1.1 Background to the Study
Bajah in Olorundare 2014 stated that the development of any nation is usually barometered by the degree and extent of the social-cultural, socio-economic and political improvement that are brought to bear through the enterprises of science, technology and mathematics development leads to fulfillment of societal ideals considered relevant to the needs and aspirations of the society. Factors which influence such development are based on ability to explore, invent and utilize. Satisfaction of spiritual, physical and material needs and the mastery of the environment are parameters of development when applied to the human society. It has been stated by several authors and scholars that the development of any nation depends very much on the advancement and application of science and technology.
Academic performance is an issue that always interest school teacher (instructors), Educational Administrators Educational policy makers even the financial agencies. The three tiers of government spend a lot of sum of money in educating our citizens. Therefore, there is the need to assess and know the factors that are actually responsible for poor academic performance and outputs in our secondary school most especially in the area of science, more also in chemistry that is the link between all the sciences.
Saage (2009) state that the role of chemistry in the development of the scientific base of a country cannot be overemphasized and Nigeria is not an exception. Yet with the increasing importance of chemistry to the unfolding world, the performance of Nigeria students in the subject at the secondary school remains a dismal failure. However it is disappointing to note that the student’s performance in chemistry at internal and external examination has remained considerably poor despite the relative importance of chemistry. In spite of the Government campaign for sciences and technology year-in-year out, it is still very painful to record that students perform poorly in chemistry at the secondary school certificate examination both in May/June and October/November general certificate examination (Nwana 2000)
Although researchers have observed several cases of poor performance generally in secondary schools certificate examination. In our match towards scientific and technological advancement and our aspiration to be among the first economies by the year 2020 (OBIOMA 2007: NERDC 2007) we need nothing short of good performance of our youth in the sciences at all levels of schooling. Unfortunately however, performance of student in the sciences at the end of secondary education has not improved in the past decade as reflected in the chief examiners annual report of both the west African examination council, WACE (2007) acclaimed fallen standard of education in Nigeria at large. Furthermore student reaction to practical work in chemistry and even the theory often confirm the views of critics in that students find that laboratory classes are boring and go through the motions of experimentation without stimulation and often without any clear purpose. Moreover, teachers are blamed for the woes of secondary school poor results; the teachers a group blame the parents, children and the government. (Asenuga 1998)
It also necessary to examine factors that have direct influence on teaching strategies, content knowledge, motivation, laboratory use and non-completion of the science curriculum in a year. It has also been suggested that there are also indirect influence such as roles played by the parents in competencies in their children’s education and the general competencies in the understanding and use of language in understanding scientific concepts. Use of out dated teaching practices and instructional methods that may be less learner-friendly, lack of basic content knowledge do actually result in poor teaching standards and consequently students poor performances. The problem has even been exacerbated by the very large number of less academically qualified or even professionally unqualified science teachers. The latter constitute the majority of youths who recruited to teaching in the secondary schools as national service under the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC)(2011).
Wenglinsky (2002) stated that every situation in every community nation or educational system may be different, there is no doubt that teachers as well as parent/guardians have a great responsibility to help the student succeed, the student should be assisted to hold and positively discharge the most responsibility. On the other hand, teacher’s performance in every parameter has a significant impact on students understanding and performance. For instance, if a teacher is effective in teaching his students would most likely do better in class. If however the teacher is ineffective and inefficient, the students could do much worse. It is also possible that with an inefficient classroom teacher could get A grade a student could also fail with a good teacher.
The geographical social and economic location of a social has an important role in the socialization of such a child. Therefore, the area in which a school is located does affect the educational achievement of a student. A school in the heart of the government reserved area (G.R.A) or an elite housing estate cannot be compared with a schools located in an unsuitable place like motor garage main street, slum and noisy environments, or those that are near to a big market. Noisy environment is capable of hampering teaching and learning conditions. Long journeys to schools can be drudgery and trying and such condition could be responsible for student academic weaknesses and as such poor performance.