Vee-mapping instructional strategy on students’ academic achievements in biology

The Effects of Vee-Mapping instructional Strategy On Students’ Attitude and Academic Achievements in Biology in Senior Secondary Schools

Background to the Study

Science Education is the bedrock of any nation’s development. The more scientifically literate populace a nation has, the stronger the nation will be. According to Abbas (2010), any nation with priority in science and technology education will, among other things, improve its economic growth substantially; hence reduce the impact of the menace due to global economic crisis. Science and technology provide the best brains, first class professionals and exemplary technocrats to transform Nigeria into a great country.




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Science and technology have connected the world into what is now referred to as globalization which may be considered as a process embodying a transformation in the spatial organization of social relations and transactions assessed in terms of their intensity, velocity and impact (Gyuse and Adejoh, 2010).  In addition, Science education helps to reduce illiteracy and poverty which are impediments to national development.

 Science is the basis of technology and mathematics which promote skills and creativity to solve various problems. It plays a critical role in providing knowledge, skills and technology advancement for social and economic development. Akpan (2008) noted that science contributes significantly to the quality of life in many areas like health, nutrition, agriculture and industrial development. Through science education, life and material resources are invented to modify things for human advantage or uses (Bajah,1983). Science education identifies natural phenomena appropriate to a child’s interest and skills, equip teachers, learners and the society with knowledge, skills, and freedom to perform noble tasks useful for improving socio-economic standard.

Udofia (2010) stresses that the impact of science education on national development is felt in several ways as it provides humanity with knowledge about the environment, attitudes and values for social living, knowledge and skills to explore and transform resources, change in quality of life and improvement in economy. The overall objectives of science education at the basic level are provision of knowledge, skills and capacity for self-reliance. Udofia was emphatic that when the youths are provided with knowledge, positive attitudes and skills through quality basic and science education, they become intellectually empowered and technologically driven to create the right environment for revenue generation and effective management of the available resources for economic growth.

Leghara and Mba (2010) have described science education as a powerful instrument for national development. Classifying nations as developed, developing and under developed is a function of their economic strength which also is dependent on the level of scientific and technological development (Uzodinma, 1994). This in turn is the positive outcome of the effectiveness of scientific and technology education policies and programmes of the nation concerned. Thus, according to Leghara and Mba (2010), the relationship between science and technology education and economic development is obvious; they are of the opinion that science education is the critical instrument needed to uplift the economy of any nation. Science education is aimed at producing a science literate citizenry as well as producing potentially scientific and technology manpower.

However, the attainment of the goals of science is being hampered by the poor performance in the sciences in public examinations conducted by the West African Examinations Council (Waec) and National Educational Council (NECO). Ifejika (1990) observed thatthe history of students’ low enrolment and poor performance in science, technology and mathematics is not new in Nigeria. Uloma (2003) revealed that between 1998-2002, science results in Ebonyi state secondary schools showed that students’ performance was worst in biology with 49.1% pass against 55.4% pass in chemistry and 62.50% in physics. From Uloma’s report, one is tempted to suggest that the large number of students’ enrolment in biology could be responsible for the massive failure among other factors. Critics of public education have argued that many Nigerian students do not possess the depth of knowledge or skills to ensure either personal life success or national economic competition.

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This trend is unhealthy for attainment of the national goals of technological advancement and economic reconstruction. Ifejika (1990) identified some of the root causes of poor performance to include inadequate physical facilities, low funding of schools, teachers ineffectiveness, poor teaching methods, lack of motivation, etc.

According to Orji and Ebele (2011), the extent to which the knowledge of science is imparted in the learner is largely dependent on the type of teaching methods utilized by the teacher. To this end, therefore researches have been conducted on the relative effectiveness of some instructional and meta-cognitive strategies on learning outcomes. Such instructional strategies include cognitive mapping, consequence mapping, concept mapping, schema activity, vee-mapping among others. Though vee-mapping was developed in 1984 as a tool of learning, its use and application in Nigeria have been rare hence the present study to ascertain its efficiency.

Vee-map is an instructional strategy for assisting learners to acquire knowledge explicitly (meta-knowledge) (Novak and Gowin, 1984). According to Lehman, Carter and Kahie (1985), vee-map is a visual means of relating the methodological aspects of an activity (e.g. laboratory exercise) to the underlying conceptual component. Vee-mapping instructional strategy enables learners to construct their own understanding of knowledge claims and become active information processors (Gowin and Novak, 1984).

Vee-mapping was invented and developed by Gowin and Novak (1984), to enable learners understand the structure of knowledge (e.g., rational networks, hierarchies, and combinations) and process of knowledge construction. Gowin’s (1981) basic assumption is that knowledge is not absolute but rather it is dependent upon the concepts, theories and principles on which the world is viewed. Meaningful learning implies that individuals are able to relate new knowledge to relevant concepts and propositions that they already know. The Vee map aids students in the linking process by acting as meta-cognitive tool that requires students to make explicit connections between previously learnt and newly acquired information.

On the other hand, several studies have been carried out that showed gender as having significant impact on students learning outcomes. These studies include those of Olasehinde, and Olatoye (2014), Zembar and Blume (2011), Meltem and Serap (2004), Okereke and Onwuke (2011), Achor, Kurmeh and Orokpo (2005), Ukozor (2011) and Jegede (2007) thereby making gender a salient variable that needs to be incorporated as intervening variable.

Based on this background therefore the present study is set to investigate the effects of vee mapping instructional strategy on students’ attitude and achievement in Senior Secondary School Biology learning in Gwagwalada Area Council.

Statement of the Problem

          Critics of public education have argued that many Nigerian students do not possess the depth of knowledge or skills to assure either personal life success or national economic competition. According to Akpan (1996), a particular concern to the critics has been the apparent inability of many

Students to engage in complex problem solving activities and apply school knowledge and skills to real life problems in workplace setting. This results to poor academic achievement. The poor academic achievement has become so persistent that it has heralded series of public outcries. Prominent among such public outcries is as noted during the release of WAEC and NECO SSCE results of 2011 academic year. The result of WASSCE was tagged NATIONAL SHAME! “One million failed SSCE; only 31% passed with 5 credits including English Language and Mathematics (Dike and Adebayo, 2011). The release further lamented that for the fourth year running, candidates who wrote the May/June 2011 W.A.S.S.C.E conducted by the WAEC recorded mass failure as only 31 percent made five credits including English language and Mathematics. The implication for these results was that only 31% i.e. 472,906 candidates out of the 1,540,250 candidates who sat for examination would be eligible for admission into tertiary institutions; it further disclosed that the 31 percent pass in 2011 was an improvement over 2010 results which was only 23% pass. In Biology, specifically, Okoli (2006) stated that available statistics from WAEC and NECO on senior secondary school students’ performance in biology reveal that although biology has the highest enrolment relative to other science subjects, it records a very poor performance at SSCE especially in the practical examinations which contributes significantly to overall performance. On his own part, Ukaegbu (2006) was very specific by rating the problem areas as poor diagrams, careless drawing, poor bio-terminology and laziness on the part of teachers. Besides, external examination results in Biology showed a high rate of failure especially among senior secondary school students (WAEC, 2013). Again, Hill (2009) pointed out that poor performance of students in biology is due to the poor state in which science is taught in our schools. He noted that “chalk and talk” method has been the most widely used in science teaching due to poor quality laboratory, large class size, and much workload on the teacher.


There is students’ underachievement in science, technology and mathematics. Eniayeju and Enaiyeju (1994) caution that if the situation is not arrested, the intended positive outcome derivable from science might be doomed. These authors were emphatic that many students perform poorly in STM; and this trend is supported by studies in the area (Hofer, 1981, Jegede, Otuka and Enaiayeju 1992). The problem of poor performance in STM could be in the method of transmitting scientific knowledge. Orji (2010) opined that through proper implementation of well-articulated education programs using innovative method, science can bail nations out of economic and technological stagnation. However, such education programs cannot be implemented without appropriate result – oriented pedagogical approach in a classroom setting.

Personal experiences of the researcher have shown that the quality of science has been observed to be of lower standard in secondary schools given the lack of interest and poor performance exhibited by students. This could be due to the fact that most secondary school science teachers do not use result- oriented innovative strategies, rather they resort to the expository method of teaching which has been found to be non- productive. It has therefore become necessary to try out such innovative strategies as vee-mapping to ascertain its effects in enhancing students’ performance and attitude towards biology.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to investigate the effects of Vee mapping instructional strategy on secondary school students’ attitude and achievement in Biology. The specific objectives of this research work therefore are as follows:

  1. To find out the effect of vee-mapping instructional strategy on students’ attitude towards biology in senior secondary school;
  2. To find out effect of vee-mapping instructional strategy on students’ academic achievement in senior secondary school biology
  3. To investigate vee­-mapping the influence of gender on students’ academic achievement when instructional strategy is used
  4. To investigate the influence of gender on attitude of students to biology when vee-mapping instructional strategy is used in teaching biology

Research Questions

The following research questions are stated for the study:

  1. What is the effect of vee mapping instructional strategy on students ‘attitude towards senior secondary school biology?
  2. What is the effect of vee mapping instructional strategy on students ‘academic achievement in senior secondary school biology?
  3. What is the influence of gender on students ‘attitude toward senior secondary school biology when taught biology with vee mapping instructional strategy?
  4. What is the influence of gender on students ‘academic achievement in senior secondary school biology when taught biology with vee mapping instructional strategy


The following null hypotheses are formulated and will be tested at 0.05 significance level.

H: 0: 1: There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of students taught biology with Vee-mapping instructional strategy and those taught with conventional method.

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H: 0: 2: There is no significant difference in the attitude of students taught biology with Vee-mapping instructional strategy and those taught with conventional method.

H: 0: 3: There is no significant difference in the mean achievement score of the female and male students taught biology with Vee-mapping instructional strategy.

H: 0: 4: There is no significant difference in the mean attitude score of male and female students taught biology with Vee-mapping instructional strategy.
Delimitation of the Study

This research work is to investigate the effects of Vee-mapping instructional strategy on students’ attitude and academic achievements in biology in senior secondary schools. The study is intended to cover Senior Secondary II Students in Gwagwalada Area Council. The study focused on Senior Secondary II because Senior Secondary (SS1) have just started biology   while Senior Secondary III is an examination class that needed not to be disturbed. It does not include other subjects, area councils and other categories of students besides the ones already stated. This study is also delimited to gender with reference to attitude and achievement in biology among males and females in the area of study.

Significance of the Study

The outcome of this research work may be of help to teachers in that it could help them adopt innovative strategies to improve their students’ performance and promote positive attitude toward science. The findings could also aid curriculum developers modify the curriculum contents to match the innovative strategies. The strategy involves activities/experiments which are learner-centered and therefore could lead to sustainable learning.

The findings could help students translate/apply the acquired knowledge to real life situation and also develop self confidence and self-esteem which will improve their academic performance. The findings could also show the effects of vee-mapping strategy on student academic performance and suggest how it could be adopted in the educational instructional delivery to make teaching and learning more students- centered. Parents will benefit as the performance of their children and ward could improve as a result of teaching with Vee-mapping which empowers them to construct learning.

Operational Definition of Terms

Attitude: It is a hypothetical construct that represents individual disposition towards objects or events.

Vee-mapping: This is an instructional strategy that helps learners to acquire knowledge explicitly (meta-learning or learn the nature of knowledge) and its construction thus making them become active information processor/generators.

Achievement: This refers to academic performance as exhibited in Biology Achievement Test (BAT) by the students.

Learning Outcome: This refers to achievement and attitude to biology.


NTI:            National Teachers Institute

WAEC:       West African Examinations Council

NECO:        National Educational Council

VEEM:       Vee-mapping

BAS:           Biology Attitudinal Scale

BAT:          Biology Achievement Test

SSCE          Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination

WASSCE      West African senior school certificate Examination

Vee-mapping instructional strategy on students’ academic achievements in biology


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