EVALUATION OF THE INFLUENCE OF LABORATORY AND DISCUSSION METHODS ON PERFORMANCE AND RETENTION OF CHEMISTRY STUDENTS IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA

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EVALUATION OF THE INFLUENCE OF LABORATORY AND DISCUSSION METHODS ON PERFORMANCE AND RETENTION OF CHEMISTRY STUDENTS IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA  

ABSTRACT

The study evaluated the effects of laboratory and discussion methods on the performance and retention of Chemistry students in Senior Secondary Schools in Kaduna State, Nigeria. Six objectives were formulated for the study amongst which were to: determine the pre-test and post-test performance of Chemistry students taught using laboratory method in Senior Secondary Schools in Kaduna state, Nigeria, examine the pre-test and post-test performance of Chemistry students taught Chemistry using discussion method in Senior Secondary Schools in Kaduna state, Nigeria and compare the retention ability of Chemistry students exposed to laboratory, discussion and conventional methods in Senior Secondary Schools Kaduna state, Nigeria. In line with the objectives, six corresponding research questions and hypotheses were formulated for the study. Relevant literatures on the key variables of the study were reviewed. The study was carried out using quasi experimental design with the target population of eighteen thousand, one hundred and thirty eight (18,138) SSII Chemistry students and a sample of two hundred and seven (207) Chemistry students was arrived at using purposive sampling  techniques. Data for the study was collected through the administration of pre-test, post-test and retention test using teacher made test tagged “Chemistry Students Performance and Retention Test (CSPART) and the instrument was validated by the researcher‟s supervisors, experts from the field of Chemistry and social science, test and measurement. The data collected were analyzed using statistical package for social science (SPSS) version 20. Demographic variables were analyzed using frequencies and percentages while mean and standard deviation were used to answer the research questions. Paired sample t-test, independent t-test and one way analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used to test the hypotheses advanced for the study at 0.05 level of significance. The findings of the study amongst others revealed that the post test performance of students taught Chemistry using laboratory method was significantly higher than their pretest scores (p-value 0.000<0.05), students taught Chemistry  using  discussion  method performed significantly better in the posttest (p-value 0.010<0.05) also, the retention ability of students taught Chemistry using laboratory method was significantly better than those taught using  discussion and conventional method  (p-value 0.000<0.05). In view of the findings from the study, conclusion was drawn that laboratory method motivate students to actively participate in the learning activities rather than been passive listeners. Discussion method enabled students to discuss and share ideas with each other. It was also concluded that performance of students taught Chemistry using laboratory method was significantly better than those taught Chemistry using discussion and conventional method, similarly, the retention ability of students taught Chemistry using laboratory method was also better than those taught using discussion and conventional method. Based on these, it was recommended among others that the laboratory method of teaching should be emphasized in the teaching of chemistry ahead of other teaching methods for tangible results and teachers should be encouraged to actively involve students in relevant participatory laboratory activities since it has been found to improve performance in Chemistry.

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

 

                         1.1       Background to the Study

 Chemistry is a science based discipline offered in the SeniorSecondary School Level of Education in Nigeria; it is one of the core science subject offered by students who want to take to professions in health, engineering and sciences. It is the scientific study of interaction of chemical substances that constitute atoms or the subatomic particles: protons, electron and neutrons. It is an integral part of the science curriculum taught at the SeniorSecondary School as well as higher institutions. At this level, it is often called “General Chemistry” which is an introduction to a wide variety of fundamental concepts that enables students to acquire tools and basic skill useful at the advanced level. One of the objectives of science education is to develop students‟ interest towards science and technology. Chemistry is central to many of the scientific fields of human endeavors: therefore, teaching of Chemistry should be given serious attention. In view of this, Chemistry school curriculum calls for means of its effective implementation in order to achieve the desired objectives for which it is

intended.                      

Most nations developed because of the role played by teachers through teaching, hence, teaching must be done in a way students will perceive, understand and retain what has been learnt to reflect higher scores for meaningful application of knowledge at different situation.  No discussion of the curriculum is complete without suggestions about methods of its effective implementation. Teaching methods are very vital to the teaching-learning process in schools as it bridges the gap between the teacher and the learners and reduces anxiety. Teaching method is a systematic way of presenting subject matter and learning experiences. It describes how a teacher organizes and present teaching materials to the learners. The methods adopted by the teacher may either promote or hinder effective teaching and learning process. A good and effective teaching method leads to achieving the instructional objectives. However the dominant use of conventional method by Chemistry teachers have begun to be increasingly criticized and this have paved way for wide spread growth of student-centered learning as an alternative method (Roya, Mohammed and Faramarz, 2014).

The study of Chemistry is very important, as well

as selection of teaching methods so as to enhance proper and effective implementation of Chemistry curriculum at the Secondary Schools level in Kaduna State in particular and in Nigeria in general. There are varieties of teaching methods for teachers to choose from depending on the situation. There are methods that are teacher centered and student-centered ranging from individualized instruction, role play, project, discovery, and so on.  Some of these methods of teaching are more appropriate and peculiar to a particular group than others. In the Secondary School curriculum, the recommended methods for teaching Chemistry are: demonstration, project, fieldtrip, laboratory, inquiry, discussion methods and so on. 

To ensure that all students have the necessary background to learn a subject, teacher can present basic information in a conventional way. The conventional method is a process of verbally delivering a pre-planned body of knowledge to a class in a one way teacher to student style (Petty, 2010). The conventional method is where information passes from the notes of the teacher into the notes of the students, and may not pass through the brains of either. It is where the teacher presents the factual information in a direct and logical way. The conventional method can be effective where the lessons involve a collection of large body of information to be disseminated to a large group of learners in a shortest time with minimal cost. It is one of the most efficient teaching methods for presenting many facts or ideas in a relatively short time. A topic which involves the use of conventional method has to do with elaborating, simplifying, clarification among others, as it allows for easy coverage of the syllabus. The conventional method allows for little or no students‟ participation. The teacher, in this method gives an introduction and a summary ensuring that information is specific to learners. In active learning process, learning is no longer a standard process, but it transforms into a personalized process. It permits students to assimilate and accommodate information; it is the way people learn when they are left alone. Here the skills of problem-solving and critical thinking are developed.  The researcher observed that the countries in the world are witnessing rapidly changing developments in information, science and technology in all walks of life. Human face various problems in their lives and they try to find particular ways to solve these problems. In this respect it is important for students to be prepared for the future by facing real-life problems in their learning environment and producing appropriate solutions to these problems. What is expected from education is to enable individuals to become an effective problem solver in their actual lives (Herreid, 2007). The most convenient method with regards to reaching this aim in teaching and learning environment is the laboratory method. The basis of laboratory method is rooted in Dewey‟s „learning by doing and experiencing‟ principle.

The laboratory method is a teaching method which is suitable for teaching and learning of Chemistry and other related science subjects at the SeniorSecondary Schools. This method is usually used as a forum for science teachers and their students within a classroom, to interact with materials under controlled condition when seeking answers to problems in nature (Maikano as cited in Maikano, Sale and Amos, 2015). Laboratory method have the

potential to develop students understanding of concepts, scientific applications, scientific attitudes, practical skills, scientific habits of mind, understanding how Chemistry and scientists work, ability to formulate scientific questions, ability to form hypotheses, ability to design and conduct investigations, ability to formulate and revise scientific explanations, communication skills and/or ability to defend scientific arguments, interest and motivation skills in teamwork, imagination and creativity, and technical skills in the use of equipment (Kwabena, 2013).

Therefore, modern educational trends in education emphasize laboratory activities which include experiments, because the laboratory is physically associated to science topics that entail practical experiments on the one hand, and the accomplishment of the objectives of science teaching on the other. Recent years have witnessed numerous discoveries and inventions through experimentation, which is a vital element of science basis. Experimentation can work effectively only through utilizing the laboratory in the teaching process (Kizito, 2017). The American Chemistry study project emphasized the laboratory work in  teaching  Chemistry, likewise, the British field  project showed great interest in using laboratory to conduct experiments in teaching

Chemistry to develop the students manual skills.

Discussion method involves the active participation of students in the learning process. Discussion involves two-way communication between participants. In the classroom situation, the teacher and students all participate in the discussion. With the current teaching trends, the teacher act as a facilitator who leads and guides the interactive session. During discussion, the teacher spends some time listening while the students spend sometimes talking. The discussion is therefore, a more active learning experience for students than the conventional method as it helps to foster students involvement in what they are learning, which might contribute to desired attitudinal changes. Discussion may be used in the classroom for the purpose of lesson development, making students apply what they have learnt or to monitor students learning by way of feedback. In discussion, problem is initiated while teacher motivates and encourages students to interact with each other and find solution to problems.

Discussion also is the verbal exchange of views, opinions or ideas between two or more people. (Abubakar, 2011). Discussion may also be used, following a lecture or laboratory method to help students apply what they have learnt. For instance, following a lecture on “water”, the teacher may lead a discussion directing students‟ attention to the laboratory where some of the equipments for water purification are found and the reason for using each type of equipment. The discussion method also provides opportunity to monitor student learning. The answers provided by students and the question they ask reveal the extent and quality of learning taking place. Discussion used in this way should follow after other methods of teaching in the classroom such as conventional or laboratory method. In this way, discussion contributes to the transfer of

learning and enhances students‟ performance.

Performance in Chemistry is the demonstration of students‟ ability to attain certain level of instructional objectives out of classroom experiences. Performance is also the measure of accomplishment in a specific field of study (Okwara, Paul and Ikyaani, 2015). Performance is the direct, systematic observation of an actual accomplishment and rating it according to the pre-established performance criteria (Angyaye, 2007). Students, when asked to perform a task or create a product, they are assessed on both the product and the end result of their work. The researcher is of the opinion that appropriate use of teaching methods could develop their thinking ability, motor skills, maximumachievement in certain types of learning such as speech skills and

so forth.

In assessing students‟ performance, school location is considered as one of the factors that affect performance in SeniorSecondary Schools. Onah (2011), say environment reflect on students’ performance. Therefore, for the students to carry his learning effectively and efficiently, it is necessary that learning takes place in a conducive location. No academic institution can operate efficiently and produce worthy products without the input of well trained and qualified teachers. Though, all necessary input might be available and in good order, the contribution of teachers need to be given priority, Abe and Audu (2013), says education cannot be provided by just anybody, it requires a teacher who plans and delivers the lessons or instruction in such a way that objectives can be achieved. When education objectives are attained by the learners, their performance in the study of Chemistry will be enhanced, hence they will be able to retain and recall learnt concepts.   Retention is the ability of one to remember what he has learnt in the later time. Retention of learned information is having the information stored in long-term memory in such a way that it can be readily retrieved, for example, in response to standard prompts (Bichi, 2012). Retention is an instructional-level measure of success. It is an act of retaining something or an ability to remember learned concepts or ideas (Stenger, 2016). For the purpose of this study, retention is the ability to keep or retain the knowledge of the concept of water learnt and to be able to recall it when required. Retention in Chemistry is not acquired by mere rote-memorization but through appropriate teaching methods (Ajayi and Ogbeba, 2017).It is the process by which new information is transferred from our short term to our long-term memory. In other words, it‟s all about making new knowledge stick. It‟s not new science, either. 70% of any new information is lost within 24 hours if we don‟t make an effort to retain it. When teaching is characterized by rote-learning, and mere memorization, learned concepts are not long retained or do not have effect in change of behavior.  Retention according to Wachanga (2013) has been found to improve the

performance of students.

Although, the two terms (performance and retention) look alike but they are two sides of a coin. Performance is the direct and systematic observation of an actual accomplishment of given task while retention means storage of information over some period of time, this time period is called retention interval (Bichi, 2012). This shows that high retention leads to good performance in students‟ achievements, thus appropriate methods such as laboratory and discussion should be employed by Chemistry teachers to enable learners develop critical thinking skills, decision making, and be more active in the learning process. The more active the learner is involved in the learning process, the better he or she retains what is taught (Paul, 2009). It is against this background that the researcher is motivated to conduct a study on the evaluation of the effect of laboratory and discussion methods on performance and retention of Chemistry students in SeniorSecondary Schools Kaduna State, Nigeria.   

                         1.2       Statement of the Problem

 Education should aim at helping the learner acquire appropriate skills, knowledge, abilities and competencies, both mental and physical as equipment for the individual to live in and contribute meaningfully to the development of his society and the country at large (FRN, 2013). This can only be achieved when Chemistry is properly and adequately taught using the appropriate methods. Chemistry is one of the core science subjects in Secondary Schools and it has come to be recognized as the axial on which progress and development of both the individual and the nation depend on.

Results of studies conducted by different scholars and researchers in the field of Chemistry have shown that students continued to perform poorly in Chemistry (WAEC, 2016); this has become a public concern and not good news to reckon with. Chemistry being a core subject in the study of science and technology should be given attention in the teaching and learning process. Chemistry, to most, is a complex and difficult subject, the tendency for most students is to consider the subject as one that is boring, thus creating lack of interest in the subject. Various reasons have been deduced to explain the lack of interest and poor performance in Chemistry and these include the teachercentered methods used by teachers, non-availability of resource materials, poor classroom management, insufficient scientific equipments in the Chemistry laboratories, Idris and Rajuddin (2012). Dahiru, (2013) reported that, the prevailing teaching method in many Nigerian Secondary Schools is the lecture method. This method according to him does not allow active students‟ participation in Chemistry lessons; rather students memorize and regurgitate facts and concepts without acquiring the basic understanding of the concepts.  

Studies have confirmed that the negative attitude of students towards a particular subject is as a result of poor teaching methods usually employed by teachers in their classrooms.  Analysis of Chemistry students‟ performance during WAEC examinations in Nigeria from 2012 to 2017 indicated persistent failure in Chemistry. It was observed that of the total number of 208,232 Chemistry candidates who registered and sat for the examination between the listed years, only 23.7% passed Chemistry at credit level in 2012, 20.7% passed in 2013, 36% passed in 2014, 33.5% in 2015, 25.3% and 21.7% passed in 2016 and 2017 respectively (Yusuf 2012). This situation is so discouraging realizing the fact that Chemistry is a core science subject and the National university commission (NUC) prescribed pass at credit level before admitting any student into any

science based courses at the university level.

 

There is need to search for effective instructional strategies that are likely to improve and remedy students‟ academic performance in Chemistry. This therefore necessitated the need by the researcher to explore effective instructional methodologies that have been neglected by Chemistry teachers but recommended for the teaching and learning of Chemistry in the SeniorSecondary School Chemistry curriculum. These methods are likely to improve and remedy students‟ academic performance in Chemistry at the SeniorSecondary School level of education. As such, this study was conducted to evaluate the effects of laboratory and discussion methods on Chemistry students‟ Performance and retention in SeniorSecondary Schools in Kaduna State, Nigeria.

                         1.3       Objectives of the Study

                        The objectives of the study are to:

  1. determine the pre-test and post-test performance of Chemistry students taught using laboratory method in Secondary Schools in Kaduna State, Nigeria;
  2. examine the pre-test and post-test performance of Chemistry students taught using discussion method in Secondary Schools in Kaduna State, Nigeria;
  3. determine the effect of laboratory method on students retention ability in

Chemistry when compared with conventional method in Secondary Schools in Kaduna State, Nigeria;

  1. determine the effect of discussion method on students retention ability in

Chemistry when compared with conventional method inSecondary Schools in Kaduna State, Nigeria;

  1. compare the performance of Chemistry students exposed to laboratory, discussion and conventional methods  in Secondary Schools in Kaduna State,

Nigeria

  1. compare the retention ability of students taught Chemistry with laboratory, discussion and conventional methods in Secondary Schools in Kaduna State, Nigeria.

                         1.4       Research Questions

            The following questions were raised and answered in the cause of the study:

  1. What is the pre-test and post-test performance of students taught Chemistry using laboratory method in Secondary Schools in Kaduna State, Nigeria?
  2. What is the pre-test and post-test performance of students taught Chemistry using discussion method in Secondary Schools in Kaduna State, Nigeria?
  3. What are the effects of laboratory method on students‟ retention ability in Chemistry when compared with conventional method in Secondary schools in Kaduna State, Nigeria?
  4. What are the effects of discussion method on Students‟ retention of water in

Chemistry when compared with conventional method in Secondary Schools in Kaduna State, Nigeria?

  1. What are the effects of laboratory, discussion and conventional methods on the performance of Chemistry students inSecondary Schools in Kaduna State, Nigeria?
  2. What is the difference in the retention ability of students taught Chemistry with laboratory, discussion and conventional methods in Secondary Schools in Kaduna State, Nigeria?

                         1.5        Hypotheses

                        The following hypotheses were formulated and tested in the study:

H01 There is no significant difference in the pre-test and post-test performance of students taught Chemistry using laboratory method in Secondary Schools in

Kaduna State, Nigeria

H02 There is no significant difference in the pre-test and post-test  performance of students taught Chemistry using discussion method in Secondary Schools in

Kaduna State, Nigeria

H03: There is no significant difference in the retention ability of students taught Chemistry using laboratory methods and those taught using conventional method in Secondary Schools in Kaduna State, Nigeria
H04: There is no significant difference in the retention ability of students taught Chemistry using discussion method and those taught using conventional method in Secondary Schools in Kaduna State, Nigeria
H05: There is no significant difference in the performance of students taught

Chemistry using laboratory, discussion and conventional methods in Secondary

Schools in Kaduna State, Nigeria.

H06 There is no significant difference in the retention ability of students taught

Chemistry using laboratory, discussion and conventional methods in Secondary

Schools in Kaduna State, Nigeria

1.6 Significance of the Study                                                                   
  This study is considered significant in a number of ways to education stake

holders such as Chemistry teachers, Curriculum developers, Ministry of education officials, Examination bodies, textbook publishers, parents, students, and future researchers. Through the findings of this study, Chemistry teachers will enhance their competence and professional development in their Chemistry classrooms, thereby helping students understanding of Chemistry concepts through laboratory and discussion method. It will also help teachers to learn the characteristics of the conventional method, both its pros and cons, and provide some practical alternatives teaching methods for teachers who do not think the method fit their teaching. Similarly, the outcome of this study will help the teacher to check and improve on the methods and quality of teaching which will in turn improve the performance of students in any examination.

 

The findings through publications at conferences will help teachers in evaluating their performance in the teaching of the various aspects of Chemistry curriculum contents. The result of the study will reveal the aspects of the Chemistry curriculum that are not properly implemented by teachers. This may lead to improvement in such aspects of the curriculum for greater performance among students. Chemistry teachers will also utilize the outcomes of this study to promote effective ways to motivate and increase students learning of Chemistry by guiding the students in their approach to problem solving and creating conducive environment for competency in laboratory and

discussion methods among students.

 

The findings will also help in suggesting the way forward in the inculcation of laboratory and discussion methods in learning Chemistry concepts as well as aid towards solution to arising problems. It is hoped that results of this study will encourage

Chemistry teachers to plan sequence, and properly organize Chemistry contents in order to enhance and encourage students to avail themselves to the learning opportunities that

are available in laboratory and discussion methods.

Curriculum developers will find the result of this study important as it will provide them with insight into the effectiveness of laboratory and discussion methods in achieving maximum results. It will enable them to utilize the factors that are found to promote effective ways of using laboratory and discussion methods of teaching and developing materials that could effectively enhance the teaching and learning of Chemistry. This research will equally be of great use to the curriculum developers as it will help them to suggest relevant teaching methods for teaching different topics in the curriculum. Hence, students‟ performance will improve through the use of appropriate teaching methods.  The study will be of value to Federal Ministry of Education and

States ministries of Education. The findings will stimulate them to re-orient their Chemistry teachers through workshops and seminars/conferences on the use of laboratory and discussion methods in their teaching process, to enhance the quality of teaching and learning at the Secondary School level. It will also help them to check teachers‟ improvement on the method and quality of teaching which would in turn improve the performance of students in both the internal and external Chemistry

examination.

The result of this study will be beneficial to examination bodies such as Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) that carryout research, discuss and disseminate research findings, thereby use the result of the research to facilitate effective teaching and learning of Chemistry curriculum and seek to inculcate team spirit in students through laboratory and discussion methods. This therefore will lead to improvement in the way curriculum is being implemented by the teachers for

greater performance among the students.

Textbook publishers will benefit from the findings of this research as materials that foster interactivity and cooperation among students in Chemistry. Laboratory and discussion activities could be given priority in books and teaching.

Parents, through the findings of this study will be able to advice their wards on the strategies that students can adopt for effective critical analysis of issues or problem solving in Chemistry. Teaching of Chemistry using laboratory method will enable students to search and find community actual problems, propose sound solutions to those identified problems and change them throughout their life. The practical experience will develop analytical, creative, participatory decision making, leadership and active citizenship skills and abilities among students, willingness and skills for

realizing personal responsibility as a citizen.

Students will also benefit from the study by ensuring they participate actively when the methods of laboratory and discussion is employed by their teachers to teach Chemistry, as the methods turn the students from passive information recipients to active, free self-learner and problem solver. Students will be able to analyze various situations independently, express and defend personal opinions and attitudes and develop action plans. By means of laboratory and discussion methods, some students‟ attitude in relation to such areas as problem-solving, thinking, group works, communication, information acquisition and information sharing with others will be affected positively. The outcomes of the study will afford students the skill to both merge their old knowledge with new knowledge and to develop their judgmental skill in a specific discipline or environment. Students will also acquire the skills of time management, facing realities and expressing emotion.

 

The result of this work will be uploaded in the net to assist future researchers intending to carry out similar studies on other topics in Chemistry with diversified group of subjects; it will inform them of the usage and challenges of laboratory and discussion methods of learning Chemistry at the Secondary School level of education.

                         1.7        Scope of the Study

 This study focused on the “Evaluation of the Effects of Laboratory and Discussion Methods on Performance and Retention of Chemistry Students in Secondary

School in Kaduna State, Nigeria”. The study was delimited to two teaching methods namely; laboratory and discussion methods in teaching Chemistry. The study was limited to four (4) public Secondary Schools in Zaria education zone of Kaduna State,

Nigeria. The respondents for the study were confined to Chemistry students in public

Secondary School II from Government Secondary SchoolDakace, Government

Secondary School Dogon Bauchi snr, Government Secondary School Tudun Jukun and Barewa College.  The choice of SSII students was informed by the fact that they were not preparing for any external examination and they had been sufficiently exposed to Chemistry curriculum through the conventional method and was readily available in the school throughout the session.

EVALUATION OF THE INFLUENCE OF LABORATORY AND DISCUSSION METHODS ON PERFORMANCE AND RETENTION OF CHEMISTRY STUDENTS IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA  

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