Secondary school students‟ achievement in Chemistry in Kenya has been poor. Among the reasons advanced for this is the traditional teaching approaches mainly used by chemistry teachers. The application of Graphic Organizers Experiential Teaching Approach (GOETA) may help improve learners‟ achievement and self-concept in Chemistry. This study aims at investigating the effects of GOETA on students‟ achievement and self- concept in Chemistry. The study involved quasi experimental research in which Solomon Four Non–Equivalent Control Group Research Design was used. The study sample comprised Form Two chemistry students in four secondary schools in Nakuru North Sub- County. Purposive sampling technique was used to select the four schools from which a single stream per school was selected by simple random sampling. The streams comprised 53, 51, 57 and 55 students in a class making a sample size of 216 students. The four schools were randomly assigned to two experimental and two control groups coded as E1 & E2, C1 & C2, respectively. In the experimental groups, GOETA was used while Traditional Teaching Methods (TTM) were used in control groups for a period of four weeks. The teachers of E1 & E2 were trained by the researcher on the techniques of GOETA before the treatment. Pre-test was administered to two groups before treatment and a post-test after treatment to all groups. The instruments used for data collection were Chemistry Achievement Test (CAT) and Students‟ Self-Concept Questionnaire (SCSQ) to measure Student‟s achievement and Self-Concept in Chemistry respectively. The validity of the instruments was ascertained by a panel of five experts in the Faculty of Education and Community Studies before use for data collection. The instruments were pilot-tested to estimate their reliability. Reliability coefficients of 0.846 for CAT and 0.861 for SCSQ were obtained and were accepted since they are above the threshold of 0.7. Data were analysed using t-test, one way ANOVA and ANCOVA. Hypotheses were tested at α = 0.05 level of significance. The findings show that the students exposed to GOETA had higher achievement and chemistry self-concept than those taught through TTM, while student gender had no significant influence on both achievement and chemistry self- concept. This implies that if the new approach is incorporated into chemistry teaching, the imbalance in performance between boys and girls would be checked hence improving overall achievement of students. The findings may be useful to the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, provide for improvement of in-service and pre-service training programmes and may enhance learners‟ interests in chemistry and subsequent entry into careers that require chemistry skills and knowledge.

Background to the Study
Chemistry is a practical subject which equips students with concepts and skills that come in handy in solving problems in life (Derek, 2007). Chemistry is one subject that interfaces with practically all the other science subjects. It is therefore a universal dynamic and practical oriented subject that arouses interests of students when working in laboratory environment. Chemistry is bedrock of science and technology which every nation strives to attain and advance in. It is one of the basic subjects for the physical science, agriculture, biochemistry, microbiology, pharmacy, medicine, metallurgy and all the fields of engineering. Despite the important potentials embedded in learning chemistry and its importance to mankind, the efforts of researchers to improve the quality of its teaching and learning especially at the secondary level has not been very fruitful (Oluwatson & Ongechi, 2014). The performance of students in Secondary Chemistry in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in recent times is not impressive.

A research survey conducted in the United States of America shows that in the past decade, from Third International Mathematics and Science study (TIMSS) shows that high school students‟ performance was low in final year of Secondary School Survey by Lavina (2000). According to Lavina (2000) the interpretation of the dismal results of the TIMSS indicated a much needed wakeup call for this countries. According to TIMSS results the Philippines last year high school students ranked 36th out of 38 countries in science and mathematics. The TIMSS indicated that among the science subjects, Chemistry seems to be poorly done when compared with Physics and Biology in the same examination.

Analysis of TIMSS conducted in 2003 similarly indicated no improvement by South African Mathematics and science Learners (Reddy, 2004). The research by Howie (2003) shows a poor state of the teaching and learning of Mathematics and Science in South Africa with the status of literacy in the subjects generally being poor in the entire schooling system.

Findings from American College Testing (ACT, 2003), suggest that although standardised test scores have improved in the past few years, mathematics and science preparation in high school appears to be weak.

However, it is disappointing to note that the students‟ performance in chemistry at internal and external examinations has remained considerably poor despite the relative importance of chemistry (Saage, 2009). Research has shown that students in developing countries such as Nigeria who register Chemistry at West African Secondary school Examinations (WASSCE) perform poorly despite the world-wide attention on improving students outcomes in Chemistry (Obamanu & Ekenobi, 2011; Ogwe, Odhiambo & Kibe, 2008; Okebukola, 2007).

Although Chemistry is a key science subject in secondary school curriculum in Kenya, Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC, 2014) reports that there is low achievement in chemistry at Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). This is an indication that mastery of scientific concepts has been faced with challenges with a major concern being in Chemistry. Though chemistry knowledge has the potential of making positive contributions to a nation‟s social and economic development the performance has been poor and this may be a challenge to the achievement of vision 2030 in Kenya. Table 1 indicates low achievements in science subjects at KCSE (KNEC, 2012). Chemistry students continue to perform dismally and there is a worrying gender disparity in favour of boys in the National Examinations. Table 1 gives a summary of candidates‟ performance in KCSE in Chemistry per paper in the years 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 100 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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