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This study focus on the effect of fieldwork on student’s achievement in biology with the purpose of finding out the mean score in biology achievement test of students taught ecological concepts using fieldwork method lecture method, finding out the mean score in biology achievement test of male and female students taught ecological concepts using field work method and determine the interaction effect of method and gender on students achievement in biology test. The study adopted a quasi-experimental research design. Quasi-experimental design involves selecting groups, upon which a variable is tested, without any random pre-selection processes. Data were collected and analyzed through questionnaire. Based on the analysis it was revealed that the student taught Biology using field work/trip method achieve higher than those taught with lecture method, male students achieve higher in biology than the female students when taught with field work/trip, there was interactive effect of methods (the use of field work/trip and lecture method), and gender on students’ achievement in biology and there is significant difference in the mean achievement scores of students taught biology using field work/trip and lecture method. Based on the findings it was recommended that the teaching of biology (ecological concepts) should be more student-oriented, students should be motivated to participate actively in ecology lessons, students should be reinforced so as to maintain their higher positive attitudes towards biology and textbook authors should make use of different methods in presenting ecological concepts in their book.




Background to the Study

Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms. It deals with the study of all the varied aspects of living organisms. It is one of the science subjects, offered by candidates sitting for the senior school certificate (SSC) ordinary level examinations. Biology is a very important science subject and a requirement for higher learning in a number of science-related professional courses like medicine, agriculture, pharmacy Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN,2004).

The policy for secondary school, among other things, stated that all students must compulsorily offer one science subject which may be physics, chemistry or biology (Layi, 2004). However, almost all students offer biology, thus, making it more or less a compulsory subject for all. According to National Biology Curriculum, (NBC) (2000: 20), the objectives for teaching senior secondary school Biology include:

To provide basic literacy in Biology for functional living in the society; to acquire essential scientific skills and attitudes as a preparation for the technological application of Biology; to acquire basic concepts and principles of Biology as a preparation for further studies; to stimulate and enhance creativity.



 The above objectives are also expected to groom the students, to some extent, for scientific literacy. Therefore, students are expected to acquire a certain level of scientific literacy in the course of their biology learning. However, Biology at the senior secondary school level can be grouped under such headings as: Cell and Unicellular Organisms, simple multicellular animals, insects, the arthropods, higher animals, mammals, reptiles and birds (ecology), among others.

The concern of this study shall be on students understanding of the concept of ecology which seems to deal with the study of living organisms. Ecology, as a branch of biology, is concerned with the scientific study of the nature and effect of reciprocal interaction of individual organisms between and within population of the same species or committees of different populations and the main father which constitute the effective environment in which the organism, population or communities live (Lock and Tilling, 2002).

Ecology is usually considered a branch of biology, the general science that studies living organisms. Ecology is seen as an essential part of establishes of all pupils, which apart from being a good academic subject, has many useful applications of maintaining the healthier and more productive biosphere for the life of man and other living things. However, Obiekwe (2008) reported that all is not well with science instruction especially biology in Nigerian secondary schools, and noted that science teaching lays extreme emphasis on content and the use of “chalk and talk” method neglecting the practical activity method (fieldwork) which enhances teaching and learning.

Moore (2005) opined that the most widely used exposition teaching method is the lecture method. Hence, cognitive achievement of students in science has not been improving (Njoku, 2005). Consequently, Statistics from the West African Examination Council (WAEC, 2010) revealed that achievement in biology in the May/June examinations has been on the decline. Of the total number of students who sat for the examination in the year 2010, the total percentage of candidates who attained credit level and above is 26% while 53.13% failed out rightly.

Also, statistics from the National Examination Council (NECO) indicate that the percentage failure in Biology for years 2008, 2009 and 2010 were 55.80%, 57.60% and 55.20% respectively. This trend if not arrested will spell doom for the scientific and technological development of the nation. To this effect, the WAEC chief examiner proffered remedies to solve this problem, one of which is adopting instructional delivery approaches that utilizes instructional materials to help students understand biological concepts.

Likewise, according to Etukudo (2009), the fall in standard of achievement in biology is incontrovertibly attributed to poor instructional delivery approach adopted by teachers in schools. To support this assertion, Salau (2009) submitted that many researchers have adduced that poor achievement in public examinations is traceable to instructional delivery approaches adopted by teachers.

The resultant effect is the low achievement and low retention level in students’ outcome both in internal and external examinations. Poor achievement in Biology can be attributed to many factors such as: unavailability of laboratory facilities, lack of instructional materials, inadequate time allocation, large class size and poor instructional delivery approaches. This implies that the mastery of biology concept might not be fully achieved without the use of a good instructional delivery approach that utilizes instructional materials.

West African Examination Council (WAEC) Chief Examiner’s report (2005-2010) states that the persistent poor achievement of students in biology at senior schools certificate examination leaves one in doubt about the effectiveness of instructional materials and instructional delivery approaches popularly used by the biology teachers for the teaching and learning of biology. This improper science teaching has led to a vigorous search for appropriate teaching method (fieldwork) that will best achieve the aim of science teaching, thereby improving performance and enhancing positive attitude towards science subjects including biology (Obiekwe,2008).

Therefore, at this junction, there is the need to discuss fieldwork as a method of teaching biology in the secondary schools. Field work is a method of planned discovery whereby the teacher prepares situation from which his pupils learn biographical and natures for themselves in the value of fieldworks skill (James 2004). It is for these values of strategy that will lead the students to the acquisition of new ideas.

Madu (2002), states that fieldwork is concerned with finding out about the real world for ourselves whether in the local areas or in distant locations. According to Phil-Eze (2003), fieldwork may be regarded as a cognate intellectual activity carried out externally beyond the usual office, classrooms or instructional space and aimed primarily at data collection, practical observation of wider experience.

Given these perspectives, fieldwork can be regarded as a method by which students can embark upon direct contact with facts based on their research. It involves the learners interacting directly with the environment which stimulates curiosity and discovery on biological phenomena. So, fieldwork if properly used will carry the curiosity of the young child in later youth to critical interest in his environment and in capacity to gain reliable and usable knowledge of positive attitude towards biology by teachers and students with the adoption of fieldwork makes the approach profitable to the teaching of biology (ecology).

From another context, according to Dim (2005) fieldwork offers the opportunity for the student to follow up with the office managers and other personnel to clarify different issues for the report in projects based on office visits. Fieldwork offers unique opportunities for students to experience in the real world some of the material they have been covering in lectures and seminars of their subjects (Sarojini, 2001).

Effective teaching of biology as a discipline must be encouraged in our schools using fieldwork/trip as one of the methods and techniques for effective teaching (Olaitan , 2004). He emphasized that there is no better way to discover knowledge in a real life situation than actually being there on the screen. James (2004) stressed that while most educator’s have a personal understanding of what fieldworks are, not all of them feel fieldworks have a place in their particular classes and since the fieldwork method is not too popular with most biology teachers, there is therefore need for the study of how fieldworks method will help to promote the learning of biology in our secondary schools.


Statement of the Problem

Failure in school certificate biology examination has remained persistently high in recent years in Nigeria. This makes it almost impossible for secondary school products to gain admission to pursue courses in biological sciences and others allied fields. This seems to have seriously impeded the rate of progress towards the full realization of the science and technological development which the government of Nigeria has been clamoring for.

Experience has shown that students complain of the ecological concepts as an area of knowledge in biology that proves difficult. Likewise, fieldwork has been recognized as one of the methods of improving students’ achievement in biology focusing on ecological concepts. However, one would have been effectively employed it to motivate the interest and increase the students’ achievement in biology examinations; but many biology teachers seems to yet regard fieldwork as area of emphasis in modern teaching and learning of biology. From the foregoing, therefore, the problem of the study is to investigate the effects of fieldwork on students’ achievement in biology in Esa South Local Government Area Ebonyi state.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to determine the effect of fieldwork on student’s achievement in Biology. Specifically, the study seeks to:

  • Find out the mean score in biology achievement test of students taught ecological concepts using fieldwork method lecture method;
  • Find out the mean score in biology achievement test of male and female students taught ecological concepts using field work method;
  • Determine the interaction effect of method and gender on students achievement in biology test.

Significance of the Study

The findings of this study will be beneficial to stakeholders in the educational sector. These stakeholders include biology teachers, researchers, students, curriculum planners and government. They are expecting to benefit as follow:

This study will help teachers with a background of outdoor education experiences and with this; teachers can offer more meaningful learning experiences for the students. Also, the result of this research will enable the biology teachers to learn from their past instructional mistake and then apply correct measure which include coming up with a new methods of teaching biology that will characterize the abstract nature of biology teaching.

Researchers will also benefit from the result of this study in that it can act as a basis for a future research either a related topic or the same topic in a different geographical location.

The result of this research will be of immense help to our student. This is because the result of this research will make it possible for both the teachers and the school authorities to understand student achievement in fieldwork and lecture methods of teaching and this will consequently lead to the modification and variation of pedagogical methods on the part of the biology teachers coupled with giving incentives for biology achievement on the part of the school authorities.

If the use of this instructional delivery approach (fieldwork) is found valuable, curriculum planners will be provided with information that may be used in recommending effective innovations in teaching strategies.

Findings could provide information which could inform the government on the need for workshops, seminars and conferences on the use of fieldwork as instructional delivery approaches for teaching biology. The study might provide an insight into other school subjects on whether to use fieldwork to enhance students’ achievement in biology examinations. The anticipated improve teaching of ecological concepts and biology in general will hopefully find manifestation in improved performances in school certificate examination on biology.

Scope of the Study

This study focused on the effects of fieldworks on students’ achievement in biology. The study was carried out in Ezza South L.G.A. of Ebonyi State and S.S II students from two different schools were used for the study so as to avoid interaction between the two sets and because, it is at this stage in the core curriculum that the topic of the study is taught. . Since there are many ecological concepts, this study is limited to the study of pond as an ecosystem, stressing on the flow of energy in the ecosystem in question.

Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study:

  1. What is the mean score in biology achievement test of students taught ecological concepts using fieldwork and method and lecture method?
  2. What is the mean score in a biology achievement test of male and female students taught ecological concepts using field work?
  3. What is the interaction effect of method and gender on students’ achievement in biology test?


Ho1There is no significant difference between the mean achievement of biology students taught ecological concepts using lecture method and those taught by fieldwork method.

Ho2: There is no significance difference in the mean achievement scores of male and female students taught biology using lecture method.

Ho3: The interaction effect of gender and method on students’ achievement in computer sciences.


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