Biology is a key science subject in the Kenyan Secondary School Curriculum. However, evidence available indicates that students’ achievement in the subject has been poor. One of the factors attributed to this poor achievement is the teaching approaches used by teachers, with teacher-centered approaches being pre-dominant. This study sought to address the problem of ineffective instruction by teachers by investigating effects of Collaborative Concept Mapping Teaching Approach (CCMTA) on secondary school students’ achievement and motivation to learn Biology. The study used a Quasi-experimental research design, the Solomon Four Non-Equivalent Control Group Design. The study sample comprised of 202 Form two biology students and four biology teachers in four secondary schools who taught the topic “Gaseous exchange in plants and animals”. 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 of 47, 54, 55 and 46 students respectively. The four schools were randomly assigned into two experimental and two control groups and coded as E1 & E2, C1 & C2 respectively. A Biology Achievement Test (BAT) and Students’ Motivation Questionnaire (SMQ) were used for data collection. Five educational research experts validated the research instruments. Three experienced biology teachers who are examiners with Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) were also involved in validation of research instruments. The research instruments were piloted and Cronbach Alpha Coefficient used to estimate their reliability. The achievement test (BAT) yielded a reliability of 0.86 while students’ motivation test (SMQ) had a reliability of 0.84. Groups E1 and C1 were pre-tested prior to the treatment. The treatment lasted three weeks after which all groups were post-tested. One-way ANOVA, t-test and ANCOVA were used to analyze the data generated with the aid of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) science scores for the sampled groups were used as covariates to adjust for possible pre-existing differences. Four hypotheses were tested at 0.05 α level of significance. The results indicate that there was a statistically significant difference in achievement and motivation to learn biology between the experimental and control groups in favor of experimental groups. Students’ gender had no significant effect on achievement and motivation when they are taught through CCMTA. Adoption of CCMTA is recommended as appropriate for the teaching and learning of school Biology. The findings derived from this study provide a basis for improvement of in-service and pre-service biology teacher training programmes. Biology teachers may also benefit from the findings of this study through application of CCMTA to enhance learners’ achievement and interest in Biology and subsequent entry into careers that require biological knowledge and skills.

Background Information
Performance of learners in science subjects has implications for the role a country will play in tomorrow’s advanced technology sector, and for its general international competitiveness (OECD-PISA, 2003). Science subjects play a critical role in the socio-economic development of a country. A focus on Global achievement in biology reveals a general decline in the sampled studies as presented, thus calling for urgent remedy. In their study on “The effects of 3D computer simulation on biology students’ achievement and memory retention”, Elangovan and Ismail (2014) reported low achievement in Malaysian secondary school biology examination for the years 2007 to 2011. Learners indicated lack of mastery of concepts and bore misconceptions about biological concepts such as cell division. These learning problems were attributed to improper teaching and learning methods that emphasize mainly teacher centered learning and encourages rote learning among students. In their study on “Learning environment profiles of Turkish secondary biology classrooms”, Brok, Telli, Cakiroglu, Taconis, and Tekkaya (2010) indicated that Turkish classrooms were perceived as being low in terms of Teacher Support and high in terms of Task Orientation. They reported low achievement among Turkish high school biology students arising from inadequate teacher support.

In their study on “Academic Achievement in Biology with Suggested Solutions in Selected Secondary Schools in Kano State, Nigeria” Ali, Toriman & Gasim (2014) reported a decline in students’ academic achievement in Biology. This was attributed to various factors such as classes being too large and heterogeneous in terms of ability level, ill-equipped laboratories and an overloaded Biology Syllabus.

According to Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD, 2003), Biology is one of the science subjects that are offered at the secondary school education cycle in Kenya. KICD, the national curriculum development centre in Kenya has identified objectives for the four year biology course at secondary school education cycle. The objectives are that at the end of the four year biology course, learners should be able to; communicate biological information in a precise clear and logical manner, apply the knowledge gained in school to improve and maintain the health of the individual, family and the community, develop positive attitudes towards biology and the relevant practical skills, develop awareness of the value of cooperation in solving problems and acquisition of a firm foundation of relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes for further education and training in related scientific fields (UNESCO, 1975 & Osborne, 1997).

These objectives are a further recognition of the critical role that the knowledge of biology plays in the socio-economic development of a country. The study of biology equips learners with knowledge, skills and attitudes that are necessary for controlling and conserving the environment (KICD, 2002). Biology is a pre-requisite for careers in health sciences, agriculture and environmental science, and is also the precursor of biotechnology which is a tool for industrial and technological development. Biological knowledge lays the foundation for commercial agriculture, the engine for economic growth in Kenya (GoK, 2003). Researchers have used biological knowledge to develop high yielding, disease resistant and fast maturing food crops and animals to meet the food requirements of an ever increasing world population (Burns & Bottino, 1989). The knowledge of genetics which is a branch of biology has revolutionalised determination of paternity disputes and identity of serious crime culprits with precision and certainty through Deoxyribo-Nucleic Acid (DNA) sequencing and profiling (Institute of Biology, 2007). Biological knowledge has contributed towards conservation of the environment and endangered species (Muraya & Kimamo, 2011; UNESCO, 1986). Although Biology is a key science subject in secondary schools in Kenya, Kenya National Examinations Council indicates low achievement in biology at Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) over the recent years (KNEC Report, 2014). This is an indication that mastery of biological concepts has been faced with challenges. Besides low achievement in biology, there is a worrying gender disparity in favor of boys. In Nakuru North Sub-county, achievement in biology has been lower than the national average. Among the reasons given for this is the application of ineffective teaching approaches by biology teachers, with TTM being pre-dominant. Evidence available in the literature indicates that application of new or a combination of existing approaches in teaching has enhanced academic achievement and interest towards a subject (Novak & Gowin, 1984; Cicognani, 2000; Basque & Lavoie, 2006; Guastello, E. F. Beasley, T. M. & Sinatra, R. C. (2000); Shihusa & Keraro, (2009)...

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 94 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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