Influence of Teacher Related Factors on Academic Achievement of Secondary School Student Biology in Eldoret Municipality, Kenya
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between Teacher self-efficacy, interest, attitude, qualification, experience and pupils’ academic achievement in secondary school biology. The participants of the study comprises of 254 secondary school teachers and 120 secondary school students. Data collected on the study were analyzed using a stepwise multiple regression analysis. The results reveals that teacher self-efficacy and interest had significant correlation with students achievement scores.
Teacher’s self-efficacy being the best predictor of students’ academic achievement in biology was followed by teacher’s interest. Attitude, qualification and experience were not significant correlation with pupil’s achievement in biology. The study recommended that it is high time for primary school biology teachers to have a change of attitude towards the teaching of the subject so that the achievement of universal basic education will not be hindered. Furthermore, primary school educational authorities were called upon to ensure that only teachers who are qualified to teach the subject are employed. Not these alone, their attention was also drawn to the fact that they should design educational programmes that will enhance the teacher self-efficacy for a better prediction of pupils’ achievement in Biology.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
MATERIALS AND METHODS
With the rapid developments in science and technology, biology, which is one of the fundamental to many disciplines has becomes increasingly important. The number of compounds and their many different applications begs the question, how can we teach all the knowledge to students? To meet with the needs of society, reform in biology teaching has taken place all over the world. However, we cannot teach students everything in this rapidly developing world. Accordingly, most academics agree that we should just teach students how to learn and apply biology. It is also the case that if people want to keep up with the development of knowledge, they should keep studying and assessing all their lives. However because the reformat has concentrated on knowledge structures, our teaching methods are still teacher-centered, not student-centered and do not encourage students to achieve lifelong learning and assessment. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between Teacher self- efficacy, interest, attitude, qualification, experience and pupils’ academic achievement in secondary school biology. The participants of the study comprises of 254 secondary school teachers and 120 secondary school students. Data collected on the study were analyzed using a stepwise multiple regression analysis. The results reveals that teacher self –efficacy and interest had significant correlation with students achievement scores. Teacher’s self-efficacy being the best predictor of students’ academic achievement in biology was followed by teacher’s interest. Attitude, qualification and experience were not significant correlation with pupil’s achievement in biology. The study recommended that it is high time for primary school biology teachers to have a change of attitude towards the teaching of the subject so that the achievement of universal basic education will not be hindered. Furthermore, primary school educational authorities were called upon to ensure that only teachers who are qualified to teach the subject are employed. Not these alone, their attention was also drawn to the fact that they should design educational programmes that will enhance the teacher self- efficacy for a better prediction of pupils’ achievement in Biology.
Keywords: Teacher self-efficacy, interest, attitude, qualification, experience and pupils academic achievement in Biology.
The importance of science in most fields of human endeavor cannot be underestimated. The usefulness of science is almost at par with the importance of education as a whole. Science is one of the key subjects in both the primary and secondary school education system in Kenya. Science is all about finding solutions to problems. All decisions taken are based an such questions as what and how these question is best answer by converting every statement to scientific statement before solution is sought. The depth of scientific knowledge an individual has dictated the level of accuracy of his/her decision. This implies the fact that before an individual can function well in the society he/she must possess or have relatively good knowledge of science especially in this era of technological age.
Several factors have generally been identified as predictor of poor academic achievement. Agyeman (1993) reported that a teacher who doesn’t have both the academic and the professional teaching qualification would undoubtedly have a negative influence on the teaching and learning of his/her subject. Apart from qualification, other teachers’ variables still exit which can either positively or negatively students’ Biology performance. However, research particularly in the Kenya context is being silent about them. It is against this background that this study critically examined teacher variables as predictors of Biology achievement in secondary school. The choice of secondary school culminated from the fact that it is one of the bedrock/foundation of any advancement in educational system. Teacher variables the study focused are teachers’ self-efficacy, interest attitude, qualification and experience on pupils’ achievement in secondary school Biology.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
A teacher’s success in producing good results in national examination is not an easy task. A teacher should be committed to his/her work. The teacher should be competent and show high performance. This is the predominant point of view shared by most science teachers, including teachers of Biology. However, it overlooks the purpose of learning, which is not merely to pass exams. Indeed, the attitude that exams are an end in themselves may partly be responsible for poor teaching methods (such as “cramming”) that discourage students from doing their best.
Fortunately, there are other methods which teachers of Biology can employ to improve the achievement of their students. These methods, which are addressed in this study, aim to encourage holistic learning through encouraging students to increase their level of participation in the classroom and laboratory work. In order to assess how teachers can facilitate such a state of affairs, the current study examines teacher related factors and describes the way in which they may affect the achievement of students in Biology subject.
The study aims to find out whether teacher experience has a significant effect on the achievement of students, as it is anticipated that students taught by more experienced teachers will achieve better grades than those taught by less experienced teachers. A similar relationship is expected between teachers’ knowledge and student achievement, as teachers who have more knowledge, as manifested by greater qualifications, are expected to have higher achieving students than teachers who have less knowledge. The level of skill which teachers display in teaching Biology subject may also play a role in student achievement; therefore skill is also addressed in this study. Finally, the matter of teachers’ attitudes and self-efficacy towards their subject is also considered a factor in the achievement of Biology students, as a teacher who is enthusiastic about teaching the subject is more likely to influence students to perform well than a teacher who is apathetic or indifferent to the subject. It is hoped that some or all of the factors above, taken either collectively or in isolation, should produce an effective Biology science teacher, who should, among other things, emphasize the use of the language of science in order to promote student achievement in Biology subject. In other to achieve the purpose of this study, the following research questions were answered:
1. To what extents would the teacher self-efficacy, interest, attitude, qualification and experience when taken together predict Biology subject academic achievement among Secondary school students?
2. What is the relative contribution of each the teachers related factors to the prediction?
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The study adopted an Ex- post facto research design. In this type of research the researcher does not have direct control on the independent variables since their manifestation have already occurred. The researcher was interested in examining the phenomena under investigation and data were collected after the phenomena had taken place. The participants is this study were 120 student and 254 secondary school teachers selected by stratified/ simple random sampling techniques from some secondary schools in Eldoret municipality, Kenya. Out of the 254 teachers 129 were females and 125 males.
A modified instrument tagged Teachers Variables Questionnaire was used for the collection of data on this study. This instrument is divided into two sections. The first section required the participant demographic information. These include sex, age, level, qualifications, and years of teaching experience. The second section contains the items. This is sub-divided into three parts: part 1 - teachers Attitude Sub-scale, part 2- teachers Self- Efficacy Subscale and part 3- Teachers Interest in Biology teaching Scale. Biology Achievement Test (BAT) constructed by the researcher. This was used to gather respondent’s academic achievement score in Biology. BAT comprises of 15 items objective test based on what secondary have been taught in their various classes. BAT is meant for secondary form 2 to 4 where selection of teacher is done. BAT has a Cronbach Alpha reliability of 0.90 and concurrent validity of 0.76. Opinions of the teachers in secondary schools were also sought concerning the test items and they confirmed that the test has content validity. In all 120 students were drawn to write the BAT.
The three tests were group administered to the subjects in the schools involved in the study by the researcher with the help of some assistants who were teachers and friends from schools under studied. The researcher explained the various sections of the questionnaire to the subject who were instructed not to leave any of the items unanswered. It took them about 50 minutes to complete the questionnaires of the questionnaires.
The researcher scored the inventories according to the instructions in their manuals. Pearson’s Product Movement Correlation Statistical Procedure and multiple regressions analysis (stepwise). The criterion measure or dependent variable was academic achievement in Biology while the predictor or independent variables were Teacher Self-efficacy, interest, attitude, qualification and experience.
The study used a combination of independent variables to predict Biology achievement.
Table 1: Means, standards deviations and inter-correlations among predictor and Biology achievement for total sample (N = 254 )
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The correlation matrix means and standard deviations of the measured variables are presented in Table 1. Results on Table 1 showed that only Teacher self- efficacy and Teacher interest were significantly correlated with Biology achievement outcomes (r = .267 and .313; P < .05, respectively); but other variables viz: Teachers attitude, qualification and experiences had very low insignificant correlations with Biology achievement. This indicates weak relationships.
Table 2: Summary of Regression Analysis between the predictor variables and Biology achievement
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Table 2 above shows the values of the parameters of the regression analysis between the predictor variables and Biology achievement. The results of the analysis showed that predictor variables predicted Biology achievement of pupils in the secondary school. The predictor variables taken against the criterion variable yielded a coefficient of multiple correlations (R) of .421 and adjusted multiple correlation square (R2) pf 0.177. The R2 value translated into 17.7% of the observed variance in the Biology achievement scores. The analysis also gave a standard error (SE) of 3.75 and F-value of 10.732 significant at an alpha level of 0.05.
Relative contributions of independent variables to the prediction as showed below in table 3.
Table 3: Relative Contributions of Predictor Variables to the observed Variance in Biology achievement
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Table 3 shows the relative contributions of Teacher’s self-efficacy and Teacher interest to the observed variance in the interior variable (Biology achievement) as indicated by the R and R2 values at the various steps of the regression analysis. It was found in Table 3 that Teacher self-efficacy had R and R2 value of .313 and 0.979 respectively. Teacher’s interest entered the equation at step 2; and the cumulative R was .4100 and R2 was .1681. The values corresponding to the two steps involved in the multiple regressions were significant at P. 05 level. The results in Table 3 confirm that Teacher self-efficacy is the best predictor of students’ Biology academic achievement in secondary school Biology among the studied sample followed by Teacher’s interest. The other variables Teacher’s attitude, experience and qualification did not enter the equation at 0.05 levels. Hence, revealing that they are weak predictors of students’ academic performance.