|dc.description.abstract||Biology is a very potent tool for social and economic changes in contemporary world, though students constantly display low achievement in the subject at KCSE level in Migori district. The knowledge gap on factors responsible for the low achievement in biology is a problem to all since appropriate intervention strategies cannot be devised to curb the problem. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to find out those factors that contribute to students' poor achievement in the subject at KCSE level. It sought to answer the following questions:
i). what pedagogical practices hamper the effective teaching and learning of biology?
ii). to what extent are resources available and how are they used?
iii). what learning conditions constrain students' achievement in biology?
iv). what teaching and learning characteristics hinder achievement in biology?
v). Which other factors contribute to students' poor achievement in biology
The research used a sample size of twelve secondary schools drawn from Migori district. The respondents for the study included three hundred and sixty form three biology students and twelve biology teachers. The heads of the sample schools and the District Education Officer were also involved. The Theoretical framework of the study was based on the knowledge that modified human behavior leads to prediction and control over performance and learning.
The nature of this study called for the use of questionnaires, interview schedules and observation checklists. The questionnaires were used to get information from the teachers and the students about the factors that contribute to biology achievement. Interviews were held with the head teachers of the 12 sample schools and the D.E.O. to provide a comprehensive and richer picture of those factors that they considered significant in influencing achievement in biology in Migori district.
Observations were done to find out how the biology teachers and the students interacted with each other, techniques and instructional resources at their disposal. The researcher also checked and listed all the resources and facilities available for biology teaching and learning as part of observation. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics such as frequencies and percentages which were used to describe data according to the various variables under study. The findings of this study established the following as the major contributing factors to poor achievement in biology in Migori district:
i). Use of inappropriate teaching techniques in biology. Principles on effective teaching are rooted in logic of instructional design, for example, instructional methods ( Corno & Snow, 1986, Kumar, 2005, Franyo, 2007).
ii). Unprepared for teaching, hurried and haphazard presentation on the part of the teachers. Prepared teachers are less likely to pass on misconceptions, are more confident in imparting information and are able to present a wider range of examples and analogies which help the students to learn and understand a certain topic more easily.
iii). Lack of frequent, regular assignments, tests and examinations with feedback to the students
iv). Inadequate use of resources and facilities. Availability of instructional resources does not necessarily translate into effective teaching and learning of a subject. Adequacy of resources is much more important in achieving the latter. This is because most of the resources play an important role in understanding concepts and imparting skills to the learner
v) Students lack attention from teachers since teachers are not committed and complain of inadequate time to cater for each and every student. Comber and Keeves (1973), teaching experience does not necessarily cause higher achievement in science, but committed teachers are less likely to pass on to pass on misconceptions, are more confident in imparting information, use less time for preparation and are able to present a wider range of examples and analogies which help the students to learn and understand a certain topic more easily.
vi). Students waste valuable study time in group discussions that are not guided by teachers and therefore digress from study purpose to personal stories that have no connection to achievement in biology. '
The following recommendations were made on the basis of the above findings:
a). Ministry of Education to;
i). Intensify seminars, workshops and other in-service courses frequently in conjunction with SMASSE project to encourage biology teachers' creativity and innovation in using resources and facilities.
ii). Regularly review the teachers training program in conjunction with the relevant training institutions with a view to improve on the trainees' interests and attitude on the use of instructional resources and facilities since the earlier they develop it the better for high achievement on the student's part.
iii). Conduct regular visits to public secondary schools through its' Quality Assurance department to assess the availability, state and utilization of resources. This can assist teachers to be consistent in resource use.
b). School administration to provide for the resources in the school budgets.
c). Remedial classes be conducted to the weak students by the schools.
d). More practical activity be carried out in the teaching of the subject in the schools||en_US