Effect of Problem Solving Approaches on Academic Performance of Students in Physics


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This research work focused on the problem solving approaches and academic performance of students in Physics. This research was conducted in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. The study specifically seeks to find out whether students performance in Physics differs when taught through problem solving, lecture method and gender. A quasi-experimental research was used. The sample size of the study consist SS2 physic students were used for the study. “Physics Achievement Test” (PAT) was used as the instrument for data collection which was dully validated by the research supervisor being a lecturer in the department of Physics, Akwa Ibom College of Education Afaha Nsit. Literature review was done on the relevant areas related to the study.

Data collected was analyzed using independent  t-test method. The hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance. The analysis revealed that problem-solving approaches has significant influence on academic performance of students in Physics. This was evidenced from the findings where students taught through problem  solving approach  performed academically better than those taught through lecture method. Based on findings, the researcher recommended that Physics teachers should be retrained on the areas science related approaches for effective communication of science and promotion of scientific skills in learners.


Effect of Problem Solving Approaches on Academic Performance of Students in Physics 




1.1     Backgrounds to the Study

Effective science teaching is the gateway to attainment of scientific and technological greatness. Science and physics teaching can only be effective when students are willing and the teachers make use of appropriate approaches or methods and resources in teaching the students.

Modern science teaching and learning stress students participation in the learning process through exposure to diverse learning experiences (Abuseji, 2017).

However, the learning of physics on the part of the learners depends on the way it is presented and the way the learners actively interacts with the learning experiences presented to them.

It has been noted that the goal of teaching and learning of physics is to bring about desirable learning in students. In this process, the learner is expected to received information, understand it and use it later when the need arises.

By way of definition, an approach refers to the way a learner or a teacher uses in solving problems. Poor academic performance among students has been attributed to poor approaches in the teaching learning process.

According to 6th edition of an oxford advance learners dictionary problem- solving refers to the act of finding ways of dealing with problems. Problem- solving can also be viewed as the ability of a teacher or a learner to provide solution to the problem using diverse ways. Pollyn (2016) sees problem- solving as an approach which stand for every positive and active way students can be engaged in their learning to learn meaningfully.

Hence the need to further research on the extent to which problem solving approaches could affects academic performance of student in physics in Ikot Abasi local government area of Akwa Ibom state is soughted in this research.


1.2     Statement of the Problem

The researcher have over the years observe the consistent poor academic performance among physics students at external examinations. Some of the schools principals in some secondary school in Ikot Abasi attributed the poor performance to many factors including poor performance to many factors including poor state of learning facilities, lack of quality instructional personals as well as poor method of teaching physics.

However, physics is an activity oriented discipline. Therefore physics teaching should be activity driven where students are actively engaged throughout the lesson.

Owolabi (2016) observed that modern societies have develop the practice of directed learning when is not the same as dictating to the learner, but more of helping the learner to exploit his or her own innate capacities for learning and continuous self-development.Hence, the need to investigate upon this topic.

     Effect of Problem Solving Approaches on Academic Performance of Students in Physics

1.3     Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to determine the effect of problem solving approaches on academic performance of students in physics in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Specifically the study sought to:

(i)     Determine the difference in the academic performance of students learned physics with problem solving approach  and those learned using lecture method.

(ii)      Determine the academic performance of students learned physics with problem solving approach by gender.


1.4     Significant of the Study

        It is the researches view that findings from this study will:

(1)    Assist teachers on the area of adopting appropriate strategies and approaches in the teaching/learning of physics.

(2)    To promotes scientific skills acquisition, help students to see the need to embrace problem solving approach in physics learning process as it enhance the discovery of new knowledge and skills.

(3)    Enlighten school managers and education planners on the need to provide adequate instructional facilities and quality instructional personals for effective teaching and learning of physics.

(4)    The result of this study will also help teachers to employ recommended scientific methods in the teaching of science subjects at all level of education.

(5)    The study will also through mere light to future researchers as it will provide relevant information on problem solving approaches as the mean to effective teaching/learning of physics.


1.5    Research Hypotheses    

Three null hypotheses were formulated as a guide to the study at 0.05 level of significant.

i        There is no significant difference in academic performance between physics students learned through problem solving approach and those learned through lecture method.

ii       There is no significant difference in academic performance  of male female students when taught using problem approach.   


Effect of Problem Solving Approaches on Academic Performance of Students in Physics

1.6    Limitation of the Study

                  The study would have covered all the secondary schools in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area, but due to some factors which threatened the successful completion of this study, the study was therefore limited to some selected secondary schools in the study area. Prominent among these factors were lack of sufficient finances and inadequate time frame to purchase and transport necessary materials required for the study.

 1.7   Delimitation of the Study  

The study was delimited to Ikot Abasi Local Government Area to investigate problem-solving approach and academic performance of students in physics. The study was also restricted to all secondary schools in the study area, especially senior secondary two students (SS2) for 2014/15 academic session.


1.8     Operational Definition of Terms

                  The following terms were operationally defined:

(i)     Problem-Solving Approaches: This refers to the ways, strategies or methods through which a teacher or a student use in solving scientific problems or facing any challenge.

 (ii)   Lecture Method: It is a teaching method where the instructor acts as the primary information giver.

(iii)    Gender: This is a psychological term describing behavior and attributes expected of individual on the basis of being born either male or female.

 (iv)   Academic Performance: This refers to the grade obtained by the students in continuous assessment or examination in physics.

(v)    Physics: This can be defined as the branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy. It is also the study of all forces and their impact on environment. 

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