypotheses were formulated for the study;
(i) There is no significant relationship between teachers qualification and students academic performance in biology.
(ii) There is no significant relationship between teachers teaching experience and students academic performance in biology.
(iii) There is no significant relationship between teachers’ attitude to work and students’ academic performance in biology.
1.7 Basic Assumptions of the Study
The following assumptions were made in this study:
(i) The effect of teachers’ variables on the students’ academic performance in biology can be evaluated by the teachers and students.
(ii) The sample used for the study can give a valid result.
(iii) The sampled school are true representation of the secondary school in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area.
(iv) The research instrument used is valid and reliable and can likewise produce valid and reliable results.
1.8 Delimitation of the study
The research considered only the influence of teachers’ variables (Qualification, experience and attitude at the exclusion of other variables which may also exert effects on students’ academic performance in biology.
1.9 Limitation of the Study
Due to a number of constraints such as time and finances, at the time of this research, it could neither make use of a larger sample size nor cover a wider area than that which has been described. Besides the results of this study are based on the responses given to items in the questionnaire used for data collection.
1.10 Definition of Terms
The following terms are operationally defined as they are used in this study:
Teacher: A person who teaches or deliver instructions to students in school voluntarily or obligatorily aimed at inducing learning and change in behaviour.
Variables: Characteristics, quality among human beings such as teachers in this study that can vary with time. The attributes that can be used to quality the personality of the teacher.
Performance: This is the cognitive competence or ability exhibited by a student in a given subject matter in a given test.
Biology: This is a school science subject that deals with the study of plants and animals.