EFFECTS OF TEACHERS EDUCATION BACKGROUND ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN BIOLOGY IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL
Background of the Study
Biology is important for national development and incidentally serves as basis for advance learning of professional courses in fields such as nursing, medicine, pharmacy, and other allied courses. Biology therefore records the highest number of students when compared to other science subjects (chemistry and physics), and it is offered in secondary schools in Nigeria by both science and non- science majors. Considering the importance of the subject, the poor academic achievement in Biology should therefore be a thing of serious concern to the nation.
The teacher is the pivot on which the educational process rests. In fact, the importance and place of teacher in the education process is highly priced by all nations of the world. Little wanders why the Federal Government of Nigeria clearly stated that no education system can rise above the quality of its teachers. Thus, teachers should be provided with the intellectual and professional background adequate for their assignment and make them adequate to changing situations (FRN, 2009). It is important that teachers’ voices are widely accepted as the driving force for educational improvement and development, particularly at this time when the education system faces so many challenges and conflicting pressures.
However, whatever the influences of the teacher would be on the system of education, it can only be determined by the teacher’s quality, teacher’s quantity and teacher’s value (Abodunrin and Ogundore, 1996). This scenario calls for teacher professionalism in order to enhance the role of teachers in the formulation and implementation of educational policies in Nigeria. Nigeria needs teachers who will meet the expectations of the nation; teachers who will help the nation raise a generation of citizens whose performance will meet the international standards; a generation that will be prosperous, vibrant and peaceful. This notion cannot achieve the expected quality education without competent teachers and school administrators who are well equipped with the desirable knowledge, skills and effective operations of the education system (Wokoha, 2014). The Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN, 2010), advocates that teaching just like other professions now requires that only those who are adequately prepared and regulated should be entrusted with the teaching- learning process.
Teacher quality in the context of this study can be seen as the specific characteristics required for effective teaching of Biology by teachers at the secondary school level, such as communication skills, classroom management skills, teacher-students relationship and teacher-knowledge of subject matter. Annie, Howard and Murray-Ward (2015) defined academic achievements as the outcome of education, the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved the set educational goals.
The quality of education of a nation could be determined by the quality of her teachers. The most important factor in improving students’ achievement in Biology subjects is by employing seasoned qualified teachers in all schools (Abe and Adu, 2013). Okuruwa (2009) found that, policy investment on quality of teachers is related to improvement in students’ performance. Specifically, the measurement of teacher’s preparation and certification are correlates of students’ achievement in Biology subject. It is further reported that, teacher’s characteristics such as certification status and degree in area of specialization are very significant and positively correlated with students learning outcomes in Biology. This report was in line with the findings of Salman (2009).
Many factors contribute to a student’s academic performance, including individual characteristics, family and Neighbourhood experiences. But research such as Jordan, Mendro and Weersinge (1997) suggests that among school related factors, teachers matter most. When it comes to student performance on reading and math tests, a teacher is estimated to have two or three times the impact of any other school factor, including services, facilities and even leadership (Mohammed and Yusuf, 2015).
Effective teachers are best identified by their performance not by their background or experiences. Despite common perceptions, effective teacher cannot reliably be identified based on where they went to school, whether they are registered or how long they are taught. The best way to asses teachers’ effectiveness is to look at their on the – job performance including what they do in the classroom and how much progress their students make on achievement tests. Quality teachers are considered to be those who bring about student learning. (Harris and Sass, 2006) Non school factors do influence student achievement but effective teaching has the potential to help level the playing of such factors.
The importance of good or quality teachers is no secret or it cannot be overemphasized. Schools have always sought out the best teachers they could get in the belief that their students’ success depends on it. If teachers are so important to student learning, how can schools make sure all students receive the benefit of good/quality teachers? More than two decades of research findings are unequivocal about the connection between teacher quality and student learning. The report of the National Commission on teaching and America’s future (1996) made teaching the core of its three simple promises in its blueprint for reforming the nation’s schools. They are: what teachers know and can do is the most important influence on what students learn. Recruiting, preparing and retaining good teachers is the central strategy for improving schools. School reform cannot succeed unless it focuses on creating the conditions under which teachers can teach well.
A highly effective teacher, therefore, is one whose students show the most gains from one year to the next. By using this approach, researchers are able to isolate the effect of the teacher from other factors related to student performance such as students’ prior academic record or school they attended. “The effect of teaching on student learning is greater than student ethnicity or family income, school attended by student or class size.
The effect is stronger for poor and or minority students than for their more affluent peers, although all groups benefit from effective teachers. The effects accumulate over the years. The positive effects associated with being taught by a highly effective teacher, defined as a teacher whose average student score gain is in the top 25% were stronger for poor and minority students than for their white and affluent counter parts. The study found that low income students were more likely to benefit from instruction by a highly effective teacher than were their more advantaged peers Van der Bergh and Roos, (2014). Another study found that the achievement gain from having a highly effective teacher could be almost three times as large for African American students as for white students even when comparing students who start with similar achievement levels (Sanders and Rivers 1996).
Studies have revealed that poor quality of teachers is a strong factor responsible for the dwindling standard of education in Nigeria. Research also indicates that the achievement gap widens each year between students with most effective teachers and those with least effective teachers. This implies that the most significant gains in student achievement will likely be realized when students receive instruction from well qualified and experienced teachers over consecutive years. Although teachers’ academic degrees and their average years of experience have been traditional indicators of the qualification of the teacher work force, research has not found the highest degree attained by teachers to be a good predictor of gains in students’ academic achievement (Hanushek, 2010).
Abe and Adu (2013) and Wiki (2013) opined that, a teaching qualification or Teachers Education Background is one of a number of academic and professional degree that enables a person to become a registered teacher in primary or secondary school. Such qualifications include, but are not limited to, the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGDE). The Professional Diploma in Education (PDE), Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) and Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE).
In Ekiti State, teachers who are academically qualified and those that are professionally qualified are engaged to carry out instructional process.
Academically qualified teachers refer to those who have academic training as a result of enrolment into educational institution and obtained qualifications such as HND, B.Sc, B.A, and M.A. and so on; while professionally qualified teachers are those who got professional training that gave them professional knowledge, skills, techniques, aptitudes as different from the general education (Edu and Kalu, 2012). They hold degrees like, B.Ed., B.Sc. Ed, B.A. Ed, and M.Ed and so on. On the other hand, there are studies that have found no significant relationship between teacher educational qualification and students’ academic achievement. For instance, Igwe (1990) investigated the influence of teacher’s qualification on academic performance of students in science subjects in Kano State. The researcher found no significant relationship between teacher’s qualification and students’ performance. While Adeniji (2009), Osokoya (1999) and Oladele (2009) found out that teacher’s qualification contributed minimally to the variance with students’ cognitive achievement and Bilesanmi (2009) and Okonwa (1999) found that teacher’s experience was highly significant on students’ academic achievement in Biology . Coonery (2000) opined that students do not understand Biology when it is taught by an ineffective teacher. Izumi and Evess (2002) buttressed this by saying that teacher quality is the most important among other critical factors like quality curricula, funding, small class size and learning situation. George (2004) attributed poor achievement of students in Biology to Teachers Education Background , inadequacy of materials as well as administrative factors. In teaching Biology, Adesina (2012) and Fafunwa (1985) opined that with an exception of holders of minimum of B.Sc in Biology, many other teachers would be confronted with problem of teaching secondary school Biology syllabus effectively. Hence, Lussa (1985) argued that no one gives what he/she does not possess. He further said that no matter how good a course curriculum is, if we do not have well trained, qualified and motivated teachers, we may not achieve the desired goals. In view of this, a teacher is someone who has been exposed to a good measure of training in a teaching subject area as well as in professional education: such professionally qualified teachers based on Federal Ministry of Education (2004) fell into a number of academic categories. Mkpa (1987) regarded the trained teacher as someone who underwent and completed his education in a formal teacher training institution or in a planned programme of training. Among such areas of training may include principles and practice of education as well as being exposed to an observed period of internship during after or as part of the period of training. People who fall within this category should under normal circumstances be able to fulfill the various functions expected of teachers within and outside the four walls of the classroom. Furrugia (2007) perceived a professional teacher as one who possesses professionally based knowledge in the theory and practice of education as well as find job satisfaction in the belief that he/she is making an important contribution to the social, cultural and economic development of his/her country. Such a teacher should equally, be able to understand students’ abilities to exploit educational benefits of the social context within which he/she lives. He/She should be able to assist Students to reach their full intellectual and social potentials. According to Adieze (2006) non qualified and non-professional teachers in teaching profession are killing the profession because they are not really teachers. He regarded them as “bird” of passage that create unnecessary vacuum whenever they see greener pasture and better prospect in the profession they are originally trained for. The comparison of students’ scores in Biology achievement test based on Teachers Education Background s becomes necessary in order to know if formal teaching methods has any significant effect/influence on students’ performance in Biology or not.
Statement of the problem
The problem of Teaching and learning of Biology depends to a large extent on teacher’s own knowledge of the content and ability to adequately deliver the instruction to the students. However a lot of variables may inhibit or hinder effective dissemination of knowledge to the understanding of the content by the students, such variables may be lack of qualified teachers, Teachers Education Background , , inadequate use of instructional materials among others. The major problem that the study will focus on are. Does Teachers Education Background have effect on students academic performance in Biology. In view of the above problem the study sought to examine Teachers Education Background and students academic performance in Biology in Ikere local government area of Ekiti state
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