The study was designed and conducted to determine the effectiveness of the Learning Activity Package (LAP) in influencing students‟ achievement and retention in Senior Secondary School Biology. Eight research questions and eight null hypotheses guided the study. A Quasi-Experimental Pre-test, Post-test, Non-equivalent Control Group Design was adopted for the study. A sample of 317 SS II biology students, drawn by both purposive and simple random sampling techniques from four co-educational schools in Enugu Educational Zone was used for the study. The four schools were assigned to experimental and control groups respectively. Two intact classes in each school – (one as experimental and the other one as control group) were randomly selected. The experimental and control groups were taught the biology topic (Unit of Life) by the regular biology teachers. Three instruments – Pre-BAT, Post-BAT and Retention Test (which is the same as the Pre-BAT) were developed, duly validated and reliability of equivalence, internal consistency and stability duly established (0.79, 0.83, 0.73 and 0.92 respectively) before using them for data collection. The research questions were answered using mean and standard deviation while the hypotheses were tested at (P < 0.05) using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). The result of data analysis showed that:

1.                                                   There is a significant difference between the experimental and control group, with the mean achievement and retention scores of the LAP group being significant more than the control group.
2.                                                   There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of male and female students, but the male students retention test was significantly greater than those of their female counterpart.
3.                                                   The interaction effect of LAP and gender on students‟ mean achievement scores in the post test and mean scores in the retention test were not statistically significant.
4.                  The interaction effect of LAP and students academic ability levels on students achievement scores in the post test and mean retention scores were statistically significant.

A major educational implication of the findings is that the use of LAP does not show any significant difference in the achievement of male and female students. Thus the use of LAP will not only help arrest the problem of male being regarded as high achievers in science-related courses but will also encourage the female students to enroll in such courses among others. Based on these, some recommendations were made which include; that seminars and workshops should be organized by government and relevant professional bodies like STAN to educate and sensitize the teachers on the use of Learning Activity Package as they may not be familiar with it.

Title Page
Table of Content
List of Tables

Background of the Study
Statement of the Problem
Purpose of the Study
Significance of the Study
Scope of the Study
Research Questions

A.        Theoretical Framework
            Learning Activity Package and Theories of Learning
B.        Conceptual Framework
            Teaching and Learning of Science in Nigeria
            Teaching and Learning of Biology in Nigeria
            Lecture Teaching Method
            Individualized Instruction
            The Learning Activity Package (LAP) as an Innovative Approach
            Students‟ Achievement and Retention in Science
C.        Review of Related Empirical Studies
            Gender Issues in Science Achievement and Retention
            Related Empirical Studies on Individualized
            Instruction and Learning Activity Package (LAP)
D.        Summary of Literature Review

Design of the Study
Area of Study
Population of the Study
Sample and Sampling techniques
Classification of Ability Group
Instrument for Data Collection
Development of Learning Activity Package (LAP)
Validation of the Instrument
Reliability of the Instrument
Control of Extraneous Variables
Experimental Procedure
Method of Data Collection
Method of Data Analysis

Research Question One
Research Question Two
Research Question Three
Research Question Four
Research Question Five
Research Question Six
Research Question Seven
Research Question Eight
Hypothesis One
Hypothesis Two
Hypothesis Three
Hypothesis Four
Hypothesis Five
Hypothesis Six
Hypothesis Seven
Hypothesis Eight
Summary of Major Finding

Discussion of Findings
Effect of Learning Activity Package on Students‟ Achievement
Effect of Learning Activity Package on Students‟ Retention
Effect of Gender on Students‟ Performance in the Retention Test
Interaction Effect of Treatment and Gender on Students‟ Achievement
Interaction Effect of Treatment and Gender on Students‟ Scores on Retention Test
Interaction Effect of Treatment and Ability Level on Students‟ Achievement
Interaction Effect of Treatment and Ability Levels on Students‟ Scores in the Retention Test
Educational Implication of the Findings
Limitation of the Study
Suggestions for Further Research
Summary of the Study

Background of the Study
Science and technology are important tools for development and productivity in any nation. Science is a necessity for every nation that wants to maintain its independence, sovereignty, self-reliance, ensure growth, and have its head held high among civilized nations. This is because science and technology provide the basic tools of industrialization and economic development in the areas of communication, transport, energy, information, pollution and waste control, among others. In Nigeria, the study of science is of so great importance, that a lot of emphasis has been laid on the teaching and learning of science with the major aim of science education, as contained in the National Policy on Education, being to equip the students to live effectively in this modern age (FME, 2004). This can be achieved by the inculcation in the learners the necessary scientific skills and attitudes.

The inculcation of scientific skills and attitudes in students can only be achieved through the proper teaching of the various science subjects. These include Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics,

Health Science, Agriculture, etc. Biology as one of the science subjects, when properly taught, will help the students to solve personal and societal problems. The knowledge of Biology helps to question superstitions, know the function of the various parts of the body, enables one to understand oneself, maintain good health practices such as the use of clean water, good sanitation, balanced diet, the need to vaccinate, among others (Maduabum, 1998). The importance of Biology as a secondary school subject can be further illustrated by the fact that a candidate must obtain a credit pass in it, for admission into any Nigerian University to study such important science – based courses as Medicine, Pharmacy, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Food Technology, etc.

Despite the fact that Biology and other science related subjects are important to human progress; students still perform poorly in them.

The low performance as reported in various science tests is evident in most science subjects in general. This is pointed out by the report of the Registrar, Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (2008) who indicated that the performance of candidates in the University Matriculation Examination (UME) over the last three years has shown a steady decline. This is an indication of low retention of what is taught and subsequently poor achievement.

A statistical table of West African Senior School Certificate Examination (May/June) from 2005 – 2007 illustrated the student low performance in biology for three consecutive years. The following are the percentage (%) grade – (credit, passes and failure) obtained by the students. In 2005, the total number of candidates who sat for SSCE were seven hundred and twenty two thousand, and three (722,003) candidates and out of this number one hundred and twenty thousand, four hundred and sixty (120,460) candidates got credit and above represented by 16.71 percent. One hundred and eighty eight thousand, six hundred and three (188,603) candidates got passes represented by 26.16 percent. Four hundred and twelve thousand, nine hundred and forty (412,940) candidates failed entirely and the above represented by 57.27 percent. In 2006, the total number of candidates who sat for the examination were one million, and twenty five thousand, four hundred and fifty six (1,025,456) candidates, and out of this number, four hundred and forty one thousand six hundred and seventy two (441,672) candidates obtained passes and above represented by 43.07 percent.

In 2007, the total number of candidates who sat for the examination were one million, to hundred thousand, and twenty eight (1,200028) candidates, and out o this number two hundred and seventy eight thousand, one hundred and fifty tow (278,152) candidates got credit and above represented by 22.80 percent. Three hundred and seventy thousand, five hundred and one (370,501) candidates got passes and the above represented by 30.37 percent. Eight hundred and fifty thousand, six hundred and four (571,375) candidates failed entirely and the above represented by 48.83 percent (WAEC, 2008).

This is also evident in the Chief Examiners Report of the West African Examination Council (2008). There are indications that candidates who sat for the WASC Examination in most science subjects exhibited the following lapses:-

-                      inability to properly interpret questions;
-                      failure to write or answer their questions logically, systematically and convincingly;
-                      poor drawing skills;
-                      shallow understanding of most concepts in Biology;
-                      poor power of expression;
-                      inability to relate features to functions;
-                      inability of the candidates to correctly spell many Biological terms.

The aforementioned gives an indication that there may be low desire in the area of Biology as one of the science subjects. This may lead to appreciable low/poor choice of biology or other science subjects as a subject to offer in the secondary schools or tertiary institutions. This may also be an indication that meaningful learning had not taken place. The over all achievement and retention in biology and other sciences are very much related to many other variables, which are evident in the studies carried out by other researchers. The variables include: the ability levels of the learners, gender issues, teaching – learning environment (location), teaching methods, teachers ability to use the various methods and materials provided, students backgrounds, level of intelligence of the students, students cognitive styles, among other variables (Moore, 2000; Mukalia, 2000; Ogunleye, 2002; Eccles, 2002).

Students vary in their academic abilities and this tends to be reflected in the extent to which they are affected by a particular teaching methods. For instance, Diamond and Onwuegbuzie (2001) expressed concern over the influence of different teaching methods on learning benefits of students of different ability groups, stating that differences in intellectual functioning among learners necessitate variations in instructional strategies. Researches conducted by Okeke (1986), Ezeh (1992) and Udeji (2007) indicated that teaching methods have differential effects on students of different academic ability levels (low, average, high levels) with one group benefiting more from a particular teaching method than the other. For instance both Eze (1992) and Udeji (2007) found out that with the various methods used, achievement is significant with the high ability groups, while the findings of Okeke (1986) indicated that in as much as some students are highly gifted they do not achieve well in science this may be due to the teaching method employed which may not suit all the groups. In view of the foregoing, it might be necessary to find out the students academic ability group (low, average or high) for which a particular teaching method will be more effective.

Various teaching methods are used by teachers in the teaching of Biology aimed at brining about meaningful learning. These include lecture method, demonstration method, discovery, project, inquiry among many others. The most commonly used is the lecture method. This is mostly employed by most science teachers because of some of its advantages which include the fact that it can be used to cover a large content area at a time and the students are given the same content at the same time. Another major advantage is that it can be used to teach a large class which is a prominent feature in most Nigeria secondary schools. Lecture method can be very useful in teaching when used in conjunction with other methods especially for the purpose of introducing the topic. Despite all these advantages, the lecture method employed in the teaching of biology and other sciences has some flaws, which might be one of the causes of the poor achievement in the sciences. According to Awotua-Efebo (2001), the lecture method is mainly teacher – centered, with the students being consistently passive and contents are taught as absolute knowledge. This method had failed in the recognition of the uniqueness of the inquiry-based nature of science and the learner‟s individuality. Furthermore it does not facilitate the development of reasoning skills and processes in the students. These, among other reasons had not enhanced learning in students and thus had led to poor achievement of students in the sciences.

It has been observed that effective teaching may facilitate learning and make it more meaningful. In line with this, Sander (2001) stated that effective teaching helps the learner to learn better, while...

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