This study investigated the effect of the locally available instructional materials on chemistry students’ achievement in the separation of mixture. Two out of six classes of Senior Secondary One were sampled using simple random sampling technique. 104 students were sampled from 320 students. The study adopted quasi experimental research design. Validated Senior Secondary chemistry achievement test (SSCAT) with a reliability and stability indices of 0.90 and 0.83, respectively, was used to collect data. Mean and standard deviation were used to answer two research questions while the hypotheses were tested at 0.05 alpha level using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). The findings revealed that students’ achievement was enhanced with the use of locally available instructional materials. Also, gender had no significant effect on students’ achievement. Teachers should, therefore, be encouraged to source and use locally instructional materials so as to motivate, encourage active participation and generally improve chemistry students’ academic achievement.
Students’ achievement in chemistry has been a crucial area of great concern to chemistry educators and other stake holders. Students’ achievement in every discipline is manifested in their performance in assessments and external examination results after being exposed to functional teaching and learning processes that has taken place over a stated period of time in both formal and informal educational settings. Chemistry students are expected to exhibit some level of competence and understanding after being exposed to the Senior Secondary chemistry curriculum for three years in their various schools.
In Nigeria, the level of understanding and commitment of chemistry students as reflected in their academic performance in external examinations has not been impressive over the years. This has triggered perpetual worries to science educators and especially chemistry teachers because the bulk of the blames of this downward trend in achievement of chemistry students in public examinations has been shouldered on either directly or indirectly on the teachers’ poor knowledge of the subject, method of delivery of subject, non commitment and poor dedication to duty.
Nevertheless, various approaches and aids have been identified and some of them employed in the classroom in order to make teaching and learning of science subjects meaningful and effective. Cooperative, concept mapping, inquiry, constructivist methods and the use of environment have been identified and suggested for their effectiveness in teaching and learning by some researchers (Okebukola, 1984; Eshiet, 1996; and Ezeudu, 1996). In spite of all these positive developments discovered for academic improvement, the average performance of science students in Senior Secondary Certificate Examination has been below average.
This situation worsens especially at this era of information technology where the use of GSM by secondary school students has eroded deep into the academic interest of the students. Students are more interested in using their GSM and laptop computer in prolonged chatting, face booking, music download, watching movies and pornographic films very late in the night than studying for an hour. The poor achievement in academics has been confirmed by the analyses of results of the performance of candidates in May/June West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination in chemistry from 1999-2010. Asiem, Bassey, & Essien (2005); WAEC (2006); Research and Statistic Unit, WAEC, Lagos; and WAEC (2010), in accordance, reported on the performance of students in WASSCE chemistry from 2009-2010. In these reports, the mean performance score in chemistry essay was 35 in 2009; 36 in 2010. In Practical, the mean score in 2009 was 29 while in 2010 was 24. Also included in the reports were the candidates’ strength and weaknesses in some difficult topics, suggested remedies and detailed comment on each question.
In Enugu State, between 1995 and 1999, in WAEC, the percentage of students with pass grade was 26.3% in 1996, 22.8% in 1997; 12.8% in 1998; 19.7% in 1999 (Illoputaife, 2001). These poor achievements in chemistry are reflected in several other years of the students’ performance in external examinations such as WAEC (2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2013 and 2014). The effect of this poor achievement has resulted in backwardness in development of science related courses in higher institutions, high rate of students drop out, food insecurity, economic meltdown and others.
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