LEVEL OF BIOLOGICAL LITERACY OF FIRST YEAR BIOLOGY STUDENTS OF COLLEGES OF EDUCATION IN YOBE STATE: IMPLICATIONS FOR BIOLOGY EDUCATION IN NIGERIA
1 University of Nigeria (NIGERIA)
2 Federal College of Education (Technical) (NIGERIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:One of the contemporary goals of biology education is the development of biological literacy among the citizens. It is expected that biological literacy would enable the citizens to become informed members of the society where they live and function. This will enable the individuals to make the right choices in personal and community issues, based on evidence and rational decisions. A biologically literate person should regard controversies in areas such as agriculture, pollution, conservation or medicine as something one need to sufficiently understand in order to make informed decisions about, such as: whether to apply fertilizers to crops, whether to site industries near residential areas and whether to support abortion or mercy killing. It is the biology curriculum that would spell out the content and pedagogical knowledge that would develop in the students, the ability to take appropriate decisions regarding the issues mentioned above. It is therefore expected that the biology education students receive at the secondary school level would equip them with sufficient knowledge, skills and attitudes that would enable them acquire scientific and biological literacy for functional living in the society. Although the students admitted to study biology at the colleges of education had passed the secondary school biology examination at credit level, not all of them have acquired the required level of Biological literacy, for effective functioning in the school and society. The study aims at investigating the level of biological literacy of first year biology students of colleges of education in Yobe state, Nigeria, namely, Federal College of Education (Technical) Potiskum and College of Education, Gashua. The influence of gender and school ownership on biological literacy level of the students was also investigated. Three research questions and two null hypotheses guided the study. A descriptive survey design was adopted. Stratified random sampling technique was used in drawing 50 percent of the students from each of the colleges. Thus a sample of 385 students was drawn from a population of 770 first year biology students of the two colleges of education. A 40- item multiple choice, ‘biological literacy test’ was used as instrument for data collection and was drawn from the Senior Secondary School Biology Curriculum. The data collected were analysed using mean, standard deviation and t-test statistics, tested at 0.05 level of significance. Based on the scores, students were categorised into four levels of biological literacy, namely: nominal, functional, structural and multidimensional. The results revealed that 2.60 percent of the sampled students were at the nominal level; 40 percent were at the functional level; 40.52 percent were at the structural level and 16.88 percent were at the multi-dimensional level of biological literacy respectively. It was also found that gender and school ownership had no statistically significant influence on the biological literacy level of first year biology students of colleges of education in Yobe state, Nigeria. The implications of the findings for biology education in Nigeria were discussed. Based on the implications, it was recommended among others that the biology curriculum of colleges of education should be structured in a way to capture more students at the multidimensional level of biological literacy and gender biases should be avoided in curriculum delivery.
Keywords: Biology students, Biological literacy level, Colleges of Education, First year, Implication.