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The study was designed to find out effects of activity-based teaching strategy on student’s academic performance and retention in Biology in Kanam Area Directorate of Education. The population of the study comprises of four hundred (400) SS2 biology students and twenty five (25) biology teachers in senior secondary schools in Kanam LGA of Plateau State with 120 sampled respondents. The study employed descriptive survey design. Three research questions guided the study. The three research questions were analyzed using statistical mean. The results of the study revealed that activity-based strategy if effectively utilized by biology teachers can significantly help learners to construct mental models that allow for ‘higher-order’ performance such as applied problem solving and transfer of information and skills. The analysis also revealed that Biology teachers have a well-informed knowledge about the activity-based teaching strategy which affects their ability to understand, to see, become aware, as well as to have an insight of what the teaching strategy is all about, the philosophy about the method as well as effective way of implementing the method in teaching and learning setting. Based on the findings of the study, the researcher concluded that activity-based teaching strategies are more effective in enhancing students’ level of achievement and retention in Biology. This is because; the aim of teaching is not only to transmit information but also to transform passive students into active receptors of knowledge and constructor of their own knowledge. Therefore, the use of activity-based teaching and learning strategies in educational institutions has the potential to improve achievement, empower students and galvanize the effort to achieve the human development goals for the country. The study recommends among others that, Biology teachers should be discouraged from using teacher-center instructional strategy in Biology but rather, activity-based teaching strategy where students’ would be actively involved in the art teaching and learning.














1.1       Background of the Study        –           –           –           –           –           –           1

1.2       Statement of the Problem        –           –           –           –           –           –           6

1.3       Purpose of the Study  –           –           –           –           –           –           –           7

1.4       Research Questions    –           –           –           –           –           –           –           8

1.5       Research Hypotheses  –           –           –           –           –           –           –           8

1.6       Theoretical/Conceptual Framework   –           –           –           –           –           8

1.7       Significance of the Study       –           –           –           –           –           –           9

1.8       Scope and Delimitation of the Study –           –           –           –           –           10

1.9       Operational Definition of Terms        –           –           –           –           –           10






3.1       Research Design         –           –           –           –           –           –           –           39

3.2       Population and Sample of the Study  –           –           –           –           –           39

3.2.1    Population of the Study          –           –           –           –           –           –           39

3.2.2    Sample            –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           40

3.3       Sampling Technique   –           –           –           –           –           –           –           41

3.4       INSTRUMENT (S) FOR DATA COLLECTION     –           –           –           42

3.4.1    Description of the Instrument             –           –           –           –           –           42

3.4.2    Procedure for Instrument Development         –           –           –           –           42

3.5       VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY OF INSTRUMENT        –           –           43

3.5.1    Validity           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           43

3.5.2    Reliability       –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           43

3.6       PROCEDURE AND DATA COLLECTION –           –           –           –           44

3.7       METHOD OF DATA ANALYSIS   –           –           –           –           –           44



4.1       Presentation of Bio Data        –           –           –           –           –           –           46

4.2       Analysis of Research Questions         –           –           –           –           –           47

4.3       Hypothesis Testing     –           –           –           –           –           –           –           54

4.3       Discussion of the Findings     –           –           –           –           –           –           55




5.1       Summary of the Findings       –           –           –           –           –           –           58

  • Conclusion      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           59

5.3       Recommendation        –           –           –           –           –           –           –           59

5.4       Limitation of the Study          –           –           –           –           –           –           60

5.5       Suggestions for Further Studies         –           –           –           –           –           60

REFERENCE           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           61

APPENDIX    –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           64





1.1       Background of the Study

In the economic development of any nation, education of its citizenry has been the bedrock of national development since it helps in equipping students with the requisite knowledge, attitude, competencies, and skills useful for the nation as a whole in terms of employment opportunities for the youth and a substantial impact on the society (Okoro, 2021).  The focus of teaching methods in Nigeria now has been teaching that allows the interest and needs of students to be the center of teaching and learning. One of the popular teaching methods which makes this basic aim of education possible to reach in this modern era is the use of activity-based teaching approach.

The transition of teaching into the multi-tasked activity might have been necessitated by the increasingly declining rate of the students` performance in Nigeria and its threat to the nation’s industrial development. Many factors believed to have contributed to these trends; from the school environment to leadership style in school (Mustapha, 2019), teachers’ pedagogical approach (Habib, Mustapha & Ali, 2019). The displacement due to the humanitarian crises in Nigeria and its aftermath consequences on the education system (Wali & Mustapha, 2019), lack of interest and zeal on the part of the students (Mustapha, 2019) and low utilization of ICT in education.

Science been regarded as the bedrock upon which the modern day technological breakthrough is built comprises the basic disciplines such as biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics. The Federal Ministry of Education (FME, 2013) identified biology among the core-science subjects offered at the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) level, Ramalingam, (2003) defined biology as one of the branches of science that involves the study of living things ranging from microscopic cellular molecules to the biosphere which encompasses the earth surface. Biology is one of the core science subjects offered in senior secondary school in Nigeria. Biology gives students a glimpse of scientific exploration and opportunity that are needed for discovering. Biology have contributed immensely towards improved quality of human life by providing information on drug abuse, biotechnology, genetic engineering and molecular biology. Various researchers have observed that there is an increasing yearly enrolment in senor secondary school examination in biology, but each year candidate achieve poorly in the examination (Nnorom, 2015; Okoye, 2010).

Importance of biology as highlighted by Maduabum (2009) is stated as follows: Understanding and appreciating life, Bringing into focus the need to maintain good health, Promoting the individual for choice of careers, Helping individuals to understand the parts of his/her body and their functions, Enabling one to question superstition due to sustained interest arising from comprehension of the cause of events, To inculcate in the individual scientific skills and attitudes in his approach to personal and societal problem, Impart factual knowledge and stimulate scientific reflective thinking so as to produce a better informed individual.

In spite of these enormous importance that biology provides, biology results in most certified examinations like, Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) conducted by both the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and the National Examinations Council (NECO) have not been satisfactory in Nigeria (Ashmore, Frater & Casey 2019). Despite the emphasis on innovative approach to the teaching of science in general and biology in particular for acquisition of science process and problem-solving skills, biology is still taught by traditional methods (Thomas, 2019). The poor methods of teaching and learning of biology constitute a problem in the learners’ acquisition of functional knowledge, science process skills and development of ability to solve problem.

In solving this problem, education seek more reliable and effective methods of instruction for students, so as to produce in learner skills that will enable them to compete successfully in technological and scientific dominated society (Thomas, 2019). In describing a new vision for teacher educator, Long (2018) suggest that teachers will need to be flexible, dynamic, thoughtful and able to work with change. He further suggested the hallmark of competent teachers will be the ability to reflect on teaching strategies as to meet the needs of their students. These innovative strategies have not been employed when compared with the traditional method preponderantly employed by science teachers in Nigeria (Thomas, 2019). Thomas further reiterated that the state of biology teaching in our schools has consistently been of concern as teachers could not properly apply this innovative teaching strategy in some areas in biology.

Moreover, to improve the performance of students in science especially biology, a more engaging teaching method should be employed by teachers. Teaching methods refers to the general principle, pedagogy and management techniques used for classroom instruction (Kolawole, 2017). They include activity-based method, discussion method, collaborative, expository, project method, problem based solving technique among others. Researchers have shown that most teachers continue to use ineffective and teacher centered method such as conventional method in teaching (Chukwuemeka, 2016; Ogbu, 2011). Conventional method of teaching refers to teaching using chalk and board for teachers, pen and paper for students (Nnorom, 2015). Teaching should be based on the student’s previous knowledge and connection between the experience of student and biological concept (Chukwuemeka, 2016). Berkeley (2015) noted that the teacher centered method does not promote skill acquisition, objectivity and critical thinking ability among students. There is the need for more activity oriented, students centered and innovative method that can develop in the students science process skills, which include problem based solving method and discussion method which are the striking points in which the researcher tends to identified the differences that exists between them for effective teaching and learning of biology as a science subject.

According to Churchil (2013) activity-based teaching approach is a learning method in which students are engaged in the learning processes. In Activity-based learning (ABL) approach, in the words of Harfield, Davies, Hede, Panko Kenley (2017) “students actively participate in the learning experience rather than sit as passive listeners”. Harfield, Davies, Hede, Panko and Kenley (2017) by quoting Churchil (2013) say that active learning method is different from traditional method of teaching on two points. First, active role of students and second, collaboration among students. In ABL the learner examines learning requirements and thinks how to solve a problem in hand. The students do not learn about the content. Rather they learn about the process to solve the problem. As they go towards the solution of the problem, they also learn about the content (Churchill 2013). Effective teaching –learning process is not possible without students‟ motivation. Hake (2018) argues that students‟ motivation by engaging them in interactive- activities is an effective and useful method for teaching complex concepts.

The National Knowledge Commission (NKC, 2019) posits that the activity- based teaching approach used in Biology provided students with the hope of solving practical problems using their resources. Studies have shown that students taught through the activity-based approach can retain the subject much longer than those taught without (Ozen & Ergenekon, 2011). Several researchers (Shah & Rahat, 2014; Bansal & Kumar, 2012; Choo, 2007) have highlighted the enormous benefits of using activity-based teaching methods in teaching subject matter of Basic Science. The services posited include; activity-based teaching helps students achieve desired goals set by teachers for concepts learned in social studies, encourages students to learn independently, and motivates them to learn to foster higher-order skills and creative thinking.

Studies such as those of Mokiwa (2014) and Usman, (2017) have shown that Biology Teachers are not qualified and lack the indepth understanding of the method and this in turn affects academic performance. One major problem of the teachers is their inability to use appropriate activity based teaching strategy. They often resort to traditional, lecture method that has been shown to lead to poor academic performance in Senior Secondary Schools, (Mokiwa, 2014 and Usman, 2017). Despite of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s encouragement in the teaching of Biology in Nigerian schools by providing both moral and financial support, e.g. the establishment of National Science and Technology Fund (1998). National Policy on Education Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN, 2008). Biology as a subject is still presented to students as facts that young people are expected to memorize, thus less emphasis is placed on biological processes and practical application of biology which makes science more relevant to the needs and aspiration of the society. Fisher (2001) feels that science especially Biology suffers from pedagogical deficiency as a result of which most people cannot see the connection between the scientific knowledge they learn and daily life.

This study is therefore an attempt to fill the foregoing gaps mentioned above in the use of traditional methods in science teaching. In other words, the paradigm shift away from teaching to an emphasis on learning is to encourage power to be moved from the teacher to the student (Mokiwa 2014). This development is in contrast to traditional forms of teaching in which an educator lectures, or otherwise relays information to students who are expected to absorb what they are told. In activity-based learning, an educator serves the function of a facilitator, assisting students through the learning process, and providing them with guidance. Various actions and tasks can be used in this type of programme, allowing students to become directly involved in the learning process rather than remaining passive. This is often accomplished through the creation of different activities and projects that students work on as they learn.  It is upon this background that the researcher deems it fit to investigate into effects of activity-based teaching approach on student’s academic performance and retention in Biology in Kanam Area Directorate of Education.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Low performance and lack of retention of various science concepts among students ranges from inability of teachers to use students-center method, lack of instructional materials to teach science subjects specifically Biology and the teachers inability to achieve effectiveness in curriculum delivery as a result of a lack of in-depth knowledge of biology concepts in totality. Thus, it is apparent that the problem exists in the teaching and learning of science concepts. The concern of this study therefore is to investigate whether the use of an activity-based instructional method could enhance students’ academic performance and retention in Biology in secondary school level, and also to determine the effects of gender in academic performance of students taught biology concepts through the use of an activity-based method.

Considering the slow progress and low status of technological development in Nigeria, as well as the challenges Biology teachers face in modern classrooms, including teaching multiple subjects, excessive workloads, and demand to cover a wide range of curriculum contents, large class size, and many other issues, it has become necessary to re-assess the status of the strategies employed in teaching Biology to future generations to determine their efficacy and worthwhileness. The current rate of failure, especially in science subjects, shows a serious and fundamental flaw in the background knowledge amongst senior secondary school students in Biology.

1.3       Purpose of the Study

The general aim of this study is to examine the effects of activity-based teaching strategy on student’s academic performance and retention in Biology in Kanam Area Directorate of Education. Specifically, the study seeks to find out:

  1. The effect of activity-based teaching approach on students’ academic performance and retention in Biology in Kanam Area Directorate of Education.
  2. The perception of biology teachers towards utilization of activity-based teaching approach in effective teaching and learning of biology
  3. The influence of gender on students’ academic achievement when taught using activity-based approach.



1.4       Research Questions

In order to achieve the above objective the study came up with the following research question. The research questions are stated as follow:

  1. To what extend do activity-based teaching approach affects the academic performance and retention of students in Biology in Kanam Area Directorate of Education?
  2. What is the perception of biology teachers towards utilization of activity-based teaching approach in effective teaching and learning of biology?
  3. What is the influence of gender on academic achievement of students taught using activity-based approach?

1.5       Research Hypotheses

Ho: There is no significant relationship between activity-based teaching approach on academic performance of Secondary School Students in Biology.

Ha: There is a significant relationship between activity-based teaching approach on academic performance of Secondary School Students in Biology.

1.6       Theoretical/Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework aims to explore the effects of activity-based teaching approaches on students’ academic performance and retention in Biology within the Kanam Area Directorate of Education. By examining the theoretical foundations related to activity-based learning, this framework provides a foundation for understanding the potential impact of these approaches on student achievement and knowledge retention in the Biology subject. The conceptual framework will provides a theoretical basis for understanding the potential effects of activity-based teaching approaches on students’ academic performance and retention in Biology within the Kanam Area Directorate of Education. By considering the principles of experiential learning, constructivism, cognitive engagement, multisensory learning, and formative assessment, educators and policymakers can make informed decisions about the implementation and integration of activity-based approaches in Biology instruction. Further research and empirical studies are necessary to validate the framework’s applicability and effectiveness in the specific context of the Kanam Area Directorate of Education.

1.7       Significance of the Study

This study is built on the framework that the findings will have both practical and theoretical significance. The study will benefit students, teachers, school administrators, curriculum planners and the examination bodies into a better understanding of the impact of activity-based teaching strategy on students’ academic performance and retention in biology. It will reflect on both positive and negative impacts of this innovative teaching strategy on students’ academic attainment.

The findings of the study will benefit the students because it will enable them to use activity-based learning approach for problem solving, learning in higher education, succeeding in their future careers, and living their daily lives. It will also enable the students to construct mental models that will allow for higher-order performance such as applied problem solving and transfer of information and skills.

The findings of the study would inform Biology teachers on the effectiveness of activity-based learning, thereby shaping their teaching strategies from traditional teacher-learner interaction to hands-on activities to promote active students participation.

The study will instill in the school administrators body of knowledge on the importance of innovative strategies (activity-based learning approach) which will enable them to organized workshop/seminars for biology teachers for effective implementation of this approach of learning strategy.

Curriculum planners would utilize the information from the findings of the study in curriculum planning. The information could help the curriculum planners to determine the adequacy of activity-based teaching strategy aspect of senior secondary biology curriculum.

Finally, this study will benefit examination bodies on how to define their roles in guiding and given insight to contemporary reading contents so as to help students perform better in their academic pursuit.

1.8       Scope and Delimitation of the Study

The researcher have limited the study to the effects of activity-based teaching approach on student’s academic performance and retention in Biology in Kanam Area Directorate of Education.  The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

  1. Availability of research material: The research material available to the researchers is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.  
  2. Time: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researchers has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

1.9       Operational Definition of Terms

Terms that are related to the study are defined below in order to remove somatic ambiguity in their usage.

Effects: Literally, it refers to a change which is a result or consequence of an action or other cause. In this study, it implies to the striking changes observed among Biology students when taught using activity-based teaching strategy.

Activity-Based Teaching Approach: Literally, it refers to a method that is adopted by a teacher to emphasize his or her technique of teaching through action in which the learners take interest comprehensively and realize effective learning practices. In this study, it refers to a method employed by biology teachers in teaching and learning of biology in secondary schools.

Student: Is something or someone that is consider to learning. In this research, it refers to a secondary school biology learner.

Student’s performance: It refers to the extent to which a learner has attained their short or long-term educational goals. In this study, it refers to those goals that have been attained by biology students through the use of activity-based teaching strategy.

Student’s Performance and Retention: It refers to the measure of students that enroll, continue, and finish their academic studies in the same school. In this research, it refers to the ability of senior secondary school students to retain what they have learned after been exposed to biology concepts using activity-based learning approach.

Teaching: Literally, it refers to the concerted sharing of knowledge and experience, which is usually organized within a discipline and, more generally, the provision of stimulus to the psychological and intellectual growth of a person by another person or artifact. In this research, teaching is considered as the act of imparting biology instructions via activity based teaching strategy to the learners in the classroom situation.

Biology: Literally, refers to the science that studies life, and living things, and the evolution of life. In this research, it refers to the foundational aspect of science education that deals with the impartation of the basic knowledge needed to understand science by senior secondary school students.

Senior secondary schools: It refers to school for pupils between the ages of 11 or 12 and 17 or 18 that student attend in the three highest classes before college. In this research, it refers to the level of education use by the researchers to effectively impart biology concepts through the use of activity-based teaching strategy.

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