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EFFECTS OF TEACHER MADE MODELS AND STUDENTS MADE MODELS ON STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT AND INTEREST IN ORGANIC CHEMISTRY

EDUCATION RESEARCH PROJECT TOPICS AND MATERIALS

EFFECTS OF TEACHER MADE MODELS AND STUDENTS MADE MODELS ON STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT AND INTEREST IN ORGANIC CHEMISTRY

ABSTRACT

This study was carried out to investigate the effects of teacher made models and students made models on the achievement and interest of senior secondary school II (SSII) students in organic chemistry. The study also investigated the effect of gender on academic achievement and interest of SS (II) students in Organic Chemistry. Four research questions and four hypotheses were formulated for the study. The researcher reviewed related literature. A quasi-experimental design, specifically, the non-equivalent control group design involving four intact classes were used. The population of the study comprised 2960 Senior Secondary II (SSII) students in the forty-eight secondary schools offering chemistry in Nsukka Zone. The sample for the study consisted of 140 senior secondary II chemistry students from two co-educational schools in Nsukka Local Government Area. A purposive random sampling technique was used to select two co-educational schools that have two chemistry intact classes. The classes were assigned to the two experimental groups, Teacher Made Model (TMM) and Students Made Model (SMM) by balloting. The regular chemistry teachers of the selected schools were trained and used for the study. The instruments for data collection included the Organic Chemistry Achievement Test (OCAT) and the Organic Chemistry Interest Inventory (OCII). The “OCAT” with a reliability Coefficient of 0.97 and the “OCII” of 0.77 were developed by the researcher and validated by two experts in Measurement and Evaluation and one in Education Chemistry. The data collected were analysed using mean and standard deviation and Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA). The major findings of the study  include the following: The use of models had a significant effect on academic achievement and interest of students in organic chemistry;  the students taught organic chemistry using students made models performed significantly better than their counterparts taught with the teacher-made models; students taught using students-made models showed greater interest in organic chemistry than those taught using the teacher made models; Gender has no significant effect on the achievement and interest of students in Organic Chemistry; there was no significant interaction effect of model type and gender on the students’ achievement and interest in Organic Chemistry. The implications of these findings with respect to students, teachers, Ministry of Education as well as tertiary institutions were presented. Based on these, it was recommended that the application of students-made models for teaching concepts in organic chemistry should be included in the school curriculum.

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

Background of the Study

The role of science and technology in the development of a nation is never in dispute. According to Jegede (1983) the current development in science and technology has greatly affected human beings and to be ignorant of these developments is to live in an empty, meaningless and probably unreal life.

The technological development of any nation lies on its emphasis on sciences especially chemistry. This is evidenced in the admission ratio of 60:40 of the science and science-related courses to the Arts and Humanities into Nigerian Federal and State universities. In an effort to achieve national developmental needs, the Federal Government of Nigeria made special provisions and incentives through the provision of instructional materials, laboratory equipments, training and retraining of teachers, provision of research grants and adoption of information and communication technology (ICT). (Federal Ministry of Education, 2008).

In addition to these provisions, the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Educational Tax Fund (ETF) intervention project supplied labless science equipments and instructional materials to about six hundred and thirty-three secondary schools all over the country in 2008 (Federal Ministry of Education, 2008). The aim was to reduce or eradicate the problems encountered by the teachers as a result of the absence or dearth of laboratory equipments and instructional materials in schools. However, inspite of these efforts by the Federal Government, students performance is still very poor in the sciences particularly chemistry.

Chemistry is the branch of science which deals with how substances are made up, how the atoms of elements combine or break up and how atoms and compounds react under different conditions. Pure chemistry is more concerned with academic development of chemistry, extending the frontiers of chemical knowledge through laboratory research, developing improved methods of imparting chemical knowledge and experimenting on alternative methods of producing desired results. A pure chemist is not interested in commercializing the results of his experiments. Industrial or applied chemistry as the name implies translates the laboratory findings of the pure chemist into commercial products. For example, in the laboratory the pure chemist will boil a small quantity of oil and soda to produce a small amount of soap. He is interested not in selling this quantity but in studying its properties – the colour, the odour, the amount of lather it can produce etc. The industrial chemist will make use of these findings of the pure chemist but has to design ways and means of producing the soap on a very large scale, and cheaply too.

Relationship between Chemistry and other Sciences

In other professions other than chemistry, problems concerning chemistry occur repeatedly. The physician, for example, needs to be familiar with numerous chemical reactions that govern human life, as well as to know how they can be altered by chemical means. The engineer, whether he specializes in civil, mechanical or electrical aspects of his profession, deals with materials. He must know their properties and their behaviour under varying conditions. Eg. Why does steel corrode, and under what conditions does it corrode least rapidly? The agriculturist is faced with all these problems and more. Besides the chemistry of life processes and the chemical behaviour of structural materials, he needs to understand the complex chemical make-up of soils and its influence on growing plants. In relation to other sciences, chemistry is one of the cornerstones of such sciences as geology, biochemistry, pharmacy, microbiology, zoology and botany. Without chemistry, how can one, for example, unravel the mystery of photosynthesis, respiration and the structure of chlorophyll, all encountered in the study of biology?

The importance of chemistry is underscored by the fact that to obtain any applied science degree in agriculture, pharmacy, medicine or engineering in any university in the world, the candidate must have passed chemistry in the WASSCE and UTME and must have studied chemistry to a certain level in the university. This fact is important and should, therefore, be adequately noted. We have often seen students who go through the secondary school either blindly or without proper guidance as to the importance of chemistry. It is only when such students wish to enter the university does it dawn on them that they should have taken chemistry more seriously. The chemist is found in all facets of the community and so job opportunities are quite high. A chemist is employed in chemical industries such as breweries, cement factories, drug companies, food industries, oil companies and in government establishments like institutions of learning, ministries of defence, environment, education, agriculture, technology and internal affairs.

Organic chemistry which is an aspect of chemistry is a component of the chemistry curriculum. The curriculum content which was prepared by the Comparative Education Study and Adaptation Centre (CESAC) and presented to a national critique workshop organized by the Federal Ministry of Education Science and Technology (FMEST) in 1984 was aimed at satisfying the chemistry requirement of the senior secondary school programme in the new National Policy on Education (NPE 2004). The objectives of the chemistry curriculum are to:

  1. facilitate a transition in the use of scientific concepts and techniques acquired in Integrated science with chemistry;
  2. provide the students with basic knowledge in chemical concepts and principles through efficient selection of content and sequencing;
  • show Chemistry in its inter-relationship with other subjects;
  1. show chemistry and its link with industry, everyday life, benefits and hazards;
  2. provide a course which is complete for pupils not proceeding to higher education while it is at the same time a reasonably adequate foundation for a post-secondary chemistry course (NPE 2004).

The fundamental principles of chemistry covered in this curriculum include: particulate nature of matter; periodicity, chemical combination, quantitative aspects of chemical reaction; rates of reaction; equilibrium, carbon chemistry and industrial application of chemistry. It is recommended that the guided discovery approach resting on the activity of the students be used in teaching. This instructional approach is recommended to ensure that learners are provided with continuous experiences in skills of defining problems, recognizing assumptions, critical thinking, hypothesizing, observing, collecting and recording data, testing and evaluating evidence, manipulating variables, generalizing and applying generalizations. Assessment instruments should include multiple choice items, structured short answer questions, essay questions and rating scales where necessary.

A review of students’ achievement in Senior Secondary Certificate (SSC) examination in chemistry showed a pathetic trend of performance compared to other sciences (see Appendix i). Many factors such as mathematical aspects of chemistry, poor teaching methods, lack of instructional materials, lack of interest etc are responsible for students’ poor performance in chemistry (Anaekwe, 1997; Njoku 1997 Ajah; 2004). The West African Examinations Council Chief Examiners (2008) reported that candidates concentrated mainly on familiar questions that demanded recall of facts and were unable to apply their knowledge of scientific principles to answer other questions. Other areas of weakness according to the Chief Examiners report include poor mathematical skills, inability to write chemical formula correctly, poor spelling and poor understanding of the structures and properties of organic compounds.

They reported that the candidates answered organic chemistry questions poorly. Even those who answered the questions failed to draw correct structures and give correct International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) names of the organic compounds. The Chief Examiners recommended that the candidates could perform better if instructional materials are used in teaching them. The instructional materials are the ones whose production and usage are activity oriented, pupil centred, interesting, intellectually stimulating and innovative and are capable of creating interest and ultimately affecting learning behaviour of students. Such materials include models, mock-ups, simulations e.t.c.

The use of models has been found to enhance achievement (Diovu, 2006) but there is no evidence on which of the two types of model is more effective. It is therefore pertinent to find out which of the model types that will improve students’ interest and achievement in organic chemistry, hence this study on effect of teacher made models and students made models on students’ achievement and interest in organic chemistry. Nachmias and Nachmias (1992) described a model as a likeness of something, a representation of reality. In the context of this work, a model is a three – dimensional instructional material which the teacher can use in place of the real things which may be too heavy, too complex, too expensive or too dangerous for teaching and learning.

Teacher made models within this context refer to the models that are made or produced by the teacher and are used for teaching and learning. Conversely, the students’ made models are the ones that are made or produced by the students and are equally used for teaching and learning.

Interest is an activity that drives or motivates the individual for action (Eze, 2003). According to Njoku (1997), interest in an activity or object can be sustained depending on what the individual whose interest is engaged stand to gain or lose by so doing. Hilard, Atkinson and Atkinson in Olikeze (1999:21) defined interest as “a persisting tendency to pay attention and enjoy some activities; or content is of interest if it is pleasing or engages one’s attention. The researcher defines interest as a persistent zeal of wanting to know or learn about something or object.

Many studies for example (Rusell, 1970; Burke, 1983; Chauhan, 1987; Agwu, 2004; Ede, 2005) show that interest plays a major role in any undertaking as it influences devotion to duty, fairness, hard work, endurance discipline etc. Obioma and Ohuche (1984) reported that students performed significantly better in those areas they had interest in and performed poorly in area they lacked interest. Research works have shown that there are differences in students’ interest by gender in science (Bajah and Bozimo, 1989; Balogun, 1985; Chidolue, 1983; Ifeakor 2003; Nworgu, 1990; Olikeze, 1999). Bajah and Bozimo (1989) indicated that boys show greater interest in sciences than girls. Chidolue (1983); Ifeakor (1999) noted that girls show greater interest in sciences than boys while Balogun (1985) and Eze (2003) indicated that Nigerian Secondary School Students have low interest generally in sciences.

Some science educators have been worried about  achievement of females in science courses. The differences have been considered to pose problems in science and technology. For barely two decades now, there have been researches into the nature and origins of gender differences in achievement in sciences (Okoye, 2009). Oriaifo (1990) carried out one of such studies. The study examined the pattern of performance among male and female students in science. The result showed that there is a significant difference in the performance of boys and girls in school science in favour of the boys. The researcher decried the rate at which female secondary school students avoid science and noted that it will not make for the nation building.

Joseph (1996) surveyed gender differences in senior secondary school performance in chemistry in Akwa Ibom State. The result revealed a significant gender difference in favour of males. This trend may be attributed to the fact that females regard science subject as intellectually complex and task oriented. This is also consistent with the findings reported by Ezeaku (2006) who worked on sex and environment as factors in physics achievement. The researcher found that males achieve better than females irrespective of school location.

Reacting to the observations above, Ezeugbor (2008) suggested that the reason for gender differences in science achievement could be attributed to the way science is taught in our secondary schools which tends to contribute significantly to gender gap in science achievement and interest. To this effect, the researcher is poised into finding a lasting solution to the issue of gender gap in achievement in science subjects especially chemistry. This may be achieved by involving the students in the production of the instructional materials (models) that they are taught with.

Statement of Problem

There is a growing concern in Nigeria over the decline in students’ performance in science subjects especially at the secondary level of education.  One of the science subjects in which students perform very poorly is chemistry. The poor performance especially in chemistry has been blamed on such factors as mathematical aspects of chemistry, absence of instructional materials and inadequate use of the available ones, teacher-centred method, lack of students active participation, lack of interest etc. The use of instructional materials in teaching and learning makes learning interesting but more interesting and permanent when three-dimensional materials like model are used.

Following the recommendation by the Federal Ministry of Education Science and Technology (FMEST, 2000) that models be used to teach chemistry, model has been used and found to facilitate and enhance achievement, but there is no evidence of any comparison between the model types relative to senior secondary school students’ achievement and interest in Organic Chemistry. The present study explores this situation. Therefore, the problem of this study is: what is the effect of teacher made model on the academic achievement and interest of secondary school students in organic chemistry relative to the students’ type of model?

Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of the study is to find out the effects of teacher made model and students’-made type on students’ achievement and interest in organic chemistry. Specifically, the study sought to:

  1. ascertain whether differences exist in the mean achievement scores of students taught using teacher made model and students’ made model.
  2. ascertain whether differences exist in the mean interest scores of students taught organic chemistry with teacher made model (TMM) and Students’ Made Model (SMM)
  3. find out the interaction effect of model type and gender on students’ achievement in organic chemistry as measured by their mean achievement scores.
  4. find out any interaction effect of model type and gender on students’ interest in organic chemistry as measured by their organic chemistry interest inventory.

Significance of the Study

The significance of this study is discussed on the basis of its theoretical and practical perspectives. On the theoretical perspective, this study is anchored on some psychological theories that account for how learning takes place. The study also has a philosophical relevance.

The use of model is anchored on the cognitive theory of learning. In this study, opportunities are created for students to be exposed to making and using model for the purpose of understanding organic chemistry. The models of organic compounds thus provide the basic structures and opportunities for intuitive thinking. The use of models acts as a bridge between the cognitive structure and the incoming information. This thus facilitates meaningful learning. The cognitive field theorists hold the view that when students are exposed to experiences that can enable them to find out by themselves the solutions to specific problem, they tend to develop problem solving skills as well as gain confidence in their abilities to learn. In the present study, students were exposed to making models and such models were used to teach them some selected topics in Organic Chemistry and their achievement scores compared with that of the achievement of students taught with the teacher made models.

The study has a philosophical relevance. The recommendation for use of models is based on the new secondary school chemistry curriculum. The curriculum has been recognized to be problem-solving oriented in order to enable it achieve the set objectives of the national educational goals which derives from the country’s philosophy of education.

In order to achieve these national educational goals, the teaching methods, content, objectives, evaluation of the new secondary school chemistry curriculum were all designed and focused on the training of the child to be able to tackle the present day problems.

The methodological guide specifically recommended the use of models, games and simulation, fieldwork and local studies, field observation, data collection, projects and increased use of instructional materials (Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004). The guide also stressed that such strategies recommended are those that will facilitate the achievement of the set national educational goals linked to the national philosophy. This study which focused on two types of model is therefore, relevant for the achievement of the national goal based on the country’s philosophy of education.

There are some practical usefulness as derivable from this study. The following people will benefit from the results of this study namely: the teachers; the students, curriculum designers and the Ministry of Education/government. The findings of this study would likely create interest and consciousness in the teachers on the adoption of models for the teaching and learning of Organic Chemistry and other areas of Chemistry. Similarly, the result of this study shall be useful to teachers and other educational agencies with respect to improvisation of instructional materials for teaching and learning. It will equally expose the teachers to other forms of assessing the students other than the pen-and-paper method.

On the part of the curriculum designers, in the course of curriculum designing, planning, revision and modification, these experts shall utilize the relevant data based on the findings of this study. For instance, pieces of information on the skills in the teaching and learning of organic chemistry and the concepts associated with the use of models shall be utilized in the appropriate stages of curriculum planning, modification or revision.

Similarly, the findings of this study shall be useful to the ministry of education/government. The findings will provide information which could sensitize the government/ministry of education on the need for workshop, seminars, refresher courses, conferences on the best ways to create awareness in the teachers on the strategies for the teaching and learning of organic chemistry. The study could yield convincing empirical evidence for the modern techniques of teaching organic chemistry.

Scope of the Study

        The study focuses on finding the effects of teacher made models and students’ made models on secondary school students’ academic achievement and interest in organic chemistry. The content coverage includes hydrocarbons which consist of alkanes (paraffins), alkenes (Olefins), alkynes (acetylenes) and alkanols. The researcher’s choice of these topics is because of their importance in understanding organic chemistry generally. They are the rudiments for proper understanding of organic chemistry and they are amongst the topics that pose difficulty to students (WAEC Chief Examiners Report 2003 – 2008). Finally, the study is delimited to Senior Secondary II (SSII) students in Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu State. SS II students were used because they are most likely to devote attention to the study compared to the SS III students who are preparing for their SSC examination. Moreover SS II chemistry students were used because the topics hydrocarbon and alkanols are within the SSII chemistry curriculum.

Research Questions

This study was guided by the following research questions.

  1. What are the mean achievements scores of students taught organic chemistry with teacher-made model and those taught with students’-made model?
  2. What is the difference between the mean interest scores of students taught organic chemistry with teacher-made model (TMM) and students’-made model (SMM)?
  3. What is the interaction effect of model type and gender on students’ achievement in organic chemistry as measured by their mean achievement scores?
  4. What is the interaction effect of model type and gender on students’ interest in organic chemistry?

Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated and were tested at 0.05 level of significance.

HO1            There is no significant difference in the mean Organic Chemistry Achievement Test (OCAT) scores of students exposed to TMM and SMM.

H02             The interest scores of students exposed to TMM and those exposed to SMM do not differ significantly.

H03             There is no significant interaction effect of model type and gender on students’ achievement in Organic chemistry.

H04   There is no significant interaction effect of model type and gender on students’ interest in organic chemistry

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