M.Sc, M.Ed., NET (Edu.)
Faculty of information technology, RTMNU
Under the guidance of Dr. Shashi Agrawal
This paper provides a critical evaluation of various factors resulting in variations in score achieved in science subject by elementary and middle level school students. The selected sample units comprised various state and CBSE schools located in Nagpur Region. The purpose of this study was to examine the status of science teaching and learning, challenges facing the science learning in schools and opportunities for improvements.
This research attempts to identify the factors which influence the choice of science subjects in Nagpur Region among students at elementary level education, the level up to which science is a compulsory subject. The study was undertaken in various schools of Nagpur Region for a period of four years. The study has made use of mainly questionnaire method in which data were collected from students and science teachers. The study was conducted in twenty four secondary schools using a sample of 300 students and 30 teachers. The data from students and teachers were collected through a structured questionnaire and focus group discussions. The data provided insights into teachers’ teaching approaches, the behaviour and interest of pupils in the lessons and other factors.
The findings show that teaching approaches were mainly traditional and that both girls and boys prefer hands-on activities and contextual examples reflecting real-life situations. Teachers had positive opinions about students’ ability to do science but stated that lack of infrastructure facilities did not allow them to involve the pupils in practical work as much as they would wish. However, brighter students’ decisions to study sciences were not outweighed by these factors. The results revealed poor quality of science classroom teaching and a serious decline in interest of students in science subjects. The study commented on improvement of teacher-students interaction and relationship in classroom teaching and learning of science.
Keywords – Science education, factors, student-teacher relationship, questionnaire
1.0 EVALUATION OF SCIENCE AS SCHOOL LEVEL SUBJECT
One of the most required thrusts of global scenario ever has been the development of science and technology. It is especially in developing nations, it demands the preparation of skilled individuals in science disciplines from lower levels of academic and skill training.
It is school education which shoulders the responsibility of developing students for science subject. In an increasingly globalized world, studying science subjects in secondary schools is very important regardless of the challenges facing the science learning. These challenges facing individuals who are engaged in science studies are from time to time influenced on science education practices in schools.
“Science teaches what evidence is, what proof is.” Science, as a subject is universal and knows no boundaries. The claims of Science for inclusion in the school curriculum came to be recognized after years of active and persistent efforts. Science teaching is such a complex, dynamic profession that it is difficult for a teacher to stay up-to-date. It requires a teacher to make continual effort to have profession growth on the subject. In present scenario, science and mathematics are dominantly considered as significant subjects in school education. On the same side, these subjects are considered not that easy for many students. For students’ overall development, however, contribution of Science in achieving the object can never be neglected.
The knowledge of science is directly linked with the life style of a person and the development of a nation. To import this knowledge to masses in an easy, entertaining way is a big challenge. How the knowledge of science can be effectively transacted in the class room or otherwise, is very important. New methods of teaching science are being explored.
It has been seen that there exists a number of education boards in India for school education. The science subject is included in the school curriculum by all the boards. However, at the same time it has been observed that not all the students are able to make keen interest in this subject and there exists a variation in its score even in the same class where same curriculum is imparted to all the students by the same teacher in the same manner using the same kind of methodologies.
The paper evaluated various factors resulting in variations in marks of students of Nagpur Region in Science subject. The research study has undertaken the study in different phases covering the education system in India, education boards in India, inclusion of science subject at school level, factors contributes in imparting its education, resulting factors, barriers for teachers and students and suggestions for improvements, if required.
2.0 ASSESSMENT OF THE SUBJECT FROM STUDENTS’ POINT OF VIEW
Indian Education system at its elementary level has various boards comprising CBSE, ICSE, State boards and IB.ICSE board is a private body that was founded in year 1956 to set and adapt University of Cambridge’s examination system to India. CBSE board, known as Central board of secondary education (CBSE) is the most popular school board in India with over 10000 affiliated schools in the country. The stress in this board is on application of Science and Mathematics related subjects.International Baccalaureate (IB) is a nonprofit educational foundation that was founded in 1968 and now works with over 3000 schools in all over the world. However, still there exists a dominance of various state boards duly competed by CBSE board.
This paper concentrated on Science as a mandatory subject being included by various boards at elementary school education. Imparting education in Science is naturally a complex and dynamic profession require science teacher to stay up-to-date. Science almost revolutionaries human life and proved indispensable for existence of man.Now, supremacy of Science has been established in every field. In fact, so great is its importance for man and society that the present day people live in an “age of science”. No one perhaps needs an explanation at present to include science in the school curriculum. Gradually science form an essential part of the curriculum as it is the only subject which affords knowledge of certain facts and laws and helps in achieving the main object of education.
It provides unique training in observation and reasoning. Science students reason from definitely ascertained facts and form clear concepts. It makes one systematic and enables him to form an objective judgment.Science learning is incomparably more useful for our guidance in life. Other chief subjects too provide an intellectual training not inferior to that of Science. The study believed importance of developing the world of scientific discoveries. So science education needs to given due priority right from school level. It is useful in that it remedies some of the defects of the ordinary school education. It is found to be the most valuable element in the education of those who show special aptitude. Science provides discipline of mind.
The most painful factors affecting the science education is fear in the mind of school students for the subject. Most of the students have a kind of phobia from subjects like Science and Mathematics. Unlike mathematics, knowledge in science cannot be exceled by practicing formulas and methods. One has to understand its basics in a systemized manner to surpass the performance. Those who fail to understand the same, fails to get a good score in the subject resulting wide variation observed in the performance of students at the same level. As the time passes and the study progresses, the performance, if not improved, goes on becoming worse. The paper observed existence of a number of factors resulting in variation in their academic performance on the subject. The research has undertaken a comprehensive study of these factors alongwith analyzing the range of the subject matter from lowest score to highest ones.
3.0 FACTORS CONSIDERED FOR EVALUATION
The study concentrated on following relevant factors resulting in variations in score achieved in science subject by elementary and middle level school students. These factors were tested in the light of proposed hypotheses to infer on the subject matter:
- Demographic factors affecting students attitudes
- Cultural/ethnic attitudes
- Socioeconomic status
- Level of parental education
- Family atmosphere
- Psychological fear
- Unimpressive response to science and technical education
- Insufficient resources
- Poor practical orientation
- Lack of dedicated to the assignment tasks
- Sneaking in and out of the classrooms and laboratories
- Inabilities of students to perform well in practical
- Teachers Methodology.
- Structuring of the curriculum.
- Concentration of examination questions on few topics.
- Serious lack of time spent in teaching science content at elementary grade classes.
- Lack in training and self- confident in teachers.
- Teacher’s inability to teach science due to lack of specialization.
- Complex and ambiguous text language.
- Inadequate laboratory equipment and facilities.
- Poor motivated teaching strategies.
- Shortage of suitable textbooks.
4.0 APPLICATION OF METHODOLOGY
Selection of suitable methodology provided a platform to conduct a systematic research to enable it to infer on the subject matter. The study has made use of descriptive study by using Survey Method. The population will be the elementary and middle level students of schools located at Nagpur Region. About 20 state and CBSE schools were selected covering 200 students by selecting equal numbers of boys and girls. The study was delimited to demographic factors such as student’s gender, parent’seducation and occupation and socio economic status. The quality of academic education was measured by their achievement scores in science subject of annual examinations. Data regarding variables was collected through questionnaire. The various questions relating to factors affecting the academic performance in the subject were included in the questionnaire.
4.1 DATA COLLECTION
Requisite data were collected from primary and secondary sources. The questionnaire comprised of relevant questions, acted as primary source of data collection and a basis for drawing the interpretation. The relevant information was extracted from the forms and grouped into different categories. The questionnaires were provided to the science students of schools located in Nagpur city. The secondary sources included Science magazines, School journals, NCERT/CBSE/Maharashtra state, Websites, Research magazines etc
4.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
In order to assess these factors, the study formulated various objectives to evaluate the academic performance and various factors involved therein in science subject at school level:
- To study the various factors resulting in variation in academic performance in science subject at Elementary and Middle Level
- To study the various barriers being faced by science teachers and students.
- To study the science curriculum at elementary and middle level schools in order to analysis its level
- To study the views and opinions of science teachers/lecturers towards various factors affecting the students’ performance
- To prepare the various programs and tests to be adopted from school teachers’ point of view
- To find out the differences in quality of student’s achievement in relation to their gender.
The research study has formulated the following hypothesis:
- The academic performance of the science students at elementary and middle level schooling can be improved by controlling the affecting factors.
- The factors resulting in variations of marks in science subject can be analysed and controlled in order to enhance the students’ performance.
- The factors play a vital role in differentiating the performance of male and female science students.
All the formulated hypotheses were verified by applying suitable statistical test. The research has been carried out by evaluating the performance of school students in science subject at subject at Elementary and Middle Level from state and CBSE board. The study was carried out the research work at Nagpur Region comprising various schools affiliated to state board and CBSE board. It is therefore proposed to carry out the research work in schools located in Nagpur City affiliated to State or/and CBSE boards.
2.4 LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH
The following limitations are observed prima-facie in connection with the present research work:0
- The study was limited up to the performance of students for the science subject only. Performance in other subjects, optional or mandatory, was not assessed by the study.
- The study was limited to the geographical area as the same is expected to appraise the academic performance of the relevant subject being taught in CBSE and Sate board schools located within jurisdiction of Nagpur city.
- The study was conducted in the various colleges of Nagpur city, predominantly of urban areas. So the views and opinions mainly belong to the school teachers of urban area.
- The study was limited to consider the students of elementary and middle schooling.
- The reference period of the study was a time span of ten years from the year 2011-12 to 2014-15.
3.0 DERIVING CONCLUSION
The main source of data analysis was questionnaire method. Responses of various students and science teachers collected through questionnaire were tabulated and presented using various pictographs. Likewise, the various factors were analyzed in the light of this questionnaire and interpreted suitably. The study applied suitable statistical tests, including t-test, chi-square tests to verify the framed hypotheses. The significant effect of different factors on students’ achievement was explored through multiple comparisons by application of statistical tests.
There are various factors inside and outside school contribute the quality of academic performance in science subject and variations in its marks. The study concentrated on these factors that influence the student’s achievement scores. The key aspect was to educate their students effectively so that they may be able to show quality education in the academics. The study concluded to indicate the most influential factors resulting in variations in scores in science subject from lowest score to highest one at the school level. It has purposefully examined the status of teachers’ in –service training and the teaching, and learningstrategies used by science teachers in selected schools. It has assessed students’ level of satisfaction in science subjects teaching and readiness to takescience subjects in their high school studies.
It commented on traditional teaching approaches and that both girls and boys prefer hands-on activities and contextual examples reflecting real-life situations. The results revealed poor quality of science classroom teaching and a serious decline in interest of students in science subjects. The study commented on improvement of teacher-students interaction and relationship in classroom teaching and learning of science. On the basis of conclusion, the study has highlighted the challenges and opportunities towards promotion of science subject’s choice as career pathways for secondary school students.
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