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Ibadan University

Factors Affecting Students’ Performance in Science in Nigeria Schools

Abstract This is a review paper that identified factors causing students’ poor performance in science as teachers’ method of teaching, students’ interest, class size, poor laboratory facilities among other factors. Recommendations were made at the end of the paper; one of such recommendations was that teachers should be more dedicated to their duties

Introduction Science is different from other disciplines by its processes which are; observation, classification, measurement, prediction, problem identification, collection, analysis and interpretation of data, drawing conclusion, experimentation etc. In Nigeria research has shown that students’ performance in science has not been encouraging due to some factors. The table below shows percentage of students’ performance in May/ June Examination from 2006 to 2011 in Nigeria. YearPercentage of pass 200622 200720 200826 200926 201023 201130 Source: The sun news 2011

Factor influencing students’ performance Adegboye (2003) believed the main factor that is responsible for poor performance in mathematics is the fear of mathematics. Okooboh, Afolabi and Asilika (2004) stressed that the unimpressive response to science and technical education is particularly evident in students’ poor performance in science subjects at secondary school level. In the words of Ajileye (2006) insufficient resources for the teaching and learning of science constitute a major cause of student underachievement. The insufficient resources include laboratories, science equipment, and specimens to be used as teaching aids. Onuoha (1997) identified shortage of qualified and dedicated teachers as the factor affecting student performance in science and that poor practical orientation will lead to poor understanding of the theory. In his opinion teachers are no more dedicated to their assignments. They give more time to trading, petty contracts, farming etc. They sneak in and out of the classrooms and laboratories at will. Ukwuma (1990) in his investigation of factor impair science education confirmed that over 80% of failure in science and technology are due to the inability of students to perform well in practical. Akinola (2006) believed that causes of mass failure of students in senior secondary Chemistry Examination include teacher’s methodology, structuring of the curriculum, the concentration of examination questions on few topics and the inability of students to perform enough practical before their examination. Ladanu (1991) observed that most of the textbooks used in secondary schools are written by foreign authors. Languages used in some of the texts are complex and ambiguous. Hence, it becomes difficult for students to comprehend. In the opinion of Akanbi (2003) poor performance in Physics may be due to a number of fundamental reasons, which could be due to shortage of science teachers in quality and quantity, inadequate laboratory equipment and facilities, poor motivated teaching strategies, shortage of suitable Physics textbooks and other factors. Bamidele (2004) observed lack of interest in physics by students due to preconceived idea that physics is a difficult subject has affected the enrolment and performance of students in physics. Ogunbiyi (1986) investigated that many secondary school students are unfamiliar with more than half of laboratory apparatus and are unable to know in what experiment they are used. Garba (2004) conducted a research on the relationship between classroom control and students’ performance; his findings revealed that teachers who are sufficiently equipped with strategies that assist in classroom control adequately will automatically enable the students have full concentration and lead to positive academic performance of the students. In the opinion of Ojo (2001) lack of qualified teachers, lack of facilities and poor teaching method are factors to be considered when it comes to student performance in science. He said the success of any science education programme depends to a large extent on the teacher. Olonade (2000) and Fatola (2005) in their different studies both agreed that school location and school size influences students’ performance in sciences. In a study carried out by Owolabi (2004) on a diagnosis of students’ difficulties in Physics, he revealed that poor performance of students in Physics could have emanated from student’s lack of full understanding of Physics concepts Aiyelabegan (2003) identified attitude, approach of students and teacher to Physics, inadequacy of practical equipment, unconducive environment and lack of qualified hands to handle practical works as factors affecting student performance in Physics. Apata (2007) confirmed that students taught by qualified and experienced teachers performed better than students taught by unqualified and inexperienced teachers. Conclusion and recommendations Poor students’ performance in science is due to poor teaching method, poor textbooks, students’ interest, class size, poor laboratory facilities, teacher attitude to work and poor condition of service. In view of the above conclusion it is suggested that teachers should be more dedicated to their duties, provision of laboratory equipment and reduction of students’ number per class.


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