Students’ Variables and Learning of Biology among Secondary School Students
This study was designed to investigate the influence of Students’ Variables and Learning of Biology among Secondary School Students in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Two research questions were and two hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. A Quasi-experimental research design was adopted. The population of the study consisted of all Senior Secondary two (SS2) biology students in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area. Simple random sampling technique was used to select four (4) schools out of ten (10) public secondary schools from the study area. Biology Achievement Test (BAT) was the instrument used for data collection. The data collected was analyzed using independent t-test statistic. The result indicated that male students out-perform their female counterparts in the learning of biology. Similarly, age had a significant effect in the learning of biology. It was therefore recommended that parents should not delay the enrolment of their wards in schools as this will make them feel insulted by the younger ones.
1.1 Background to the Study
It is interesting to note that researchers in education and other stakeholders have contributed immensely towards improving academic performance of learners in the teaching-learning process. Researchers have conducted researches mostly on environmental factors, teacher-related factors, home and parental factors, use of instructional materials and school locations among other variables while students’ variable seem to receive or attract less touch.
Students’ variables, according to Meador(2013) includes those behavioral patterns that either foster or inhibit the students’ performance at school. He listed some of the positive students’ variables to include asking questions, hard work, regularity at class, class participation, seizing opportunities, trust worthiness and being a problem solver. Young (2012) identifies the variables of good students to include being attentive in class, consulting with instructors, promptly turning in assignment and making good use of extra credit hour opportunities.
Students’ variable is a compound concept that encompasses the learner’s age, experience, interest, health, beliefs, gender, motivation and previous learning and intelligence (Fakeye, 2012). Apart from the afore factors mentioned earlier which have received much researcher’s touch, Cohen(2013) argued that students’ variables may even impact hugely on academic performance considering the fact that they learn what is of interest to them. According to the researcher, ‘as a teacher, you can only create the learning environment needed, explain the concept as supposed, use necessary material to facilitate the learning but cannot force the learner on what, how when and where to learn, he learns what is of his satisfaction depending on his personal attitude’’. Many researchers have come to argue that learning should be learners’-centered. This obviously is a pointer to the fact that students apart from being mere learners but listeners, their variables may go a long way in determining the extent to which they can progress academically.
In Nigeria, inspite of the enormous role that has been set in their respective places to enhance the academic performance of the students, many factors has contributed to this ugly and unwholesome situation. These factors include students’ health, lack of interest, gender inequality and students’ study habits. Researchers have identified a number of factors that may have impact on students’ interest in specific subjects, researches has been carried out on students’ variable and interest in biology, basic questions till now are open how to make students’ variables toward science more favorable and how to increase their interest in the subject, interest has many applications for studying and learning.
It is particularly note worthy that a variety of research also found significant gender difference in attitude towards an interest in science with girls losing interest faster than boys in secondary schools. It is also likely a point of interest to note that gender difference were most likely to be connected with a number of variables related to classroom experiences including pedagogical variable. This implies that gender is a very good predictor of performance in science subjects at secondary school level.
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living things including their structures, function, growth, evolution, distribution and taxonomy. Modern biology is a vast field composed of many branches and sub-disciplines which includes biochemistry, molecular biology, botany, genetics, cell biology, evolution embryology, ecology, Parasitology etc. As one of the core subjects in senior secondary schools in Nigeria, biology is of great value in determining and shaping the future of the students and hence, the teaching and learning of biology at the senior secondary level is of paramount importance, as a core science subject, biology requires inquiry into natural phenomena.
Students’ Variables and Learning of Biology among Secondary School Students
Biology as a subject is the study of life and as a life science, it forms the bedrock to the understanding of other sciences as such, learners’ performance ought to be in a forward direction contrary to what is often observed in the subject. This study is designed to investigate those factors associated with learners particularly in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State because the earlier we identify those good and bad students’ variables and properly address them, the better the academic performance of students in biology and at large and all other life sciences.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Students’ variables have been found to have a considerable influence on students’ interest in learning and academic performance. Accordingly, the school system has put in place several rules and regulations to guide the students. For a smooth academic progress in school, students are expected to be law abiding, respectful of school authorities and school staff as well as being regular and punctual to class. Other variables expected of the students include, respect for one another, honesty, hard-work, commitment to class tasks and attentiveness in class.
In Nigerian educational system, policy keeps collapsing from time to time and this has generated much concern from several quarters of the Nation. For instance, Biology which initially was a compulsory subject in all Nigerian secondary schools is now an elective subject. Again, children are sent to school, some at a very tender age while some at their advanced age, quite unlike what was obtained in those days. As if this is not enough, parents now let their wards to jump certain classes claiming that the children are of high intelligence.
It has been noted that students who exhibits positive variables like regularity in class, active class participation and prompt response to assigned tasks were more committed to learning than students with negative variables which includes: poor study habit, irregularity in class, truancy, fighting, disobedience, examination malpractice, lateness to school and general indiscipline; Others include: students abstaining themselves from school and classes using unnecessary excuses, such as being sick when they are not, fake suspension by the school authority or teacher, some of these variables are common among the students who performs poorly in their tests and examination.
At this point, one would stop to ask, where is the foundation to a healthy living by the society when biology has become an optional subject in our foundational schools? Having both young, average and advanced ages in the same class, is there any impact on the academic performance? If yes, at what age should students be in a particular class? Should children be allowed to jump classes all in the name of high intelligence? What is its impact, if at all there is?
The growing number of failure in biology in both external and internal examinations in senior secondary schools has become alarming and also a cause of concern because of this nagging issue. Educators have been forced and motivated to conduct series of research study with the view of finding a lasting and better solution to the problem of learning biology. This study seeks to investigate the possible answers to this problem.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to examine the students’ variables and their influence on the learning of biology among secondary school students in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area.
Specifically, the study sought to:
- Determine the influence of gender variation in the learning of biology among secondary school students in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area.
- Determine the influence of age variation on the learning of biology among secondary school students in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area.
1.4 Research Questions
The study will attempt to provide answers to the following questions:
- to what extent does gender variation influence the learning of biology among secondary school students in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area?
- to what extent does age variation influence the learning of biology among secondary school students in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were formulated to guide the study:
- There is no significant difference between the academic performance of male and female students in biology in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area.
- There is no significant difference in academic performance of biology students of the ages thirteen to fifteen (13-15) and those of the ages sixteen to eighteen (16-18)in the same class in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area.
1.6 Significance of the Study
(i) Counsellors will find it useful to discuss with the learners and possibly guide them on the need to improve on those variables that can impart on learning.
(ii) Parent will appreciate the need of sending their wards at the tender age of life to school.
- Parents will realize whether allowing their wards to jump classes is the best thing to do for them. Again, encouraging their wards to develop interest in subjects early.
1.7 Delimitation of the Study
The study was restricted to Students’ variables and learning of biology among secondary school students in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Also, the study was restricted to senior secondary two (SS2) Biology students in the selected secondary schools in the study area.
- Limitation of the Study
The study was faced with difficulties which includes:
- Time factor: the period for the completion of the study was short and the researcher could not cover all the identified students’ variables and its impacts on academic performance.
- Financial constraint: finance available for the study was not enough to support the research into other subject and possibly expand the study to other Local Government Area of the state.
- Students’ insincerity of their age: some students were not sincere about their age.
1.9 Definition of Terms
(i)Students’ variable: this involves the behavioral pattern and the attributes that are peculiar to the learners.
(ii) Academic performance: This is a score average of the students determined using assessment, test and examination.
(iii)Learner: this is a person who is undergoing studies in school.