FACTORS THAT AFFECT SCIENCE STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
There has been a continual relationship between man and his environment towards goal achievement from the beginning of time, and this connection with both human, physical, and material resources gave rise to an organization. An Organization, according to the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, is a group of individuals who work together in a division of labor to achieve a shared goal, such as families, banks, corporations, and schools. The school may be thought of as an organized setting in which educational curriculum are interpreted; it can also be thought of as a formal structured organization that acts as a transitional stage in life between family and society (Tabir, 2022).
The school organization exists solely to develop an individual's intellectual, emotional, and skillful aspects in order for the individual to be useful to himself and his society; the goal of a school boils down to the academic performance of the students and the overall development of the individual. Some variables must be considered in order for an organization's goals to be met. Teachers and students related variables such as teacher qualification, teacher-student relationship, and teacher/student attitude towards chemistry teaching and learning respectively; school environment related variables such as class size, availability of laboratory facilities, utilization of facilities, school location, and so on are some of the organizational factors that affect students' academic performance in science discipline.
School, as a social structure, plays an important part in the education of any country's population. Any country's total progress to fulfill the technical demands of a globalized society is closely linked to its degree of scientific knowledge acquisition (Yara 2022). One of the aspects of science is scientific knowledge. What exactly is science?
Science is a method of describing nature that evolved from natural philosophy in the 17th century. "Science....is a human endeavor involving the continual process of seeking explanations and understandings of the natural world, as well as that which the process produces-reservoir man's of knowledge," according to a comprehensive definition. "Science is both a process and a product" (NSTA, 2022).
Scientists engage nature to uncover its secrets by asking questions and creating experiments to test or answer such questions; scientific knowledge is thus developed, which may subsequently be employed for good or ill (Ajeyalemi, 2022). He went on to say that science has three dimensions: knowledge, method, and application, and that it differs from other disciplines in its tentativeness of knowledge, testability of its doctrines, universality of its procedures, and non-obsolescence of its methods.
Science includes the fundamental sciences of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and biology. A key widely acknowledged goal for science instruction is to make students scientifically literate, and this is true for all science disciplines.
Educators and researchers have debated for many years which school variable influences science students' academic performance; as policymakers become more involved in school reform, this question takes on new significance, as their initiatives rely on the presumed relationship between various education-related factors and learning outcomes (Hammond 2022). At the seventeenth Lagos State Congress of the All Nigerian Conference of Secondary School Principals (ANCOPSS), held in December 2002, an ad hoc committee was formed to explore the causes of poor WASSCE performance. The committee was also tasked with suggesting ways to improve the quality of education in the state in order to boost student performance in both internal and external examinations. They gathered data on the number of students in the state as well as the infrastructure available to them, and they identified potential obstacles to the improvement of quality education and student performance in both internal and external examinations. Such factors include, among others, criteria for transition from primary to secondary schools, unplanned school construction, inadequate infrastructure provision and maintenance, rapid student population growth, teachers' qualification and experience, teaching-learning process, student-teacher relationship, student-teacher ratio, school authority-teacher relationship, and student progression (Adeogun & Osifila 2022).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The current condition of a high failure rate in the science subject in our senior secondary schools in Nigeria is a source of concern for everyone, including the government and society. According to research, many students viewed science to be tedious, difficult, and uninteresting (Salau, 2022). Participation of students in laboratory work, students' attitudes toward chemistry instruction, and the availability of chemistry laboratory resources, among other factors, restrict students' academic achievement in Chemistry (Okebukola, 2022).
Poor academic performance of students in chemistry due to organizational factors is a problem because the goal of equipping students to live effectively in our modern age of science and technology, as stated in the Nigerian National Policy on Education (FGN, 2022), will become a pipe dream if it is not controlled, and citizens will be unable to develop scientific literacy useful for coping with the modern scientific and technological world.
This is consistent with the goals of chemistry education (National Education Council, 2022) that are not currently being met owing to organizational issues. Chemistry is an activity-based scientific topic, and the recommended instructional style, guided exploration, is resource-based (NTI, 2022). This indicates that chemical ideas cannot be fully mastered without the aid of educational resources. Laboratory facilities must be utilized properly while teaching chemistry, yet students are rarely exposed to practical practice. According to Lee & Fraser (2022), some science instructors do not place a high value on laboratory activities because they believe it takes time away from teaching to cover the examination-driven curriculum. Lack of practical activities among chemistry students has led in weak communication and observational abilities, leading to low performance in chemistry and a high failure rate among students in both external and internal examinations, according to Akpan (2022).
Morgil, Secken, & Ycel (2022) argue that many laboratories focus on verifying what is previously known rather than helping students acquire process skills that may drive them to stay longer on the work, leaving skill mastery to chance. Experientially, this explains why so many students work on predetermined answers without focusing on what the teacher teaches and then perform poorly on external examinations.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The broad objective of this study is to examine the factors that affect science students academic performance in secondary schools. In achieving this broad objective, the research specifically seeks to;
i. Determine whether there is a relationship between laboratory facilities and science students academic performance in secondary schools.
ii. Determine whether there is a relationship between teachers qualifications and science students academic performance in secondary schools.
iii. Determine whether there is a relationship between availability of instructional materials and science students academic performance in secondary schools.
iv. Determine whether there is a relationship between teachers method of teaching and science students academic performance in secondary schools.
v. Determine whether there is a relationship between students utilization of school facilities and science students academic performance in secondary schools.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The following null hypotheses will validate this study:
H01: There is no relationship between laboratory facilities and science students academic performance in secondary schools.
H02: There is no relationship between teachers qualifications and science students academic performance in secondary schools.
H03: There is no relationship between availability of instructional materials and science students academic performance in secondary schools.
H04: There is a relationship between students utilization of school facilities and science students academic performance in secondary schools.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study provides the following significant contributions to knowledge and education in an effort to enhance the Academic Performance of students in the Science discipline and make science learning more engaging:
To encourage stakeholders to improve the isolated factors that have been discovered to have a direct link with students' academic achievement in chemistry, with the goal of enhancing the subject's performance.
First, school educators, curriculum planners, and classroom teachers are provided with detailed information about the state of science teaching/learning and practices in Nigerian secondary schools, as well as realistic ways to improve the situation, given that teacher qualification and student academic performance are important criteria for the development and implementation of both curricular and instructional performance.
The administrators are also aided in the areas of personnel recruiting. It gave information on the qualifications of instructors who should be hired to teach chemistry in senior secondary schools in order to improve student performance on examinations. With the insights gained from the study, educators will position the appropriate workforce and provide in–service training for individuals who do not meet standards.
Thirdly, the study will act as a wake-up call for students in the areas of building positive relationships with their chemistry professors and considering chemistry as a fun, engaging, and exploratory topic, which will assist them in learning more quickly and achieving academic success.
Fourthly, to provide policymakers, educational planners, administrators, and school educators with information on the areas that need to be modified to ensure that laboratory facilities are made available to schools and that they are utilized adequately to ensure that chemistry is taught as an experimental science; this cannot be compromised.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The broad objective of this study is focused on examining the factors that affect science students academic performance in secondary schools. Specifically, this study is focused on determining whether there is a relationship between laboratory facilities and science students academic performance in secondary schools, determining whether there is a relationship between teachers qualifications and science students academic performance in secondary schools, determining whether there is a relationship between availability of instructional materials and science students academic performance in secondary schools, determining whether there is a relationship between teachers method of teaching and science students academic performance in secondary schools and determining whether there is a relationship between students utilization of school facilities and science students academic performance in secondary schools.
Teachers and students of selected secondary schools in Jaba LGA of Kaduna State will serve as enrolled participants for the survey of this study.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
As with any human endeavor, the researcher experienced small impediments while performing the study. Due to the scarcity of literature on the subject as a result of the discourse's nature, the researcher incurred additional financial expenses and spent additional time sourcing for relevant materials, literature, or information, as well as during the data collection process, which is why the researcher chose a small sample size. Additionally, the researcher conducted this inquiry in conjunction with other scholarly pursuits. Additionally, because only a small number of respondents were chosen to complete the research instrument, the results cannot be applied to other secondary schools outside the state. Regardless of the limits faced throughout the investigation, all aspects were reduced to ensure the best outcomes and the most productive research.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Science: The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
Academic Performance: Academic achievement or academic performance is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has attained their short or long-term educational goals.
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