FACTORS INFLUENCING CHOICE OF SCIENCE CAREER AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page

Certification

Dedication

Acknowledgement

Abstract

Table of Contents

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION                                  

Background of the Study

Statement of the Problem

Purpose of the Study

Specific Objectives of the Study.

Research Questions

Significance of the Study

Scope of the Study

Limitation of the Study

Assumptions of the Study

Definition of significant terms

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW                     

Introduction

Factors Influencing Students’ Choice of Science Subjects

Perception of the Value of the Subject

The Influence of the Subject Teacher on Students’ Choices of

Science Subjects

The influence of Gender-difference on Students’ Choices of

Science Subjects in Secondary Schools

Role of Parents and Teachers in Students’ Choices of

Science Subjects in Secondary Schools

Summary and Gaps

Conceptual Framework

Perceived factors that influence the choice of science subjects by students in secondary schools.

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY   

Research Design

Target Population

Sampling Design and Procedure

Data Collection Technique

Data Analysis and Presentation.

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS                               

Data Analysis and Interpretation

CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION, CONCLUSIONS, AND 41 RECOMMENDATIONS

Summary of the findings

Conclusions

Recommendations for Improvement

Recommendations for Further Studies

REFERENCES                                                                     

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ABSTRACT

Students in Ikere secondary schools have been often faced with the problem of indecision when they are about to choose the science subjects in their third form of the secondary school education. With good background, students still need to develop themselves on the subject areas they are keenly interested in and particularly that they have potentiality for. The overall aim of this research was to gain a deeper understanding of the factors influencing the choice of science subjects in Ikere secondary education schools, a case study of Amoye Grammar school in Ikere Ekiti. The study would be of great significance to the school management because it would help the management fraternity in understanding the factors affecting the choice of science subjects. The study adopted a descriptive survey design. The population for this study was all students in Amoye Grammar school in Ikere Ekiti. Sample size of 11 teachers and 150 students was drawn from the teachers and the students from form two to four. Primary data was collected by use of a questionnaire. The study generated both qualitative and quantitative data. Quantitative data was coded and entered into Statistical Packages for Social Scientists (SPSS Version 17.0) and analyzed using descriptive statistics. Qualitative data was analyzed based on the content matter of the responses. The study found that that the school encouraged students to take up science subjects. Science subjects were competitive in the job market. Students had developed a career path that they strived to achieve/attain in life. The study revealed that the teacher influenced the subject choice. The study found that gender did not influence choice of subject. Teachers influenced choice of science subjects’. The study concludes that when students are allowed to choose which classes to enrol in increased motivation and independence which in turn increased a student’s performance. Students had developed a career path that they strived to achieve/attain in life. A student’s attitude about a teacher has a large impact on their attitude toward a class. Different perceptions men and women have in regards to their ability and competency in those certain classes influenced choice of subject. School has a great role to play in influencing students’ choice of science subjects. The study recommends students to have good attitude towards science subjects. They need to consider their interests, personal academic goals while choosing subjects. Competent and qualified teachers should teach science subjects. Science teachers should strive to be enthusiastic, well spoken, knowledgeable, caring, and helpful. Gender differences should be discouraged amongst students. Women should be encouraged to change their perceptions in regards to their ability and competency. Parents need to help students when making their study choices. The school should support subjects and careers decision making.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Science is recognized widely as being of great importance internationally both for economic well-being of nations and because of the need for scientifically literate citizens (Fraser and Walberg, 2013). Knowledge of science and technology is therefore a requirement in all countries and all people globally due to the many challenges that are facing them. These challenges include emergences of new drug resistant diseases, effects of genetic experimentation and engineering, ecological impact of modern technology, dangers of nuclear war and explosions and global warming among others (Alsop & Hicks, 2007). As a result there are rapid changes taking place in industry, communication, agriculture, and medicine. Science as an instrument of development plays a dominant role in bringing about these changes by advancing technological development, promoting national wealth, improving health and industrialization (Validya, 2008). Weham, Dorlin, Snell and Taylor (2014) emphasized that sciences are and will remain the fundamental subjects through the ages. Statistics on international trends in science subjects selection in 46 countries shows that in the US, among fourth graders in 2007, males continued to prefer science subjects to females in where males scored significantly higher overall than females in science (Mullis, Martin and Foy, 2008).The 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) carried out in the United States earlier had reported that boys had outperformed girls in sciences achievement and the gender gap increased as students progressed in school. A later assessment by NAEP in 2005 revealed that males preferred sciences subjects to females in grades 4, 8 and 12. Females at all levels made relatively little gains in their average science scores since 2006. In most cases by grade 11, the areas of largest male advantage were physics, chemistry, earth science and space science (Kahle and Meece, 2007). In the final year of secondary school, males had a significantly higher achievement in scientific literacy than females in all participating countries (European Union Report, 2009).

In Ikere, in the third year of studies (SS1), students choose to study at least two science subjects from biology, physics and chemistry and are assessed at the end of the fourth year. The choice of which science subject to study in third and fourth forms has been an issue to many of students; an issue that have since received varied interpretation among the students themselves and the various stakeholders in the education fraternity. Studies have revealed that most students will prefer chemistry and biology when allowed to choose science subjects (Waititu, 2008). Moreover, female student have been noted to shy away from physics and chemistry citing the reason being the tedious mathematical calculations involved in such subjects (Murithi, 2006) Implementing Vision 2020 will require more knowledge based skills. This calls for more training in science and technological related courses. If secondary school graduates are not realizing the required grades in order to enrol in such courses, the vision remains just a mirage. There must therefore be concerted effort among all stakeholders to address the problem of deplorable choice and performance in science subjects.

Statement of the Problem

Students in Ikere secondary schools have been often faced with the problem of indecision when they are about to choose the science subjects in their third form of the secondary school education. This problem has plagued many Ikere secondary school students for quite sometimes. It is such a problem that must be looked into, knowing fully well that the place of sciences in secondary education cannot be over emphasized in the educational development of a nation. With good background, students still need to develop themselves on the subject areas they are keenly interested in and particularly that they have potentiality for. Many students have been found choosing subjects for West African Examination Council without considering the aspect of their potentiality and the directive of the school counsellor where available.

In Ikere, secondary school ends with West African Examination Council (WAEC) examination. Students are expected to take two science subjects drawn from the cluster of Chemistry, Biology and Physics. However, most schools treat Biology and Chemistry as compulsory science subjects which must be taken by all the candidates. It is very important for students to be proficient in these subjects because they play an important role in career choices and professional development.

Dismal performance in the sciences limits individuals opportunities in competitive professional courses that are science oriented. Furthermore, Ikere vision 2020 initiative aims at making the country a newly industrializing middle income country providing high quality life for all its citizens. The realization of this vision calls for the harnessing of the science ability of both men and women in the country so that they can contribute to nation building. However, this vision is not about to be realized for as long as students continue to underachieve in subjects that determine their placement in science oriented fields which are expected to spur industrialization. It is against this background that this study seeks to establish the factors that influence the choice of science subjects in Ikere Secondary Schools.

Purpose of the Study

The overall aim of this research was to gain a deeper understanding of the factors influencing the choice of science subjects in Ikere secondary education schools, a case study of Amoye Grammar school in Ikere Ekiti. The researcher sought to analyse the effects of perception of the value of the science subjects on students choices of subjects in Amoye Grammar school, The research’s findings were achieved by assessing a number of indicators deemed best for the study and also more importantly through the following specific research objectives;

Specific Objectives of the Study.

The study was guided by the following specific objectives:

  1. i) To determine the effects of the value of the science subject on students’ choices of the subject in Amoye Grammar school
  2. ii) To find out the influence of the subject teacher on students’ choices of science subjects in Amoye Grammar School

iii) To find out the influence of gender differences on students’ choices of science subjects in Amoye Grammar School.

  1. To investigate the role of parents and teachers in students’ choices of science subjects in Amoye Grammar School

Research Questions

The study was guided with the following Research Questions:

  1. What are the effects of the value of the science subject on students’ choice of science subject in Amoye Grammar School?
  2. How does the subject teacher influence students’ choices of science subjects in Amoye Grammar School?

iii. How does gender difference influence affect students’ choices of science subjects in Amoye Grammar School?

  1. What is the role of parents and teachers in students’ choices of science subjects in Amoye Grammar School?

Significance of the Study

The study would be of great significance to the school management because it would help the management fraternity in understanding the factors affecting the choice of science subjects and be able to initiate appropriate measures to improve on students’ performance in science subjects.

The relevant government ministries would also benefit from the study findings and be able to come up with policy issues touching on subject choice and later career choice at higher levels of education in Ikere.

The study would add to the wide academic knowledge in the area of education which can be used by other researchers as reference in future. Researchers and research institutes may use the study to come up with other research studies.

Scope of the Study

The study investigated the factors that influence the choice of science subjects in Ikere Secondary Schools. Specifically the study sought to investigate the factors that influence the choice of science subjects in Amoye Grammar school in Ikere Ekiti

Limitation of the Study

The study faced various shortcomings that may affect effective research undertaking. Respondents may be suspicious and fail to answer the questionnaire. The researcher intended to overcome this by adopting objectivity approach (by asking general questions on the issues pertaining to science subject selection) to the staff. Simple questions with answers to choose from will be used.

The research study focused on four variables that were addressed by specific objectives; this may deny an opportunity to explore further on other factors that influence the choice of science subjects in Ikere Secondary Schools.

Assumptions of the Study

The assumptions of this study included the following: that the sample chosen respondents represent the population; the data collection instrument to be used has validity and is measuring the desired constructs.

Definition of significant terms

Science subjects: These involves subjects which are core to the examination board in Ikere secondary Education and they includes such subjects as Biology, chemistry, physics and others, for the purpose of this study the focus was on the factors influencing students choice on selecting them.

Choice: Refers to the students’ preference over one science subject as compared to the other science subjects the study focused on identifying the critical factors that influenced students’ choice on the subjects. The choice of subject can either be to great extent or to low extent.

Secondary schools: This is an education level in Ikere that precedes primary education in the Ikere curriculum system which follows 6.3.3 systems where students sit for the WAEC to signify transition to the next level after four years.

WAEC: Refers to the West African Examination Council. This is the summative evaluation exam given to the students at the end of form four.

Performance: The outcome or result of an exam which can be good or poor.

Value of science subject: Content and relevance of the subject as related to career aspirations.

Teacher influence: The way a teacher make students choose a subject or not choose it.

Gender influence: Perception of male or female while choosing subjects

Role of teacher in subject selection: what is required/the responsibility of the teachers when students are choosing subjects.

Role of parent in subject selection: what is required/the responsibility of the parents when students are choosing subjects.

CHAPTER TWO:

LITERATURE REVIEW

Introduction

The chapter gives detailed information on effects of perception of the value of the science subjects on students’ choices of subjects. It looks at the value of the science subject, influence of the subject teacher, influence of gender differences and role of parents and teachers on students’ choices of science subjects. At the end of the chapter, there is a conceptual framework by the researcher of the various variables used in the research and an explanation of their interrelation.

Factors Influencing StudentsChoice of Science Subjects

Students look forward to the opportunity to choose their academic plans and classes (Smith, Feldwisch and bell, (2006). According to the enhanced

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