IMPACT OF PROBLEM SOLVING LEARNING STRATEGY ON STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN CHEMISTRY
1.1 Background to the study
Chemistry is included in the Nigerian secondary school curriculum because it is such an important topic in science. A credit pass in the senior secondary certificate test is required for almost all fundamental and applied scientific disciplines at postsecondary institutions.
According to research, Nigerian students consistently perform poorly in chemistry due to poor stoichiometry problem-solving abilities (Opara, 2013; Udosoro, 2011; Badru, 2004). From 2007 to 2017, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) Chief Examiners consistently reported on students’ deficiencies in chemical arithmetic, low mathematical abilities, and inability to derive mole ratio from stoichiometric equations. Stoichiometry is a field that encompasses all related measurements and computations. Stoichiometry is fundamental to chemistry because it describes
the link between the measured quantities in a chemical reaction as well as the calculations that are based on the rules of definite proportions and the conservation of matter and energy. Stoichiometry states that the number of atoms or molecules involved in a chemical process must be converted into measurable quantities expressible in practical units. Parker (1983) defined the four categories that comprise the stoichiometry concept.
These laws include the law of conservation of substance, the law of chemical combining weights, the law of combining proportions, and the rates of reaction connections in a system.
Calculations based on these concepts are heavily used in engineering practice and current operations, as well as the design of new manufacturing units and equipment. Recognizing quantitative deductions in
Physical chemistry necessitates a solid understanding of stoichiometry.
Despite the importance of stoichiometry in physical chemistry, research has shown that students have difficulty performing stoichiometric calculations (Evans, Yaron and Leinhardt, 2008; Fach, de Boer and Parchmann, 2007 and Furio, Azconu and Guisasola, 2002). There is evidence in the literature of students’ misunderstandings and knowledge of stoichiometry (Gauchon and Meheut, 2007; Arasasington, Taagepera and Potter 2004). Other studies attempted to develop problem-solving models and instructional strategies to help students succeed in stoichiometry (Chandrasegran, Treagust, Waldrip and Chandrasegaran, 2009). There is a clear relationship between students’ mathematical ability and their understanding of chemical arithmetic (Badru, 2004). As a result, it is critical to provide a stress-free environment within a social, democratic setting where students can actively participate in the learning process.
intellectual, academic, and social abilities.
Observations over the last few decades have revealed that, despite significant improvements in scientific instruction in general, and chemistry in particular, student performance has remained poor. This is supported by students’ poor performance in the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Problem solving is the use of previously learned information and abilities to achieve specific goals. There are numerous definitions of problem-solving in the literature. Each researcher and author defines it in terms of his or her own psychological orientations. According to Krulik and Rudnick (as described in Carson, 2007), problem solving is the process by which a person applies previously acquired information, skills, and understanding to solve a problem.
meet the demands of an unexpected situation. The learner must then apply what he or she has learned to a new and unique situation.
Behaviorists see it as a link between problem circumstances and ideas or objects that have the greatest potential for providing appropriate solutions. Scanning and association, as well as linking chains of conditioned responses, determining the proper association, and searching for responses that can be linked to the problematic scenario, are used to solve problems. Reproductive thinking includes drill and practice, as well as trial and error. According to Gestaltists, problem solving is an insightful or intuitive process that involves the solver’s perceptual processes. Cognitivists define problem-solving as information processing with internal mediating elements, and it refers to
the mental process by which humans discover, analyze, and solve problems. This includes the entire process of identifying problems, deciding how to address the problem, and comprehending the problem itself.
If the problem is misunderstood, the solutions will be inaccurate or incorrect. It is a type of discovery learning in which the development is influenced by the structure of the task but may be unaffected by the solver’s prior knowledge. It is primarily dependent on the solver’s ability to identify general processes for solving problems of specific types through specific manipulations, which may necessitate some fumbling and searching, as well as the development of appropriate hypotheses. The problem-solving process in this situation reflects a gradual clarification of means-ends linkages, with formulations, testing, and evaluation.
The rejection of alternative hypotheses is crucial.
Carson (2007) defines issue resolution as having three characteristics: 1. bringing theory and practice together.
2. Problem-solving encourages creativity.
3. It also teaches the transfer and application of conceptual knowledge.
Two characteristics of problem-solving, according to Villegas, Castro, and Guterrez (as cited in Mushtaq, 2010), are: 1. the opportunity to practice heuristics as a valuable procedure that generates additional motivation due to their potential for application, and 2. the creativity required in using multiple mental representations.
Problem solving is highly valued by students. Problem-solving can also be compared to a fun game because it engages students and encourages participation. It energizes the teaching and learning process. Students can use problem solving to reinforce and
improve their knowledge while also encouraging new learning (Akinsola, 2008). It is reasonable to argue that problem-solving skills should also be included in classroom instruction. For a variety of reasons, problem-solving skills must be developed.
To meet this challenge, education must seek more reliable and effective methods of teaching students so that they can develop skills that will enable them to compete successfully in a technological and scientific world. Long (1991) proposes that teachers must be versatile, dynamic, perceptive, and able to cope with change while presenting a new vision for teacher educators. He went on to say that qualified teachers will be able to reflect on their teaching methods in order to better meet their students’ needs. These ground-breaking
In comparison to the old method, science educators in Nigeria have not adopted new approaches (Owolabi, 2006). Questioning, sorting, field trips, interviews, brainstorming, role-playing, projects, utilizing resource persons, library searches, and other creative activities are all problem-solving techniques (Adewuya 2003). All of these approaches encourage students to participate in problem-solving activities such as critical thinking, gathering additional information, assessing, exploring, and collecting themes and ideas, formulating hypotheses, testing assumptions, and collecting and analyzing data.
1.2 Problem Description
Complaints about the declining quality of education in Nigeria have been made over the years. The average student’s performance in the senior secondary school certificate examination (SSCE) and the national examination council (NECO) is poor, which does not bode well for the country’s technical education.
progress. Given the importance of education, it is critical to focus on instructors’ problem-solving abilities in order to achieve the necessary increase in students’ learning outcomes, particularly in senior secondary physics.
According to a recent study, problem-solving abilities of instructors have a significant impact on students’ learning methods, which in turn affects their performance. According to Rockoff (2004) and Hanushek (1998, 2005), instructors’ problem-solving ability and qualitative competencies increase students’ academic progress by at least 7% and one standard deviation. Many industry stakeholders have expressed concern about students’ poor performance in the subject. The curriculum of this activity-based course, like any other science topic, emphasizes the use of activity-based learning. Sadly, according to studies such as
According to Lakpini (2006) and Lawal (2009), instructors avoid using activity-based teaching methods in favor of simple lecture methods, which are frequently insufficient and inappropriate for meaningful learning. The study focused on teachers’ problem-solving abilities and their impact on students’ academic achievement.
1.3 The Study’s Objective
The study’s overarching goal is to investigate the impact of problem solving learning strategies on students’ academic achievement in chemistry using Lagos State as a case study.
The study specifically seeks to:
i. Determine whether a problem-solving method can improve critical thinking skills in secondary school students.
ii. Determine whether brainstorming as a problem-solving technique can instill problem-solving skills in secondary school students.
iii. Determine whether problem-based learning is more innovative and preferable than traditional teaching methods.
the traditional lecture method.
iv. Determine whether a teacher’s problem-solving ability as a student-centered method can influence student academic achievement.
1.4 Hypothesis of Research
HO1: Brainstorming as a problem-solving technique cannot instill problem-solving skills in secondary school students.
HO2: A teacher’s problem-solving ability as a student-centered method has no influence on student academic achievement.
1.5 Importance of the Research
The findings of this study are expected to be useful in both practical and theoretical contexts. The study will benefit teachers, curriculum designers for students, and educational administrators. The study may be considered theoretically relevant because it sheds light on current ideas that may influence issue resolution. Curriculum planners would make use of the study’s findings.
They will use their findings to plan their lessons. The data could help curriculum planners determine the appropriateness of the problem-solving component of the senior secondary biology program. Finally, the study would add empirically to the body of existing literature and serve as a reference source for students or other academics interested in conducting similar research.
1.6 The Study’s Scope
The overarching goal of this study is to investigate problem-solving teaching strategies and how they affect students’ academic progress using Lagos as a case study. The purpose of this research is to determine whether problem-solving techniques can assist students in improving their critical thinking skills in secondary school. It will be determined whether brainstorming, as a problem-solving strategy, can instill problem-solving skills in secondary school students.
school students. It will investigate whether problem-based learning is more creative and superior to traditional lecture learning. The research, however, is limited to a few secondary schools. Ikeja Local Government.
1.7 Study Restrictions
The researchers encountered minor constraints while conducting the study, as with any human endeavor. The significant constraint was the scarcity of literature on the subject due to the nature of the discourse, so the researcher incurred more financial expenses and spent more time sourcing for relevant materials, literature, or information and collecting data, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited sample size. Furthermore, the researcher will conduct this study alongside other academic work. even more so,
Because only a few respondents were chosen to answer the research instrument, the sample size was limited and thus cannot be generalized to other corporate organizations. Despite the constraints encountered during the research, all factors were minimized in order to provide the best results and make the research successful.
1.8 Terms Definition
A teaching method consists of the principles and methods used by teachers to facilitate student learning. These strategies are determined in part by the subject matter to be taught and in part by the learner’s personality.
Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching strategy in which students attempt to solve a problem or set of problems that are unfamiliar to them. PBL is based on a constructivist approach, and as such it encourages
Learning that is active.
Problem-Solving Technique: A problem-solving technique in which students learn by working on problems. This allows students to gain new knowledge by confronting problems to be solved. Students are expected to observe, comprehend, analyze, interpret, discover solutions, and carry out applications that lead to a comprehensive understanding of the concept.
Academic achievement is the extent to which a student or institution has met either short or long term educational objectives. Students’ grade point averages can be used to measure achievement, whereas graduation rates can be used to measure achievement for institutions.