INFLUENCE OF SCHOOL FARM ON THE EDUCATIONAL PERFORMANCE OF SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL LEARNERS IN AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE IN KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA

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INFLUENCE OF SCHOOL FARM ON THE EDUCATIONAL PERFORMANCE OF SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL LEARNERS IN AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE IN KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA  

ABSTRACT

The study was carried out to determine the effects of school farm on the academic performance of senior secondary school students in agricultural science in Kaduna state. Pre-test post test quasi-experimental design was adopted for the study. The study had three (3) specific objectives: (i) to determine the effects of school farm on academic performance of agricultural science students (ii) compare the academic performance of agricultural science students’ taught with school farm and those taught without school farm (iii) to determine the difference between the academic performance of male and female agricultural science students taught with school farm. Three (3) research questions and three (3) null hypotheses were formulated as a guide. 14,241 senior secondary school (SSSI) agricultural science students formed the population for the study. Two (2) schools and sixty (60) students were selected using random sampling techniques. The instrument used for data collection was a twenty (20) item multiple choices Achievement Test in Agricultural Science (ATAS), which was administered to the students. Scores obtained were analyzed using mean, standard deviation and t-test statistics. Mean and standard deviation were used to answer all the three (3) research questions while t-test was used to test all the three (3) null hypotheses at 5% level of significance (P = 0.05). The findings showed that, school farm significantly affect the academic performance of agricultural students. The result also revealed higher students’ academic performance in agricultural science when exposed to school farm activities. The study further revealed that, the academic performance of male and female agricultural science students did not differ significantly when taught using school farm. It was concluded that school farm enhanced the academic performance of students in agricultural science. It is recommended among other things that, curriculum planners should emphasize the use of school farm in teaching and learning agricultural science in senior secondary schools by making provisions in the curriculum enough space and equipment’s for effective school farm operations.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

Agriculture is defined as the production of crops and animals for man’s use (Iwena,

2008). Agricultural science is one of the core subjects taught in secondary schools in Nigeria. The objectives of teaching agricultural science at senior secondary school level are as follows:

  1. To stimulate and sustain student’s interest in agriculture.
  2. To inculcate in students farming skills.
  3. To enable students acquire basic knowledge and practical skills in agriculture.
  4. To prepare students for future studies in agriculture and to produce prospective future farmers Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) 2009:28). The above objectives are achievable within the provision of stipulated agricultural science curriculum currently being implemented in secondary schools nationwide. A holistic implementation of agricultural science curriculum in secondary schools is expected to embrace classroom instruction and practical experiences for students of agriculture (Adegeye and Dittoh, 1985). Beside, adequate and qualified agricultural science teachers, adequate classrooms, agricultural science laboratory and school farms are prerequisites to teaching and learning of agricultural science in senior secondary schools. These requirements are complementary to school farms according to West African Examination Council (WAEC) (2013) who recommends that schools must keep school farms where crops and livestock are grown Therefore, school farm is an area of land, and the buildings on it used for growing crops and/or keeping animals managed by students under the supervision of their teacher (Ani, 1997). School farms are expected to have adequate equipment, farm implements/tools, farm structure and regular supply of inputs in addition to farm space to accommodate crops and livestock managed by students under the supervision of their teachers (Ani, 1997).

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Children and adults alike truly learn best by doing. The school farm is important for giving students the opportunity to get outdoors and experience. It is in line with this that John Dewey and Jean Piaget advocated a hands-on approach to learning. Piaget believed that involvement is the key to intellectual development. Getting students actively involved in school farm not only helps them to understand, but gives them an appreciation of the natural world, something that is slipping away in today’s society. School farms are ideal settings for learning.

In the measurement of students’ academic performance in agriculture as a school subject, various tasks are undertaken within the school and outside the school. Within the school, such exercises include, farm practice, assignments, and field work supervised by the agricultural science teacher, teacher made tests, terminal examination etc. Outside the school, external and independent examination bodies have emerged over the years to validate the assessment of student academic performance. The examination bodies include the WAEC and National Examination Council (NECO). These examination bodies use standardized tests to measure students in agriculture. Such test items measure student’s performance in all the secondary schools with respect to the stipulated national curriculum

Many factors have been known to influence the academic achievement of agricultural science students in their various school endeavours. These factors can be either personal or environmental factors. Environmental factors include school farm and laboratory. Edinyang, (2012) defines academic performance as the outcome of education which reveals the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved educational goals. Catherine, (2013) on the other hand sees  academic performance as students’ achievement in the topic being taught based on the stated objectives. It is further stated in the senior secondary school curriculum that students’ performance should be continuously assessed through various forms of tests and during field and laboratory practical. This is necessary to ascertain the progress of students’ academic performance. Academic performance refers to students’ achievement in the topic taught based on the stated objectives. Student academic performance in agriculture as a school subject can be measured through various tasks within the school and outside the school.

Many teachers go to classes to teach agricultural science as liberal arts without any material to assist them or the learners. Abdullahi (1992) reveals that it does not promote meaningful learning of agricultural science as it appeals only to the sense of hearing. Agricultural science is a doing subject, and for effective learning to take place many senses must be involved. Hearing alone easily leads to forgetting. Remember the Chinese proverb says: I hear- I forget, I see- I remember, I do- I understand (Abdullahi, 1992). The fundamental of an operational school farm is to transfer classroom instruction to practical experiences in the field. In line with this, the school farm offers students the opportunity to acquire knowledge, skills and competencies, and demonstrate farm principles and practices, carry out field experiment which cannot be accommodated in the laboratory (Ani, 1997).

School farms are not just for practical experiences but embracing several other benefits. In view of this background, the study aimed at determining the effects of school farms on the academic performance of senior secondary schools students in Agricultural

Science in Kaduna State, Nigeria.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

School farm is one of the prerequisites for effective implementation of agricultural science curriculum in secondary schools (Ladele and Agbebaku, 2006). A holistic implementation of agricultural science curriculum in secondary schools is expected to embrace classroom instruction and practical experiences which the students in agriculture are exposed to.

WAEC (2013) recommends that schools must keep school farms where crops are grown with at least one species of livestock, from each of the following two group: pigs, rabbit and poultry; goat, sheep and cattle and where feasible fish pond. School farms are expected to have adequate equipment, farm implements/tools, farm structure and regular supply of inputs in addition to farm space to accommodate crops and livestock managed by students under the supervision of their teachers. According to Smith, Peterat, and Bartosh (2006) school farm provides greater appreciation of the farming enterprise, changes students perception of farm and farmers as well develop a sound understanding of land, crops and animals and its significance in supporting human life and development of social skills. Lack of school farm creates unawareness of the natural beauty of green plants and disrespect for nature and lack of understanding of food and land uses (Whyte, 2005).

In Kaduna State, it has been observed that in many secondary schools, school farms lacked requisite structures, implements and other facilities, while in others these facilities are in a state of complete dilapidation leading to total neglect of practical lessons in the school farm.  This may led to many teachers to go to classes to teach agricultural science as liberal arts without any material to assist them or the learners. The poor state of the school farm and lack of school farm has contributed to the students’ development of negative attitude to agricultural science and also affects students’ academic performance in agricultural science. The fundamental of an operational school farm is to transfer classroom instruction to practical experiences in the field. The problem of this study hinges on the determination of the extent to which school farm affects academic performance of senior secondary school students in agricultural science in Kaduna state, Nigeria.

 

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The major objective of the study was to determine the effects of school farms on the academic performance of senior secondary school students in agricultural science in Kaduna State. The following specific objectives were formulated to;

  1. Determine the effects of school farm on students’ academic performance in

agricultural science.

  1. Compare the academic performance of agricultural science students taught with school farm and those taught without school farm
  2. Determine the difference between the performance of male and female

agricultural science students taught with school farm.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions were answered in this study:

  1. What is the effect of school farm on the academic performance of agricultural science students?
  2. What is the difference between the academic performance of agricultural science students taught with school farm and those taught without school farm?
  3. What is the difference between the performance of male and female

agricultural science students taught with school farm?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

The following null hypotheses (Ho) were formulated and were tested at 0.05 level of significance.

  1. There is no significant difference between the academic performance of students with school farm and those without school farm in agricultural science.
  2. There is no significant difference between the academic performance of agricultural science students taught with school farm and those taught without school farm
  3. There is no significant difference between the academic performance of male and female agricultural science students taught with school farm.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The study would benefit agricultural science teachers, students, curriculum planners, and the government.

This would help to improve the effectiveness of agricultural science teachers in carrying out their task. The findings of this work would benefit students when the most appropriate school farm is established and used by agricultural science teacher, it will improve students’ performance and interest in the subject.

The result of this study would also be beneficial to curriculum planners by creating awareness of the importance of using school farm for effective teaching and learning, so that, such consideration can be made when designing the curriculum and relevant facilities can be indicated. Furthermore, this research study would be of great significance to the government at all levels. The work is in line with the Federal governments’ effort to enhance teaching of science syllabus in the country. The work would also create awareness to the government on the importance of establishing standard school farms for effective teaching and learning of agricultural science in secondary school.

1.7 Basic Assumption of the Study

  • School farm found in senior secondary schools promote students academic performance.
  • Students perform differently when taught with school farm.
  • The performance of male and female students differs when taught with school farm.

1.8 Delimitation of the Study

This research was delimited to the effects of school farm on the academic performance of senior secondary schools students in agricultural science in Kaduna State. This will allow the researcher to determine the importance of school farm on the academic performance of students in agricultural science. The study was also delimited to Senior Secondary School students in Kaduna State. It was further be delimited to SS1 students that offer agricultural science. This is because SS1 students have the background knowledge of agricultural science for four year in the school and had taken series of internal exams and are about preparing for external examination (WAEC and NECO). The study was also delimited to the three

objectives of the study.

INFLUENCE OF SCHOOL FARM ON THE EDUCATIONAL PERFORMANCE OF SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL LEARNERS IN AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE IN KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA  

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