ASSESSMENT OF AREA OF DIFFICULTIES IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL CHEMISTRY SYLLABUS

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page

Certification

Dedication

Acknowledgement

Table of Contents

List of table

Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

Background to the study

Statement of the Problem

Objective of the study

Research Questions

Significance of the study

The scope and limitation of the study

Definitions of terms

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Research Design

Sample and Sampling techniques

Research Instrument

Validity and Reliability of the Research Instrument

Procedure for Data Collection

Data analysis technique

CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Result of the research questions

Discussions

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND

RECOMMENDATIONS

Summary

Conclusion

Recommendations

References

Appendix

ABSTRACT

The senior secondary two chemistry course content of the Nigerian science curriculum was assessed using 10 (ten) selected secondary schools in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti state, Nigeria, to determine areas of difficulty, magnitude and reasons for such perceived difficulty. Correlation between the students’ perceived difficulty and their achievement in a test and the relationship between the students’ sex and their perceptions of difficulties were also examined using a difficult rating scale questionnaire and a chemistry achievement test. There was no significant relationship between students’ perceived difficulty and their achievement. Reasons given for the perceived difficulty included unfamiliarity with the ideas, confusing language, ideas too demanding, insufficient explanation and practical work, topics too mathematical and lack of interest among both sexes. Based on these findings, a critical re­assessment of the curriculum was advocated, bearing in mind the cognitive abilities of /and chemistry (science) background of the students. Proper training and re-training (refresher) of teachers was recommended so as to ensure that teaching staff are qualified. Authors of chemistry textbooks should consider the cognitive levels of students of the different levels for choice of suitable vocabulary (language). Teachers should re-examine and evaluate their present teaching strategies so as to be effective and should stop using abstract terms or concepts in the class. Practical work should be emphasized for the acquisition of laboratory skills. The government/proprietors should give priority to equipping the laboratories and improving the teaching and learning environment. Students need counseling, encouragement and enlightenment in order to motivate them in the study of Chemistry

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

The relevance of science to national goals, aspirations and economy dictates to a large extent, the huge commitment and support which nations make and give to science and technology advancement. This may be the reason why Achor (2006) and Ada (2008) opined that as a result of the speed at which the world is changing technologically, the need and usefulness of teaching and learning of science therefore cannot be over looked. The teacher of science and technology is the means through which the skills and knowledge get to the learners. The classification of nations into developed, developing and underdeveloped is based on their technological advancement (Agogo, 2009, Maduawesi, Aboho and Okwuedei, 2010).

In Nigeria, the three major sciences, Biology, Chemistry and Physics are taught at the senior secondary school level. This has equipped the young graduates to be prepared for science and science-based courses at the Tertiary level. According to the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004), chemistry education should be emphasized at the secondary school in terms of its teaching and learning. This is because; chemistry as an academic discipline plays a very significant role in unifying other science subjects. Chemistry is therefore seen as the central science and the mother of all sciences (Agogo & Otor 2013), and as a branch of pure science that deals with composition of matter and the principle (Mailumo, Agogo, and Kpagh, 2007).

However, there has been consistent decline in the performance of students in public examinations conducted by the west African Examination Council (WAEC) and the National Examination Council (NECO) in sciences across the country over the years (Agogo, 2003; Samba & Eriba, 2012). The WAEC also confirmed this decline in chemistry performance by the students in their WAEC Chief Examiner’s Reports (2011, 2012).

Many reasons were adduced as to this poor performance in chemistry. According to Samba and Eriba (2012), it is due to the abstract nature of chemistry concepts, while Mailumo, Agogo and Kpagh (2007) hinged it on students and teachers related factors. Others think it is due to concepts difficulty (Agogo, 2003, Agwi, 2008). There are however difficult levels of concept difficulty experienced by chemistry students (Agogo, 2003), and these concepts perceived difficult are experienced by both boys and girls. It should be stressed that the sex-role stereotyping has affected the type of education provided for the female in Nigeria and -in many parts of African (Olikped and Amadi, 2001). Sex-role stereotyping also influences the classroom interaction patterns of students and teachers. Gender stereotyping in chemistry therefore arises from different social roles, which ultimately affect the way they perceive chemistry concepts.

The ability of the chemistry teachers to comprehend and internalize concepts and skills are determined not only by individual differences, but also by the teachers’ effectiveness in terms of his/her teaching experience and qualifications. Educators therefore emphasized on the qualification of teachers in the proper execution of their professional mandate. Such teachers are expected to perform academic roles as well as leadership roles that are related to the successful and meaning teaching and learning of their specialized subject. The qualification of the chemistry teacher will therefore enable them to competently handle ail concepts in chemistry (Mailumo, Agogo and Kpagh, 2007).

Perception is one of the mental processes or skills human beings engage in. It is a cognitive activity in learning which is seen as the process of making sense out of something (Agogo, Ogbeba and Damkor-lkpa. 2013). However Ortese, Yaweh and Akume (2006) posited that learners’ perception is often affected by a given number of factors, such as interest, motivation, attention, self-concept as well as thinking and creativity. This is why Agogo (2003) observed that what may appear difficult to somebody may be easy to another person because the concepts of easiness or difficulty as perceived by somebody are dynamic. Whatever is the case, concept difficulty invariably affects students’ performance in such a subject.

The study seeks to investigate the areas of the chemistry syllabus which students perceived to be difficult. It is believed that the identification of the difficult areas will enhance the academic performance of the students. to give room for effective teaching and learning of chemistry in the secondary schools, the following conditions are to be met.

  1. A good teacher should be provided, who has studied chemistry as major course in tertiary institution
  2. There should be provision of a well equipped laboratory
  • There should be provision for well equipped library

The economic hardship in the country is worth mentioning, a family that find it difficult to finance the education of their children in case where the students were not provided with writing materials, not to talk of buying textbooks. Moreover, the Nigeria Government has laid little or no emphasis on the education of the citizens. There are no provisions of facilities that is no adequate and well ventilated classroom, no adequate library, and lack of teaching aids etc Teachers are not paid reasonable wages which results in periodicals strike actions. The teachers engaged more in enterprising job that will give them more money than emphasis on teaching job. This contributes to the poor performance of the student in external examination.

The crux of the matter is that most of the few students who choose to offer sciences in our secondary schools are noted for having problems in learning the science subjects especially chemistry poor performance, according to Jegede (1945) and Okebukola (1982) is unhealthy to a nation whose adverse goal is to make significant changes and advancements in science and technology. Eke stated the poor performance does not connote abnormality in development, but involves those who probably could perform better. Though caused by many variables such as teachers and students characteristics, examination patterns and science equipment, poor performance in chemistry is a pointer to the fact that students have difficulty in learning and mastering the content and applying these when they are under examination conditions.

Though several factors have been identified for students’ poor performance in the sciences and the efforts made toward tackling some of the problem during seminars, conference and workshops but the students performances is still not encouraging as expected. The identification of areas of difficulty in the chemistry science syllabus is therefore important. This study was set to identify those areas that pose some problems or Difficulties to students in the senior secondary chemistry syllabus in Ikere Local government Area of Ekiti State.

Curriculum planners on their part should ensure that the chemistry curriculum is made purposeful enough to awaken the inner resources of our students [youths] and not just a mere device for mass production. It should provoke educational experiences and be sensitive to higher needs of the individuals (students).

The curriculum-however well planned, developed and interpreted will come for short of our hopes unless it is applied by teachers who are themselves the product of its philosophy. Science teachers should be professionally screened and trained so as to equip them for the effective performance of their duties.

Therefore, the study will help to identify some topic that are difficult, then the students will be able to adjust their study pattern to meet the demand of those areas so as to complete their course of study successfully and this will improve the performance of the students in chemistry which is the focus of research.

Significance of the study:

  1. The study is necessary and important because, it exposes the difficult areas of the subject so that teachers will be more focused in the areas
  2. It also makes the students to be more serious about the difficult areas, so as to break the backbone of the sub – leaf.
  3. This also reflects the sources of failure in chemistry to the government and the general public.
  4. The government will be commended of the need to help in supplying laboratory equipment and reagent to the school. Also, to pay substantial wages to the teachers for those to be encourage more.

Government and proprietors should increase teacher’s salaries and incentives especially to science teachers in the form of science allowance, reducing the burden on teachers by supplying schools with (he basic chemistry equipment. This and the employment of laboratory technicians.

Will curb the frustrations teachers face and improve on students’ understanding. Above all, chemistry teachers in the secondary schools should re-examine and evaluate their teaching strategies, and resort to modern and effective strategies. Such teachers should develop not only a new set of attitudes, but also new professional skills and habits.

With positive attitude, students will choose to study chemistry because of the interest they have. They need to have a good background in chemistry and science in general. Scientific concepts and processes would not appear strange to them if they are introduced to them in the primary school. Our industries can make toys that can impact toddling age to bring science closer to children and make it real to their life. Finally there is a need for the counseling of students who opt for chemistry right from their senior secondary one. They need to know the relevance of the subject, how to study it and the attitude necessary. They need to know that a lot is expected from them in terms of hard work, dedication and even resources for successful completion of the course (study),

 

Purpose of study

  1. The purpose of study is to ascertain the areas which the student find it very difficult in the senior secondary school chemistry syllabus which is believed to be one of the factors that affect student’s performance in chemistry as a subject in the senior secondary school.
  2. It is also to suggest ways of improving teaching of chemistry in senior secondary schools.
  3. The study seeks to determine the level of understanding of chemistry concept among the student of senior secondary schools.

Research Questions

  1. Are their enough human and materials resources for effective teaching of chemistry?
  2. What are the strategies for teaching chemistry?
  • What are the factors militating against the reaching of chemistry?
  1. What are the topics in the syllabus which students find to be difficult out of the various aspect of chemistry been taught in secondary schools?
  2. Which areas of chemistry do upper secondary school students find difficult?
  3. Which areas of chemistry do upper secondary school students find easy?
  • Which areas of chemistry do upper secondary school students interesting?
  • How do students apprehend the working methods during their chemistry lessons?
  1. What recommendations do students and teachers suggest for making chemistry in upper secondary school more meaningful and interesting?

Scopes of the Study

The research work was carried out in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State. The investigation was carried out in senior secondary school in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State which comprises of public and private schools.

 

Definition of Terms

Perceive: The notice or become aware of something

Difficult: A problem or situation that cause problem. The state or quality of being hard to do or to withstand.

Senior secondary school: A school for young people between the age of 12 and 18.

Syllabus: A list of topics, books in particular subject in schools.

Laboratory: A building or room fitted up for conducting Scientifics experiments, analysis or similar works.

Private   school:   Schools   owned   and   managed   by   private   individual   or   non   -governmental organization.

Public school: Schools owned and managed by the government.

 

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