ANALYSIS OF SMALL SCALE EXPERIMENT (SSE) ON STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT AND RETENTION IN CHEMISTRY
This study was carried out to determine the examination of small scale experiment in fostering students’ achievement and retention in practical chemistry with reference to ability levels. Six research questions and six null hypotheses guided the study. A sample of hundred subjects drawn from Senior Secondary (SS) II chemistry students in three schools in Enugu North Local Government Area was used for the study. The schools in the study area were grouped into co-educational schools, boys and girls secondary schools. From each of the group, one school was randomly selected by balloting. The co-educational school was made up of 32 subjects while the Boys’ and Girls’ schools were made up of 31 and 37 subjects respectively, making a total of hundred subjects. The subjects divided into two by the chemistry teachers were used for experimental and control group. The experimental group was taught quantitative and qualitative analyses (practical chemistry) using small-scale experiment by their regular chemistry teacher who were trained for the research. The control group was taught using (demonstration) conventional approach to quantitative and qualitative analyses. The instrument, quantitative and qualitative analyses achievement test, (Q2AAT) was developed by the researcher, validated by experts in science education and measurement and evaluation and used for data collection on students’ achievement and retention in practical chemistry. The instrument which is made up of 30 multiple choice items which was administered as pretest. It was reshuffled and administered for post test and further reorganized and administered for retention test. The research questions were answered using mean and standard deviation while the hypotheses were tested using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) at 0.05 significance level. The result of data analysis showed that:
- Small scale experiment was superior to demonstration method in enhancing students’ achievement and retention in practical chemistry.
- The high ability students out performed their average and low ability counterparts in quantitative and qualitative aspects of practical chemistry in respect to achievement and retention in chemistry.
- Interaction examination of teaching methods (small-scale experiment and demonstration and ability levels on students’ achievement and retention in chemistry were not significant.
One of the implications of this study was that chemistry teachers can use a small-scale experiment (which gives students more opportunity to practice with their hands) in conducting chemistry practical without fear of lowering the achievement levels of students. It was therefore recommended that the small-scale experiments would be included in the training and retraining programme of science teachers. Other educational implications of the findings were highlighted and relevant recommendations were made.