EFFECT OF COOPERATIVE LEARNING ON THE ACHIEVEMENT AND INTEREST IN CHEMISTRY OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
This study studied the effect of cooperative learning on students’ chemistry achievement in secondary schools in Obubra Local Government Area, Cross River State, Nigeria. The study employed a quasi-experimental research approach, and a sample of 384 JSS II students was taken. The study collected data using the Chemistry Achievement Test (SOSSAT) and the Test of Retention (TOR).
The study examined five null hypotheses and addressed five research topics. t-test Independent Sample, Cumulative Mean, and Standard Deviation were used to analyze the data. The results of the study indicated that JSS II students fared better when taught using the cooperative learning approach as opposed to the lecture method.
Therefore, based on the outcomes of this study, it is advised that the Cooperative Learning Method is more effective than the Lecture Method with Junior High Chemistry Students. Cooperative learning is beneficial for both male and female students at the Junior Secondary School level and in both urban and rural schools. Based on the preceding, the study recommends that JSS Chemistry Teachers in Cross River State, Nigeria utilize cooperative learning techniques.
Context of the Study
The study of chemistry is regarded as a requirement for elementary, middle, and high school education. According to the Nigerian Federal Government’s National Policy on Education, secondary schools are required. “Shall instruct fundamental subjects that enable students to acquire additional knowledge and abilities. Every student must offer a minimum of ten and a maximum of thirteen topics” (FGN 2004); these subjects include, among others, Chemistry as a core subject.
To emphasize the importance of Chemistry in nation building, the Nigerian Education Research and Development Council (NERDC) lists six (6) objectives for young Nigerians to attain in Chemistry. At both the elementary and junior secondary levels, the following is true:
Develop the ability to adapt to a situation that is always changing.
Become accountable and disciplined individuals who are willing and able to contribute to the growth of their society.
Inculcate the appropriate values.
Develop an understanding of other people, their diverse culture and history, and the essential characteristics that make them human.
Develop the ability to perceive the numerous elements of being human in a variety of cultural and social circumstances, and develop a sense of solidarity and sharing based on a secure sense of one’s own identity.
To achieve these goals, a number of teaching strategies have been developed to facilitate teaching and learning at all educational levels around the world. These strategies include the Cooperative Learning Method, the Aesthetic Value Strategy, the Concept Mapping Strategy, and the Individualistic Instruction Strategy, among others.
The effectiveness of these strategies has been proven by a number of research findings. Aesthetic Value and Cooperative Learning Strategies research on the effect on Primary Pupils Chemistry Academic Performance Retention and Application in Gwale Local Government in Cross River State demonstrates that there is a significant difference between the academic performance of primary school students taught Chemistry using the Aesthetic Value Strategy, Cooperative learning method and those taught using the conventional method (Sadauki 2012).
Regarding this, researchers noted that the majority of our teachers, particularly in the Primary and Secondary Schools, use teacher-centered approaches; however, with the paradigm shift in teaching practice, the learner is expected to participate in the lesson through discussion, sharing ideas, checking each other’s work, use of materials, and presentation of group findings.
According to Ololobou (2010), the primary responsibility of a teacher is to travel from group to group during the session to assist students as they engage in activities. The teacher can accomplish this through the use of a guide, clarification of instructions, the provision of appropriate learning materials, and the recording of learners’ responses after an activity, thereby enabling students to comprehend the lesson by summarizing their responses and relating them to the content (topic of discussion).
As stated previously, teacher-centered approaches are deemed ineffective due to the fact that they have little impact on the Academic Achievement of students because the lesson is dominated by the teacher speaking to the students while the students remain passive listeners and recipients of knowledge. There was little to no usage of materials by the students, and the teacher did not account for the students’ skill levels.
It is believed that the use of a learner-centered approach makes teaching and learning more engaging, makes the classroom environment lively, arouses learners’ interest, and sustains their interest and attention throughout the
teaching and learning process as a result of involving all learners in the lesson through pair and group work, learners of all abilities having the opportunity to think, and the teacher focusing on understanding as opposed to rote memorization and recall of facts. In view of the aforementioned, the purpose of the present study is to determine the efficacy of cooperative learning on students’ accomplishment and retention in Junior Secondary School Chemistry.
1.2 DESCRIPTION OF THE PROBLEM
Despite the vital role Chemistry plays in preparing students to study subjects such as Government, History, Geography, Economics, and Commerce at the Senior Secondary School level, as well as developing and orienting in learners a high sense of respect and the acquisition of skills and competences necessary for self-sufficiency, the present researcher has identified some obstacles in the study area.
Which includes mass examination failure, high dropout rates, low level of student engagement in classroom instruction, conventional classroom sizes of 100 to 120 students, inability to cover significant portion of syllabus by many Chemistry teachers, and some teachers giving pupils notes to copy in their exercise books, among others.
The issue depends on determining the extent to which the use of cooperative learning to teach JSS students results in higher academic accomplishment in Chemistry than conventional teaching methods.
To determine whether there will be an improvement in students’ academic accomplishment and retention in Chemistry, however, it is necessary to apply new teaching methods that are centered on the students. In continuation of the preceding section, this study examines the “Effect of Cooperative Learning Method on Students’ Achievement in Chemistry in Secondary Schools in Obubra L. G. A, Cross River State, Nigeria.”
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
Determine the impact of cooperative learning on students’ academic performance in Chemistry in Obubra’s secondary schools. L. G. A. River Crossing
Analyze the impact of Cooperative Learning Strategy and Conventional Teaching Method on Secondary School Chemistry Achievement.
Examine the impact of the Cooperative Learning Method versus the Conventional Teaching Method on Chemistry retention in secondary school pupils.
Determine the impact of the Cooperative Learning Method on Male and Female Secondary School Students’ Achievement in Chemistry.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions served as the basis for the study:
What is the difference between the mean achievement and retention scores of chemistry students taught utilizing the cooperative learning method?
What is the difference between the mean achievement scores of students who were taught chemistry using cooperative learning and those who were taught using the conventional method?
What is the difference between the mean retention scores of students who were taught chemistry using the cooperative learning method against those who were taught using the conventional way?
What is the difference between the mean achievement scores of male and female chemistry students taught using the cooperative learning method?
1.5 NULL HYPOTHESES
Based on the study’s aims, the following Null Hypotheses were developed to guide the study’s execution and were to be evaluated at p0.05.
HO1: There is no statistically significant difference between the mean achievement and retention scores of students who were taught Chemistry using the cooperative learning method.
HO2: There is no statistically significant difference between the mean achievement scores of students taught chemistry through cooperative learning and those taught using the conventional technique.
1.6 IMPORTANCE OF THE EVALUATION
The study will aid the Cross River State Ministry of Education in understanding the feasibility and applicability of cooperative learning in the secondary school chemistry classroom. Curriculum designers including the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council, Cross River Educational Research Development, State Universal Basic Education Board, and Nigerian Teachers Institute (NTI).
It will also benefit teachers, as they are the driving force or engine room of curriculum implementation in the classroom. They ensure curriculum implementation according to standards. They determine the most appropriate methods, strategies, resources, and evaluation approaches for each lesson.
1.7 RADIUS OF THE EXAMINATION
The objective of the study, which was done in all secondary schools in Obubra L. G. A, Cross River State, Nigeria, was to determine the effect of cooperative learning on students’ achievement in chemistry in Obubra L. G. A, Cross River State, Nigeria secondary schools. The study utilized only the Cooperative Learning Method and the Conventional Method. In addition, JSS II Students were utilized throughout the six-week research.
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