IMPACT OF COOPERATIVE LEARNING TACTICS ON PROCESS SKILLS ATTAINMENT AND PERFORMANCE IN CHEMISTRY AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL PUPILS, ZARIA KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA

0
99

IMPACT OF COOPERATIVE LEARNING TACTICS ON PROCESS SKILLS ATTAINMENT AND PERFORMANCE IN CHEMISTRY AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL PUPILS, ZARIA KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA  

ABSTRACT

This study investigated the impact of cooperative learning strategy on process skills acquisition and performance in chemistry among secondary school students, Zaria Kaduna State, Nigeria.The population of the study comprised of 1743 SS II science students in Zaria Education zone. Non – random sampling was used to get the sample for the study. The sample of the study comprised of 162 students out of which 93 were males and 69 were females; non – random sampling technique was used to get the sample. Quasi – experimental pretest posttest control group design was adopted for the study. The experimental group was exposed to cooperative learning strategy and the control group was exposed to lecture method. Two instruments; Test of Science Process Skills (TOSPS) with reliability coefficient of 0.79 and Chemistry Performance Test (CPT) with reliability coefficient of 0.88, were used to collect the data used for the study. Four research questions with their corresponding hypotheses were raised and tested at p≤0.05 level of significance. The data collected were analysed using t – test statistics. Major findings from the study were: Chemistry students taught using cooperative learning strategy performed significantly better in their acquisition of science process skills than those taught using lecture method, Chemistry students taught using cooperative learning strategy performed significantly better in performance test than those taught using lecture method.  Cooperative Learning Strategy (CLS)was not gender sensitive to academic performance and acquisition of science process skills. Based on the findings, it is recommended that,Special Training Programme should be organized for Chemistry Teachers of Secondary Schoolson the use of Cooperative Learning Strategy in the teaching and learning of chemistry so as to enhance general performance of students.

CHAPTER ONE

THE PROBLEM

1.1       Introduction

Chemistry is a science discipline that deals with the study of composition, properties and uses of matter. It describes how one or two substances interact with one another to give rise to different substances (Ahmad, 2010). According to Wu and Foos

(2010) Chemistry is a fundamental discipline that accounts for life at the molecular level. Chemistry is a subject of universal interest in human development with regards to the utility of its knowledge in real-life situations likely to be faced by many of the students someday. Chemistry has virtually permeated most aspects of our economic and/or public life (Wu & Foos; 2010). Chemistry embraces a variety of fields of study and is combined with other subjects to satisfy the Senior Secondary School Examination (S.S.C.E) requirements. Its lively inter-disciplinary nature seems to reflect an exciting appeal to a wide audience as a focus for examining functional concepts of normal life and systems of health and welfare provisions (Jegede, 2012).

It was opined by Wu and Foos (2010) that the most exciting prospect of schooling is the harmonious development of individual‟s potentials coupled with coherent preparation for happy and useful living in the society. On this basis, the effective instruction and application of chemical principles in real life situations can improve the quality of human life and preserve the environment. In spite of the importance of chemistry as enumerated above, observation of students‟ performance in chemistry in the Secondary School Certificate Examination (S.S.C.E) reveal that only a very negligible number of students perform well in the examinations (Jegede, 2012; Muhammad, 2014). A study conducted by Ahmad (2010), indicated that, inability of teachers and students to adopt different ways of learning and lack of exposure to current materials and resources for the learning processes are some of the challenges faced by chemistry teachers and students. These challenges are some contributors to the poor academic performance of students in SSCE examinations.

Academic performance is simply the attainment of a set of objectives in a given instruction. Academic performance is the measure of the general outcomes at the end of instruction. In science instruction for instance, if a learner accomplishes a task successfully and attains the specified goals for a particular learning experience, he is said to have performed academically good (Igboegwu & Egbutu, 2011). Students‟ scores in

science subjects for sometimes have been below expectation (Aderogba & Aanu, 2011).

For quite sometimes, a number of teaching methods/strategies (such as lecture, discussion, discovery etc) have been employed in the teaching of chemistry but performance in SSCE chemistry continued to be poor. This continuous trend in the performance of students in Science subjects such as chemistry is alarming that such methods used in teaching/ learning chemistry appear not to be effective. Ameh and Dantani ( 2012), criticized the lecture method used by teachers because only hardworking students can benefit from it. It encourages rote-learning instead of meaningful learning. Bichi, (2002) and Usman (2000;2007) have separately observed that lecture method encourages rote-learning without aiding understanding, thereby resulting in poor performance (Zakaria, Solfitris, Daud & Zainal Abidin, 2013). It is therefore very imperative to employ the use of different strategies that could improve the performance of students in chemistry in school examinations. Some of the strategies that could be usedare use of analogy, cooperative learning, problem solving, conceptual change and other effective teaching strategies. Current trend will require strategy that will allow students to interact, exchange ideas and acquire knowledge and skills in understanding and problem

 

solving in chemistry. This may be achieved through the use of cooperative learning strategy.

Cooperative learning strategy is a strategy in which small teams, each with students of different levels of ability use a variety of activities work together to improve their understanding of a subject. Each member of a team is expected not only to learn what is being taught but also to help team mates learn, thus creating an atmosphere of achievement. Research reveals that students completing cooperative learning group‟s task tend to have higher academic test scores, higher self-esteem and greater comprehension of the content and skills they are studying (Olorukooba, 2006; Norah, 2015). In a cooperative learning classroom, students work together to attain group goals that cannot be obtained by working alone. In this classroom structure, students discuss the subject matter, help one another learn, and provide encouragement for members of the group

(Olatoye, Aderogba & Aanu, 2011). Several studies conducted by Yusuf, (2005); Olorukooba, (2006); Igboegwu & Egbutu, (2011) have reported that cooperative learning strategy promotes significant academic achievement of students in science, social valuable skills, critical thinking skills and science process skills.

Process skills are avenues that scientists utilize in arriving at scientific knowledge (Green & Ihenko, 2006). Science process skills include skills that every individual could use in each step of his/her daily life by being scientifically literate and increasing the quality and standard of life by comprehending the nature of science. Therefore, these skills affect the personal, social and global life of an individual (Ozgelen, 2012). Science Process Skills (S.P.S) are the thinking skills that Scientists use to construct knowledge in order to solve problems and formulate results. The scientific method, scientific thinking , and critical thinking are also terms that have been used to describe these skills, but last two decades, the phrase “ science process skills” has become more common (Ozgelen, 2012). When scientists conduct investigations, they use SPS to discover scientific knowledge, which is explained as describing, predicting, explaining, and adapting to phenomena of the natural world (Carin, Bass & Conant, 2005).

Science Process Skills have been described as mental and physical abilities, competencies which serve as tools needed for effective study of science and technology as well as problem solving, individual and societal development (Igboegwu & Egbutu,2011)). The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) classified the science processes skills into fifteen (Usman & Ibrahim, 2012). These are: observing, measuring, classifying, communicating, predicting, inferring, using number, using space/time relationship, questioning, controlling variables, hypothesizing, operational definition, formulating models, designing experiment and interpreting data.   Akinbobola and Afolabi, 2010, viewed that Science Process Skills can be classified into two categories; basic science process skills and integrated science process skills. The basic (simpler) process skills provide a foundation for learning the integrated (more complex) skills. Basic science processes are vital for science learning and concept formation at the primary and junior secondary school levels. More difficult and integrated science process skills are more appropriate at the secondary and tertiary school levels for the formation of models, experimenting and inferencing. Hence both basic and integrated science process skills are relevant and appropriate at the senior secondary schools in Nigeria (Akinbobola & Afolabi, 2010).

According to (Ibrahim  & Usman, 2012), the basic science process skills comprised of observing, measuring, classifying, communicating, inferring, using number, using space/time relationship and questioning while integrated science process skills are controlling and manipulating variables, hypothesizing, defining operationally, formulating models, designing experiment and interpreting data.

It was opined by Ozgelen (2012), that the basic SPS consist of observing, using space/time relationships, inferring, measuring, communicating, classifying and predicted. Integrated SPS include controlling variables, defining operationally, formulating hypothesis, interpreting data, experimenting, formulating models and presenting information. The basic SPS is an essential tool needed by scientist to construct new knowledge and solve problems. While the integrated SPS requires a more advanced knowledge base. For instance, identifying and controlling variables is an essential skill for successfully managing scientific investigation (Ozgelen, 2012). Studies have indicated that students exhibit very poor science process skill acquisition (Igboegwu, 2006 & Nwosu, 2006). This poor skill acquisition has been attributed to a number of factors such as teacher variable that is the teacher‟s method of teaching. Njelita (2007) found out that innovative teaching strategies such as inquiry, problem solving, cooperative, demonstration methods are better than the conventional method in acquisition of Science

Process Skills and also not gender sensitive

The concept “gender” refers to the amount of masculinity or femininity found in an individual. The influence of gender on students‟ performance has a long time been a concern to many educational researchers. But surprisingly no consistent results have been obtained (Muhammad, 2008). Gender is a major factor that influences career choice and subject interest of students. Okeke (2008) described the male attributes as bold, aggressive, tactful, economical use of words while the females are fearful, timid, gentle, dull, submissive and talkative.May be that is why Ezeudu and Theresa (2013), stated more difficulty works are usually reserved for males while the females are considered famine in a natural setting. Thus in schools males are more likely to take difficult subject areas like science (chemistry) while the females take to career that will not conflict with marriage chances, marriage responsibilities and motherhood (Okeke, 2008). Bandele (2000), believed that males perform better than girls in science education programs. Contrary to this, Ogunboyede (2003)opined that boys are not better than girls in terms of educational performance. It was found by Philips (2006) that girls excel consistently in arithmetic computation and are superior in reading and hand writing while boys are slightly better in arithmetic reasoning, history, geography and geometry.Bichi (2006), reported that many studies in Singapore suggested that boys achieve better than girls in mathematics, while Lorchugh (2006), did not find either gender performing better. Other researchers believed that, if boys and girls are given equal opportunities, they will perform equally well (Usman, 2010).

It is the focus of this study to investigate the impact of cooperative learning strategy on science process skills acquisition and academic performance among secondary schools chemistry students in Kaduna state. It is also the focus of this study to investigate the difference in science process skills acquisition and academic performance among males and females secondary schools chemistry students in Zaria, Kaduna state,

Nigeria.

1.1.1    Theoretical Framework

This study is based on Constructivist and Motivational theory of learning. The term Constructivism refers to the idea that learners construct knowledge for themselves; each learner individually (and socially) constructs meaning as he or she learns (Richard, 2004). Learning is an active process in which the learner uses sensory input and constructs meaning out of the world. The crucial action of constructing meaning is mental: it happens in the mind. Physical actions, hands-on experience may be necessary for learning, especially for children, but it is not sufficient; we need to provide activities which engage the mind as well as the hands (Mayer; Richard, 2004). In their opinion,

Eggen, Jacobsen, & Kauchak (2006) opined that the constructivist learning environment prioritises and facilitates the students‟ active role. The shift towards students becoming more active learners they contend is due to the belief that learners are naturally curious. In the context of this study, this theory emphasises the need for students to be allowed to be actively involved in the learning process rather than being solely passive learners. To do this effectively students must have hands on experience where they are allowed and encouraged to critically explore their learning environment.

According to constructivism, learning occurs by an active construction of a meaning by learners rather than learners being passive recipient of information (Vygotsky, 1987). His works suggests that knowledge is first constructed in a social context and is then appreciated by individuals. Constructivism, applied as an explanatory framework of learning, describes how the learner constructs knowledge from experience, which makes it unique to each individual (Richard, 2004). The theory of constructivism emphasizes on the role of active involvement in learning in relation to child‟s

environment. Constructivism affirmed that, learning is based on the belief that knowledge can be constructed by learners themselves, if they are properly guided through active mental process of development. In cooperative learning, students interact in group work to discover facts and construct knowledge through the guidance of the teacher.

The motivational theory stresses students‟ incentives towards academic work.  According to Olorukooba, (2001) the motivational theory of cooperative learning emphasizes the reward structures; the cooperative goal structure, the competitive goal structure and the individualistic goal structure. According to research, students learn better when they are challenged and can be motivated by their classmates. For example, Dallmer (2007) noted that when a student arrived at a clear conclusion to a problem which had caused frustration in the class, his classmates would perceive the solution and the problem as being less difficult, because it was solved by a fellow student. Students often believe that teachers are experts in the subjects that they teach, so in a traditional, teacher-centered classroom, students may be intimidated by the subject matter, thinking that it is only easy or solvable by the teacher or another expert. A potential result of this perception is that when students try to work on the material by themselves, they can become very frustrated or lack motivation to complete the task (Chih-Hsiang, Gwo-Jen, Fan-Ray & Iwen, 2013). It was opined by Robyn (2014), that in a cooperative learning environment the students are involved in deriving solutions to the questions through group participation; whereby the students get to integrate different methods and processes of solving the same “question” especially from their colleagues and teachers. When students solve the same problems especially through group work, there would be differences among the students who work independently when handling assignment problems. The differences in level of understanding among students who learn through cooperative interaction, and their counterparts who learned via the teacher-centered approach, can be compared when the two teams are evaluated afterwards.

In relation to learning and its social nature, (Siegel,2005) notes that students appear to think in conjunction or partnershipwith others and with the help of culturally provided tools and implements. However, according to (Yamarik, 2007; Anthony, 2013), for learning to occur, students must interact with each other and the instructor in order to arrive at shared meaning and to make sense of what they are learning. Interpersonal interaction provides the social context for the mutual construction of understanding and has been demonstrated to play a major role in the learning process.This social context of learning is crucial for motivation, critical judgment and problem solving. Skills and experiences, which are the parts of components of knowledge, are obtained through social interaction.

However, Johnson & Johnson, (1999) argued that the motivational concern of cooperative learning boarders around individuals observing someone else getting reinforced for a particular behavior. According to (Davidson & Major, 2014; Norah, 2015) cooperative learning as a motivational strategy works where some students like to cooperate with their peers. Teachers, in an effort to meet their students‟ needs for affiliation, autonomy, and physical activity, have utilized cooperative learning to address the students‟ need to be social. The levels of students‟ motivation, whether to succeed individually or in a group increases with the use of cooperative learning strategies. They maintained that, once motivated, students interact with each other and with the learning material in the way that supersedes students in a traditional, teacher-centered classroom. Given the nature of the student and the reportedly positive results of cooperative learning strategies on cognitive and affective domains, it would appear that cooperative learning is an essential element in instruction.

Since in cooperative learning environment, the teacher always supports and encourages the learners to take part in the learning process, the students get encouraged by the teacher for their contribution in carrying out the group task. It is therefore hoped that students may also display such behavior of participating and contributing to the group activity so that they can learn and construct meaning of the concepts they have learnt. This study adopts the JIGSAW I model of cooperative learning of Elliot (1978) to determine its effects on science process skills acquisition and academic performance among secondary schools chemistry students in Kaduna state.

 

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Many researchers have described chemistry to be an abstract and difficult subject to learn by students. Chemistry is one of the physical sciences that is affected by high underachievement by learners (Abuzer, 2009). The performance of students in science reflects how well they understand science concepts and is a reflection of how good the instruction is (Muhammad, 2014).The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) chemistry results for students in Kaduna State is presented in Table 1.1. The results appear to be significantly fluctuating. This shows that students‟ performance in chemistry is not good and stable.

Table 1.1:       Kaduna State Students Performance in Chemistry at WAEC

Year No of Candidates Registered PASS at Credit

Level (%)

Rate of (%) Failure
2010 43223 43.42 56.58  
2011 42851 18.50 81.50  
2012 47823 19.00 81.00  
2013 47757 25.61 74.39  
2014 57575 23.89 76.11  
2015 64162 34.76 65.24  

Source: WAEC Chief Examiners’ Reports (2010 – 2015).

In spite of the importance of chemistry, observation of students‟ performance in chemistry in the Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) revealed that only a very negligible number of students performed well in the examinations. The poor performance of students in chemistry has continued to be a major cause of concern to all, particularly those in the mainstream of chemical education in Nigeria. A number of factors have been attributed to be responsible for the poor performance of Nigerian students in chemistry. A study conducted by Ahmad (2010), indicated that, inability of teachers and students to adopt different ways of learning and lack of exposure to current materials and resources for the learning processes are some of the challenges being faced by chemistry teachers and students.  Other factors have been attributed by Adesoji (2008) to be poor methods of instruction, teacher attitude, laboratory inadequacy, poor science background and non-availability of effective teaching and learning resources in classrooms. Several researchers (Jegede, 2012 & Muhammad, 2014) have continued to look for better ways of teaching chemistry as one of the basic branches of science. Studies have indicated that students exhibit very poor science process skill acquisition (Igboegwu, 2006 & Nwosu, 2006). This poor skill acquisition has been attributed to a number of factors such as teacher variable that is the teacher‟s method of teaching. Njelita (2007) found out that innovative teaching strategies such as inquiry, problem solving, cooperative, demonstration methods are better than the conventional method in acquisition of Science Process Skills.The problem of this study therefore was to investigate the impact of cooperative learning strategy on science process skills acquisition and academic performance in chemistry among Senior Secondary School

Students in Kaduna State.

 

1.3       Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study was to investigate the impact of cooperative learning strategy on science process skills acquisition and academic performance in chemistry among Senior Secondary School Students in Kaduna State. While the specific objectives of this study are to:

  1. investigate the effect of cooperative learning strategy on Science Process Skills acquisition among SS II Chemistry students.
  2. determine the effect of cooperative learning strategy on Performance of SS II chemistry students.
  3. investigate the effect of cooperative learning strategy on Science Process Skills acquisition among male and female SSII chemistry students.
  4. determine the effect of cooperative learning strategy on Performance of male and female SS II students in chemistry.

 

1.4       Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated for answering.

  1. What would be the difference in science process skills acquisition between SS II chemistry students taught using cooperative learning strategy and those taught with lecture method?
  2. What is the difference between the academic performance mean scores of SS II chemistry students taught using cooperative learning strategy and those taught using lecture method?
  3. What would be the difference in science process skills acquisition among SS II male and female chemistry students taught using cooperative learning strategy?
  4. What would be the difference in academic Performance mean scores of SS II male and female chemistry students taught using cooperative learning strategy?

 

  • Null Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses were formulated for testing at p≤

0.05significant levels

HO1: There is no significant difference in science process skills acquisition between SS II chemistry students taught using cooperative learning strategy and those taught using lecture method
HO2: There is no significant difference between the academic performances mean scores of SS II chemistry students taught using cooperative learning strategy and those taught using lecture method
HO3: There is no significant difference in science process skills acquisition between

male and female SS II chemistry students exposed to cooperative learning strategy

HO4: There is no significant difference between the academic performance mean scores of male and female SS II chemistry students exposed to cooperative learning strategy

 

  • Significance of the Study

It is hoped that, the results of this study would hopefully uplift the standard of science education in the following ways.

  1. Improving Students’ performances: Through the acquisition of Science Process Skills (SPS), students‟ academic performance will be improved in the understanding and appreciating the ways and processes of carrying out scientific investigations. The researcher hoped that, when the process of learning science is given consideration rather than the subject matter; through cooperative learning strategy, performance of the students in chemistry will be improved.
  2. Solving Problems by Students: The basic value of SPS is allowing students to construct new knowledge that can be used in solving daily problems. When students acquire SPS, they will apply the skills in solving their daily problems
  3. Chemistry Teachers: Chemistry teachers at SS class may find the result of this study useful in enhancing the method of teaching chemistry through the use of cooperative learning strategy.
  4. Text Book Publishers: Text book publishers may find the result of this study useful to design activities for teachers and students to perform periodically in order to get constructive ideas through the use of CLS and develop some special skills for problem solving
  5. Curriculum Planners: Curriculum planners may find the result of this study useful in planning and/or reviewing the science curriculum in such a way that

CLS can be used to improve the level of acquiring SPS among senior chemistry students and promote academic excellence

  1. Professional Bodies: Professional bodies such as the Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN) and Mathematics Association of Nigeria (MAN) may benefit from this study in organizing seminars, workshops and conferences on the impact of CLS on SPS as well as teaching science and mathematics education.
  2. Educational Agencies: Educational agencies such as the National Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) may utilize the outcome of this study to formulate some policies that will promote the use of CLS and encourage group work
  3. Researchers: The findings of this study serves as a foundation for researchers who may develop interest to carry out further investigations on the impact of CLS on the acquisition of SPS and academic achievement of senior chemistry students. And also the study will add new information to the existing literature in basic science education which other researchers can refer to.

 

  • Scope of the Study

The subjects that were used in this study were SS II Chemistry students. This was because they have some basic knowledge about chemistry. SS I Science students were newly introduced to chemistry, and SS III Science students were preparing for Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE). Therefore SS II Science students were the most suitable for this study. The subjects were drawn from public senior secondary schools in Zaria Education Zone consisting of mixed and single schools so as to address the issue of poor performance in chemistry among students in public schools. Zaria Education Zone was chosen because it is an academic environment where numerous secondary schools exist, comprising students from different locations in Nigeria. Chemical equilibrium and reversible reactions was used for the study. The topics were chosen because they have been identified to be difficult and contributing to students‟ poor performances and they are parts of the topics being covered in SS II classes (Doymus, 2007; Gongden, Gongden & Lohdip, 2011; Emmanuel, 2013). Jigsaw I model (Elliot, 1978) of cooperative learning strategy was used for the study. The Jigsaw I was used because it was suitable for teaching the concept that was taught and it requires less time and materials to be applied compared to other forms of Jigsaw. The basic and integrated science process skills (observation, measuring, inferring, interpreting and hypothesizing) were selected. These process skills have been selected because they are relevant to the students‟ daily activities. Chemistry Performance Test (CPT) made of up fourty (40) multiple choice questions and Test of Science Process Skills (TOSPS) made of up twenty five (25) multiple choice questions were the instruments used for this study.

 

  • Basic Assumptions

The study was based on the following assumptions:

  1. that the impact of cooperative learning strategy is measurable.
  2. that the acquisition of science process skills can be assessed

IMPACT OF COOPERATIVE LEARNING TACTICS ON PROCESS SKILLS ATTAINMENT AND PERFORMANCE IN CHEMISTRY AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL PUPILS, ZARIA KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA  

Leave a Reply