1.1 Background to the Study
The influence of instructional materials on students’ academic performance and teaching and learning in educational development is indisputable. The teaching of Basic Science in Nigerian secondary schools needs to be properly handled. Basic science contributes to the nation’s economic development, hence, the need to be taught thoroughly if it is to meet the educational and economic development. Moreso, that Basic Science is one of the subjects in Junior and Senior Secondary Schools; and as a vocational subject, it cannot be taught effectively without the use of appropriate instructional materials (Ajayi, 1988). The curriculum content of the senior secondary school levels consists of three major concepts of production, protection and economics. A series of activities were suggested in the curriculum to ensure the development of psychomotor skills in basic science by the students.
The teacher alone cannot provide all the needed condition for an effective teaching and learning process, other supporting materials should be provided. The students learn better when most of the senses are appealed to the instruction and use of instructional materials in basic science science education has added a new dimension in the positive promotion of the teaching and learning process. It provides the much need sensory experiences needed by the learners for an effective and meaningful behavioural change. Instructional materials are meant to improve the quality of education for effective academic performance of basic science students in schools. The performance of the students on the intended learning outcome provide the validation – loop on the success of the interaction and instruction (Bakare, 1986).
Teachers normally dodge the use of instructional materials in most of their teaching topics, while they try to do all they could during their practical teaching in their course of study; even though some of these materials are not usually available in the schools for teachers’ use. Also, in the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, basic science practicals use a lot of specimens, but most of these materials are only made available for students’ use for the purpose of examination. These specimens are those that have not been seen or used before by the students. “In most of the secondary schools, instructional materials are not judiciously used as it ought to be. Many teachers teach in abstract without using the required materials” (Ibrahim, 2000).
In making use of any instructional materials, such materials must be previewed that is, having full knowledge of the material; prepare the environment where it will be used; prepare audience by means of making sure that the materials to be used will attract attention, arouse, motivate and provide the rationale that could be used in the beginning, middle or end. The effectiveness of utilizing appropriate instructional materials in teaching and learning of basic science is not void of quality instructor. In order to give quality education to the younger generation, there is need for employment of more competent, experienced and qualified basic science teachers.
The need to identify the suitable instructional materials, by which students can be made to comprehend the extent of the subject easily and intelligibly, is the focus of this study. An indepth look at the secondary schools basic science programmes revealed that there is the need for improving all phases of the programmes (IMAA, 2004). For example, there is need for the introduction and use of instructional materials and equipments for use in both the classrooms and school farms. The broad aim of any good training materials are to induce and support the learning process that leads to improve on-the-job performance through affecting changes in the knowledge, attitudes, skills and practices of the learners. With the above reasons, it is worth investigating the influence of instructional materials in the teaching of Basic Science in our Secondary Schools, for better performance of students in their examination and chosen career in the field of basic science. If instructional materials are used in Secondary Schools, it would help improving the teaching and learning and hence the academic performance of students in Basic Science effectively.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Many of the school authorities have very lukewarm attitudes over the provision of needed tools, equipments, and farm inputs required for effective basic science, especially practical in secondary schools. This non-challant attitude tend to retard genuine efforts of some teachers of basic science in the secondary schools. Inspite of the emphasis being placed on basic science as one of the subjects in secondary schools, there is usually not enough time provided in the time-table for a meaningful basic science work (Adeyemi, 2000). Basic science teachers are always interested to finish the syllabus before the external examination – Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) conducted by West African Examination Council (WAEC).
Hence, the prosecution of a functional education in relation to basic science in secondary schools still leaves much to be desired. In view of this difficulties, most teachers of basic science still resort to the theoretical method of teaching the subject. This undoubtedly, is contrary to the improvement of basic science education, which is greatly needed at this period of our development with emphasis on practical oriented learning (Mammudu, 1996). The researcher has taught for a number of years in some secondary schools and had visited a number of secondary schools as a resource person. Through these experiences, the researcher observed that most teachers in secondary schools in the state did not fully make use of instructional materials in the teaching of basic science to their students. This negligence of the effective use of the instructional facilities and materials in teaching and learning of basic science common to both the trained and untrained teachers affected the successful academic performance of students in basic science in secondary schools in Kwara State.
The desire to embark on this research study therefore, stemmed from the fact that there is problem of poor performance of secondary school students in basic science in the state. This poor and general backwardness in basic science have been recorded for some years now by the examination bodies of Senior School Certificate Examination conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC), school promotion examinations and the special qualifying examination, conducted by the State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, introduced for students in senior secondary schools respectively – (Department of Statistics, Planning and Research, Ministry of Education, Ilorin, 2007). The statistics obtained from fifteen secondary schools in Kwara State have indicated that there is a progressive decline in the performance of students in basic science subjects. Statistics from the various examination offices of the schools revealed that out of a total of 1,964 basic science students that registered and sat for the West African Examination Council in 2009, only 610 passed and 1,354 students failed from the 15 secondary schools – representing 31% passed and 69% failed (School Examination Offices, 2010).
Anything that saves students from performing poorly in basic science, will also save parents or guardians from wasting their hard-earned money. It may put an end to parents or guardians wasting their hard-earned money re-enrolling their wards to repeat basic science examinations which they are not guaranteed passing even after several attempts. The unusual way some basic science teachers approach the teaching of basic science has contributed to the students’ development of negative attitude to both the subjects and the teachers. Most of the secondary schools cannot meet up with the academic (practical) requirements of this subject as they lack instructional materials for adequate teaching and learning of the subject.
The central problems which are attributed to the students’ poor academic performance in basic science in secondary schools’ in Kwara State may be due to poor usage or not using appropriate instructional materials to teach basic science, issue of class size, inability to improve on the needed facilities, equipment, technical expertise, lack of basic science laboratories, workshops, seminars, poor organisation of the few available instructional materials, basic science teachers attitudes towards the use of instructional materials, non improvisation of instructional materials by basic science teachers and the weakness of the school administrators in finding solutions to the problems for the influence of misuse of instructional materials, all need serious attention.
The appropriate utilization of instructional materials and teaching of basic science by experienced and qualified teachers, may probably be the main solution to poor performance in Basic Science. In order to develop interest of the students to the study of basic science in secondary schools and the participation of basic science teachers to teach the subject as a vocational basic science, the researcher deem necessary for the use of appropriate instructional materials for the teaching of Basic Science in selected secondary schools setting in Kwara State in particular.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The major objective of this study is to determine the influence of instructional materials on the academic performance of students in basic science in secondary schools in Kwara State, Nigeria. The specific objectives are to:
- identify the types of instructional materials being used for teaching in order to achieve students’ academic performance in basic science;
- determine the characteristics of instructional materials that can be used to influence students academic performance in basic science;
- evaluate the importance of using instructional materials to achieve students academic performance in basic science.
- examine the factors affecting the use of instructional materials to influence the academic performance of students in basic science.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions were answered in the course of the study.
- What are the types of instructional materials available for use to influence the academic performance of basic science students in secondary schools in Kwara State?
- What are the characteristics of instructional materials being used to influence the academic performance of students in basic science in secondary schools in Kwara State?
- What is the importance of instructional materials to influence students academic performance in basic science in secondary schools in Kwara State?
- What are the factors affecting the use of instructional materials to influence students’ academic performance in basic science in secondary schools in Kwara State?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses (Ho) were stated to guide the study.
- There is no significant relationship between the use of available instructional materials and students academic performance in basic science in secondary schools in Kwara State.
- There is no significant relationship between the characteristics of good instructional materials used and academic performance of students in basic science in secondary schools in Kwara State.
- There is no significant relationship between the importance of using instructional materials and the academic performance of students in basic science in secondary schools in Kwara State.
- There is no significant relationship between the factors affecting the use of instructional materials and students’ academic performance in basic science in secondary schools in Kwara State.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This research work is significant and useful in the teaching and learning of basic science. Findings from this study will help to assess the effectiveness of the stated objectives of secondary school – basic science curriculum.
Subsequently, the findings from the study will help basic science teachers in choosing an appropriate instructional material(s) capable of releasing students’ tension towards the subject thus improving students’ academic performance in basic science. It will motivate basic science teachers to develop interest towards utilizing suitable teaching materials that will be a possible means towards reducing failure in the teaching and learning of basic science. Findings of this study will help clarify among the teachers the need for continuous and regular improvisation of suitable instructional materials for teaching and learning of basic science.
Moreover, the results of this study will be of great significance to the basic science curriculum planners. The curriculum developers will find the work useful in reviewing the basic science curriculum by seriously laying emphasis on utilization of instructional materials so as to meet up with emerging needs of the society. This study will be of immense benefit to researchers in the field of basic science by forming a basis for further studies on the usage of instructional materials and teachers’ quality in order learning aspects of basic science as a subject.
The study will also equip our educational administrators in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MOEST), educational test and measurement experts on the need to provide instructional materials for teaching basic science in our secondary schools setting particularly in selected secondary schools and the Kwara State as a whole.
The study will also be useful in educational policy making. The research will arouse instructional educational funding agencies such as Federal Ministry of Education, Faculties or Schools of Education, National Teachers’ Institutes as well as professional bodies such as Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN) to formulate educational polices which may be useful in implementation of basic science curriculum.
1.7 Assumptions of the Study
The researcher made the following assumptions that:
- the availability of instructional materials – specimens, relevant basic science textbooks, pictures, diagrams, practical school gardens, charts and community resource places contribute to the academic performance of
students in basic science;
- the good use of instructional materials is dependent on the teachers’ qualification and experience to influence students academic performance in basic science;
iii. students taught with instructional materials do perform better than students taught without instructional materials; iv. the factors affecting the use of instructional materials is built-up upon the class size or students population.
1.8 Delimitation of the Study
This research work is delimited to the types of instructional materials available for use to influence academic performance of basic science students in secondary schools in Kwara State, characteristics of instructional materials, importance and uses of instructional materials and factors affecting instructional materials usage. It is also delimited to thirty basic science teachers and two hundred and six basic science students from thirty selected Government and private Secondary Schools in three senatorial districts of the sixteen local government areas in Kwara State.