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This study investigated effects of instructional materials on the academic achievement and retention of SS 2 biology students in Delta State. The study sample consisted of 86 SS2 biology students randomly selected from a population of 5,626 students drawn from 18 public schools. An instrument designed and developed from past WAEC questions by the researcher known as Biology Achievement Test (BAT) was validated by some senior lecturers in science, English and statistic from Ahmadu Bello University and senior biology teachers in Delta State. The instrument used was tested and certified to be reliable at 0.65 coefficient. Quasi-experimental design was adopted which involves two groups: experimental and control groups. The experimental group was subjected to treatment using instructional materials but the control group was taught without any instructional materials. Four null hypotheses were tested using ttest statistics. The following major findings were made: There is a significant diff



1.1 Introduction

Science explains the natural existence of man and his activities. Science could be seen as

problem solving in order to improve the living standard of man. There are different definitions

of science by different schools of thought; Owolabi (2004) defines science as an integrated part

of human activities. It is seen as a dynamic human activity concerned with manipulating

spherical world. It is seen as “knowledge covering general truths and laws, obtained and tested

through scientific methods as concerned laws with the physical world”. Science can be seen as

the bedrock of national development. A nation that is not scientifically advanced is termed a

backward nation. Science is used by humans to solve daily problems and control the


The usefulness of science cannot be under-rated. There are many areas of life that

science has contributed such as in medicine, geophysics, hydrology, agriculture,

communication, technology, education, transportation, healthcare to mention a few. Agriculture

has improved greatly through the introduction of high yield improved agricultural seeds.

Science has led to breakthrough in medical care. Diagnostic machine for checking different

ailments and diseases are now controlled and diseases cured through science. The usefulness of

science to humanity cannot be over emphasized.

Biology is defined as the study of living things which include plants and animals. It is a

fascinating study that ranges from microscopic-cellular molecules to the biosphere,

encompassing the earth’s surface and its living organisms (Sarigin, 2010). Biology is a core

subject that is mandatory in all secondary schools in Nigeria as it is a pre-requisite to the study

of many courses relevant to humanity which include the following; Medicine, Pharmacy,


Biochemistry,Agriculture, Anatomy, Physiology, Botany, Zoology, Microbiology, Cell

Biology, Ecology, Entomology Immunology, Molecular biology, Evolutionary, Genetics and

population dynamic among others. Biology can be conveniently taught in a laboratory which is

a place designed and equipped with materials for teaching and learning. It is obvious that most

secondary schools lack physical laboratories and where they exist, there are inadequate or lack

of equipment. One of the problems militating against effort to enrich science is inadequate or

absence of teaching aids or materials which include; indoor or outdoor laboratory, reagents,

chemicals and unqualified teachers. Nwoji (1999) reported that some essential facilities were

not available in the school visited (Baike 2000).

The importance of Biology is so much that it needs to be taught with instructional

materials to arouse students’ interest. Tabotndip (2004) lamented that abstract teaching goes on

today where teachers do not use apparatus and students are not using textbooks. It is reported

that most secondary schools do not have biology laboratory, the few existing ones have been

converted into classrooms to create space for the overwhelming population of students arising

from the Universal Basic Education (UBE) and Universal Primary Education (UPE). As a result

of WAEC specification on SSCE examination, some schools resorts to multipurpose laboratory.

There is need for a single laboratory for each of physics, chemistry as well as biology practicals.

This ought not to be so for they have their disadvantages such as fire or chemical outbreak or

accidents. In case of biology, the charts, specimen and models may not be displayed for

recognition and observation. Learning occurs when all the facilities for study are harnessed for

work during a teaching and learning experience (Azikwe1990,Tabotndip 2004). Visual

imaginary e.g. pictures charts etc has become the most powerful means of communication in the

society today. (Ajayi 2004).

Outdoor activities in form of outdoor laboratory learning could be encouraged in form of

biology garden, field trips or around the school wall since the activities of the indoor laboratory


cannot unfold true happenings in nature or forms of living things e.g. reproduction of

amphibians in water, observation of flowering plants, taxonomy of plants and animal.

Morphology of living things can be studied in the laboratory to an extent but their activities,

influence and interaction with one another in their habitat would be better studied outside the

laboratory. This method of instruction promotes inquiring strategy. Inquiring is a process that

encourages students to solve problems in a logical systematic manner using the process skills

(James, and Permida (1997, 2000).

The Biology garden as an outdoor laboratory plays a very important role in the teaching

and learning process that includes:

1. Free movement of teacher and students in terms of observation of specimens and


2. It promotes good relationship between students and their teacher.

3. It encourages inquiry, discovery and meaningful learning.

4. It exposes the students to study plants and animals in their natural habitat.

5. Biological garden helps the teacher to collect specimen without travelling long


6. It also reduces the cost of providing materials during WAEC examination.

There are still some biology concepts and phenomena that require indoor laboratory attention

such as chemical reactions in Biology (Physiology) e.g. osmosis, turgidity, etc. in plants and

some physiological activities in animals. It is necessary therefore to introduce the use of

materials in teaching and illustration of biology concepts for a meaningful study to take place.

These materials include; concrete objects, charts, stored specimens and other teaching materials.

It is on this background that the study is focused, finding out the effect of instructional materials

on academic achievements and retention of SS 2 Biology Students.


Instructional materials are teaching aids or materials used to illustrate the teaching

process and make instruction more compressive to the learner. According to Franzer,

Okebukola, and Jegede (1992) professionally qualified science teacher no matter how well

trained would not be able to put his ideas into practice if the school setting lacks the equipment

and materials necessary to translate potentials into reality. The use of teaching aids or

instructional materials is an important tool in the teaching of Biology. The objective of any

educational process determines the content, methods and materials needed for achieving such

objectives. Different instructional materials are used for different concepts in Biology. Yero,

(2000) mentioned four types of instructional aids or materials, which include the following: –

i. Visual Aids: – these are instructional materials that make visual impression – that is, it

interprets the vision of the eyes. They include chalk board, posters, models, motion

pictures, projected transparences.

ii. Auditory Aids: – these appeal to the sense of hearing and include record players, tape

recorders and language laboratories.

iii. Audio – visual Aids: – these involve both hearing and visual senses e.g. based on sound

and vision. Advancement in modern technology has led to the production of devices

known as Information Communication Technology (ICT), which is also used in


iv. Stimulation Devices: – These include devices built to stimulate the actions and function

of real thing or object. Instructional materials according to Oriade (2000) have the

characteristics of holding attention of almost all the students because they reinforce

verbal messages by providing a multi-media approach.

The importance of instructional materials according to Oriade (2000) emphasized that

no matter how good a curriculum maybe, absence of the use of instructional materials can

jeopardize its effective implementation. The selection and use of instructional materials depend


on the teachers, if the science or biology teacher does not have the skills to manipulate the

materials, learning becomes difficult. Teachers should be committed and enthusiastic to use

instructional materials in teaching biology concepts. The provision and application of

instructional materials should be reinforced in the school system, for it is on this note that the

effect of instructional materials on academic achievements of Biology students, could be

determined by their interactive and participation in class which is based on the teacher’s

presentation of the biology concepts or subject matter. Both achievements and long term

achievement could be measured by test analysis designed. An instructional material stimulates

student’s participation in class, increase knowledge and affects the achievement of biology

students. The use of inappropriate teaching materials results such as wrongly labeled charts

results in several academic problems which according to Josiah and Okaoboh (2001) ranges

from mass failure or under achievement in public examination to the gradual deteriorating

situation in educational institution at all levels. Instructional materials are seen as an

improvement and great relief for teachers in impacting knowledge and making the message

clearer, more interesting and easier for the learners to assimilate (Onasanga and Adegbija

2008).In their view, there is no need teaching if what is learnt cannot be recalled.

Retention is the ability to store what has been learnt and recall what has been stored in

the memory. According to Bichi (2002) retention is the ability to retain and later remember

information or knowledge gained after learning in to memory. The nature of the materials to be

coded contributes to the level of retention. Instructional materials contribute to quality and level

of retention in terms of meaningful, concreteness and image evolving characteristic.(Adeniyi

1997). The study therefore investigates the effect of instructional materials on the academic

achievement of teaching and learning process in biology concept. Logoke,(1992) in Bichi

(2002) investigated the retention ability of two groups of students; experimental group taught

biological concepts using the analogical linage strategy while the control group was thought


(skeletal system) same concepts using the traditional teaching method. The results showed that

the experimental group performed significantly better and retained more of the biology concepts

taught than their counter parts in the control group. Akale and Usman (1993) and Eniayeji

(1995) opined, that carefully selected and skillful use of teaching materials make facts and

information better retained and learning more meaningful. It is on these findings that this study

is focused. The study tends to consider gender factor in terms of biology achievement and


Gender issue has been the concern of all classes and groups of people all over the world

especially researchers and educators. The issue of gender is considered and treated based on

certain facts such as social and cultural beliefs, pattern of life and priorities of individuals. In the

colonial days, boys were allowed to attend school while girls remained in the house to do house

chores. Today there is no disparity on gender. From the findings of Ifamuyiwa (2005), a total of

215 candidates that sat for school certificate further mathematics involving 181 males and 34

females; result analysis showed that though the females were much fewer; 16% female, 34% of

male, they relatively performed better. Even though there was poor performance of some female

student’s which was attributed to certain factors such as negative and discouraging attitudes of

female teachers, parents to the ideas of women engaging in “male careers” such as engineering.

The learning of boys and girls is associated with the society’s gender norms and perpetuated

through informal education in the homes and society. (Erinosho1997).Studies have confirmed

the inferiority of females in science enrolments and achievements.(Arends, (1991),andAgholor,

1993). According to Aleboisus, (2000) there is inequality in access to education, health and

employment. This study tends to access the effect of instructional materials on academic

achievements and retention among SS2 Biology students in Ika North East Local Government

Area of Delta State considering gender factors.

1.1.1 Theoretical Framework


The theoretical framework of this study is based on constructivism theory, which is about

providing material which is more effective for the opportunities of the student to test ideas and

give them time to construct relationship among concepts and the use of higher level embedded

assessment (Ronande dios 2012).

According to Good (2003) the modem teacher sees the child as akin to a plant that is

helped to grow according to its abilities and aptitudes. The understanding of an individual

derived from a learning situation depends on both the incoming ideas and knowledge and

individual’s organization of the knowledge and deliberate re-structuring of his pre-existing

conceptual framework. Learning becomes more effective when students are actively involved in

the teaching learning process. They make their own knowledge as a result of interaction with

specific phenomenon as such from the basis on which new knowledge are anchored ( Ronande

Dios 2012). Studies of some science educators such as Okebukola (2005) advocated the use of

activity oriented instructional strategies such as constructive instructional strategy to enhance

the teaching and learning of sciences. The constructive instructional strategy is related to

Ausubel’s theory which is concerned with how an individual learn large amount of meaningful

materials from verbal /textual presentation in school settings (in contrast to theory developed in

the context of laboratory experiment Ronande Dios (2012)

The constructivist instructional strategies involve instructional materials. Constructivist

learning encourages learners to acquire necessary knowledge and skills for finding meaningful

solution to real world problems. Their learning involves learners-centered, goal-directed and

situated activities. There are experiences in a traditional classroom where the constructivist

learning process in practiced across various subject disciplines but to transform the

constructivist learning to e-learning remains challenging.

There are two main reasons:


1. It requires adequate learning content design skills to ensure flexibility, re-usability and

interoperability to meet learners requirement.

2. Learning content design must allow a sound educational purpose to enforce knowledge

construction. An effective learning design is not driven by the advancement in

technology; it has to be rooted in sound learning theories and appropriate instruction

strategies (material).

A Primary process in learning according to Ausubel is the subsumption in which new

material is related to relevant ideas in an existing cognitive structure on a substantive non

verbatim basis. Cognitive structures represent the residue of all learning experiences; forgetting

occurs when certain details get integrated and lose their individual identity. (Ronande Dios

(2012) Constructivist theory as related to Ausubel’s learning theory of subsumption and

advanced organizers is helpful to provide more clarification for better knowledge of the use of

instructional material and strategies. Hollman (2007) according Ronande Dios (2012) is of the

view that children who learn science by the discovery approach will discover for themselves the

true structure of the discipline in complete harmony with modern philosophy of science

education .

This study which is focused on instructional materials is based on constructist theory.1.2 Statement of the Problem


One of the main problems facing most secondary schools in the Nigerian society today

is the relative decline in the academic achievements of the students especially in the sciences.

The secondary schools in Delta State are no exception. The academic achievements of students

in the sciences have been on the decline (Ajagun 2000) and being able to reach the desired goal

can be termed achievement. Most research findings in academic achievement in sciences are

applicable to Biology as a science subject. The poor achievements in biology could be attributed

to some factors such as: – lack of use of apparatus Tabotndip(2000), lack of fund to purchase

material Ezeudu(1995). From experience as a teacher, there are other factors that contribute to

poor achievement in biology which include: –

Lack of facility for imparting knowledge.

Inadequate equipment in laboratories where they exist.

Lack of teacher’s zeal to make use of instructional materials or improvise in the absence

of standard materials.

Lack of students’ exposure to practical lessons and insufficient time for practical


Lack of interest in creativity in the part of teachers and poor teaching strategies.

Large size of the classes, leading to inadequate or poor management of classes.

Unqualified or inexperience teachers handling biology classes.

Analysis of students’ poor achievements in recent WAEC examination and result poses a great

concern to the nation. James and Pemida(2000) in a paper termed “biology education through

the biological garden” is of the view that biology stands out distinctly to be taught and learnt

among other science subjects by making use of available materials. According to James et al

(2000) mere collection of specimens taken to the laboratory do not give room for active

participation of students and thus, does not contribute to scientific attitude of students. The

transfer of knowledge from school to life situations, to the development of decision making


skills and values, cannot be nurtured through the conventional chalk and board nor can it be

effective through traditional laboratory experiments but the use of more interactive strategies

that can facilitate participatory learning and independent enquiry (UNESCO 1987 –2006).

Biology is developing more rapidly today than in past and so in Connell (2000), the skill and

techniques of imparting useful biological knowledge, lecture and text book as a sole source of

knowledge should give way to newer educational techniques that require the use of instructional


Available literature shows that much of biology teaching is carried out through chalk

and board with little or no emphasis on the use of instructional materials. This study therefore

investigated effect of the use of instructional materials on academic achievements and retention

of Biology concept among SS2 student in Ika North East area of Delta State.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The study has the following objectives, to:

1. Investigate effects of the use of instructional materials on the academic achievements of

SS2 Biology student’s in Delta State.

2. Investigate effect of the use of instructional materials on the retention ability of SS2

Biology students in Delta State.

3. Examine the gender-related effect of instructional materials and academic achievements

of biology students.

4. Examine the gender-related effect of instructional materials and retention ability among

SS2 Biology students.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions are set for answering:-


1. What is the effect of the use of instructional material on the academic achievement in

biology among SS2 students in Ika North East Local Government Area of Delta State?

2. What is the effect of the use of instructional materials on the academic achievement of

boys and girls among SS2 biology students?

3. Is there any difference in the mean retention scores of SS2 biology students taught

biology concepts using instructional materials and that of their counterparts taught same

concepts without the use of instructional materials?

4. What is the effect of the use of instructional materials on retention ability of male and

female SS2 biology students in Ika North East Local Government Area of Delta State?

1.5 Null Hypothesis

The following null hypotheses were formulated for the study and were tested at 0.5 level of


H01: There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of students

taught biology concepts using instructional materials and those taught without

instructional materials.

H02: There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of male and

female students taught biology concepts using instructional materials e.g chart

and specimens.

H03: There is no significant difference in the mean retention scores of SS2 students

taught Biology concepts using instructional materials and those taught same

concepts without instructional materials

H04: There is no significant difference in the mean retention scores of male and

female students taught biology concepts with the use of instructional materials.


1.6 Significance of the Study

This study is significant to Biology teachers in Delta State in particular and in Nigeria in

general. Teachers and would find this study relevant and useful in teaching and learning


The use of instructional materials would help curriculum planners in the area of practical

works.It will be helpful to examination bodies such as WAEC and NECO in setting

examination questions with emphasis on area of practical works.

Science equipment manufacturers and science book publishers etc. will find this study

relevant in areas of science instructional materials production to schools.

This study will be helpful for further research on retention.

1.7 Basic Assumptions

The study has the following basic assumptions:

1. That Secondary schools in Delta State have adequate facilities for academic activities in


2. That teachers are trained and encouraged to use instructional materials in teaching


3. That secondary school teachers are familiar with the use of instructional materials in

teaching Biology.

1.9 Scope and Delimitation of the Study

This study would have covered more schools and areas of Ika North East Local

Government Area of Delta State but due to constraints time and material resources, it was

confined to SS2 Biology students in four (4)public schools in Ika North East Local Government

Area of Delta State: they include, the following: –


1. Ekwuoma Mixed Secondary School Ekwuoma

2. Ika Grammar School Boji – BojiOwa

3. OwantaMixed Secondary School, Owanta

4. Mbiri secondary school, Mbiri

The topics of research are

(1) Biological Concepts of Skeleton

(2) Skeletal materials

(3) Types of Skeleton

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