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This study investigated the effect of teachers’ use of constructive simulation on students’ achievement and retention in Christian Religious Studies in secondary schools, in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State. The study also considered the influence of gender on students’ academic achievement and retention. The achievement and retention ability of students taught with constructive simulation were compared with that of students taught with conventional lecture method. The study was guided by six research questions, and six hypotheses. A quasi-experimental design, specifically, pre test post-test control group design involving four intact classes were employed. The population comprised of 2,170 JS3 CRS students of 12 State Government co-educational secondary schools in Awka South Local Government Area. A sample of 174 JS3 students distributed in four intact classes, drawn by both purposive and simple random sampling techniques from four co-educational schools took part in the study. The students in intact
classes were randomly assigned either to experimental groups (constructive simulation group) or control groups (conventional method group). Two intact classes in two different schools formed the experimental groups and the other two intact classes in two other schools as control groups. Both the experimental groups and the control groups were taught the same topics. The instrument for students’ achievement test in Christian Religious Studies (SATCRS) was developed, validated and used for data collection. The instrument was trial-tested on a sample of 25 JS3 CRS students who were not part of the actual study. The reliability of the instrument was determined using Kudder Richardson formula for internal consistency and Pearson Product Movement Correlation Coefficient formula for stability. The reliability value of the instrument was 0.79 and 0.85 respectively. The data collected were analyzed using mean and standard deviation to answer research questions while the hypotheses were tested using analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) at 0.05level of significance. The results of the study revealed that constructive simulation had significant effect on students’ achievement and retention in
Christian Religious Studies. Also, the effect of constructive simulation and gender combined on students’ post-test achievement in Christian Religious Studies was significant, however gender and the method had no significant effect on students’ retention in Christian Religious Studies. It implies from the findings of the study that there is need for CRS teachers to adopt the use of constructive simulation in teaching as it proved more effective in improving students’ achievement and retention in Christian Religious Studies. It is recommended that government bodies, stakeholders in education,
Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) and National Teachers’ Institute (NTI) should organize and sponsor workshops, seminars, conferences or in-service training to train and encourage teachers on the use of constructive simulation as an innovative technique.


Background of the study

Christian Religious Studies (CRS) is expected to produce a morally literate citizenry that can perceive the religious dimension of social
responsibilities in the home, the school and the entire society. The much desired sound moral education of our nation can be achieved when students acquire basic education in Christian Religious Studies before leaving school. The knowledge obtained through sound Christian Religious education will lead to improvement in the moral quality of individual and society as a whole. Christian Religious Studies is a necessary subject for tolerance, peace, national unity and development of a nation. It is implied that for any meaningful growth and development to be achieved, Christian Religious Studies must be given adequate attention (Achebe, 2005).
Christian Religious Studies is one of the non vocational subjects offered at all levels of Nigerian education system. It is an important subject that has
positive impact on human life and national development. It is not only important as a school subject but should be seen as a bedrock of moral living and very vital part of life itself (Oduma, 2007). It appears that the value of Christian Religious Studies in the lives of individuals and the society at large inspired its inclusion in school curriculum at all the levels of educational system in Nigeria.

Hence, the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN, 2004) stressed the objectives of teaching and learning CRS in basic education under secondary education. Some of the objectives include inspiring students with a desire for self improvement, raising individuals who can think for themselves, appreciate dignity of labour, societal values, fostering national unity and live as good citizens. The current CRS of today presents the curriculum in themes, as a living guide to individuals. The themes can lead the students and teachers to discover several Biblical topics at the same time as they relate to societal values (Obinna, Qucoopome & Shyllon, 2000 in Onochie, 2005).

This implies that the topics bring together as a whole, and relating to societal values is germane to providing learners at junior secondary school level with functional knowledge to meet the aspirations of the society. If this is to be achieved, CRS must be taught by competent teachers who are knowledgeable enough about the subject as presented in themes. Competent teachers implies teachers that have ability to perform well in teaching to enhance students’ learning process.


Competence in teaching embraces combination of knowledge, skills and attitude that can be developed through training, and which are adequate for achieving some specific tasks. Some of these tasks for teacher include understanding of learners’ development, learning problems, classroom management, adequate knowledge of subject matter, and use of instructional materials (Olaitan & Agusiobo, 1984 in Okonkwo, 2010).

This implies that the competency level of a teacher can be determined by how much the learners have gained from instructional process In consequence to produce competent teachers for the basic education, the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN, 2004) laid emphasis on the training of quality teachers for effective teaching and learning. The federal and state ministries of education in order to implement this policy on the training of teachers made it imperative that quality teachers should be trained.

It is regrettable to note that with the emphasis on the training of quality teachers, the results of students on Christian Religious Studies do not give impression that all is well with the teaching method employed by the teachers. The reports of the Examination Development Centre (EDC), in charge of Basic Education Certificate Examination in Anambra State stressed the high rate of failure in CRS, for five years (2007-2011) especially in the theme containing the Epistles. The reports attributed the cause of students’ poor performance to lack of knowledge of subject matter, non commitment and poor methodology on the part of teachers.

Alubaleze (2004) posited that poor method of teaching like the conventional method or lecture method is the root factor to students’ poor achievement and retention in CRS. Alubaleze (2004) further explained that lecture method is teacher-centered. Lecture method makes instruction boring and the teacher cannot guarantee carrying the boring students (Nwizu & Nwobu, 2003 in Okeke 2007). The implication is that lecture method makes the teacher active and the learner passive listener in the teaching and learning environment. With the poor performance of students in public examinations coupled with societal vices prevalent in the society, especially among the youths, there is need for instruction to be more effective to enhance students’ academic achievement and retention in the subject as well as discipline leading to values that will make individuals live as good citizens.

It is expected that with the emphasis on the training of teachers, the level of instruction would improve which invariably would enhance better academic achievement and retention in the subject. Academic achievement is viewed as attainment in a school subject as symbolized by a score or mark on an achievement test (Okoro in Ogbonna 2007). Ogbonna (2007) further explained that academic achievement depends on various factors which include the teacher’s instructional methods, learning environment and the learner. The same factors affect retention of learning. Retention can be defined as learner’s ability to recall facts that have been previously learned.

Okeke-Okosisi (2012) referred to retention of learning as learner’s ability to transfer information earlier learned or learner’s ability to repeat performance, or behaviour earlier acquired, elicited after a period of time. It implies that a learner who repeats an acquired information with less error is said to have retained the learned material. Retention of learning is affected by the method of learning, the degree of reinforcement and learners’ capacity to learn. This entails that the teaching method is expected to simulate students to learn and equally have ability to enforce learning retention. The implication is that evaluation of students’ learning needs to extend beyond post test for a consideration of individual students in terms of their ability to generalize and transfer learning. Nevertheless, some factors have been identified to account for students’ poor achievement and retention in Christian Religious Studies as gender. Gender difference is a very strong issue in Nigerian culture. Among Nigerians, there is a general belief that males are superior to females in terms of physique, cognition, logical reasoning and even superior in academic reasoning (Anigbogu, 2002 in Okafor, 2006).

Some factors have been identified as responsible for the differences in male and female academic achievement and invariably in retention ability. The factors include sex-role stereo-typing, masculine image of inability to withstand stress and female socialization process. Sex-role stereo-typing appears to be the origin of the difference between males and females in science and arts education (Okeke-Okosisi 2013). The stereo-types tend to place female students at a disadvantage relative to male students in science subjects. In academic performance, male students tend to perform better than females in science, while


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