Biology Education Project Topics

Perceived Difficulties of Some Biological Concept by Senior Secondary School Students in the Study of Some Biological Concept

Perceived Difficulties of Some Biological Concept by Senior Secondary School Students in the Study of Some Biological Concept

Perceived Difficulties of Some Biological Concept by Senior Secondary School Students in the Study of Some Biological Concept

Chapter One

Purpose of the Study  

The purpose of this study is to investigate into the students’ perceived difficult concepts in senior secondary school Biology in Lagos State. The study sought to:

  1. Identify the concepts in SS II students perceive difficult to learn.
  2. Find out if gender influences students’ perception of difficult concepts in SS II
  3. Find out if the students in different subject areas differ in their perception of  difficult Biology concepts.
  4. Find out the causes of concept difficulties by SS II Biology students in Education District V.
  5. Find out ways of improving the effectiveness of the teaching-learning process of biological concepts.



The view of literature for this study is organized under the following sections and sub-section conceptual framework, theoretical framework, review of related empirical studies and summary.

Conceptual Framework

  • Concept of Biology
  • Biology Practical Teaching
  • Concept of Academic Achievement
  • Concept of Gender
  • Factors that Affect the Achievement of Secondary School Biology Student

Theoretical Framework

  • Paiget’s Cognitive Constructivist Learning Theory
  • Vygotsky’s Social Constructivist Learning Theory

Empirical Studies

Summary of Literature Review

Conceptual Framework

Concept of Biology

Biology is one of the fields in the natural sciences that studies living things. The word ‘Biology’ is come from Greek words; Bios meaning life, and logy (logia) which means study (Ezemoka, 2011). Thus the concept of biology is concerned         with the study of life. Miller and Levine (2012) state that biology in addition, is the study of life, structure, function, growth, origin, evolutions distributions, interrelationships, problems such as diseases, and adaptation of things and proposes solutions where possible. However biology is the branch of science that studies life using inquiry methods and discoveries.

Inquiry process involves asking question that stimulate students to think critically which enables students to develop scientific knowledge and scientific habit such as curiosity, creativity, and open minded etc that is needed for understanding biological concepts. Biology as science of life provide potentials for the use of many inquiry method. Abugu (2007) stated that biology is natural science in which we study living organisms plants and animals. The knowledge of biology helps in checking environmental degradation such as desertification, erosion, water hyacinth, land, air and water pollution.

The cardinal objectives of biology education are to prepare students to acquire: adequate laboratory and field skills in biology; meaningful and relevant knowledge in biology, ability to apply scientific knowledge to everyday life in matter of personal and community health and agriculture and lastly reasonable and functional scientific attitudes (Federal Ministry of Education 2004). The study of biology in senior secondary school can equip students with useful concept principles and theories that will enable them face the challenges before and after graduation. Practical biology is the scientific study of the life and structure of plant and animals and their relative environment in real or experimental set-up rather than dwelling in the theory and ideas (Opuh, Eze, & Eze Magu, 2008).

Biology Practical Teaching

Biology practical teaching are important in order to understand        biology concepts. If science education aims to enhance the understanding of the natural world by students and how it functions, then the students have to experience and observe the relevant of science phenomena. Recent studies advocate for a change in teaching methods so that students participate fully and understand different science concepts (Miller, 2010). Students shouls understand processes and structure; develop skills in manipulation, processing of science information and conducting scientific investigations. Hence, the teaching methods such as learners design, reciprocal, inclusion, divergent and self-check could enhance the teaching of Biology practical lessons (Capel, Least & Turner 2009).

A study conducted by Obiekwe and Chinwe (2015) in Nigeria on the teaching of biological concepts using the 5E (Egagement, Exploration, Explanation, Elaboration and Evaluation) model revealed that student who were exposed to the 5E method achieve better results than those whose teacher use the lecture method. Some teacher laid too much emphasis on content and the use of “chalk and talk approach which does not enhance the teaching and learning of biology. This slackness and shy-away attitude from activity based-approach of instructional delivery has led to abstraction, which makes the students passive and more inclined to role memorization (obiekwe & Chinwe, 2012). Such teacher-centered method that put the students as passive recipients of knowledge and the teacher as the only source of knowledge might not improved achievement towards biology practical lessons (Nwagbo 2006).





  Research design

The study employed a survey design to examine  the perceived difficulties of some biological concept by senior secondary school students in the study of some biological concept.

Sources of Data

The data for this study were generated from two main sources; Primary sources and secondary sources. The primary sources include questionnaire, interviews and observation. The secondary sources include journals, bulletins, textbooks and the internet.

Population and sampling of the study

The study was carried out in Education District V comprising of Badagry, Ojo, Amuwo-Odofin and Araromi-Ifelodun of Lagos State, Nigeria. Two schools were randomly selected from each of the local government areas. The population consisted of all the 138 senior secondary schools in the Education District V and about 16,221 Senior Secondary School Two (SSII) students in the study area, out of which 400 senior secondary II biology students were sampled using stratified random sampling method. Fifty (50) biology students were selected from each school. The four hundred students were selected from the Science, Commercial and Arts classes using proportionate to size sampling technique. The purpose was to guarantee that larger (i.e., more populated) subject areas have a proportionally greater probability of being chosen as part of the sample population.




In this chapter, the results were presented in tables according to the research question.



It can be concluded from the study that SS II students perceived some concepts as difficult and some as not difficult in Biology. However, the study revealed that gender has no significant difference on students’ perception of difficult Biology concepts.  Similarly, the study revealed that students’ choice of subjects had no effect on their perception of difficult concepts in Biology. Furthermore, the students attributed their sources of difficulty of the perceived difficult concepts to abstractness, complexity, misconception of concepts, unavailable instructional materials, poor attitude of teachers to teaching, lack of practical classes and poor students study habits. Therefore, there is a need to make the subject content of senior secondary school biology curriculum more contemporary, meaningful and interesting for the students, reflecting the current developments in the field and relating teachinglearning process with daily life issues. However, biology instruction should be supported by qualified textbooks, instructional materials, hands-on, mind-on sessions and observations as well as experiments that actively engage students in learning processes. This calls for the there is need to teach biology dynamically, not as a static subject in textbooks, emphasizing inquiry instruction that would allow students to pursue areas of personal interest.


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