This study investigated “Practical Activities and Students’ Acquisition of Science Process Skills in Volumetric Analysis in Secondary Schools in Uyo Local Government Area”. The design adopted was a pre-test, post-test experimental design. The study used purposive sampling to select the schools. A total of 100 senior secondary school two SS2 chemistry students were selected for the study. Three research questions guided the study, three hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance. The instrument used for the study was Science Process Skill Acquisition Practical Test (SPSAPT) rated with Science Process Skill Acquisition Rating Scale (SPSARS) Students in both rural and urban schools were taught using practical activities and non-practical activities. Data was analyzed using mean, standard deviation and t-test. The result of the study indicated that students taught with practical activities showed significant achievement than students taught with non-practical activities. However, there is no significant difference between male and female students taught with practical activities and there is a significant difference between rural and urban school students taught with practical activities. This study therefore recommends that pedagogical inspectors, principals and school administrators should be strict on the maximum use of the science laboratory by science teachers to enable students acquire appropriate science process skills.


Title Pages

Title page - - - - - - - - i

Declaration - - - - - - - - ii

Certification - - - - - - - - iii

Dedication - - - - - - - - iv

Acknowledgment - - - - - - - - v

Table of content - - - - - - - - vi

List of tables - - - - - - - ix

List of Appendices - - - - - - - - x

Abstract - - - - - - - - xi


1.1 Background of the Study - - - - - - 1

1.2 Statement of the Problem - - - - - - 7

1.3 Purpose of the Study - - - - - 8

1.4 Significance - - - - - - - - 8

1.5 Research hypotheses - - - - - 10

1.6 Delimitation of the Study - - - - - - 11

1.7 Limitations of the Study - - - - - - 11

1.8 Definition of the Terms - - - - - - 12


2.1 Theoretical Framework - - - - - 13

2.2 Conceptual Frame Work - - - - - - 15

2.3 Empirical Review - - - - - - - 24

2.4 Summary of Literature Review - - - - - 31


3.1 Research Design - - - - - - 32

3.2 Area of Study - - - - - 32

3.3 Population of the Study - - - - - - 33

3.4 Sample and Sampling Technique - - - - 33

3.5 Research Instrumentation - - - - - - 34

3.6 Validation of the instruments - - - - 34

3.7 Reliability of the instrument - - - - 35

3.8 Scoring - - - - - - - - 35

3.9 Data Collection Technique - - - - - 35

3.10 Method of Data Analysis - - - - - - 36


4.1 Results - - - - - - - - 37

4.2 Discussion of Results - - - - - - 40

4.3 Summary of Findings - - - - - - 41


5.1 Summary - - - - - - - - 42

5.2 Conclusion - - - - - - - - 43

5.3 Implications of the Findings - - - - - 45

5.4 Recommendations - - - - - - - 46

5.5 Suggestions for Further Studies - - - - - 48

REFERENCE -------49APPENDICES-------54



1.1 Background of the Study

Science consists of an organized body of knowledge, an attitudinal disposition, as well as a process and activity. According to Yanpar (2007), science deals with practical application of ideas through manipulation of materials in such a manner that leads to discoveries. The contributions of science to overall development of all nations cannot be over emphasized. This is the reason science holds an important position in the curriculum of Nigerian educational system Federal Republic of Nigeria, (2004). Therefore, the teaching and learning of science would require the acquisition of the science process skills. Science process skills (SPS) are transferable skills that are applicable to many sciences and reflect the behaviors of scientists. According to Ozgelen (2012), science process skills are thinking skills that scientists use to construct knowledge in order to solve problems and formulate results. Sevilay (2011) posited that the mastery of science process skills enable students to conceptualize at a much deeper level, the content they do know and equips them for acquiring content knowledge in the future. The skills facilitate learning in physical sciences and ensure active participation of students in practical situations.

The science process skills form the foundation for scientific methods. According to Ibe (2004), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) came up with fifteen (15) science process skills. These include: observing, communicating, classifying, measuring, inferring, controlling variables, formulating models, questioning, designing experiment, hypothesizing, interpreting data, defining operationally, using number, using space/time relationship and predicting. However, this study will be concerned with five science process skills out of the fifteen proposed by AAAS. The reason for this choice is in line with Ajunwa (2000) who argued that science process skills, such as measuring, observing, experimenting, communicating and classifying are crucial for the development of a meaningful understanding of scientific concepts, propositions and for a meaningful use of scientific procedures for problem solving. Therefore, these skills seem to be very important individually as well as when they are integrated together.

Furthermore, it has been maintained that the basis of learning how to recognize, define and to some extent, solve individual and social problems is learning how to gain the science process skills Aktamış and Ergin, (2007). This means that science process skills are inseparable in practice from the conceptual understanding that is involved in learning and applying science. In practical terms, according to Ogunniyi (2000) students’ low acquisition of science process skills could result in their failures. This affirms the reason that Omajuwa (2011) reported that out of the 15 science process skills recommended for science curricula, about 70% of the students still experience difficulties in acquiring them. Therefore, students seem to experience some difficulties in science process skill acquisition. In this context, acquisition of these science process skills could help the learner to develop self confidence and self reliance about the understanding of the world around him/her. Also, the acquired science process skills would help the learner in the meaningful exploration of the environment and place the learner at apposition of solving world problems. Koray (2006) opined that more scientific process skills featured in chemistry curriculum help students grasp concepts, adopt attitudes, and improve skills related to chemistry class. For this reason, the acquisition of science process skills is the basis for scientific inquiry and the development of intellectual skills that are needed to learn chemistry concepts.

Chemistry is the scientific study of the interaction of chemical substances that constituted atoms or the subatomic particles: protons, electrons and neutrons Adesoji and Ogini, (2012). Chemistry as a subject offered at senior secondary schools in Nigeria, takes a central position in science, technology and industry Ajah, (2004). The role of chemistry in equipping the individual and benefits to the society is made clear in the chemistry curriculum at the senior secondary school level. The knowledge of chemistry would be utilized in industry, everyday life benefits, hazards and to provide a course which is complete for individuals not proceeding to higher institution FRN, (2004). Chemistry has been a pre-requisite subject for most science oriented courses in tertiary institution and this makes it necessary that its teaching should be very effective for easy mastery of its various concepts such as volumetric analysis.

However, a close looks at the objectives of chemistry education in Nigerian senior secondary schools reveal the emphasis on acquisition of science process skills in chemistry Ajah, (2004). In spite of this, it has been revealed that poor acquisition of science process skills in secondary schools seem to make it difficult for students to learn. In view of this, Irez (2009) opines that identification and definition of the science process skills are not simple task, let alone their application to chemistry concept like volumetric analysis. Tajudeen (2005) reported that senior secondary school students perceived volumetric analysis as a difficult concept to experiment. Therefore, poor performance in volumetric analysis could be attributed to lack of acquisition of the appropriate skills by the students.

Location is a particular place in relation to other areas (Yusuf, 2010).According to Burgeson, Fulton and Spain (2006), location is where a people or person resides in the world. It means a position or site occupied or available for occupancy or marked for some distinguishing feature. Location in this study means places or areas where schools are situated; this could be urban or rural. Urban schools are those schools located in city or township areas. Rural schools are those located in hinterlands. Owoeye and Yara (2011) reported that schools in urban locations had better academic performance than their rural counterpart in volumetric analysis. This depicts why Wehmeier (2005) opines that schools in rural areas lack quality and experienced teachers who can withstand the difficulties encountered in such areas irrespective of students’ gender.

Gender, according to Oludipe (2003), is an ascribed attributes that differentiates feminine from masculine socially. The difference in academic interest and performance due to gender is a crucial matter to educationists (Duyilemi, 2005). Kissau (2006) and Bosede (2010) assert that gender of the students could be among the factors influencing students’ academic achievement in some subject areas. In order to buttress this, Okeke (2008) gave a broad analytical concept which draws out women’s role and responsibilities in relation to those of men. That means that women and girls grapple with a lot of discriminations and difficulties (Ezeano, 2002). This may be the reason why Bosede (2010) stated that gender influences students’ academic achievement in volumetric analysis. Therefore, gender seems to contribute to differences in students’ performance in science subjects such as chemistry.

In addition to this, the issue of gender differentiation seems to be a strong issue in Nigerian culture. There is a general belief among Nigerians, that boys are superior to girls in terms of physical physique, cognition and logical reasoning (Duyilemi, 2005). Okeke (2007) asserted that gender stereotyping permeate every aspect of human endeavor and come to mould and color our thoughts and expectations of the capabilities of individuals. The author insisted that the consequences of gender stereotyping cut across social, economical, political and education development, especially in the area of science and technology. At the secondary and higher institutions of learning, the system tends to prepare girls forwhat Oludipe (2003) called soft profession and domestic work. This affirmed why Umoh (2003) stated that more difficult works are usually reserved for males while the females are considered feminine in a natural setting. Thus, in schools, males are more likely involve in difficult subject areas like volumetric analysis (Okeke, 2008). Owing to these views, gender seems to be a factor in chemistry teaching and students achievement.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The teaching and learning of science requires the acquisition of science process skills, which enhance student performance in science generally, but chemistry in particular. At the secondary school level, academic performance and students’ acquisition of science process skills in Nigerian senior secondary schools has been a subject of concern to stakeholders such as students, teachers, school administrators,  parents, and researchers. Process skills are very fundamental to science which allows students to conduct investigations and reach conclusions; but there is still a serious educational gap in this area both in bringing these skills into the classroom and in the training of teachers to use them effectively. However, a consistent poor achievement of students in chemistry practical at senior secondary school level has been observed. Achievement in science practical is related to the acquisition of science process skills and if the acquisition of these skills is low, achievement will consequently be low. Most importantly, the acquisition of these skills is through laboratory practical activities.

Likewise, it has been argued that location is among the major factors that influence students’ performance in acquisition of science process skills with respect to volumetric analysis. Reports indicate that schools in urban areas are better equipped with apparatus than schools in the rural areas. Likewise, there is no common consensus as to whether gender is another factor that affects the acquisition of science process skills in volumetric analysis and this tends to suggest that the science process skills of male and female chemistry students may vary. The problem of this study put in form of a question is: 

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to identify the level of science process skills acquired by senior secondary school chemistry students. Specifically, it intends to: 

1. Determine the difference in the mean scores of students taught with practical activities and non-practical activities.

2. Find out the difference which exist among male and female students’ mean scores on level of science process skills acquired in acid based titration with practical activities.

3. Ascertain the difference that exist among rural and urban school students’ mean scores on level of science process skills acquired in acid base titration with practical activities.

1.4 Significance of the Study

The significance of the study is that extensive use of practical activities will facilitate acquisition, retention, recall of lessons learned and equally arouse and sustain the interest of the students as they participate in the activities. It is hoped that the assessment will play a diagnostic function by helping to discover the extent they have mastered the expected knowledge and skills. The significance of the findings this study spans through teachers, students, parents, curriculum planners and science educators.

The findings will be of benefits to improve in substituting practical work for theoretical work with proper assessment technique. This will help the teachers to find out the extent of achievement of set out goals of instruction - hence, the effectiveness of the instructional method used. Identification of practical chemistry skills will help teachers to reduce examination malpractice that has flooded our educational system atleast in practical chemistry. This is because the chance of copying another person’s work is ruled out since it is based on direct observation. A child scores for skills manifested in performing some activities and not only for the correct answers putdown on paper.

The findings of this study will help curriculum planners and policy makers in planning and decision-making process which must come from needs of the students as well as society in general. It will help the curriculum developers and educational researchers to develop proper instrument for assessment of all type of educational domains respectively.

The findings will be of immense benefit to students opting to study professional courses in the Universities. It is expected that science process skills acquired in acid base titration will enhance performance of science students, meaning that more students will be available for enrolment in science professional courses in the universities.

Furthermore, the findings of this study will help Science Educators in training of the science teachers in secondary schools in line with the competencies required for inculcating these science process skills in students. Moreover, these results will enable the science educators to find the needed solution to the problems involved in the acquisition of science process skills as well as creating awareness of necessary factors that could promote the acquisition of these science process skills.

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were formulated and were tested at an alpha of 0.05 on the skills of observation, measuring and experimenting.

1. There is no significant difference in the mean scores of students taught with practical activities and non-practical activities.

2. There is no significant difference between the mean scores of male and female students on the level of science process skills acquired in acid base titration taught with practical activities

3. There is no significant difference in the mean scores of rural and urban school students on level of science process skills acquired in acid base titration taught with  practical activities

1.6 Delimitations of the Study

This study is conducted in two selected public secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area. It is delimited to the topic acid base titration in volumetric analysis according to the secondary school curriculum for SSII. Only three science process skills out of the fifteen process skill identified by the American Association for the Advancement of science (AAAS).

1.7 Limitations of the Study

This work has been limited by some factors such as financial constraints, disruption due to examination at the time of the research and short time within which the research was carried out.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Acid base titration- this is the determination of the concentration of an acid or base by exactly neutralizing the acid or base with an acid or base of known concentration.

Chemistry- this is a branch of science which deals with the study of matter, the composition, structure, properties and change of matter.

Practical activities- these are those learning experiences in which there are interactions with apparatus/chemicals as to improve the power of observation of the instances of scientific principle or concepts.

Students’ acquisition of science process skills- this is the acquiring of necessary skills or traits by students in other to carry out observing, experimenting, measuring, predicting, calculating, communicating, questioning etc.

Volumetric analysis – (Analytical Chemistry). Any of various analytical methods and techniques in which the amount of a substance in a sample is determined by measuring the volume of a liquid or gas; especially any method using titration. 



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