EFFECT OF AVAILABILITY AND UTILIZATION OF PHYSICS LABORATORY EQUIPMENT ON STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN PHYSICS
1.1 Background of the Study
Physics is a branch of science that explains the property of matter and energy, and the relationship between them (Lawrenz, Wood, Kirchhoff, Kim & Eisenkraft, 2009). Knowledge of physics is very important in the technological world because its principles and laws are applied in many areas in the life of man. Physics helps mankind to study the universe and understand how our environment works. The laws, facts, theories and principles of physics make us interact better with our surrounding (Dupe, 2013). Inventions of cars, air conditioners, mobile phones, lights, laptops, fans, air buses, micro waves are all made possible through the application of physics principles (Olufunke, Awolowo & Blessing, 2014). Advancement in the industrial sector, medicine, electronics and communication are outcomes of application of physics (Olufunke, 2012). Shamim, Rashid, and Rashid (2013) posit that the technological potential of a country is more accurately gauged by the quality of its physics education than by any other single index. It is therefore necessary that nations which wish to develop technologically must provide quality physics education (Aderomu & Obafemi, 2015).
Physics is one of the science subjects besides biology and chemistry that is taught in secondary schools. The aims of teaching secondary school physics are to equip leaners with basic knowledge on scientific enquiry, foster problem solving skills and enhance their career development (Pollock & Finkelstein, 2010). It also aims at equipping leaners with knowledge; skills that would enable them accurately predict outcomes of natural phenomena such as effects of gravity and engage in industrial activities (Kost-Smith, Pollock, & Finkelstein, 2010). A learner with physics background is expected to think both deductively and inductively and approach situations with a high degree of precision (Munene, 2014).The learner is expected to be innovative and creative in all that they do.
Planning laboratory facilities involves constantly checking the availability and adequacy of stock as well as their condition so as to make arrangements for acquisition of more equipment as per the student’s needs (Abdulkadir & Ma’aji, 2014). Organizing ensures that a laboratory has adequate staff with clearly defined roles. Coordination enables scheduling of activities such that teachers can carry out demonstrations and students have the opportunity to carryout ‘hands on’ activities in class without collision (McNamara, 2009). Leadership entails motivation or influence of teachers on students’ ability to perform the practicals. Controlling ensures users are aware of health and safety regulations and practice them whenever they are in the laboratories (Uko & Ayuk, 2015).
Effective management of laboratory facilities leads to their availability of facilities whenever required, optimum utilization and enhanced health and safety of users (Makewa, Role & Biego, 2011). Effective management ensures that all the equipment and reagents are available whenever required and are maintained and calibrated regularly. This reduces cost of repairs and interruption of services due to breakdowns and increases the accuracy and confidence in the test results (World Health Organisation), 2011). A good laboratory facilities management programme ensures that practical sessions are well planned and organised in such a way that the environment is not only safe but conducive to teaching and learning (Matson, 2007).
Literature has shown that effective management of laboratory facilities leads to optimum utilization of resources thus enhancing the teaching and learning process and academic achievement (Lunenburg, 2010). Management activities such as planning ensures that selected equipment/instruments and reagents are appropriate and of quality (Akani, 2012). This reduces variation in test results and ensures high level of performance. Coordination ensures that students perform class experiments without clashing (McNamara, 2009). Leadership significantly affects organization of class activities and learning (Leithwood, Day,
Sammons, Harris & Hopkins, 2006). An evaluation by Morgan (2009) showed that the condition, adequacy and effective management of educational facilities had a stronger effect on the overall performance of students than the combined influences of the family background, socio-economic status, school attendance and behavior.
Statement of the Problem
The availability and utilization of physics laboratory equipment play a critical role in students’ academic achievement in physics. However, there is a need to investigate the effect of the availability and utilization of physics laboratory equipment on students’ academic performance in the subject.
Despite the importance of practical laboratory work in physics education, many educational institutions face challenges in ensuring the availability and effective utilization of laboratory equipment. Limited resources, inadequate funding, and outdated equipment are common issues that may hinder students’ access to necessary laboratory tools and hinder their ability to fully engage in hands-on experimentation. Furthermore, even when the equipment is available, there may be barriers to its effective utilization. Factors such as lack of proper training for teachers on using the equipment, insufficient time allocated for practical sessions, and overcrowded classrooms can impede students’ opportunities to actively engage with the equipment and conduct meaningful experiments.
The impact of these challenges on students’ academic achievement in physics is a matter of concern. Without adequate access to physics laboratory equipment and opportunities to use them effectively, students may struggle to develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Practical experiments not only reinforce theoretical concepts but also cultivate critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and scientific inquiry abilities, which are crucial for success in physics.
Therefore, it is crucial to investigate the effect of the availability and utilization of physics laboratory equipment on students’ academic achievement in physics. Understanding the challenges and potential barriers that students and educators face in accessing and effectively using laboratory equipment will provide valuable insights for educational policymakers, administrators, and teachers to improve the learning environment and enhance students’ learning outcomes in physics. By addressing these issues, it is possible to promote a more engaging and effective physics education, empowering students with the knowledge and skills needed for further academic pursuits and future careers in science and technology.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of availability and utilization of physics laboratory equipment on students’ academic achievement in physics
Objectives of the Study
The specific objectives of the study were:
- i) To determine the influence of planning for laboratory facilities on students’ achievement in physics in public secondary schools in Nigeria.
- ii) To determine the influence of organization of laboratory facilities on students’ achievement in physics in public secondary schools in Nigeria.
iii) To establish the influence of coordination of laboratory facilities on students’ achievement in physics in public secondary schools in Nigeria.
- iv) To establish the influence of leadership in the laboratory on students’ achievement in physics in public secondary schools in Nigeria.
- v) To determine the influence of control of laboratory facilities on students’ achievement in physics in public secondary schools in Nigeria.
The following hypotheses were tested:
Ho1: Planning for laboratory facilities has no statistically significant influence on students’ achievement in Physics in public secondary schools in Nigeria.
Ho2: Organization of laboratory facilities has no statistically significant influence on students’ achievement in physics in public secondary schools in Nigeria.
Ho3: Coordination of laboratory facilities has no statistically significant influence on students’ achievement in physics in public secondary schools in Nigeria.
Ho4: Leadership in the laboratory has no statistically significant influence on students’ achievement in Physics in public secondary schools in Nigeria.
Ho5: Control of laboratory facilities has no statistically significant influence on students’ achievement in physics in public secondary schools in Nigeria.
Significance of the Study
The significance of the study on the effect of availability and utilization of physics laboratory equipment on students’ academic achievement in physics is multifaceted and holds implications for various stakeholders in the education sector.
Educational policymakers and administrators: The findings of this study can provide valuable insights for policymakers and administrators in designing and implementing effective strategies to enhance the availability and utilization of physics laboratory equipment. Understanding the impact of equipment availability and utilization on students’ academic achievement can guide resource allocation, funding decisions, and curriculum development to promote a more engaging and effective physics education.
Teachers and educators: The study’s findings can benefit teachers and educators by highlighting the importance of providing students with adequate access to physics laboratory equipment. It can shed light on the potential barriers and challenges faced by teachers in utilizing the equipment effectively and provide recommendations for professional development and training opportunities. This can enhance teachers’ pedagogical skills, enable them to design meaningful laboratory experiments, and foster an environment conducive to hands-on learning.
Students: The study directly impacts students by addressing the factors that contribute to their academic achievement in physics. Access to well-equipped physics laboratories and opportunities for hands-on experimentation can improve students’ understanding of theoretical concepts, develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and foster a deeper interest in the subject. By investigating the effect of equipment availability and utilization, the study can advocate for improved learning environments that empower students to excel in physics and pursue further studies or careers in STEM fields.
Parents and guardians: Parents and guardians play a crucial role in supporting their children’s educational journey. The study’s findings can help parents understand the importance of access to physics laboratory equipment and advocate for improved resources in schools. It can also guide parents in engaging with their children’s learning by encouraging hands-on experimentation at home and promoting a positive attitude towards physics education.
Society and the economy: A strong foundation in physics education is vital for scientific progress, technological advancements, and innovation. By investigating the effect of equipment availability and utilization on students’ academic achievement, the study contributes to the broader goal of developing a skilled workforce in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This, in turn, has positive implications for economic growth, national development, and the overall advancement of society.
Scope of the Study
The study focused on the Impact of physics laboratory facilities on academic performance of senior secondary school students
Assumptions of the study
The following assumptions were made during the study:
- i) The respondents were honest when providing information sought from them.
- ii) The form two students already covered topics on Measurement II, Turning effect of a force and Hooke’s’ law in which they were tested on.
Definition of Terms
The following are the constitutive and the operational definitions of the terminologies used in the study.
Achievement: The realisation of scores in an Achievement Test by students. In this study, it refers to student’s attainment of scores in Students Physics Practical Achievement Test (SPPAT).
Controlling: Something used as a standard of comparison for checking the results of a survey or experiment. According to the study, control of laboratory facilities involves the safety and proper maintenance of the laboratory facilities to provide a healthy and safe working environment in the laboratory
Coordination The linking together different parts of an organization to accomplish a collective set of tasks” or integrating or linking together different resources to accomplish a collective set of tasks (Lunenburg, 2010). It has also been defined as bringing the different elements of an organization into an efficient relationship (Xaba, 2012). In this study, it refers to physics teacher’s ability to ensure that physics class experiments are conducted as scheduled, with appropriate facilities and without one clashing with the other.
Influence: According to Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary (Merriam Webster Dictionary, 2016), it is the power to change or affect someone or something without the use of force. In this study, it will be expressed in terms of the correlation coefficient and the variation in achievement accounted for by the predictor variables; planning, organizing, coordination, leadership and control.
Laboratory Facilities – The equipment and materials that offer students opportunities to learn about science through hands-on process. In this study it refers to the buildings, fittings, equipment and apparatus used to conduct experiments as per the secondary school physics curriculum
Leadership: Refers to the act of leading a group of people or an organization by establishing a clear vision, sharing it with others so that they follow willingly (Ulela, 2015). In the study, it means physics teachers guiding students during experiments leading to realization of learning outcomes
Management of Laboratory Facilities: It refers to the application of scientific methods to prepare the physical learning environment for the actualization of the educational goals and objectives (Asiabaka, 2008). In this study, Management of Laboratory
Facilities referred to the collective and participative decision making process towards the selection, establishment and installation of school plants and equipment.
Management: Management refers to the processes of planning, organising, staffing, directing and control (Okumbe, 2009). In this study, it refers to planning, organising, leadership, coordination and control of physics laboratory facilities
Organization: Organizing in the study is the management structure of the laboratory and the personnel involved.
Planning: Detailed proposal for doing or achieving something. In the study, planning is an inventory of the available and adequacy of facilities to determine the need for more purchase.