The Role of Inquiry Approach on Students Performance in Biology


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The research was conducted to examine the role of inquiry approach on student’s performance in biology in Uyo Local Government Area. The research design adopted for this study was a survey research design. A review of the related literature was used as a guide in establishing principles for the study. The population for this study was two thousand, eight hundred and ninety-seven (2,897) Biology Students from SS2 classes in the study area. The sample size of two hundred (200) Biology students was randomly selected for the study. Three null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study.

Biology Achievement Test (BAT) was the main instrument for data collection. The data generated from the instruments were analyzed using independent t-test statistics. The findings of the study revealed that there is a significant difference in academic performance of students taught Biology using inquiry approach and those taught using conventional method. It also revealed that there is a significant difference between academic performances of male students taught biology using inquiry method from that of female students.


The Role of Inquiry Approach on Students Performance in Biology




1.1    Background to the Study

Biology is the natural science subject and amongst the compulsory subjects taught at the ordinary level in the secondary school curriculum. The subject is essential for many fields of learning contributing to the national economy such as medicine, agriculture, biotechnology, and nursing (Ghumdia & Adams, 2017). Learning Biology equips learners with knowledge and skills that help them to face challenges in society especially those related to common diseases, pollution, and genetics.

Furthermore, Biology subject leads to self- understanding and to how the body works (Kareem, 2018), hence deserves due consideration in school curricula as well as an emphasis on the teaching-learning continuum. It is, therefore, important that schools utilize effective methods to teach this subject so that students achieve the planned objectives.

Students’ poor performance has partly been ascribed to poor teaching methods adopted by teachers (Jepketer, 2017; Jolif, 2018; Nghambi, 2014). For instance, in the delivery of the curriculum content in secondary schools, studies have revealed that secondary teachers including Biology teachers mostly rely on the conventional methods that are mainly lectures, and sometimes few demonstrations to convey ideas and facts in the teaching and learning process (Blyth, 2010; King’arru, 2014).

In these methods, it was observed that teachers dominated the class during the instruction process by transferring the knowledge with little or without inputs from the students.

Students are passively involved, implying they just listen and receive information from their instructors. Indeed, teacher-centred methods limit students’ participation, deep understanding of the concept, and creativity, hence seen to be poor in influencing students’ achievement as compared to other alternative teaching strategies like Collaborative Learning Strategies, Instructional Technology Strategies, and Inquiry strategies (Chowdhury, 2016).

Inquiry approach can be defined as a pedagogy in which the teacher delivers curricula content via inquiry approach activities and students develop an understanding of the content by participating in actual scientific inquiry (Deboer, 2006). Also, Kinyota (2020) defined inquiry approach science teaching as the teaching process that comprises the methods followed by scientists when doing their studies. According to Blyth (2010), inquiry approach learning is an approach in which students learn by discovery; hence facilitates a deep understanding of the biology concepts and enables students to engage actively in the learning process.

Furthermore, Inquiry was defined as the strategy of teaching in which learners seek information or knowledge of certain phenomena with minimal guidance from their teacher (Ghumdia & Adams, 2017). From these perspectives, it can be said that inquiry approach teaching is the way of teaching where students are actively engaged in the process of getting or searching certain planned knowledge or information through various ways used by scientists or inquiry approach activities. These ways include asking questions, formulating a hypothesis, making observations, collecting data, recording, and interpreting, and communicating the results (Şimşek & Kabapinar, 2010; Kinyota, 2020).

In the inquiry approach, teachers are guiders and not any more providers. Students construct knowledge rather than being receivers. The inquiry approach method allows students to interact with their surroundings and make them able to see the abstract phenomenon in a real sense. So, it facilitates a deep understanding of the scientific content rather than rote learning or cramming. This also makes the learned information to be retained longer in memory hence improving performance (Issaka, 2020).

Moreover, the method helps the preparation of future scientists because students normally experienced the usual but diverse ways scientists do to explore natural phenomena (Deboer, 2006). Furthermore, inquiry approach teaching develops among students 21st- century skills like collaboration, communication, and presentation skills (Wabuke et al., 2017). Several researchers have indicated that inquiry- based teaching has greater positive effects on students’ academic achievement (Annan, et al., 2019; Njoroge, et al., 2014; Opara, 2011).

Robert (2014) pointed out that teaching methods comprises the principles and method used for instruction. The choice of teaching methods or strategies to be used depends largely on the information of skill that is being taught and it may also be influenced by the style, aptitude, skills and enthusiasm of the students.

Inquiry approach of teaching according to Aina, Adedoyin, Obilo and Ahmadu (2012), is a method of teaching in which the students find answers to questions, problems or riddles raised during the learning processes. It involves probing, finding out, investigating, analyzing, synthesizing, discovering, evaluating, questioning and thinking. They further stated that, for students to be meaningfully engaged in the inquiry, there is need for the teacher to practically involve them from the planning stage to the evaluative stage. This can be done by the students and the teacher by locating and gathering information from many sources like reading materials, audio materials, and specimen and community resources.

Similarly, Mezieobi, Fubara and Mezieobi (2008), describes inquiry approach as an activity-oriented, thought- provoking creative method in which students, out of curiosity and on their own, or under the guidance of the teacher, probe, investigate, and interpret relevant issues and problems with a view to providing solution through reflective thinking and rational decision making which the method develops in the inquirer. They further asserts that the inquiry approach involves the scientific method of identifying problems, formulating hypotheses, collecting relevant data to authenticate the data, drawing conclusions even if tentatively and developing generalizations, in the utilization of the inquiry method, the teacher or student may introduce a problem which may be difficult, controversial and investigation-oriented.

In order to guide inquiry through a clear definition of the problem, students are made to ask a number of questions related to the identified problem. Alternatively, the teacher should pose questions that would elicit answer or statements from the students and guide the inquiry. According to Essien (2012) inquiry approach is the method used to help students learn the desire course contents and be able to develop achievable goals in the future.


The Role of Inquiry Approach on Students Performance in Biology

1.2    Statement of the Problem

Biology is a popular science subject offered by both science-oriented and art-based students in S.S.C.E. There is an increasing yearly enrolment in SSCE biology, but each year students achieve poorly in the examination. Teachers as well as parents have expressed concern about the poor performance of students in biology. This has created an educational gap of students not continuing their studies in biology at tertiary institution not minding that this subject stands as the bedrock to the learning of other science courses like Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, Biochemistry, Genetics etc that are of great economic importance to the nation.

This gap can be filled by devising a more effective approach for improving the situation in order to meet the needs of the students and the society at large. It is therefore certain that a more teaching approach that will help students retain what they have learnt in a long-term memory be sort.

In view of this, inquiry-based learning approach may be useful in teaching biology in order to improve the persistent poor performance in biology. The problem of this study posed as a question therefore is: What role does inquiry approach have students performance in Biology in secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area.


1.3    Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of the study was to investigate the role of inquiry approach on student’s performance in biology in secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area.

Specifically, the study is designed to:

  1. determine the effects of Inquiry approach and through conventional teaching methods on students academic performance in Biology.
  2. determine the effects of inquiry approach on students performance in biology.
  3. determine the effects of inquiry approach on male and female students in biology.


1.4    Significance of the Study

The finding of the study will be of high significant to Biology teachers by enabling them to adopt good and effective teaching methods that will enhance teaching and learning of the biology in school.

The finding of the study and its recommendations will also help the government to see the need of sensitizing the teacher on the good and effective teaching method to be used in teaching Biology in the classroom.

It will also help school administrators, stakeholder and the appropriate authority to see the need of organizing seminars workshop, and in-service training for the teachers to be acquainted with relevant changes and ideas during teaching delivery.

The Role of Inquiry Approach on Students Performance in Biology

1.5    Research Questions

The following research questions were raised to guide the study:

  1. Is there a significant difference in biology performance between students taught through Inquiry approach and those taught through conventional teaching methods?
  2. Is there a significant effect of inquiry approach on the academic performance of biology students?
  3. Is there a significant difference in biology performance by male and female students taught using Inquiry Approach?


1.6    Research Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study:

  1. Inquiry approach and conventional method have no significant difference on the performance of biology students in senior secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area;
  2. There is no significant effect of inquiry approach on the academic performance of biology students in Uyo Local Government Area;
  3. Inquiry approach has no significant difference on the performances of male and female students in Biology in Uyo Local Government Area;

1.7         Limitation of the Study

The study was faced with difficulties which include:

  1. Time factor: the period for the completion of the study was short and the researcher could not cover all the secondary schools in the study area.
  2. Financial constraint: Finance available for the study was not enough to support the research in the process of data acquisition.
The Role of Inquiry Approach on Students Performance in Biology

1.8   Delimitation of the Study

The study was delimited to selected secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area. The study was also delimited in scope to the role of inquiry approach on student’s performance in Biology in Uyo Local Government Area.

1.9    Definition of Terms

Inquiry Approach: Inquiry is an approach to learning that engages our natural curiosity and desire to make sense of the world. It encourages the asking of questions and the seeking of answers to those questions through investigation and exploration.

Biology: Biology can be defined as a natural science subject which study all living things of contents from in the biosphere and earth surface.

Student: A student can be defined primarily as a person enrolled in a school or other educational institution and who is under learning with goals of acquiring knowledge, developing professions and achieving employment at desired field.

Effect: The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself.

Academic performance: Academic performance is the measurement of student achievement across various academic subjects

Secondary school: is a term used to describe an educational institution where the final stage of schooling, known as secondary education and usually compulsory up to a specified age, takes place. It follows elementary or primary education, and may be followed by university (tertiary) education.

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