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Problems solving approach and academic performance of students in physics

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This study examine problem-solving on academic performance of students in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area. Two research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The quasi-experimental research design was adopted for the study.

Random sampling was used to select two hundred students from three intact class of SS2 Physics students which form the sample size of this study. The instrument used for data collection was Physics Achievement Test (PAT). Data collected were analyzed using independent t-test statistical tool.

It was revealed among others that, problems solving approach significantly enhanced students’ academic performance in physics more than the lecture method. Also, male physics students benefited more from problems solving approach than their female counterpart. Based on the finding, it was recommended among others that teachers should be encourage and enlighten on the need to use problem solving approach in the teaching/learningofPhysics.                                                                                                                                                           


1.1     Backgrounds to the Study

Effective science teaching is the gateway to attainment of scientific and technological greatness. Science and physics teaching can only be effective when students are willing and the teachers make use of appropriate approaches or methods and resources in teaching the students.

Modern science teaching and learning stress students participation in the learning process through exposure to diverse learning experiences (Abuseji, 2007).

However, the learning of physics on the part of the learners depends on the way it is presented and the way the learners actively interacts with the learning experiences presented to them.

It has been noted that the goal of teaching and learning of physics is to bring about desirable learning in students. In this process, the learner is expected to received information, understand it and use it later when the need arises.

By way of definition, an approach refers to the way a learner or a teacher uses in solving problems. Poor academic performance among students has been attributed to poor approaches in the teaching learning process.

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According to 6th edition of an oxford advance learners dictionary problem- solving refers to the act of finding ways of dealing with problems. Problem- solving can also be viewed as the ability of a teacher or a learner to provide solution to the problem using diverse ways. Pollyn (2006) sees problem- solving as an approach which stand for every positive and active way students can be engaged in their learning to learn meaningfully.

Hence the need to further research on the extent to which problem solving approaches could affects academic performance of student in physics in Ikot Abasi local government area of Akwa Ibom state is soughted in this research.

Problems solving approach and academic performance of students in physics

1.2  Statement of the Problem

The researcher have over the years observe the consistent poor academic performance among physics students at external examinations.

Some of the schools principals in some secondary school in Ikot Abasi attributed the poor performance to many factors including poor performance to many factors including poor state of learning facilities, lack of quality instructional personals as well as poor method of teaching physics.

However, physics is an activity oriented discipline. Therefore physics teaching should be activity driven where students are actively engaged throughout the lesson.

Owolabi (2006) observed that modern societies have develop the practice of directed learning when is not the same as dictating to the learner, but more of helping the learner to exploit his or her own innate capacities for learning and continuous self-development. Hence, the need to investigate upon this topic.

1.3     Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to determine the effect of problem solving approaches on academic performance of students in physics in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Specifically the study sought to:

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(i) Determine the difference in the academic performance of students learned physics with problem solving approach and those learned using lecture method.

(ii)  Determine the academic performance of students learned physics with problem solving approach by gender.

1.4     Significant of the Study

 It is the researches view that findings from this study will:

(1) Assist teachers on the area of adopting appropriate strategies and approaches in the teaching/learning of physics.

(2) To promotes scientific skills acquisition, help students to see the need to embrace problem solving approach in physics learning process as it enhance the discovery of new knowledge and skills.

(3)  Enlighten school managers and education planners on the need to provide adequate instructional facilities and quality instructional personals for effective teaching and learning of physics.

(4)  The result of this study will also help teachers to employ recommended scientific methods in the teaching of science subjects at all level of education.

(5)    The study will also through mere light to future researchers as it will provide relevant information on problem solving approach as the mean to effective teaching/learning of physics.

1.5    Research Hypotheses

Three null hypotheses were formulated as a guide to the study at 0.05 level of significant.

i There is no significant difference in academic performance between physics students taught using problem solving approach and those taught using lecture method.

ii  There is no significant difference in academic performance  of male and female students taught using problem solving approach.

1.6    Limitation of the Study

The study would have covered all the secondary schools in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area, but due to some factors which threatened the successful completion of this study, the study was therefore limited to some selected secondary schools in the study area.

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Prominent among these factors were lack of sufficient finances and inadequate time frame to purchase and transport necessary materials required for the study.

 1.7   Delimitation of the Study

The study was delimited to Ikot Abasi Local Government Area to investigate problem-solving approach and academic performance of students in physics. The study was also restricted to all secondary schools in the study area, especially senior secondary two students (SS2) for 2014/15 academic session.

1.8     Definition of Terms

(i)   Problem-Solving Approach: This refers to the ways, strategies or methods

through which a teacher or a student use in solving scientific problems or facing any challenge.

 (ii)   Lecture Method:               It is a teaching method where the instructor

                                                    acts as the primary information giver.

(iii)    Gender:                                 This is a psychological term describing beha-

                                                       viour basis of being born either male or


  (iv)  Academic Performance:        This refers to the grade obtained by the

                                                       students in continuous assessment or

                                                        examination physics.

(v)    Physics:                                 This can be defined as the branch of science.

                                                     concerned with the nature and properties of

                                                       matter and energy. It is also the study of

                                                       all forces and their impact on environment.


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Mr. Harrison

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