Effect Of Computer Assisted Teaching Strategy On Students’ Academic Achievement And Motivation In Biology In Public Secondary Schools In Nigeria

Effect Of Computer Assisted Teaching Strategy On Students’ Academic Achievement And Motivation In Biology In Public Secondary Schools In  Nigeria


Science education is obligatory at all levels of instruction in secondary school. Science education is essential and fundamental within the curriculum as it provides students with the ability to think critically and practice methods of inquire, develop science concepts that facilitate understanding of biological and physical environment, and develop appropriate attitude and skills essential for democratic leadership (Lemlech 2010). Biology is one of the branches of science that manages the natural phenomena and help to develop biological knowledge and scientific skills that enhances humanity to appreciate the essence of biodiversity, ecological protection and sustainable utilization of resources (UNESCO, 2007).

Biology education is a pre-requisite for professions in health science, environmental science and precursor of biotechnology development. The knowledge of genetics that is a branch of biology has revolutionized determination of paternity disputes and identity of serious crime culprits with precision and certainty through Deoxyribonucleic acid and sequencing and profiling (Institute of Biology 2007).

Biological knowledge plays an important role in most aspect of human life. Its application in genetic engineering has contributed towards meeting the demand of food security, medicine and control of variety of pest and diseases (UNESCO, 2013). Further biological knowledge lays foundation for commercial agriculture the engine for economic growth in  Nigeria (Government of  Nigeria, 2003). Research have used biological knowledge to develop high yield, disease resistant and fast maturing food crops and animal to meet the food requirement of ever increasing world population (Burn 2005). Due to the significant role of biological knowledge, therefore there is a concern on the improving academic achievement and motivation in biology in secondary school.

Despite this importance of biology, students’ academic achievement in the biology at the national examinations in many countries across the world has remained to be low. According to Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (2011), 56 countries and other education systems administered TIMSS at grade eight. Less than

half of the countries that participated had an average scale score of below 500. The Scores on the TIMSS mathematics and science tests range from 0-1000. Both tests have an average scale score of 500, with a standard deviation of 100. In Africa, Morocco, South Africa and Ghana participated in the TIMSS (2011) but their scale scores in biology subject were below average, this determines the academic achievement of the learners. According to Chime, (2004) academic achievement is a determinant of a student success that measures the extent to which the learners have achieved their educational goals because of an interactional session between the teacher and the learner.

Academic achievement is a measure of student learning or acquisition of certain skills at the end of teaching and learning activities that is reflected in an examination written by the student after a process of learning (Usman, 2000). Therefore, academic achievement is a measure of value and the amount of success that one has in authority of learning skills and comprehension determined by using the standardized test. This has a great influence on student achievement and motivation. Motivation energies, maintains and coordinates conduct towards a student academic achievement.

In  Nigeria, Biology is a key science subject in secondary school. Its achievement has been low when compared to other science subjects over the recent years as indicated by the  Nigeria National examination council report (2011-2017). Academic achievements in biology are determined by using a standardized test or an achievement test. The low performance in science with biology included is a national concern as articulated in the Session Paper Number 1 of 2005 Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MOEST, 2005).

Table 1 shows the mean score of biology, chemistry, and physics from the period 2011 to 2017.

Table 1: Mean Score of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics from 2011-2017 in  Nigeria

Subject Year2011201220132014201520162017Average

Source:  Nigeria National Examination Council Report (2011-2017)

The result in Table 1, shows that mean scores in biology is below average since they range from 27.43% to 35.16% a level that is below average mean score of 50%. According to Waihenya (2002) attributed low achievement to poor teaching methods, lack of mastery of the subject by students, learner’s state of mind towards the subject. Application of ineffective teaching approach by the biology teachers with the teacher centered being dominant as opposed to learner centered, lack of mastery of content by a few teachers and deficient instructing and learning assets. In spite of this achievement in the sciences being low, this has ultimately led to the proposal to investigate pedagogical approach to classroom instruction.

In an attempt to mitigate this low academic achievement in science subjects World Bank (2007) suggested in its report that science curriculum has to be taught through the modern strategy such as CATS so that learning can be enhanced and more curiosity and enthusiasm created in the learner. Other researchers have called for adoption of constructivist-based teaching strategy such as CATS as a way of developing globally connected knowledge societies (Bereiter, 2002; UNESCO, 2007; World Bank, 2008). They argue that students should no longer be exposed to learning methods that tend towards passive reception of sanctioned information through memorization and recall but need to be exposed to methods that promote gaining skills through active participation such as information gathering, evaluating source quality, collaborating, problem-solving, and ultimately knowledge creation. Therefore teaching strategy that is a learner centered approach such as computer assisted teaching strategy that makes learners to actively participate in teaching and learning process improves the learner’s motivation to learn.

According to Nelson, (2000) learners who are motivated engage themselves more actively in learning activities that would also translate to high academic achievement. Pintrich, (2002) states that motivation is an internal process that initiates and sustains activities that aimed at achieving specific goals. Further Hancock (2004), states that motivated learners perform well since learners finds satisfaction on the subject matter taught depending on the teaching method used by the teacher. Therefore, motivation can be enhanced through teaching strategy that actively involves students (Kerora, Wachanga & Orora ,2006) such as adoption of computer assisted teaching strategy.

A teacher has the ability to influence the student motivation to learn through a variety of teaching decision and approaches (Shihusa & Kerora 2009). Owino (2014) inferred that learner’s motivation toward science is positively related to their achievement. Further, Weller (2005) states that motivation is upgraded by the way the teacher sorts out the instructional materials during the lesson, since teacher plays a role as allocator of information as the students takes notes and listen. All together for the learners to be persuaded in any discipline they should take an interest in the exercises that are personally significant and worthwhile (Glynn & Koballa, 2006). It is therefore, hoped that through the use of more interactive methods, teachers can encourage the students to be more motivated to study Biology (Kithaka, 2003) such as computer assisted teaching strategy.

Computer assisted teaching strategy involve the use of software, drills and simulations in teaching. CATS allow the teacher use computers at different times and spaces depending on the subject matter, the students and the available software and hardware. CAI software integrates features that encourage activities beyond the simple drill-and-practice, such as simulations, graphing and even modeling (Yusuf, 2010). Therefore, utilization of CAT offers chances to the learners and instructors to learn at their speed and consolidate dynamic learning. CAI is outwardly intuitive, since it presents ideas by utilizing movements, shading and sounds making a fascination in the student, this catch the student consideration by giving higher maintenance ability to the students, reinforcing the student’s academic achievement and motivation towards the subject.

Computer use in education has become more and widespread used in different parts of continent and important in improving learners’ achievement in different subjects especially in challenging subjects, more specifically in the sciences. Empirical studies have associated the use of CAL with improved student achievement in different subjects (Ghani, Mahmood, Halim & Rajindra, 2014; ImpaCT2, 2001; World Bank, 2007). ImpaCT2 (2001) for instance showed that teachers in schools where pupils were taught English using CAL tools reported higher mean scores for their pupils which was attributed to the fact that the use of the CAT in teaching and learning have

positive effect on behaviour, motivation, communication and process skills and that it enables pupils to learn more autonomously.

In the sciences, it has been suggested that CAL can be used in instruction of subjects such as physics and biology with the aim of imparting in the students skills such as collecting science information, interacting with resources such as images and video and encouraging communication and collaboration resulting in improved student achievement in the subjects (Ghani et al., 2014). Zhao and Lei, (2012) in the United States of America, CAL has long been considered as a method for addressing school improvement since it offers advantages over traditional instruction that enrich the lesson presentations, self-pacing and instantaneous feedback providing a positive effects on students’ academic achievements and motivation

In  Nigeria, there are studies that were carried out on the effects of CAL on classroom practice. Samuel, (2012) while conducting a study on enhancement of science performance through computer assisted instruction among secondary schools in  Nigeria, noticed that the change in science performance by the experimental group came about because of the utilization of CAL in science lessons and that the instructional techniques utilized by teacher impact the performance of the students, this encourage scope of testing subjects. Kevogo, Toilio and Mutsotso (2013) on an investigation on the effect on general use of computers on secondary schools students’ performance in biology conclude that general use of computer has a positive impact on student academic achievement. Mugambi (2013) found out that students that were taught using computer based learning in agriculture outperformed their counterparts who were taught using the regular teaching approach. Other subjects in which CAL has shown positive impact include accounting (Tanui & Kiboss 2013) and mathematics (Sulungai, Toili & Amadalo, 2011). Therefore, teaching strategy adopted by the teacher affects the students’ achievements. (Kibett & Kathuri, 2005). Thus, there is need to consider a new teaching approaches such as integration of computers in teaching that improves the learners academic achievement and motivation in biology. In spite of these constructive outcomes of CAT strategy in enhancing learners achievement and motivation its impact is not clearly understood and in attempt to fill this gap the study investigates the effect computer assisted teaching strategy on student motivation and achievement in biology in Baringo County.

            Statement of the Problem

Student academic achievement in biology is determined by KCSE examination. An analysis of the pattern and trends in achievement in biology in KCSE examination clearly indicates that the achievement is below an average score of 50% this affects the learner’s motivation towards the subject. Therefore, this call for appropriate instructional strategy to be used in secondary school for teaching biology and especially on the sub-topic cell division that has remain to be a challenging topic to many candidates in KCSE Biology examination as indicated by the Knec report. This achievement is attributed to many factors that could be due to poor learning environment, lack of innovative teaching strategy. That leads to lack of interest and motivation in the subject making students to be passive during the teaching and learning process thus low achievement in Biology. Therefore, student centered strategy such as computer assisted teaching strategy can be used by the Biology teachers that may help to improve student learning environment which leads to an improved achievement and motivation in Biology. However, there is limited research that has been carried out on the effect of use of CAT on students’ academic achievement and motivation in Biology

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