THE EFFECTS OF INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES ON STUDENTS PERFORMANCE IN BIOLOGY
Background of the Study
Biology is an integral part of science that focuses on living things (Plants and Animals). Biology is also a branch of science and prerequisite subject for many fields of learning; it contributes immensely to the technological growth of the nation. This includes medicine, agriculture, forestry, nursing and biotechnology. The study of biology in senior secondary schools can equip students with useful concepts, principles and theories that will enable them face challenges before and after graduation (Nwagbo&Uzomaka, 2011). According to Ogundipe (2013), a place where practical activities takes place is known as the laboratory. That biologist’s work in the laboratory does not necessarily mean that practical can only be done in the laboratory. It only points to the fact that, the condition in the laboratory can be organized for effective practical activities. Practical activities in biology provide opportunities for students to learn science by actually participating in the laboratory experiment. Ogundipe (2013) maintained that practical activities should engage students in hand-on, mind-on activities, using varieties of instructional materials to drive the lesson home.
The governance of schools is therefore done through a coalition of interest, working together while performing different roles all aimed at enabling the school to operate and achieve its aims and objectives. The success in academic performance in schools is dependent on the quality of services available. Academic performance is the quality and quantity of knowledge, skills, techniques and positive attitudes, behavior and philosophy that students achieve or acquire. This achievement is evaluated by the mark or grade that students attain in a term or education cycle. The quality of grades and the number of students that pass in the various grades determine the level of academic performance. Baram-Tsabar, et al, (2010) explained that there are many factors, which account for the good or poor academic performance in secondary schools like; the quality of students admitted the type of scholastic materials available in the school and home environment, the methods of teaching, the nature of administration and teachers involvement in academic matters. However, it seems that the most important factor to the academic performance of students is the impact of sex differences on students; academic matters.
Nwagbo (2015) has stated that; “the use of practical activities (approach) to the teaching of biological concepts should therefore be a rule rather than an option to biology teachers, if we hope to produce students that would be able to acquire necessary knowledge, and competence needed to meet the scientific and technological demands of the nation”. Research in biology has shown that students learn more from practical biology lesson when they are given the opportunity to learn through doing than when they are allowed to observe (Nwosu 2014). They enjoy measuring and classifying data, observing specimens, manipulating apparatus, designing experiments, interpreting data, testing of hypothesis and making inferences. These mental processes can only be developed and acquired if the students are allowed to participate in practical activities. The laboratory activities are usually less formal than conventional classroom teaching. Thus, a biology practical class offers opportunities for productive, co-operative and exchanges among students and with teacher that have the potential to promote learning. Realizing the importance of science skills as solution to scientific problems, the Federal Government, among other things, stated as one of the national goals of education in Nigeria that; “education should aim at helping the students in the acquisition of appropriate skills and abilities as equipment for students to live in, and contribute to the development of the society”. (FederalRepublic of Nigeria (FRN), 2013). In order to realize this goal, associations such as Science Teachers‟ Association of Nigeria (STAN) and Nigeria Integrated Science Project (NSP) were set up by the government to look into the various curricula used at various levels of the Nigerian educational system. These goal and aspiration cannot be realized except through the effective effort of the classroom teacher
One of the millennium development goals (MDGs) is gender equality. As fatokun and Odagboyi (2011) noted, most societies, the roles of women is knocked to the floor, preventing women from participating in, and benefitting from development efforts. They added that some subjects such as science and mathematics are branded masculine, while others like home economics, secretarial studies are branded feminine. Fasiku (2011) in his comparison of the knowledge of male and female teachers in social studies, concluded that male social studies teachers were very vast in the knowledge of environmental education than female social studies teachers. Gin (2011) observed that in contemporary context, men and women classification is a world where patriarchal values predominate, it is a world where there are general sets of beliefs that women are inferior to men and therefore, the power relations attached to their ideas, and beliefs, give men more power, more opportunities and more conscentions over and above women in the society. Nwona (2013) noted imbalance against women in science, technology and mathematics. These are perceived as masculine subjects. Research has demonstrated that different teaching methods produce different results. The identification of the best teaching strategy for a given set of students must be done if the best result must be achieved.
All students are equal, but some are more equal than others. Thus, there tend to be a certain hierarchical order in a given society. A society may deem someone to be of higher status than others based on certain factors. Those of higher status in society tend to have a better life than those of lower status. However, social status can be understood as the degree of honor or prestige attached to one’s position in society. Social stratification is associated with the ability of individuals to live up to some set of ideals or principles regarded as important by the society or some social group within it (Omale, 2015)
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