Students’ Misconception About Integrated Science

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Published on International Journal of Biology, Physics & Mathematics
Publication Date: April 29, 2019

Bruce Offei Kwaku Essah
Department of Chemistry, University of Education
Winneba, Ghana

Journal Full Text PDF: Students’ Misconception About Integrated Science (Study in Adjena Senior High Technical School in Asuogyaman District, Ghana).

Abstract
This study sought to assess students’ misconception about integrated science in Adjena Senior High Technical School in Asuogyaman District, Ghana. A descriptive research design was adopted for the study. The estimated population of the school was 1200. A purposively sample size of 291 was used to collect data. The research instruments employed for the study was questionnaires survey. Descriptive statistics such as percentages and frequencies were used to analyze information such as sex, age and residential status of respondents. Means and standard deviation were used to measure the variables. Inferential statistic tool called linear regression was used to assess the effect of challenges faced by students in integrated science in Adjena Senior high Technical Schools, Ghana. On the issue of science to be studied by some special students, a lowest mean score of 1.57 with a standard deviation of 1.13 was recorded. This implies that, students agreed to the perception that science should be read by some special group of students in senior high school. Also, on the issue of science to be read by brilliant students, a highest mean score of 2.12 with standard deviation of 1.31. Also, majority students of the students revealed that unavailability of teaching and learning materials and science textbooks are the main challenges faced by students in integrated science in Adjena senior high Technical school. The R-Sqaure explains the amount of variation that exist in the dependent variables caused by the independent variables. Therefore the results indicates that there is 28.7% variation in effects of challenges faced by students can be explained by challenges faced by students in integrated science in senior high school. The significant value of the F-stat of 17.919 is 0.000 (p < 0.05), therefore we reject the null hypothesis which says that there is no effect on challenges faced by students in integrated science in Adjena Senior High Technical school. Based on these results and other studies, the researcher recommends that The Ghana Education Service needs to provide adequate teaching and learning materials in senior high schools in the district to help teachers to deliver their lessons effectively in integrated science. Variable methodologies that will enhance the understanding of scientific concepts should be employed by teachers during teaching.

Keywords: Alternative conception, misconception, Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK).

1. Introduction
In the history of science education in African schools, teaching students to comprehend how science works remains an issue of concern. In the past centuries, there have been several educational reforms yet science education has been continually criticized for not producing scientifically literate students (Lederman, 2007). Science education is the discipline dealing with learning science and teaching in outside schools and schools. Science education research includes legitimation, educational reconstruction and selection of topics to be learned. Justification and selection of general aims of teaching and learning science, as well as instructional sequencing that takes the learners’ cognitive, affective and social preconditions into account. A further domain of science education work is research-based development as well as evaluation of teaching and learning approaches (KVFF, 1998), and materials.
According to Duit (2006) science education is a genuinely inter-disciplinary discipline. Clearly, science is a major reference discipline but there are competencies in various disciplines which are also needed. Philosophy of science and history of science provide thinking patterns to analyse the nature of science critically, and the particular contribution of science to understand the “world”, i.e. nature and technology (Duit,2006). Shulman (1987) contended that teachers need a large spectrum of rather different competencies. According to Gess-Newsome and Lederman (1999) knowledge of conception of “content specific pedagogical knowledge” also called Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) has been widely adopted in science education. Considering the study of integrated science, there has been a much effort of research documenting student and teacher misconceptions, however, much remains to be done by way of development and implementation of effective nature of science curricula.(Talbot, 2010).Research has outlined core ideas relative to alternative ideas of the nature of science (Lederman, 2007; McComas,2004) as well as misconceptions held by both students and teachers (Blosser,1987; Lederman, 2007; McComas, 1996; Rubba, 1976). Researchers have conducted studies on various age groups from elementary school, through high school and college, to teachers conception. The Nature of Science research has been conducted in a variety of content areas (Lederman, 2007). However, no studies were found using senior high school students in Adjena Senior Technical School, Ghana.
The Ghana Education Service Handbook explains that the use of Teaching and Learning Materials also turns to create the right conception about the topic being taught in classroom. According to Amissah, Oppong-Frimpong and Sam-Tagoe (2009) the classroom teachers must use Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs) to boost and give students intellectual development and remove misconceptions. Grover and Mathew (2012) went further to discover that, student learning takes place primarily in the course of interactions with people (such as teachers and peers) and instructional materials that include textbooks, workbooks, instructional software, web-based content, homework, projects, quizzes, and tests.The objective of this study is to assess the misconception about learning integrated science in senior high school.

1.1 Statement of the Problem
The researcher, through his teaching and observation at Adjena Senior High Technical School in Ghana found out that students lack the actual idea and concepts in integrated science. Students encountered several challenges in the effort to explain the concept of scientific terminologies and phenomena and eventually providing wrong alternative conceptual answers to the questions. This problem can be partly traced to the lack of embedded science topics in the basic school syllabus or the methodology used by science teachers in teaching .These misconceptions may tend to stay with the students if not corrected and they will carry it throughout their educational ladder.

1.2 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study is to assess students’ misconceptions about integrated science in Adjena Senior High Technical School in Ghana.

1.3 Research objectives
The study was guided by the following objectives:
a. Identify students’ personal perception about learning Integrated Science in Senior High Schools.
b. Identify the challenges faced by students in Integrated Science.
c. Assess the effect of challenges faced by students in Integrated Science.

1.4 Research Questions
a. What are students’ personal perceptions about learning Integrated Science in Senior High Schools?
b. What are some of the challenges faced by students in Integrated Science?
c. What is the effect of challenges faced by students in Integrated Science?

1.5 Hypothesis
HO: there is no effect on challenges faced by students in Integrated Science in Adjena Senior High Technical school.

1.6 Significance of the Study
This study is geared towards helping school Heads to identify and assist students who have challenges in explaining concepts in Integrated Science. Again, it will help the ministry of education and Ghana Education Service to support teachers who contribute to the improvement of students in the understanding of Integrated Science. Also, it will serve as a source of information for other researchers in the future; it will be a source of research materials or empirical data on the student’s alternative perception about learning Integrated Science in Senior High Schools.

2. Research Methods
According to Olannye (2006), research designs are the approaches, framework or plans for carrying out research studies. The research design was a descriptive survey. It can be said that descriptive research or method is used to describe various aspects of the phenomenon. It is used to describe characteristics or behaviour of a sample population. The descriptive design has also been recommended by Babbie (2001) for the purpose of generalizing from a sample of a population so that references can be made about some characteristics, attributes or behaviour of a population.

2.1 Sample size and Sampling Technique
Sample for data collection in a research study according to Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, (2007) is the subgroup or part of a larger population being studied. The sampling technique used for the study was purposive sampling. The study targeted students in Adjena Senior High Technical School. The estimated population of students in Adjena Senior High Technical School for the 2018/2019 academic year is 1200.
Krejcie and Morgan (1970), postulated a sample distribution table and advanced that if the population is 1200 the sample size should be 291. Thus with a population of 1200 the desirable sample size used by the researcher was 291.

2.2 Data collection
The research instruments employed for the study was questionnaires survey. A questionnaire is a cost-effective survey method which helps studying to investigate large samples of a population across wide geographic areas. The use of questionnaire in the study was effective in collection of the data. Questionnaires reduce bias that may occur in the study. Again, in using questionnaire responses are gathered in a standardized manner, so they are more objective in their responses. The questionnaire had three sections and each section was designed to solicit responses on the study constructs. The demographic information of the participants formed the first section in the questionnaire. The study requested participants to provide seven demographic data as related to their ages, gender, and residential status. Section B was made up of six (6) items on students’ personal perception about learning integrated science in Senior High Schools. Section C part of the questionnaire had six (6) items which solicited challenges faced by students in Integrated Science. Section D part of the questionnaire had four (4) items which were to assess the effect of challenges faced by students in integrated science.
Questions were administered to students at during normal school hours after permission was sort from the school authorities. The researcher gave students enough time to complete the questionnaire. The questionnaires were collected by the researcher after completion by respondents. Data collection took a period of two weeks. A total of 291 of questionnaires were administered and all were returned. Reliability is determined by correlation coefficient which is also referred to as Cronbach’s Alpha. According to ‘‘Mugenda and Mugenda (1999)’’ when coefficient is high, the instrument is said to yield data that have a high reliability. The reliability of the test instrument was examined using Cronbach’s alpha, with a coefficient value of 0.882.

2.3 Data analysis and interpretation process
According to Creswell (2009), data analysis is where the researcher continually reflects on collected data, moving deeper into understanding and representing the data, and deriving an interpretation of the larger meaning of the data. The information collected from the questionnaires were edited, coded and analysed based on the procedures within the statistical analysis software tool known as the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 20.0. The data were cleaned and transformed into tables and extracted for the presentation and discussion. The tables were used for illustrations in order to clarify meaning and enhance understanding.
Descriptive statistics such as percentages and frequencies were used to analyze information such as sex, age and residential status of respondents. Means and standard deviation were used to measure the variables. Inferential statistics tool called linear regression was used to find the effect of challenges faced by students in integrated science in Adjena Senior high Technical Schools, Ghana.

3. Results
a) Demographic characteristics of respondents
This section provides information on the gender, age and residential status of respondents. Table 1 shows tabulation Gender of the respondents.

Table 1 shows the tabulation of gender distribution of the respondents. Table 1 shows that 65.6% of respondents were males and the remaining 34.4% were females. This is an indication that more males took part in the study than females.

As shown in Table 2, 7.2% of the respondents were between 12-14 years. Over 73.9% of the respondents were within the age group of 15-18 years, and 18.6% of the respondents were within the age group of 19years and above. The results showed that majority of the students who took part in the study were adolescent between 16-18years and were matured to understand items on questionnaire.

Table 3 showed that 25.8 % of respondents were day students and the remaining 74.2 % were boarding students. This implies that more boarding students took part in the study than day students.

b)What are students’ personal perception about integrated science in Senior High
Schools?
The basis for research question one was to provide students’ personal perception about learning Integrated Science in Senior High Schools. Means and standard deviations were used to analyse the items for this research question. The mean scores mean scores between 1 and 3 suggest that respondents agreed with the item. Mean scores between 3 and 3.4 means respondents were neutral, meaning they were not able to state whether they agree or not and mean scores between from 3.5 and 5.0 suggest that respondents disagreed to the item. The results are represented in the table below.

Table 4 above reveals that, the mean of means score is 1.82 with a standard deviation of 1.03. The overall mean score suggests that students agree to items stated in the table as personal perceptions in studying Integrated Science. On the issue of science to be studied by some special students a lowest mean score of 1.57 with a standard deviation of 1.13 was calculated.This implies that, students agreed to the perception that science should be read by some special group of students in senior high school. Also, on the issue of science to be read by brilliant students, a highest mean score was 2.12 with a standard deviation of 1.31.This means that to Students perceive that science is difficult and should be studied by brilliant students.
However, the relative importance of this item does not significantly differ among the students as it is reflected in the standard deviation. Early studies by McComas (1996) revealed that wrong alternative conceptions about the nature of science mean that many students seriously misunderstand what science is and how it works. when those misconceptions are cleared, he students can have a better understanding of integrated science in general and of specific content, phenomena and concepts.

c) What are some of the challenges faced by students in integrated science?
The research question sought to identify some some of the challenges faced by students in integrated science. Table 5. Summarizes some challenges faced by students in learning integrated science in Adjena Senior High Technical School. Percentages and frequencies were used to assess the relative importance of the relevant challenges.

According to Table 5, 24.7 percent of the respondents indicated that Teaching and learning materials are not available in my school.Also, 23.4 percent of the respondents indicated that Science textbooks are not available in my school library. Again, 13.8percent of the respondents indicated that they are unable to study integrated science on their own. On the issue of I get interrupted by my colleagues during classes hours, 12.7 percent indicated in agreement. Also, 12.7percent of the respondents indicated that teachers do not teach well for them to understand the subject. Similarly, 12.7percent of the respondents indicated that they find it difficult to understand science when taught by teachers.
From the above results, majority students of the students revealed that teaching and learning materials and science textbooks are the main challenges faced by students in integrated science in Adjena Senior High Technical School. This is in accordance with Kattmann, Duit, Gropengießer, & Komorek (1995), who postulated that leading textbooks in science are necessary for teaching and learning. On the issue of teaching and learning materials, Amissah, Oppong-Frimpong and Sam-Tagoe (2009) asserted that in the classroom teachers must use Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs) to increase student’s intellectual development.