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1.1       Background to the Study                                                                               1

1.2       Statement of the Problems                                                                              3

1.3       Objectives of the Study                                                                                  4

1.4       Research Questions                                                                                         5

1.5       Research Hypothesis                                                                                       5

1.6       Significance of the Study                                                                               5

1.7       Scope and Delimitation of the Study                                                             6

1.8       Operational Definitions of Terms                                                                   7


2.1       Introduction                                                                                                    7

2.2       Conceptual Framework                                                                                   7

2.2.1    Concept of Biology                                                                                        7

2.2.2    Concept of Academic Performance                                                                9

2.3       Theoretical Framework                                                                                   12

2.3.1    Paiget's Cognitive Constructivists Learning Theory                          12

2.3.2    Vygotsky's Social Constructivist Learning Theory                                        14

2.4       Brief `History of Biology                                                                               15

2.5       Review of Empirical Studies                                                                          16

2.6       Summary of the Review Literature                                                                19



3.1       Introduction                                                                                                    21

3.2       Research Design                                                                                             21

3.3       Population of the Study                                                                                  21

3.3       Sample and Sampling Techniques                                                                  23

3.4       Instrument for Data Collection                                                                       23

3.4.1    Validation of the Instrument                                                                          23

3.4.2    Reliability of the Instrument                                                                           23

3.5       Method of Data Collection                                                                             24

3.6       Method of Data Analysis                                                                               24



4.1       Introduction                                                                                                    25

4.2       Data Presentation and Analysis                                                                     25

4.3       Summary of Findings                                                                                     27

4.4       Discussion                                                                                                       28


5.1       Introduction                                                                                                    29

5.2       Summary                                                                                                         29

 5.4      Conclusions                                                                                                     30

5.5       Recommendations                                                                                          31

References                                                                                                                  32

Appendix                                                                                                                    35





1.1       Background to the Study

Science is a great enterprise which nations depend on, in-order to advance technologically. Science therefore, is receiving much emphasis in education because of its significance and relevance to life and society. Science is both a process (scientific method) and a product (knowledge, fact and principles) (Ezeh, 2013). Both the process and product of science are acquired through education and this is specialized type of education such as science education. Science plays important roles in the society because it relates to our daily life and career. The importance of science in our society made the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Education to introduce science subjects in the nations secondary school curriculum. Biology is one of such subject introduced.

Biology is defined as the study of life and structure of living things. Biology is the study of living things and concerns itself with the study of the structural, behaviour, distribution, the origin of plants, and animals and their relationship with their environment (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language 2009). Abugu (2007) stated that biology is natural science in which we study living organisms plants and animals. The knowledge of biology helps in checking environmental degradation such as desertification, erosion, water hyacinth, land, air and water pollution.

The cardinal objectives of biology education are to prepare students to acquire: adequate laboratory and field skills in biology; meaningful and relevant knowledge in biology, ability to apply scientific knowledge to everyday life in matter of personal and community health and agriculture and lastly reasonable and functional scientific attitudes (Federal Ministry of Education 2004). The study of biology in senior secondary school can equip students with useful concept principles and theories that will enable them face the challenges before and after graduation. Practical biology is the scientific study of the life and structure of plant and animals and their relative environment in real or experimental set-up rather than dwelling in the theory and ideas (Opuh, Eze, & Eze Magu, 2008).

Practical activities in biology provide opportunities for students to actually do science as opposed to learning about science. Nzewi (2008) asserted that practical activities can be regarded as a strategy that could be adopted to make the task of a teacher (teaching) more real to the students as opposed to abstract or theoretical presentation of fact principles and concepts of subject matters. Nzewi maintained that practical activities should engage the students in hands on, mind on activities, using varieties of instructional material/equipment to drive the lesson home. Nwagbo (2008) stated that the use of practical activities (approach) to the teaching of biological concepts should therefore be a rule rather than an option to biology teachers, if we hope to produce students that would be able to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and competence needed to meet the scientific and technological demands of the nation.

Practical work stimulate learners interest in the science subjects they are studying, when they are made to personally engage in useful activities, knowledge obtained through practical work and experience promote long-term memory that theory alone cannot do, for this reason, it becomes obvious that learners acquire more in any science lesson, if giving the opportunity to do activities and ranging from manipulating apparatus, classifying, designing, experimenting, hypothesizing to make inferences and verifying result. Hence, there is an urgent and serious need to justify the exposition of the biology practical activities as well as studying its influence on students achievement in biology. Unfortunately, the ugly situation observed in the majority of our secondary school lacks exposure of student in practical activities. This contributes to persistent poor performance in biology.                 

According to Nwagbo (2008), a number of factors has been identified as contributing to the non-acquisition of skills by secondary school students which invariable leads to poor performance and one of the factors is the teacher variable, that is teacher method of teaching. Furthermore, Okoli (2006) indicate that many science teachers prefer the traditional expository/lectures method of teaching that is, a teaching technique in which one person, the teacher, presents a spoken discourse on a particular subject and shy away from activity oriented teaching methods which are student centered such as inquiry method, discovery method, investigative laboratory approach. Nwagbo (2006) observed that such teacher-centered approach which places the teacher as a sole possessor of knowledge and the students as passive recipients of knowledge may not enhance achievement or promote positive attitude to biology. Apart from teaching methods, gender is also implicated in students academic achievement in biology.  Gender refers to the roles and responsibilities of men and women that are created in family, societies and culture. The concept of gender is the expectations held about characteristics, attitudes, and likely behaviour of both men and women (masculinity and feminity) in the society (Ezeh, 2013). There is a general belief among Nigerians that boys are superior to girls in terms of physical build up, intelligence and reasoning. According to Okeke (2007) gender and gender stereotyping have brought discrimination in academic achievement which is a matter of great concern to educationist.


1.2 Statement of the Problems

In Nigeria, students achievement in secondary school biology has not been encouraging. inspite of the desire for technological development, which need biology education there is persistent poor academic achievement of students in the subject, particular in practical biological. So many factors can be attributed to student poor achievement in biology practical, they include teachers use of inappropriate instructional approaches, lack of adequate laboratory facilities, poor organization of laboratory activities, lack of commitment to laboratory work by both teachers and students, partial or total absence of laboratory, lack of qualified biology teachers and mode of laboratory activities that are used in biology laboratory.

Studies shown that teachers use mostly teacher centered approach in carrying out laboratory activities. The inappropriate instructional approaches used by secondary school biology teachers tend to raise doubts about the possibility of realizing the objectives of biology education in Nigeria secondary school as stated in the National Policy on Education (Federal Ministry of Education, 2004). Most instructional approaches such as lecture and demonstration used in teaching biology in the classroom or laboratory promote rote learning and lack of opportunity for students to manipulate materials and reflect on what they do during teaching and learning processes. Student interaction during practical activities in the laboratory could play a key role towards concretizing learning.

Among all the problems that contributes to student poor achievement in practical biology the researcher is interested in the influence of biology practical activities on academic achievement of students in biology.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to find out the influence of biology practical activities on academic achievement of senior secondary school students.

            Specifically, the study intends to

  1. Investigate impact of biology laboratory teaching equipment on student academic performance
  2. Determine if the gender has an effect on student academic performance when taught using laboratory equipment.


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1.4       Research Questions

            The following research questions guided the study:

1.                  There is no difference on senior secondary school student biology academic performance between those taught using laboratory teaching equipment and those taught using conventional method.

2.                  There is no difference between male and female student taught biology using laboratory teaching equipment.

1.5  Research Hypothesis

The following hypotheses will be tested to guide this study;  

1.      Biology practical has no influence on academic performance of student, studying biology in secondary schools.

2.      Gender of student has no significance in teaching biology practical in secondary school.

1.6       Significance of the Study

Practically, the following people will benefit from the finding of this study, student, biology teachers and the government. The result of the study could enable the students realize the importance of group and individual laboratory work situation in the effort of learning biology concepts. It could also help the students to become knowledgeable in the following areas: communication, problem-solving, self-confidence and critical thinking. These are knowledge they are expected to acquire from practical activities which could lead to students improvement on their academic achievement.

§  The finding of this study will be of help to science teachers as it will enable them understand the right mode of laboratory work in teaching and to help the students to understand biology concepts with the abilities of carrying out practical work successfully. The teacher will realized that biology concepts are not taught in isolation but should be incorporated into practical work to maximize the achievement.

§  The study will make the government, through the ministry of education to realize the need for provision of science equipment to schools and posting of qualified biology teachers to secondary schools, it is not the issue of jack of all trades master of non teaching has attained professionalism and specialization.

1.7       Scope and Delimitation Of The Study

The study is on the influence of biology practical activities on academic performance of senior secondary school students in biology. The study is limited to student in senior secondary school in Wammako Local Government Area of Sokoto State.

1.8       Operational Definitions of terms

§  Biology: is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their physical structure, chemical processes, molecular interaction, physiological mechanisms, development and evolution.

§  Equipment: most commonly refers to a set of tools or other objects commonly used to achieve a particular objective.

§  Laboratory: a room or building equipped for scientific experiments, research or teaching, or for the manufacture of drugs or chemicals.

§  Laboratory teaching equipment: are tool and equipment used by scientist who work in a laboratory .

§  Academic performance:  is the extent to which a student teacher or student, teacher or institution has attained their short or long term educational goals.



2.1 Introduction

The view of literature for this study is organized under the following sections and sub-section conceptual framework, theoretical framework, review of related empirical studies and summary.         

2.2 Conceptual Framework

Practical work has an important role in science education (Hanson, 2006). However, the potential of practical work has been contrasted with questions about its efficiency and benefits (Kind, 2012). Many research studies have emphasized that for many teachers practical work means simple recipe-type activities that students follow without the necessary mental engagement. Further studies about practical work are still needed. The main aim of this article is to describe methods and concepts that may be used to appreciate the level of complexity of practical work of teachers' practices.

The meaning of practical work in the present study is close to Hanson's (2006), which includes any activity that requires students to be active, although it is made more precise in that considers that it must mobilize science processes skills. These skills were considered as ways of thinking more directly involved in scientific research, such as observing, formulating problems and hypotheses, controlling variables and predicting (Duschl, Schweingruber and Shouse, 2007).

2.2.1 Concept of Biology

Biology is one of the fields in the natural sciences that studies living things. The word 'Biology' is come from Greek words; Bios meaning life, and logy (logia) which means study (Ezeh, 2013). Thus the concept of biology is concerned with the study of life. Miller and Levine (2012) state that biology in addition, is the study of life, structure, function, growth, origin, evolutions distributions, interrelationships, problems such as diseases, and adaptation of things and proposes solutions where possible. However biology is the branch of science that studies life using inquiry methods and discoveries.

Inquiry process involves asking question that stimulate students to think critically which enables students to develop scientific knowledge and scientific habit such as curiosity, creativity, and open minded etc. that is needed for understanding biological concepts. Biology as science of life provide potentials for the use of many inquiry method. Abugu (2007) stated that biology is natural science in which we study living organisms plants and animals. The knowledge of biology helps in checking environmental degradation such as desertification, erosion, water hyacinth, land, air and water pollution.

The cardinal objectives of biology education are to prepare students to acquire: adequate laboratory and field skills in biology; meaningful and relevant knowledge in biology, ability to apply scientific knowledge to everyday life in matter of personal and community health and agriculture and lastly reasonable and functional scientific attitudes (Federal Ministry of Education 2004). The study of biology in senior secondary school can equip students with useful concept principles and theories that will enable them face the challenges before and after graduation. Practical biology is the scientific study of the life and structure of plant and animals and their relative environment in real or experimental set-up rather than dwelling in the theory and ideas (Opuh, Eze, & Eze Magu, 2008).

Biology Practical Teaching

Biology practical teaching are important in order to understand       biology concepts. If science education aims to enhance the understanding of the natural world by students and how it functions, then the students have to experience and observe the relevant of science phenomena. Recent studies advocate for a change in teaching methods so that students participate fully and understand different science concepts (Miller, 2010). Students shoulds understand processes and structure; develop skills in manipulation, processing of science information and conducting scientific investigations. Hence, the teaching methods such as learners design, reciprocal, inclusion, divergent and self-check could enhance the teaching of Biology practical lessons (Capel, Least & Turner 2009).

A study conducted by Obiekwe and Chinwe (2015) in Nigeria on the teaching of biological concepts using the 5E (Egagement, Exploration, Explanation, Elaboration and Evaluation) model revealed that student who were exposed to the 5E method achieve better results than those whose teacher use the lecture method. Some teacher laid too much emphasis on content and the use of "chalk and talk approach which does not enhance the teaching and learning of biology. This slackness and shy-away attitude from activity based-approach of instructional delivery has led to abstraction, which makes the students passive and more inclined to role memorization (Obiekwe & Chinwe, 2012). Such teacher-centered method that put the students as passive recipients of knowledge and the teacher as the only source of knowledge might not improved achievement towards biology practical lessons (Nwagbo 2006).        

2.2.2 Concept of Academic Performance

Ifeakor (2010) regarded achievement as a change in behaviour exhibited at the end of a given period of time or within a given time range. Aronson (2012) explained academic achievement as the degree of attainment by student in schools, colleges and universities either in class, laboratory, library, project or field work in which the student is sufficiently exposed to. Aniekwe (2009) sees achievement as a test for the measurement and comparison of skills in various fields of academic study. Hence achievement could be described as a task which has been accomplished successfully, especially by means of exertion, skill practice or perseverance.

Academic achievement enables us to obtain information on the extent to which a student has attained the criterion performance. It also enables us to determine the relative position or rank of individual student with respect to their performance (Etuk, Koko & Eno, 2011). Students, teachers, parents and the society are much concerned about the academic achievement of students. Some of the purposes of academic achievement are itemized by Ekhasemomhe (2010) as follows:

·         To determine the relative effectiveness of the programmed in terms of students behavioral output.

·         To identify students' growth or lack of growth in acquiring desirable knowledge, skills, attitudes and societal values.

·         To help teachers determine the effectiveness of their teaching technique and learning materials.

·         To help motivate students to learn more as they discover their progress or lack of progress in a given task.

·         To encourage students to develop sense of discipline and systematic study habits.

·         To acquaint parents or guardians with their children's performance.

·         To predict the general trend in the development of the teaching –learning process.

·         To make reliable decision about educational planning.

·         To provide educational administrators with adequate information about teachers' effectiveness and school needs.

In summary academic achievement measurement is used for instructional, administrative, guidance and counselling and research purposes.

Many researchers have long investigated factors that affect the academic achievement of students in science. One of the factors that have been investigated for its effects on biology academic achievement is classroom environment.

According to Talton and Simpson (2013) classroom environment is composed of six areas; the emotional climate of science classroom, science curriculum, physical environment of science classroom, science teacher, students in the science classroom, friends' attitude toward science. Talton and Simpson stated that there exists a significant correlation between attitude towards science and all the classroom environmental variables and that these affect students' achievement in science particularly biology. Manoussou (2011) investigated the relationship between attitudes toward biology achievement of Greek students; and found significant correlation between attitudes toward biology classroom environment and academic achievement in biology; and concluded that classroom environment is an important factor that develops positive achievements towards biology. Simpson and Troost (2012) also emphasized that if students experience an unpleasant punishment in science classroom the little science knowledge that they learn may disappear because the classroom environment is not suitable and will affect the students' academic achievement. In the laboratory practical work the teacher should create good atmosphere by organizing the lesson that would be interactive and attractive to students either in group or individually.

Teaching method is another factor in academic achievement especially cooperative learning approach which encourages students to work together in small groups and to use a variety of activities to improve their understanding of subject matter (Chang & Moa, 2009). Inquiry instructional approach encourages students to extend their thinking and express their ideas in a variety of ways through exploring and experiencing their environment through guided or unguided learning activities. inquiry approach which involves students gathering information, collecting and interpreting data, formulating hypotheses and drawing logical conclusions; (Scheneider, Marx & Soloway, 2011). It could be therefore possible for academic achievement to be attained if biology subject will be learned practically through the use of inquiry method in the laboratory or outside the laboratory. Laboratory method in science lessons has an important position among instructional approaches for meaningful learning. It is generally believed that science is better learnt in an applied manner through laboratory activities. The students in doing experiments construct the bases for learning science because practical work involves the use of five senses which enable the students to understand and retain the knowledge they acquired through the process of teaching and learning; this makes them behave like scientists. Laboratory experiment could therefore enhance students' academic achievement through practical skills (Weinburgh & Englehard, 2009).

The teacher has always been considered a crucial factor affecting academic achievement in biology and science in general. Students always identify the teacher as the most important element in a classroom learning environment. The teacher should always create good atmosphere by interacting with the students freely in the laboratory to make the lesson not boring and at the same time maintains discipline; such attitude promotes academic achievement (Ozkan, 2013). Several researchers like Ozkan (2013); Chang and Moa (2009), Scheneider Marx and Soloway (2011) have commended on the attitudes of students, teachers, teaching methods, laboratory activities, classroom environment and how they affected students' academic achievement in science. However, this study is particularly interested in investigating the effect of mode of laboratory work and the influence of gender as a moderating variable on students' academic achievement in biology.

2.3 Theoretical Framework

2.3.1 Paiget's Cognitive Constructivists Learning Theory

Paiget's cognitive constructivists theory was propounded (1973) and proposed that children progress through a sequence of four stages, assumed to reflect qualitative differences in children's cognitive abilities. Limited by the logical structures in the different developmental stages, learners cannot be taught key cognitive tasks if they have not reached the particular stages of development. Piaget emphasized on the holistic approach to learning. To him a child constructs understanding through exploring and experiencing his or her environment.

Later in (1985) Piaget expanded this theory to explain how new information is shaped to fit with the learners existing knowledge, and existing knowledge is itself modified to accommodate the new information. The major concepts in this cognitive process include:

Assimilation: It occurs when a learner perceive new object or events in terms of existing schedules or operations. This information is compared with existing cognitive structures.

Accommodation: It occurs when existing scheme or operation have been modified to account for new experience.    

Equilibration: It is the master developmental process, encompassing both assimilation and accommodation. Anomalies of experience create a state of disequilibrium which can be only resolved when a more adaptive, more sophisticated mode of thought is adopted.

Piagetian constructivist theory generally regards the purpose of education as educating the individual child in a fashion that supports the child's interest and needs. Consequently, the child is the subject of study, and individual cognitive development is the emphasis. This is a child-centere d approach that seeks to identify through scientific study, and the natural parts of cognitive development. It also assumes that learners come to classroom with ideas, beliefs and opinions that need to be altered or modified by a teacher who facilities this alternation by devising tasks and question that create dilemmas for the teachers. Considering the educational reflections of this theory, Piaget sees the child as continually interacting with the world around the child, solving problems that are presented by the environment and learning occurs through taking action to solve these problems. The laboratory work in this study will also be base on these principles.

Within Piaget's theory, the basis of learning is discovery: to understood is to discover or reconstruct by rediscovery and such conditions must be complied with if in the future individuals are to be developed who are capable of production and creativity and not simply repetitive. According to Piaget, children go through stages in which they are accept ideas they many later discard as wrong. Understanding, therefore, is built up step by step through active participation and involvement. Piaget further states that children begin to think logically between the age of 8 and 11 years, a stage he called the concrete operational stage of development. The average age for senior secondary schools year one (SSI) student (the targeted population for the study) is 11 years and above which implies that learners at this age can apply logical thought to practical works and be able to understand them better. In this case teachers should establish an explorative environment for the learner to explore facts or truth by themselves.

2.3.2 Vygotsky's Social Constructivist Learning Theory

Vygotsky is one amongst those who believe that children actively construct their knowledge. Vygotsky's (1962) viewed cognitive development as a result of a dialectical process, where the child learns through shared problem solving experience with someone else, such as teaches, parents, siblings, and peers. As a social constructivist theorist, Vygotsky emphasizes the social contexts of learning and the fact that knowledge is mutually built and constructed. It is also emphasizes the benefits of collaboration in group work and with a more skilled tutor, an individual will facilitate transition form learners, zone of proximal development to new levels of skills and competences. Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) is vygotsky's terms for the range of tasks that are too difficult for children to master alone, but can be learnt with the guidance and assistance from adults or more skilled children working independently. This implies that the science teacher should act as facilitator by gradually withdrawing explanation, hints and demonstrations until the students is able to perform the skill alone. This will encourage the student to learn from previous knowledge they had before coming to school or knowledge they already have to build the new knowledge.

Vygotsky (1962) also emphasized that in the practical class the science teacher is expected to sensitize learners to their environment, develop critical thinking, encourage creative thinking and encourage exploration that will enhance self directed and cooperative learning amongst the learners. Vygotsky's theory also encourage social learning and recognizes that learning involving group work could improve students academic achievement.

This theory plays an important function in education to guide students in learning the skills that are necessary in the culture in which they live. The teacher according to Vygotsky's view should also establish many opportunities fro students to learn with the teacher and more skillful peers. In this respect it is evident from this theory that science should be taught in such a way that students will be able to apply the knowledge outside the classroom. Practical work in the  laboratory can help achieve this. Looking at the constructivist theory as postulated by Vygosky in the context of this study we find that achievement in biology largely depends on the learners and the environment itself and then the interactions that exist between the learners. The implication of this is that the science teacher must give the learners the opportunities to construct, produce and use experience that is meaningful to their understanding of their environment. When this in done, then they can comfortable think, reason, perceive, talk and reflect about their environment.

The child interaction with other people is important in the development of the child's view of the word. Through exchange of ideas with other people the learner become aware that self-criticism is possible only in the social interaction.

2.4       Brief History of Biology

The Greek philosophers, voracious in their curiosity, look with interest at the range of living creatures, from the humblest plant to man himself. A Greek name is coined by a German naturalist in the early 19th century for this study of all physical aspects of natural life - biology, from bios (life) and logos (word or discourse). It is a subject with clear subdivisions, such as botany, zoology or anatomy. But all are concerned with living organisms.
The first man to make a significant contribution in biology is Alcmaeon, living in Crotona in the 5th century. Crotona is famous at the time for its Pythagorean scholars, but Alcmaeon seems not to have been of their school.

Alcmaeon is the first scientist known to have practised dissection in his researches. His aim is not anatomical, for his interest lies in trying to find the whereabouts of human intelligence. But in the course of his researches he makes the first scientific discoveries in the field of anatomy.
The subsequent Greek theory, subscribed to even by Aristotle, is that the heart is the seat of intelligence. Alcmaeon reasons that since a blow to the head can affect the mind, in concussion, this must be where reason lies. In dissecting corpses to pursue this idea, he observes passages linking the brain with the eyes (the optic nerves) and the back of the mouth with the ears (Eustachian tubes).

2.5 Empirical Studies

There are several related studies to the influence of biology practical activities on academic achievement of students.

Chikelu (2009) conducted a research on effect of biology practical activities on students process skill acquisition. A quasi experimental design was employed for the study. The sample consists of one hundred and eleven (111) senior secondary one biology students selected through simple random sampling techniques. The instrument for data collection in the study has 20 items Science Process Skill Acquisition Test (SPSAT). The data was analyzed using mean and standard deviation to answer the research questions and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) to test the hypothesis at 0.05 level of significance. The results revealed that practical activity method to foster the acquisition of science process skills than the lecture method. The interaction effect between teaching methods and gender of the subjects was not significant.

Based on the findings of this study, the use of practical activity method to foster the acquisition of science process skills in biology students was recommended to biology teachers.

The similarity between the reviewed study and the present study is that the studies are both conducted in the laboratory. They used the same experimental research design. Both studies used gender as their moderating variable. The differences between the two studies is that the present study is investigating the influence of biology practical activities on students achievement in biology.

Cengiz (2010) carried out study on the effect of the virtual laboratory on students achievement and attitudes in chemistry. The study employed a quasi-experimental research design, specifically the pre-test and post-test, experimental control group model. The study employed two scales which are 15-item knowledge scale (ks) questions. The KuderR Pichardson coefficient reliability was 0.86 for ks and 24 items for students attitudes scale (SAS), were selected with Cronbach alpha-reliability coefficient of 0.92. The sample of the study was 341 high school students. The data collected were analysed by using SPASS/PC version 120 statistical programs. Two different t-tests were performed. The results of the study showed that virtual laboratory applications made positive effects on students achievement when compared to traditional teaching methods. The study is related to the present study in the sense that they were conducted within the context of laboratory work. However, the present study differs from the reviewed study because the previous study was in chemistry while the present study is biology. The present study intend to investigate the influence of biology practical activities on academic achievement of students in biology.

Ukozor (2011) carried out research on the effect of constructivist teaching strategy on senior secondary school students' achievement and self-efficacy in physics. The study employed one hundred and eight four (184) students from four (4) secondary schools. Non-equivalent control group design was adapted. Five research question were posed and three null hypothesis guided the study. Means and standard deviation was used in answering the research questions and ANCOVA was used in testing the hypothesis. A significant effect of gender on students physics academic achievement was found. In the light of the above result, therefore the present study intends to investigate the influence of biology practical activities on academic achievement of students in biology.

The researcher learnt from the study that despite the importance of the use of practical biology to enhance the academic achievement of students, it appears that many still do not use biology practical in teaching and learning of biology.     

Okoh, Iwuozor and Obioma (2011) investigated gender differences in computational problems in chemistry among senior secondary school students. A total of multiple choice, pre and post achievement test items were constructed on three concepts treated in the experiment and administered to four hundred (400) SSII students drawn from twenty randomly selected secondary schools in four local government areas of Delta State. Two hypotheses were formulated and tested using the t-test at 0.05 level of significant. Analysis of the results revealed that the male students failed to achieve significantly higher in computational problems in chemistry than their female counterparts. The present study is aimed at investigating whether there is any difference due to gender by using group and individual laboratory work on students' achievement in biology.

Nwosu, (2011) examined gender differences in the utilization of information and communication technology (ICT) among undergraduate students. One research question and one null hypothesis guided the study. The sample for the study comprised hundred (100) female and male students of Faculty of Education, University of Nigeria Nsukka. The instrument for data collection was questionnaire. Mean scores and t-test statistics were used for data analysis. Result showed that female and male students utilize ICT differently and males utilize ICT more than females. Also the hypothesis showed that there is a significant difference between the mean scores of male and female students in ICT utilization for academic activities which indicate that male students use ICT more than their female counterparts. Recommendations were made based on the findings.

Considering the findings of different people above, it is clear that there is not yet a consensus as to whether gender influences science achievement or not. Some are of the opinion that males are superior to females, while others said is females and some are even neutral.

2.6       Summary of the Literature Reviewed Literature

The review of literature was presented under conceptual framework, theoretical framework, review of empirical studies and summary of literature review. In the conceptual framework, the concept of biology was reviewed, biology knowledge is an essential element for national and human development. Over the years, use of ineffective teaching methods in teaching biology has contributed to the reduction in the number of students that could have opted for biological sciences and also in harnessing of the potentials in study of biology. Concept of academic achievement was also reviewed. Ifeakor (2012) regarded achievement as a change in behaviour exhibited at the end of a given period of time or within at the end of a given period of time or within a given time. aronson (2010) explain academic achievement as the degree of attainment by student in schools, college, and universities or field work in which the student is sufficiently exposed to.

The review examines Piaget's cognitive constructivist learning theory and Vygotsky's social constructivist learning theory. These theories explain the importance of interactive learning with materials, environments or among students themselves which is what laboratory practical is all about. Learning theories of Piaget and Vygotsky emphasizes the need for active participation of the students during the learning process. So that they can find out fact for themselves, with the teacher serving as a facilitator. These theories relates to the present study because in laboratory activities, students are given the opportunity to construct knowledge by themselves by either working in groups or individually.

More so, some empirical studies were reviewed on the effect of different instructional approaches on students in different science subjects and some studies but the literature review identifies lack of research findings on the laboratory work. This show that there is need for a virile instructional approach and strategies for effective conduct of practical which would enhance students' achievement in sciences. The review showed that there have been studies on influence of gender on students' achievement in different science subjects using different instructional models and approach, but the finding of these studies have been inconclusive. Hence, this study investigates the influence of biology practical on academic achievement of senior secondary school in biology in Wammako local government area, Sokoto state. 



3.1 Introduction

This chapter describes the procedures the researcher used in carrying out the research work. These include the design of the study, area of the study, population of the study, sample and sampling techniques, instrument for data collection, validation of the instrument, reliability of the instrument, method of data collection and method of data analysis.

3.2 Research Design

The design adopted for this research is quasi-experimental. This design is a useful way of obtaining information about peoples opinions, attitudes, preferences, and experiences simply by asking questions. This design was used for this study since a group of people have to be studied systematically by collecting and analyzing data from a chosen few considered sufficient representative of the entire population.

3.3 Population of the Study

The population for this study comprises of all the public senior secondary schools (SS2)  biology students in some selected secondary school in Wamakko Local Government Area of Sokoto state, this schools are mentioned in the below.









Table 3.1 population of the study

 S/No  Name of School                                                                       Population

  1. Government Day Secondary School Arkilla                          1717
  2. Government Day Secondary School, Wamakko                    543
  3. Sani Dingyadi Unity Secondary School                                 3465
  4. Government Day Secondary School Dundaye                       2323
  5. Government Day Secondary School Badon Barade              757
  6. Government Technical School Farfaru                                   564
  7. Government Day Secondary School Fed. Lowcost               235
  8. Government Day Secondary School Gumbi                          245
  9. Government Girls Secondary School Arkilla                         890
  10. Government Day Secondary School Kalambaina                  670
  11. Ahmad Bello Secondary School Farfaru A.B.A                    590
  12. Muhammad Zako GGSS, Runjin Sambo                               878
  13. Government Technical School, Runjin Sambo                       766

TOTAL                                                                                               13,963











3.3 Sample and Sampling Techniques

The sample for the study was made of 100 senior secondary SS II students. Simple random sampling was used to select twenty five students from each of the four (4) schools selected.

Table 3.2 Sample for the study








GDSS, Arkilla



25 EG


Government Girls Secondary School Arkilla



25 EG


Ahmad Bello Secondary School Farfaru A.B.A



25 CG


Government Day Secondary School Kalambaina



25 CG





3.4 Instrument for Data Collection

The instrument that was used in carrying out this research was Biology Assessment Test. The instrument was developed by the researcher to determine the level of the performance. The Biology Assessment Test was consisted of 10 questions and each question carry 1 mark.

3.4.1    Validation of the Instrument

The instrument was validated by three experts, two from measurement and evaluation and one from Biology Education. They made necessary corrections on the items and their input were incorporated in the final draft of the instrument. The final copy of the instrument after the validation was used for data collection.

3.4.2    Reliability of the Instrument

The reliability of the instrument was determined after a pilot study. The test was administered to a set of one hundred (100) students  using test and re-test method with one week's interval in order to obtain the reliability, the instrument using Pearson Product Moment Correlations Coefficient (PPMCC). Thus the reliability coefficient was found to be 0.77 this shows that the instrument was reliable.

3.5       Method of Data Collection

Oral interview will be conducted with the statements, biology teachers as well as the schools administrators, all the interviews and contained opinions on various issues connected with the development of biology laboratory in teaching equipment on the academic performance of Senior Secondary Wamakko Local Government

3.6       Method of Data Analysis

Two methods will be used in analyzing the information gathered.

i.                    After careful summation and ranges have been found, tabular illustration will be used in analyzing the data.

ii.                  Figures will be used in the course of the analysis after which they will be presented in percentages.



4.1 Introduction

In this chapter, the result obtained from the analysis of the data collected and the discussion of the results is presented. The data collected was analyzed using standard statistical package. The chapter is presented in the following sub-headings.

The major objective of the study was to find out the effect of improvised instructional materials on the academic performance in of  junior secondary school students in Biology in Sokoto Metropolis.

4.2 Data Presentation and Analysis

The presentation of data, analysis and interpretations are organized around the research questions and null hypotheses of the study. The description statistics are as follows:

Research Question One: What is the effect of improvised instructional materials on the academic performance of junior secondary students in Biology?

Table4.1: Summary of the Mean and Standard Deviation of Students

Academic Performance score in Biology using Experimental Approach and Control Method using Conventional Method.






Mean Difference











Field Survey, 2021

The results in Table 4.1. Shows that the students exposed to experimental group had a mean score of 15.85 with SD of 1.48 while the control group scored 11.00 with SD of 1.62 and the mean difference was 4.85. These show that the experimental group taught was a little higher performance than those taught using conventional method.

Research Question Two: What is the effect of improvised instructional materials on the academic performance of male and female junior secondary students in Biology?

Table 4.2  Summary (Pretest)  of the Mean and Standard Deviations of

Student Score on Gender Difference, using improvised instructional materials.






Mean Difference

Experiment (Boys)





Experiment (Girls)





            Field Survey, 2021

The results in Table 4.2 Shows that the male students exposed to experimental group had a mean score of 8.85 with SD of 1.25 while the experimental female group scored 8.62 with SD of 1.41. The mean difference was 0.23. This shows that the male experimental group had higher performance than the female experimental group using conventional method.

Hypotheses Testing

In this section, the hypotheses were tested using inferential statistics.

HaThere is no significant difference in the academic achievement of students who are taught Biology with improvised instructional materials and those taught without it.

Table 4.3; Post-test of Experimental and Control Groups







Experimental group












Control Group






Field Survey, 2021

From the above Table 4.3 indicates that a T-cal value of 11.04 with a degree of freedom and a p-value of 1.65 at 0.05 level of significance. Since p-value is less than the critical value that is P<0.05 the null hypothesis is rejected and conclude that there is a significant difference between the pupils taught Biology using activity based learning and those taught using conventional methods. 

Ho2: There is no significant difference in the academic achievement of male and female students who are taught Biology with improvised instructional materials.

Table 4.4: Analysis of Biology Test of Post-test for Male Experimental and Female Experimental Groups








Experiment (Boys)














Experiment (Girls)







Field Survey, 2021

From table 4.5, the male and female students of the experimental group was greater than the critical p-value of 0.61 at 0.05 significant, so hypothesis 2 was rejected. Thus, there is there is significant difference of the academic performance of JJS male and female students in Biology who were taught with improvised instructional materials. This means that gender has no effect on the experimental group.

4.3       Summary of Findings

From the results, the findings of research question one showed that students who were taught Biology with improvised instructional materials performed better than those taught without it. The t-test analysis showed better academic performance in Biology by the experimental group because of the use of improvised instructional materials. From the result, it is clear that the use of improvised instructional materials has enhanced the teaching and learning of Biology among senior secondary students resulting in higher achievement gains by the learners. This finding is in agreement with the findings of Miciano (2005) who found out that the use of instructional materials improved academic performance of students in Biology. The result also agrees with the work of Frouts, Brown and Thieman (2007) when they found out that the use of instructional materials improved the fifth grade students in solving computer assisted problems.


4.4       Discussion

The discussion of research question two revealed that male and female students who were taught with improvised instructional materials achieved better academic performance in Biology. Also, the t-test analysis of hypothesis two showed a better academic performance in Biology of male and female students when taught with improvised instructional materials. This indicated that there is no significant difference in the academic achievement of male and female students who were taught Biology with improvised instructional materials. It further showed that gender has no effect on the performance of students in Biology when they are taught with improvised instructional materials.

This result is in agreement with the work of Inyang and Eke (2007) on their study of the influence, ability and gender grouping in students' achievement, when they found out that there was higher level of performance of the mixed grouping than male and female groups. Hence, they emphasized more on mixed grouping than single groups. However, the result disagrees with the work of Osa (2008) on his study on gender differences in performance and attitude towards Biology, which he found out that girls had lower achievement and greater dislike for Biology than boys.





 This study investigates impact of Biology laboratory teaching equipment on the academic performance of senior secondary students in Wamakko LGA of Sokoto state.  The last chapter analyzed the data used from the test scores and used it to test for the null hypotheses outlined to guide the investigation.

5.2       SUMMARY

 Poor performance of students in biology examination in West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO) are of great concern to the Education Governing bodies (NTA News 2012). James et al (2000), suggested Biology Garden as a teaching strategy that would motivate students. For learning to be more participatory and real, students should be involved in collection of specimens and handle things physically to gain real natural experience.

This study investigates impact of Biology laboratory teaching equipment on the academic performance of senior secondary students and also investigated gender influence on academic achievement of students. Two research questions and their corresponding null hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.5 level of significance. Two groups of students, experimental and control groups were selected for the experiment using the SS2 and SS3 students; the experimental group was exposed to the use of laboratory equipment in the teaching and learning of some selected biology concepts while the control groups were not exposed to the use of the equipment.

The sample for this study comprised a total of 50 Biology students drawn from four Senior Secondary Schools in Wamakko Local Government Area of Sokoto State. They were selected by simple random sampling. Student performances were the variables investigated. Pre-test was conducted to determine their academic equivalence, post test for academic performance and postpost test to find out their final performance. The data for the results were collected respectively. A total of 50 students made up of 25 students in experimental and 25 in the control groups were selected for the experiment.

A 10-item multiple choice instrument, the Biology Achievement Test (BAT) with reliability co-efficient of 0.65 and drawn from past questions was used to collect relevant data which were analyzed using t-test statistical (analyses) data. The results obtained are presented and discussed in chapter four.


From the findings of the study it is clear that the use of laboratory equipment in the teaching of biology at Senior Secondary Schools has significant impact on the student's academic achievements and their retention ability. It is therefore concluded that the use of lab equipment significantly improves students' academic achievements and retention among Biology students in Sokoto State.

The following conclusions were drawn from the findings of the study: -

1.       The use of laboratory equipment in teaching Biology concept increases students' performance.

2.      The use of laboratory equipment in teaching strategies enhance learning and retention abilities.

3.      Students taught using laboratory equipment perform better than their counterparts who were taught without the use of laboratory equipment.

4.      The use of laboratory equipment has no significant difference in the ability of both male and female students.




Based on the findings emanating from this study, the following recommendations are suggested: -

1.      Laboratory equipment should be provided by the Ministry of Education for effective teaching and learning of Biology concepts in Sokoto State Senior Secondary School.

2.      Other Stakeholders like the PTA should also make effort to provide teaching materials to schools.

3.      The pre-service teachers curriculum in the colleges of education should emphasize the use of laboratory equipment in Biology teaching.

Teachers should be fully and adequately trained to make use of laboratory equipment through regular workshops and seminars.




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