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EFFECT OF QUESTIONING TECHNIQUE AND GENDER ON STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT IN BASIC SCIENCE IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS

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: EFFECT OF QUESTIONING TECHNIQUE AND GENDER ON STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT IN BASIC SCIENCE IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS
: Chapter 1 – 5
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This study,EFFECT OF QUESTIONING TECHNIQUE AND GENDER ON STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT IN BASIC SCIENCE IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS contains concise information that will serve as a framework or guide for your project work. The project study is well-researched for academic purposes and are usually provided in complete chapters with adequate References.

Keywords:EFFECT OF QUESTIONING TECHNIQUE AND GENDER ON STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT IN BASIC SCIENCE IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS


RESEARCH BODY

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Science plays a very important role in the economic, technological, social and political development of any nation. The teaching and learning of Science, Technology and Mathematics Education (STME) is specifically geared towards producing three intellectual capital:  scientists and engineers who will continue the research and development that is central to the economic growth of our country; workers who have the technological proficiency to be able to deal with the demands of a science based high technology work environment and scientifically literate citizens who understand the world around them and can make intelligent contributions on decisions about public policy.

Nigeria has taken giant strides in ensuring scientific development through the educational process. This is reflected in the various reviews of the science education curricula over the years. The recent review of the curriculum for Basic Science in 2009, lay emphasis on Science Technology and Society (STS). The proponents of STS argue that the purpose of school science is not to create future scientists but citizens who understand that science is multidimensional and multidisciplinary, and who can participate intelligently in problem-solving and decision making about how science and technology is used. The national policy on education (2009) captures it thus: the development of appropriate skills, mental, physical and social abilities and competences to empower the individual to live in and contribute positively to the society. To attain this laudable goal of science education, the teaching and learning of science need to be carried out in such a manner as would encourage the development of critical thinking and the grasp of the science process skills. Science educators have been advocating the need for science instruction at all levels of education to focus on enhancing students’ conceptual understanding and problem-solving (Chin & Chia, 2005). This advocacy is consistent with various reform initiatives around the globe for science and mathematics curricula and classroom practice. The American Association for Scientific Studies (2008) has emphasized the need to develop students’ conceptual understanding and scientific literacy by using inquiry and problem-solving experiences and skills acquisition.

Some of the teaching strategies that have been recommended for science teachers to inculcate conceptual understanding and critical thinking in their students include cooperative and competitive interaction, concept mapping, demonstration, field trip, seminar and inquiry. It has been observed however that the teaching of science in Nigerian secondary schools has remained a descriptive exercise through the use of lecture method and very little inquiry (Omoregbe, 2013). A situation that has made science boring and mere accumulation of information. Consequently, there has been a persistent low achievement of students in the science subjects (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Basic Science) in the National Examinations over the years. The reports of the Chief Examiners in the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and the National Examination Council (NECO) indicates this abysmal performance.

Table 1:          Percentage of Students who obtained Credits in WASSCE in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics from 2008-2012

 

Subject 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Average
Biology 33.94 28.95 49.65 38.50 35.66 37.27
Chemistry 44.44 43.69 50.70 49.54 43.13 46.30
Physics 48.26 47.83 51.27 63.94 68.74 56.01
Mathematics 59.27 47.04 41.95 40.35 50.58 47.44

Source: WAEC

The overall average achievement of students in STME from 2008 to 2012 is 46.75. This is a below average achievement and should be of great concern to educationists and other Nigerians. Similar report is also presented in the NECO senior school certificate examination. The junior school certificate examination results in integrated science now called Basic science for 2008 to 2010 also revealed low achievement in the NECO/JSCE (Obomanu and Adaramola, 2011). The various reports have however, not shown any significant difference in the level of achievement based on gender.

Among the factors identified as influencing students achievement in STME are inadequate teaching (Omoifo, 2012 and Okafor, 2007). Effective teaching occurs when student learn and achieve scientific goals and not just being able to repeat scientific knowledge. During effective learning, student learns how to learn, develop conceptual understanding and thinking skills. Therefore student are able to explain the world around them and solve problem.

The traditional approach of teaching Basic science has also contributed to the low achievement of students in science over the years. Students progress from the junior secondary schools (Basic education) to senior secondary education without a proper grasp of Basic science process skills or critical thinking development which is necessary for meaningful learning. With this poor background, the learning of science at the senior secondary school becomes difficult or mere accumulation of information.

This study wish to focus on classroom questioning as it helps to encourage active learning and critical thinking. Questioning as a technique in science teaching has been poorly understood and therefore poorly utilized as teachers rarely prepared their classroom questions ahead of the lesson and questions are often of the lower order recall type which does not lead to critical thinking (Erickson,2006). The pertinent point of interest is:

How can effective questioning help transform a traditional, teacher-centered classroom into a student-centered, inquiry-oriented community of learners? What are the connections between quality questions and the student learning and achievement? This study on the effect of questioning and gender on students learning achievement in Basic science in junior secondary schools in Bauchi state is aimed at utilizing questioning technique to address some deficiencies in terms of achievement. The pertinent point of interest is whether the questioning technique will impact positively on students’ achievement in Basic science or not.

1.2       STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Given the high premium placed on science education in general and on basic science as the introductory part of scientific studies in formal education, the need to teach it effectively through the inquiry process is undisputable.   Scientists and educationists insist that the purpose of school science is not only to create future scientists but to produce citizens who can participate intelligently in problem- solving and decision making about how science and technology are used in day to day life’s activities. Science instruction is expected to enhance the learning of science.

Learning in itself has been described by psychologists as change in behaviour. Of the three domains of learning (cognitive, affective and psychomotor), the one that is more easily measured in school examinations is the cognitive. The chief examiners report for each of the two national examinations, West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and the National Examinations Council (NECO) in the recent past has indicated low achievement of students in general and especially for the science subjects. For WAEC, the percentage number of candidates who obtained five credits including English Language and Mathematics for 2012, 2013, and 2014 is 38.81%, 36.5% and 31.28% respectively. While for NECO, it is 31.04%, 34.50% and 48.10% respectively. This is an indication that not much learning is taking place in the schools. A number of studies including that carried out by Okwu  and Orun (2013) have indicated that some positive relationship exist between Junior School certificate Examination (JSCE) and Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) and recommend that serious attention should be paid to  students’ preparation at the JSCE level. There could be many reasons that could cause students to have learning difficulties in basic science. According to Ajayi and Osalusi (2013), some of these reasons include poor method of teaching, lack of resourcefulness in teaching and lack of motivation. The role of the classroom teacher in ensuring that students develop self-confidence and a good disposition to Basic Science could be a factor of poor performance in sciences, which can be mitigated by teachers’ effective use of classroom questions.

The ability to ask and answer questions is central to learning. Wilkinson (2012) asserts that when questions are used effectively in instruction, they help to promote inquiry, thinking and ultimately learning. Classroom questioning is an extensively researched topic. The considerable volume of research on questioning has shed light on a number of issues regarding questions as a tool for learning. It is now known that: students perform better on test items previously asked as recitation questions  than on items they have not been exposed to before; questions which focus student attention on salient elements in the lesson results in better comprehension than questions which do not; the incidence of higher-order and authentic questions is low relative to lower-order and known answer questions; waiting  for students to respond to questions leads to enhanced quality of responses and improved achievements; teachers can be taught to ask certain types of questions, and that students can be taught how to answer questions based on relationship to the text; promoting student generated questions has positive effect on learning.

There are however several gaps on questioning as an instructional tool about which research is not clear. Findings from studies on whether teacher question as an instructional tool is any better than other methods are inconclusive. Many research studies have found higher cognitive questions superior to lower ones, some found the opposite, and still others have found no difference.

The persistent poor performance of students in Basic science has called for innovative ways of classroom instruction to improve learning. The traditional teaching method still dominates classroom instruction in basic science in Bauchi State. Therefore the main purpose of this research is to investigate the effect of questioning technique and gender on students’ achievement in Basic Science in Junior Secondary Schools in Bauchi State.

1.3       PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The purpose of this study is to find the effects of the questioning method of

Instruction and gender on students’ achievement in Basic science in secondary schools in Bauchi State. Specifically, the study seeks to:

  1. Determine the effects of the questioning method on students’ achievement in Basic Science
  2. Find out if there is a difference in the achievement of the students based on gender when exposed to the questioning method.

1.4    RESEARCH QUESTIONS

  1. What are the Basic Science Achievement Test mean scores of students taught with questioning method and those not exposed to the method?
  2. What are the Basic Science Achievement Test mean scores of male and female students taught with questioning method?

1.5    HYPOTHESES

  1. There is no significant difference between the Basic Science Achievement Test mean scores of students exposed to the questioning method and those not exposed to the method.
  2. There is no significant difference between the Basic Science Achievement Test mean scores of male and female students taught with the questioning technique.

1.6       THEORETICAL/CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

The theoretical framework of this study is anchored on the taxonomy of Benjamin Bloom and his associates on learning (1956). The taxonomy of educational objectives is a framework for classifying statements of what we expect or intend students to learn as a result of instruction. Bloom’s taxonomy refers to a hierarchy of questions that teachers use to guide their students through the learning process. The six major categories in the cognitive domain (knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation) are put into consideration in question items for students by teachers. When students are first being introduced to a new topic, experienced teachers use Bloom’s taxonomy to get ideas for basic questions that ask the students to recall simple facts from the materials. As students’ comprehension grow and evolves, the questions will get more complex and demand more from the students. This approach will help to promote critical and creative thinking which enhances meaningful learning.

Another theoretical framework on which the questioning method derives is that of Blosser (1973) on “how to ask the right questions”. Blosser opines that if science teachers wish to encourage “learning by discovery” or student’s inquiry, there is the need to ask questions which stimulate students and encourage them to think. She insists that it is unrealistic to assume that a teacher can help the students to acquire all the scientific knowledge they will ever need to know, rather it is more important to provide experiences that help students develop the skills of acquiring and processing data into information. Open questions according to Blosser can help students develop these skills. Blosser classified classroom questions into closed, open-ended, managerial and rheotherical questions.

The implications of Blosser’s theory and Blooom’s taxonomy for Basic Science instruction is that variety of oral questioning should be used during instruction to sufficiently stimulate and engage the minds of the students to process the information they receive. This will help to make for meaningful learning which leads to improved achievement.

1.7       SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

Findings of this study will be of great benefit to many stakeholders in education, especially to students, teachers, educators involved in teacher training, textbook writers, curriculum planners and developers, guidance counsellors, the government and the society at large.

  1. To the students, it would give them an opportunity to be more actively involved in the teaching – learning process as there would be greater student – teacher and student – student interaction. It would also help to enhance students’ thinking skills for improved performance in basic science. The sociability of students would also be enhanced as they would learn to listen to and respect the views of others.
  2. Teachers also stand to benefit as they would be aware of the questioning method as another good method in science instruction and inculcating critical thinking skills in students. Teachers through this method of teaching become aware of certain misconceptions of the students on some science concepts; giving the teacher an opportunity to correct such misconceptions.
  3. Those involved in the training of teachers also stand to benefit as they would have to pay additional emphasis on the questioning method as a good method relevant to science education for the teacher trainees.
  4. Textbook writers knowing about the questioning method would be made to improve on the quality of the revision questions at the end of each topic, to encourage critical thinking.
  5. Curriculum planners and developers would be encouraged to develop the curriculum towards concept – based curriculum and instruction design models which enhances thinking in the classroom.
  6. Guidance counsellors would be able to utilize the questioning method to identify students’ strengths and weaknesses and guide them appropriately towards career choice.
  7. The government would benefit as one of the stated goals of Basic education which is to lay a sound basis for scientific critical and reflective thinking would be achieved through proper use of the questioning method in instruction. The society as a whole stands to benefit as it would have produced citizens who are critical, creative and logical in their thinking thereby helping to improve on the quality of policies made for the country.
  8. Parents also stand to benefit as their children and wards would progress into the senior secondary education level with more confidence and competence to continue studies in the science related subjects.

1.8   DELIMITATIONS OF STUDY

This study will focus on the investigation of the effect of questioning method of instruction on gender and   students’ achievement in Basic science in junior secondary 2 students in Bauchi State.

OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS

The following terms will be defined operationally for this study:

Achievement, questioning method, Basic Science, wait time.

Achievement: Academic achievement represents performance outcomes that indicate the extent to which a person has accomplished specific goals that were the focus of activities in instructional environments, specifically in schools, colleges, and university.

Questioning Method: A process of teaching in Basic Science classroom and laboratory in which a sequence of suitable questions are asked with the objective of leading the students to draw logical conclusions or generalizations.

Basic Science: The early science education given to learners within the upper basic education (Junior Secondary School) in Nigeria.

Wait time: The amount of time a teacher allots for student reflection after asking a question and before a student responds, and immediately after the student responds before the teacher or another student reacts.

Keywords: EFFECT OF QUESTIONING TECHNIQUE AND GENDER ON STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT IN BASIC SCIENCE IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS




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