The analysis of practical work and performance in physics at ordinary level secondary schools in Iringa and Njombe districts (TANZANIA

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Date
2010
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
Unversity of Dar es Salaam
Abstract
Practical work is essential in physics education. However, in Tanzania due to various reasons some schools conduct practical work while others do not conduct practical work. This was a causal comparative study on the analysis of practical work in relation to students’ performance in physics at ordinary level secondary schools in Iringa and Njombe districts (Tanzania). Therefore, the researcher had the following specified objectives: to find out whether practical-work has a causal-effect relationship with the physics achievement; to investigate the influence of the quantity of laboratory facilities on the rate of practical work; and to investigate influence of the attitude of physics teachers and students to practical work on physics performance, on the rate of practical work. The study was carried out in two districts of Iringa region: Iringa and Njombe. It involved 13 secondary schools, 7 from Iringa urban district and 6 from Njombe district. The sample had 156 physics students and 12 physics teachers. Data collection was through achievement tests, check list, questionnaires, and observation. To test the hypotheses the study compared students’ performance with different rates of practical work using one way ANOVA test. It also compared students’ performance in practical and non-practical schools using t-test. In addition, Pearson product moment correlation was used to test the relationship between the amount of physics laboratory equipment and the rate of practical work, as well as association between teachers and students’ perception on practical work and rate of practical work. Consequently, the mean scores for students in schools with higher frequencies of practical-work was found to be greater than mean scores for students in schools with lower frequencies of practical-work in physics achievement test. The study also revealed that there was a weak positive correlation between the quantity of physics laboratory equipment and rate of practical work in physics in secondary schools. Furthermore, results showed that there was no significant association between teachers’ understanding as well as motivation and the rate of practical work in secondary schools. Therefore, practical work in physics lessons raises students’ performance. To some extent, schools with more laboratory apparatus did more practical works than those with less laboratory equipment. However, the weakness of correlation showed underutilization of available physics laboratory equipment. Although teachers understood well the power of practical work on students’ performance, their understanding and motivation were not coherent with their classroom practices in regard to practical work. It is suggested that policy makers, curriculum planners, examination officials, headmasters as well as teachers have to work together to stimulate the culture of practical work in secondary schools. That should include building laboratories and equipping them, increasing number of physics teachers in schools, provide incentives for teachers, and develop authentic assessment strategies that include practical work.
Description
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF QC32.T34N48)
Keywords
Study and teaching, Secondary schools, Physics and teaching, Iringa and Njombe
Citation
Nguru, F, B. (2010) The analysis of practical work and performance in physics at ordinary level secondary schools in Iringa and Njombe districts (TANZANIA), Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam