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The study examined Effect of Practical on the Secondary School Students Academic Performance in Biology in Lagos State Descriptive research survey design was adopted in assessing the opinions of the respondents with the use of questionnaire. One Hundred and Sixty respondents were used as the representatives of the entire population of the study.  A total of four null hypotheses were formulated in this study and tested with the use of descriptive and inferential statistics. Descriptive statistics of frequencies and percentages was used to analyse demographic variables. At the end of the data analyses, the findings that emerged are as follows: there is significant influence of Biology practical on students’ performance in Science subjects, there is significant influence of availability of materials on students’ academic performance in Biology, there is significant influence of teacher improvisation of materials on students’ academic performance and there is significant gender difference in Biology practical work and students’ academic performance in Biology. Based on the findings of this study, the following recommendations are made: biology teachers should always adopt stimulating methods to stimulate students’ interest and positive feelings towards the biology practical, biology teachers should ensure that during biology practical lessons, they: encourage students’ participation and collaboration, provide help/clarification to students, provide direction to the students, encourage supportive relationships among teachers and students, biology teachers should be helped through seminars, mentoring, conferences, support supervision, and journal publications, to acquire a range of skills for effective classroom interaction in biology, ministries of education, Science teachers Association of Nigeria and the State Orientation Agencies should intensify campaigns and jingles to change students’ negative feeling towards biology, and emphasize the value of biology and government should provide schools with high quality science instructional materials. Teaching with instructional materials is likely to improve biology teachers’ classroom interactions.





Title Page                                                                                          i

Certification                                                                                      ii

Dedication                                                                                          iii

Acknowledgements                                                                            iv

Abstract                                                                                             v

Table of Contents                                                                               vi


CHAPTER ONE:   INTRODUCTION                                                   1

1.1         Background to the Study                                                           1

1.2         Statement of the Problem                                                          4

1.3         Purpose of the Study                                                                 5

1.4         Research Questions                                                                 5

1.5         Research Hypotheses                                                               5

1.6         Significance of the Study                                                           6

1.7         Scope of the Study                                                                    7

1.8         Definition of Terms                                                                   8

CHAPTER TWO:  LITERATURE REVIEW                                  9

2.1     Conceptual Frame work on Biology and Biology Practical 9

2.2     Biology Practical Role in School                                     17

2.3     Assessment of Practical Work in Biology                          19

2.4     Theoretical Framework                                        20

2.5     Challenges of Biology Practical Practices in Schools        21

2.6     The Concept of Academic Performance                   27

2.7     Causes of Poor Academic Performance Students        28

2.8     The Relevance of Philosophy of Biology Practical’s

 to Science Education                                                    30

2.9     Dominant schools of thought in the philosophy of

Biology Practical                                                         32

2.10   The Education of Secondary School Biology Teachers     42

2.11   Research in Biology Education                                 44


3.1         Introduction                                                            46

3.2         Design of the Study                                                46

3.3         Area of Study                                                         46

3.4     Population of Study                                                47

3.5     Sample and Sampling Techniques                           47

3.6     Instrument for Data Collection                                 47

3.7     Validity of the Instrument                                        48

3.8    Reliability of the Instrument                                       48

3.9     Method of Data Collection                                            48

3.10   Data Analysis                                                          49


4.0. Introduction                                                              50

4.1     Data Presentation of Teachers                               50

4.2     Analysis of Bio-Data                                            52

4.3     Analysis of Data Collected from Respondents          54

4.4     Hypotheses Testing                                            62

4.5     Summary of Findings                                           66


RECOMMENDATIONS                      67

5.1     Introduction                                                        67

5.2       Summary of Study                                               67

5.3         Conclusions                                                      68

5.4     Recommendations                                      70

References                                                           71

Appendix                                                           76






1.1  Background to the Study

According to Oxford Advance Learners dictionary (2001), “impact” means

(1) A change produced by an action or cause a result or an outcome. (2) An act of one object hitting another or noticeable effect (3) An impression created in the mind of a spectator, reader etc while watching a play, listening to music or looking  at a painting, impact as used in this research topic can then be defined as a positive change produced by an action, a described outcome or a result.


A Laboratory is experienced as a well-equipped room for scientific experimentation (Opera mini Dictionary 2007).  Whereas the oxford Dictionary (2000), defined laboratory as a building used for scientific research.


The word” Practical” means connection with real situation rather than with ideas or theories (oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, 2001). Similarly, Opera mini Dictionary (2008), Defined practical as knowledge acquired through practical or action rather than theory. Opuh, Eze and Ezemagu (2008), explained practical as a scientific study or an experimental set-up rather than dwelling in the theory and ideas on the introduction to the international senior secondary School certificate examination syllabus. West African Examination council (1998-2003) emphasized the necessity of practicals in learning science courses. (Under study in secondary schools)

The Syllabus was designed to assess students in,

(1) Acquisition of adequate laboratory and field skill in laboratory practical

(2) Acquisition of important scientific skills, such as observation, stating of problems in the science subjects under study, great importance should be attached to experimental work and that whenever there is need for practical on any science course under study, students should be properly informed, get involved and they should apply it to what they are studying.

The national policy on education (2004), Defined secondary school or secondary education as the education received after primary education and before the tertiary stage. According to the post primary School management Board (PPSMB) Statistical records (2009) there are nine Government Secondary School in Lagos North Local Government Area.


Academic connected with education especially studying in school (oxford Dictionary 2000). According to the oxford advanced learners dictionary (2001) “achievement is defined as a thing that somebody has done successfully especially using his/her own effort and skill, web site Opera mini Dictionary (2008) defined academic achievement as  something one does or achieve at school, college or university, in a laboratory class or field work.


From the foregoing, the academic achievement of student depends on the effect of laboratory practical. By providing student with practical laboratory lesson that are academically stimulating, student are more likely to engage meaningfully with tasks and subsequently may achieve higher in assessment grades (Karen et al 2009). Opuh, Eze and Ezemagu (2008), Observed in line with Addeye that “Schools which are involved in practical classes perform better in examination than those that neglect practical work’. In a nutshell, it can be understood that Biology, Biology, and mathematics practical have a positive effect on academic performance of student in ss2.


Okolo (2008), Defined science as the study of natural things around us which simply means the investigation of nature. Biology being a branch of science involves the study of living things (sarogini 2001). This can be proven with its following usefulness;

(i) It helps scientific research and development of new tools and techniques which invariably improve the quality of our lives.

(ii) Finding application in medicine, agriculture, veterinary science and horticulture.

(iii) Biotechnology, which include field, like genetic engineering and hybridism technology.

(iv) Dealing with ecology problems such as overpopulation, food storage, erosion etc the study of Biology has a lot impact of reference to the building of the nation for example,

(i) the use of animal in scientific research had solved many family problems, childlessness by production of test tube babies.

(ii). It also stimulate our interest in the lives of living organisms and increased the enjoyment of our surroundings etc (Okolo, 2008).


The report attributed candidate weakness under the following sub-heading (i) Poor spelling (ii) Poor mathematical skills (iii) Poor dedication reasoning

(iv) Poor observation (v) Misinterpretation of question and (vi) poor knowledge of biology, Biology and mathematics.


The examiner lamented that “there were many candidates who could not answer correctly a single question in section A in most cases, they have mild  guesses and quite  unrelated answer that were sometimes unscientific based on the poor academic achievement, Obidiwe (2005), stated that the objectives of laboratory practical are not being realized to a satisfactory extent. He pointed out that the poor academic achievement are caused by lack of well equipped laboratory, lack of qualified teachers, limited time  table hours, poor observation, poor clearing and poor comparison of specimen etc. This poor state of affairs is disturbing.


1.2       Statement of Problem.

In spite of the age long fear and of effects on the science, researchers had done little or nothing on the effect of Biology practical work and science process skills on senior secondary school students’ performance in Biology.  Hence basic problem(s) like lack of proper understanding of certain biology phenomena remains unresolved.

Furthermore, ill equipped laboratories with fewer instructional materials in our schools is worthy of note.  This is not helped with the fact that many biology practical instructors were neither trained nor were they graduates of Biology Education.  This study therefore intends to examine the effect of practical on the secondary school students’ academic performance in Biology in Lagos.


1.3   Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of biology practical on the secondary school students academic performance in biology

Specifically, this study shall:

1.            To ascertain the extent to which Biology practical work will influence students’ performance in Science subjects.

2.            To ascertain the extent of availability of materials for Biology practical.

3.            To ascertain the extent Biology teacher improvisation of materials.

4.            To ascertain the gender difference in students’ academic performance and Biology practical work

1.4    Research Questions

The following research questions are extracts from purpose of study:

1.    To what extent will practical work influence students’ performance in Biology?

2.    To what extent is the availability of materials for Biology practical?

3.    To what extent does Biology teacher improvise for materials?

4.    To what extent will gender difference in practical work influence students’ academic performance in Biology?


1.5   Research Hypotheses

The following null research hypotheses (Ho) are derive from purpose of study:

1.         There is no significant influence of Biology practical on students’ performance in Science subjects.

2.         There is no significant influence of availability of materials on students’ academic performance in Biology.

3.         There is no significant influence of teacher improvisation of materials on students’ academic performance

4.         There is no significant gender difference in Biology practical work and students’ academic performance in Biology.

1.6         Significance of the Study

The significance of this study would be of importance towards the use of  Biology practical  work and students performance and science process skills. This study is significant in that its findings are useful for:

-                      Contributing to the students practical knowledge and skills for their general education.

-                      Helping students develop the ability to apply the use of science Biology in their theory and practical.

-                      Helping students develop an awareness of their place in the science and technology world.

-                      It is a discipline, which is a rational basis for making Biology decision.


Policy makers in the provision of effective Science curriculum and materials necessary for proper implementation of the school curriculum at the secondary school level.

Principals/managers of secondary schools in order to design good Science curriculum for students’ good academic performance.

Educating the institutional administrators/managers in both public and private secondary schools on effective Science subjects.

Educating the principals/managers in both public and private secondary schools on impact of Biology practical work on students performance and Biology process skills.

This research will help the Science teachers and students by providing them with information about some environmental factors that will improve their effectiveness of teaching and learning of Science subjects.


This research will also provide the curriculum developers and state ministries of education with some criteria before recommending textbooks and developing Science curriculum for teachers and students.


1.7       Scope of the Study

This study is delimited to effect of practical on the secondary school students academic performance in biology: A case study of Yaba local government area of Lagos State. The targeted schools  are  the senior secondary schools in Lagos Local Government Area of Lagos State. The scope is also delimited on SS2 biology student and their practical achievement. The contents of SS1, 2 & 3 biology scheme of work are Excretion, Reproduction and Digestion while those of Biology are separation technique and titration. 




1.8       Definition of Terms

(STS): Science and technology studies

Influencing: The ability to have the power to affect something in a given way.

LaboratoryA room used by students and teachers for the study of any branch   of science for example Biology through experimentation and  observation.

Local Education Districts: This refers to educational bodies responsible for the administration of schools in their areas of jurisdiction.

Poor performance: This is the low quality of result of an action or things done or the inability to meet the stated objectives.

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