Achievement in Biology in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education has consistently been low for the period between 2000 and 2006. This would imply that the objectives of Biology teaching have not been achieved. In addition, the performance of girls has often been lower as compared to that of boys. Low achievement in examinations would partly be attributed to lack of effective learning, as a result of ineffective teaching approaches. The expository approach has been the main method used for teaching Biology in secondary schools in Kenya. The stakeholders in education attribute failure of students to adequately master Biology content to the use of expository approach that does not assist learners relate skills, formulae, laws and procedures they learn to previous knowledge and experiences. Concept and Vee mapping strategies have had positive results in other parts of the world such as England, Wales and North America and could probably have a positive impact if used in the teaching of Biology in Kenya. In this study, a hybrid of the two strategies referred as Concept and Vee Mapping Strategy (CVMS) was used. The purpose of the study was to measure the CVMS’ effect on students’ achievement and motivation in Biology in mixed provincial secondary schools in Uasin Gishu District, Kenya. A Quasi-experimental research based on the Solomon Four group design was used. All students in secondary school in Uasin Gishu District constituted the target population. The accessible population constituted all the form two students. Four mixed schools were sampled and randomly assigned to the experimental and control groups. One form two stream from each school was selected and this gave a total sample size of 144 students. The research instruments used to collect data included the Biology Achievement Test (BAT) and the Students’ Motivation Questionnaires (SMQ 1 and SMQ 2). The data was analysed using one-way ANOVA and t-test. Hypotheses were tested at alpha is equal to 0.05 level of significance. The results show that students taught using the CVMS had higher motivation and achievement than students taught using the traditional methods. The results also indicated that students’ gender did affect achievement in Biology where girls performed better than boys. It is therefore concluded that CVMS is an effective approach in improving students’ performance in Biology in secondary schools as well as reducing the gender disparity in achievement. This study recommends CVMS teaching method for adoption in Kenyan secondary schools.

Background Information
Biological knowledge has made a lot of contribution to the welfare of mankind in various fields. Examples of these contributions are in the industry sector especially in beer brewing, mining, milk processing, bread making as well as waste disposal processes. Biological knowledge has also been widely used in medicine. For example it has made it possible for disease control and organ transplant to be done. In agriculture, biological knowledge has been used in plant breeding to produce high yielding and disease resistant crops and animals. Another area where biological knowledge has made a significant impact is that of population control (UNESCO, 1986; FAO, 1995). Biological knowledge has also enabled man to appreciate the essence of biodiversity and environmental conservation for sustainable development.

Biological knowledge provides students with valuable concepts, life skills and career options. It helps to give learners a greater appreciation for the world and it’s inhabitants, problem- solving skills and research skills. Biology education contributes to society’s development by helping students develop into more responsible citizens who would help to build a strong economy, contribute to a healthier environment and bring about a brighter future. The study of Biology in Kenya aims at equipping learners with knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary in controlling and preserving the environment. The main objectives for teaching biology in Kenyan secondary schools according to K.I.E. (2002): are to; accumulate biological information in a precise, clear and logical manner; develop an understanding of interrelationships between plants and animals and between humans and their environment; apply the knowledge gained to improve and maintain the health of the individual, family and the community; relate and apply relevant biological knowledge and understanding to social and economic situation in rural and urban settings; observe and identify features of familiar and unfamiliar organisms; record the observation and make deductions about the functions of the parts of organisms; develop positive attitudes and interest towards biology and the relevant practical skills; demonstrate resourcefulness, relevant technical skills and scientific thinking necessary for economic development; design and carry out experiment and project that will enable learners to understand biological concepts; create awareness of the value of co-operation in solving problems; acquire a firm foundation of relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes for further education and for training in related scientific fields.

Expository approaches cannot be relied upon to face the challenge of the new demands and objectives of Biology Education, there is need to consider using new approaches (UNESCO, 1986). Although biological knowledge is very crucial to the welfare of the people, Biology students perform poorly in national examinations in Kenya. Table 1 shows the national performance in Biology in KCSE for the period 2000 to 2006.

The mean score remained low over the period between 2000 and 2006. The best performance was in 2004 with a mean score of 35.26, while 2002 recorded the worst performance with a mean score of 26.46 (KNEC, 2004). Waihenya (2002) attributed low achievement to poor teaching methods, which lead to lack of mastery of the subject by students....

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 125 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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