ASSESSING THE INFLUENCE OF TEACHERS’ CHARACTERISTICS ON STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN BIOLOGY IN SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS
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Academic performance of students is the basis for achieving the general aims and objectives of education which is to provide integrated citizenry who will be useful to themselves and the society at large.
In view of this, this study conducted an Influence of Teachers’ Characteristics on Students ‘Academic Performance in Biology in Selected Secondary Schools in Ilorin Metropolis.
The descriptive research survey was adopted for the study.
Simple random sampling technique was employed to select twenty (20) Secondary Schools in Ilorin Metropolis and was also used to draw a total sample of 100 respondents which varies from each other.
In other words, while in some of the schools, three respondents were sampled, in some schools two respondents were sampled.
The Biology result of 2 years period (2015-2017) for the five secondary schools were obtained from the school administrators.
The 3 data research questions were analysed using frequency count and percentages while t-test and were used to test the hypotheses postulated at significant difference of 0.05.
The findings of the study revealed that the academic performance of senior schools in Biology Students in Ilorin Metropolis between 2015-20] 7 was fair and the major factors responsible for the fair performances are teachers’ experience in Biology, teacher ‘s attitude, teacher‘s qualification, gender and relationship between teachers and students in senior secondary school in Ilorin Metropolis.
Based on the findings of the study, it was recommended that the teachers should intensify more efforts on developing themselves on their interpersonal skills with their students as this will go a long way in helping them identify the problem areas of the students in their subject.
Also, both male and female biology teachers should be given opportunities in the assessment of students.
Teaching experienced of biology teachers should not be a barrier to recruitment into teaching job or a measure for judging the academic performance of students in Biology.
Background to the Study
Science is an intellectual activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
Merriam-Webster (2016) defines science as the knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation.
The National Academy of Sciences (2008) cited by Hohenberg (2010) defined science as the use of evidence to construct testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena, as well as the knowledge generated through its process.
To that end science is an important subject taught to children in schools.
Many reasons have been given to support its teaching.
In other words, there are many reasons we can offer to justify putting energy into providing students with the opportunity to learn science (Settlage &Southerland, 2012).
i. It helps the children to have a worldview of science. In other words, they will begin look at things in a way that is probably not the same as others.
ii. The value system of science influences the way children think.
iii. Children learn to question and satisfy their curiosity through science.
iv. It enables children to be open-minded.
v. It inculcates in the children the spirit of skepticism thereby pushing them to always seek more data to become convinced (p.xi).
Science, as taught in secondary schools, is divided into; natural science, physical science and social sciences.
Sometimes, it is discussed under pure and applied science and covers such subjects as physics, chemistry, biology, etc.
Of these subjects, biology is the only one that cuts across and concerns all students.
Unlike physics and chemistry for instance, biology is the only science subject offered by all students in science class.
This implies that biology occupies a very sensitive position in medical science and other related disciplines.
This informs several efforts geared towards studying biology at secondary school level of education.
Hence, it is one of the science subjects a student must pass so as to offer some science courses at tertiary level of education (Akinfe, Olofinniyi & Fashika, 2012).
It is however disheartening and heartbreaking that despite the key role and much emphasis being laid on biology, students of senior secondary schools are still performing below expectation in this subject and this has been an issue of great concern for stake holders in education, especially those in the field of science (Rowe, 2013).
This has been attributed to myriad of factors.
However, the pivotal of all the factors responsible for the poor performance is the teachers (Ameen, Onah&Udoh, 2006).
The relevance of teachers to education cannot be over-emphasized.
They are an extremely important facet of any society for various reasons. Their role is significant and valuable.
They play an extra ordinary part in the lives of children from the formative years of their development and thus the importance of teachers is something that cannot be understated.
They involve themselves in moulding their students into responsible citizens of their country (Ameen, et al, 2006).
This submission shows that if teachers are well educated, intellectually alive and take keen interest in their job, then only success is ensured.
According to Rowe (2003), it is the teacher more than any single group who determines the attitudes of society and shapes the idea and aspiration of the nation; this is power in reality.
In the same vein, Zwalchir(2008) observed that quality education depends on the quality of teaching staff as well as its availability.
The implication of this is that besides other factors, teachers have been identified as a crucial factor that could hinder successful teaching.
Buttressing the importance of teachers, Ciwar (2005) added that teachers occupy a critical and fundamental position in the development of any action.
They act as catalyst of change for the transformation of the society for the desired end.
The invaluable importance of teachers, not withstanding, studies have shown that their success in relation to the academic performance of their students is anchored or dependent on certain characteristics. Hence, such factors as teacher’s attitude, qualification, experience and even availability to a greater extent could affect and influence students’ academic performance.
The motive, therefore, of this study is to investigate the influence of teachers’ characters and students’ academic performance in biology with a view to revealing the influence of such characteristics as attitude, qualification, experience and availability on the students’ academic performance in biology.
Statement of the Problem
Kosgei, Mise, Odera and Ayugi (2013) investigated the influence of teachers’ characteristics on students’ academic achievement among secondary schools. Their study was based on Kenya secondary schools. The findings reveal that student academic achievement (in 2007, 2008 and 2009) was below average for 45% of the schools, (30%) achievement was on average while (25%) of schools had high student academic achievement. The poor performance was attributed to inadequate number of teachers in most secondary schools within the District. On teacher qualification, the study established that 65% of teachers were degree holders, 25%had diploma certificates while only 10% were untrained.
The current study however differs in that it is based on secondary schools in Nigeria and while their study was based on teacher qualification, this covers such characteristics as qualification, years of teaching, attitude and availability.
In the same vein, Abe (2014) studied the effect of teachers’ qualifications on students’ performance in mathematics.
The study revealed the mean performance score of students taught by NCE teachers, and B.Sc. Ed.
Teachers has a variation of mean performance score of (2.36) that of B.Sc. teachers and B.Sc. Ed teachers difference of mean performance score of student (2.76) while that of mean performance score difference of students taught by professional and non-professional was 4.02.
By implication, the effect of teachers’ qualification was shown on the students’ performance in mathematics between NCE and B.Sc. Ed. teachers; even though both teachers were professionally trained. Unlike Abe’s study, this study considers biology.
Also, while Abe’s study covered Ekiti in Nigeria, the current study covers Ilorin.
In their own study, Abu and Gbadamasi (2014) looked into the Relationship between teacher’s attitude and student’s academic achievement in senior secondary school chemistry.
The study was based on schools in Ijebu with chemistry in focus.
This study was based on the relationship between teachers’ attitude and students’ academic achievement in chemistry.
One hundred and ten SSS chemistry students,14 chemistry teachers from selected secondary schools in Ijebu-Ode and Odogbolu Local Government area in Ogun State participated in this research.
Two research hypotheses and two research questions were formulated.
The data collected were analyzed using Pearson Product moment correlation, T – Test and analysis of variance.
The first null hypothesis which stated that there is no significant relationship between teachers’ attitude and student’s academic achievement in SSS chemistry was rejected.
The result of analysis showed that the correlation co efficient (r) is significant atP<0.05 (r = – .340, P<0.05). This is indicates that there isa significant relationship between teacher’s attitude towards chemistry and students’ academic achievement in the subjects.
The second null hypothesis which states that there is no significant difference between the mean chemistry achievement scores of males and female students in SSS chemistry has also been rejected.
It thus showed that there is significant difference in the mean chemistry achievement scores of SSS male and female students (t = 2.018, df =122, P<.05).
This means that gender has effect on the achievement of students in SSS chemistry.
From the outcome of the scores, it was therefore noted that the achievement of students in chemistry depends on the attitude of teaching display by the teachers.
The present study is based on schools in Ilorin using biology as its focus.
Besides, their own study used attitude only while the present study covers other variables.
So on the grounds that some of these studies have not been able to combine the variables, this study is thus imperative to depart from the earlier studies in locale and content coverage.
It is thus necessary and imperative to examine the relationship between teachers’ characteristics (of attitude, qualification, experience, as well as availability) and students’ academic performance in biology.
Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of this study is to establish the maxim between teachers’ characteristics and students’ academic performance in biology.
Specifically, the study found out;
i. Whether teachers’ attitude influences students’ academic performances in biology;
ii. The influence of teachers’ qualification on students’ academic performance in biology;
iii. Role of teachers’ years of teaching experience on students’ academic performance in biology; and
iv. The influence of teachers’ gender on the academic performance of students in biology.
The study intends to provide answer to the following questions.
i. What is the extent to which teachers’ attitude influences students’ academic performance in biology?
ii. Does teachers’ qualification have an influence on students’ academic performance?
iii. What influence does teachers’ years of teaching experience has on students’ academic performance in biology?
iv. How does teachers’ gender (male and female) influence students’ academic performance in biology?
HO1: There is no significant relationship between teacher attitudes on student academic performance in Biology
HO2: There is no significant difference between the performance of students taught by the Biology teachers with high qualification and Biology teachers with low qualification.
HO3: There is no significant difference between the performances of biology students taught by experienced and less-experienced biology teachers.
HO4: There is no significant difference between the performances of biology students based on teachers’ gender.