Effects of Contructivist Instructional Methods Learner Achievement in Biology in Secondary Schools in Homabay County Kenya
The study investigated the effects of constructivist instructional methods on learner achievement in biology in secondary schools in Homabay County, Kenya. Independent variable for the study was effect of constructivist instruction on learning biology in secondary schools while the dependent variable was the learners’ achievement in biology and learner attitude towards the constructivist instructional methods. The specific objectives were to compare the effect of constructivist and conventional instruction on learner achievement in biology in Secondary schools in Homabay County, to establish the effectiveness of constructivist instructional methods on learner achievement in biology among students in different class categories in Secondary school in Homabay County, to determine the effectiveness of constructivist instructional methods on learner achievement between boys and girls in Secondary school in Homabay County, to establish the differences in attitude between boys and girls towards the constructivist instruction in Secondary school in Homabay County. The hypotheses formulated for the study compared the effects of constructivist and convention instruction on learner achievement in Biology, learner achievement in biology in different classroom categories and gender difference in leaner achievement in biology. Also compared was difference in attitude towards the constructivist instruction based on gender of the student. The study design was quasi-experimental non-equivalent groups with a pre-test and a post-test. The experimental group was assigned to constructivist methods of instruction while the control group assigned to conventional methods of instruction. Target population for the study was 61,115 students enrolled in 196 secondary schools of Homabay County. The study adopted multistage sampling where 57 Schools which had biology mean score ranging from 4.5 to 6.4 in year 2010 KCSE were purposively selected from the 196 schools in the County(schools met the biology achievement criteria required for the study). The list of 57 schools was stratified to include boys, girls and mixed schools. Four boys’ four girls’ and four mixed schools were then randomly selected to participate in the study. Finally, only one form three class was randomly selected from the schools which had two or more form three steams to participate in the study. Total sample consisted of 477 students. Participants were then purposively assigned into the two instructional groups. Instruments used in the study were; a constructivist instruction manual, a biology achievement test which served as a pretest and as a posttest and an attitude questionnaire. The instruments were pilot tested to establish their validity and reliability. The reliability coefficient of the biology achievement test established using the split-half procedure was r= 0.926. Reliability of the biology achievement test was also improved by establishing clear guidelines for administration of the tests. The study commenced by participants taking a pre-test, followed by five weeks of instruction. After the instruction, participants took a post-test and also completed an attitude questionnaire. Data collected for the study was analysed descriptively using mean and standard deviation values while t-tests and one way ANOVA-tests were used to test for significance in difference between group means at α=0.05 level. Findings of the study were as follows: constructivist instruction is more effective in learning biology compared to conventional instruction. When taught through the constructivist instruction girls learn and perform better in biology than boys. When learning achievement was compared along classroom category, girls performed better than students in mixed sex classrooms and students in boys’ classrooms. The study also revealed that girls have a more positive attitude towards constructivist instruction than boy. The study recommends that biology teachers be encouraged to use constructivist method of instruction in order to improve students’ performance. Also a similar study can be done in urban areas to reveal the attitude of students in urban schools towards constructivist learning.
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