1.1       Background to the Study

The world today is experiencing a rapid development and every nation is striving to meet up with the requirement needed to attain its development through science and technology. Science and technology education is therefore needed to produce technologists, technicians, scientists, craftsmen and skilled artisans who are required to change the economy which would in turn lead to a rapid growth and development necessary for nations to cope with the present today challenges (Ezeudu & Ezinwanne, 2013). Education is a very important human activity. It helps any society fashion and model individuals to function well in their environment. According to Boit et al (2012), the purpose of education is to equip the citizenry to reshape their society and eliminate inequality. Specifically, secondary education is a significant area in national and individual development. It plays a vital role in creating a country’s human resource base at a level higher than primary education (Achoka et. al, 2007).

According to UNESCO (2005), one of the indicators of quality of education being provided is the cognitive achievement of learners. Academic achievement is determined by how well the students perform in standardized and formative tests given by their teachers. Lewin et. al (2011) reported that academic achievement of students at secondary level is not only a pointer of effectiveness of schools but also a major determinant of the well-being of youths in particular and the nation in general.

In the Philippine Education System, Science and Mathematics are two of the core subjects in primary and secondary levels. Teaching of modern Science and Mathematics have become strictly mandatory throughout the country as to prepare the younger generation in dealing with the rapid changes brought about by technological advancement and development (Corpuz et. al, 2006).

The National Achievement Test (NAT) is a Philippine-made standardized test given by the Department of Education (DepEd) aims to determine the students’ achievement level, strengths and weaknesses in five key curricular areas (Science, Mathemathics, English, Filipino and Araling Panlipunan) at the end of the school year. Based on the NAT 2012 result, on the average, the fourth year students obtained an MPS of 46.37 for Mathematics which implied a decreased performance when compared with the previous year (47.82% in 2006 and 50.70% in 2005). On the other hand, there is a slight improvement in the performance of students in Science. From an average rating of 39.49% in 2005, it increased into 40.53% in 2012. Despite the government initiatives in improving the performance of Filipino students in five key areas, most specially in Science and Mathematics, the NAT results still revealed that the students’ performance still did not reach the seventy-five percent (75%) standard performance rating on the said examination. The students’ underachievement in Science and Mathematics are not just a concern for a particular school but have also become the national concern over the years. (NETRC, 2012).

Heck (2009) stated that schools are commonly evaluated using the students’ achievement and teachers cannot be dissociated from the schools they teach and academic results of schools. It has been demonstrated that teachers have a significant impact on students' academic accomplishment. They assume a pivotal role in educational attainment in light of the fact that the teacher is at last liable for making an interpretation of strategy energetically and standards based on practice during interaction with students. They stand in the interface of the transmission of knowledge, values and skills in the learning process through the instructional strategies they employ in the classroom. Watson (2003) stated that teachers prefer instructional strategies that make their work easier based on their belief, personal preferences and norms of discipline. However, according to Kimani et al (2013), if the teachers’ instructional strategies are ineffective, then the students will achieve inadequate progress academically. The level of achievement of students in school depends on the degree of effectiveness of instructional strategies use by the teacher.

Learning is said to have occurred when what is learnt remains relatively permanent in the mind of the learner. Hence, it is pertinent for students to retain what is learnt. Retention is the capability to replicate the concept learnt when need arises. It is the ability to reproduce a learned behaviour by the learner in due time. Therefore, a learner who repeats an acquired knowledge with less error is said to have retained the material learnt. Similarly, when what is not retained or fades with time, learning becomes incomplete. Exploring mode of lesson delivery which could help students retain materials learnt becomes absolutely important (Asogwa, Muhammed, Asogwa & Ofoegbu, 2016). This study was conducted to examine the instructional strategies preferred and used by the Science and Mathematics teachers and the impact of those strategies in their teaching performance and students’ academic achievement in Science and Mathematics.

1.2           Statement of the Problem

            Review confirms that Basic science is not being taught the way it should in Nigerian schools (Usman, 2008). According to Brent (2005), it is to be viewed and practiced in a practical way, instead teachers teach students to memorize facts and give them no room to do science. This has affected the performance of students in the subject. They do not only perform poorly, but have very low interest for it. The researcher further said that teachers’ classroom strategy allows students to independently plan, investigate, collect data, analyze them draw conclusions and generalizations. Use of activity makes learning learners’ centered and could lead to meaningful learning and acquisition of science process skills. The students also have ample opportunity to make plausible hypotheses and test them to generate ideas, which are expected in their own language (Mari, 2008).

            Literature also shows that 70% of scientific information or principles are passed to students via lecture methods (talk and chalk method) by science teachers (Bichi, 2002). This has been observed to be responsible for poor achievement in Basic Science over the years (Bichi, 2002). Though, lecture method makes coverage of syllabus easy and lesson planning for a wide audience easier, it is however viewed by majority of science educators as inadequate in promoting meaningful learning among all categories of learners (Bichi, 2002). This general call for teaching strategies could radically enhance meaningful learning and acquisition of science skills. The teachers’ classroom strategy is being suggested in this study.

              Science is a universal vehicle for human development and civilization world-wide. Basic science teaching is best carried out by the involvement of students while the teacher serves as a facilitator. Stanley (2007) says several researches carried out for the improvement of students’ academic achievement in science did not solve the problem as a result of teacher’s persistence in the lecture method in teaching of Basic Science. Barker, Slingsby, Tilling, (2003) and Usman (2000) observed that indiscriminate use of lecture method still persists which has led to poor achievement of JSS students. Against this background, this study is conceived in order to find a lasting solution to teachers’ classroom strategy and academic achievement in Basic Science and Mathematics.

1.3           Objectives of the Study

              The concern of the study is to investigate teachers’ classroom strategy and academic achievement in Basic Science and Mathematics. Specifically, the study has the following objectives:

i)          To understand the classroom strategies being used by teachers in teaching Basic Science and Mathematics.

ii)        To assess the classroom strategies in Basic Science and Mathematics preferred by the students.

iii)       To examine the level of teaching performance of Basic Science and Mathematics teachers.

iv)       To investigate is the level of academic achievement of students in Basic Science and Mathematics.

1.4           Research Questions

The study investigates the following research questions:

i)               What are the instructional strategies being used by teachers in teaching Basic Science and Mathematics?

ii)             What are the instructional strategies in Basic Science and Mathematics preferred by the students?

iii)           What is the level of teaching performance of Basic Science and Mathematics teachers?

iv)            What is the level of academic achievement of students in Basic Science and Mathematics?

1.5           Research Hypotheses

            The study has the following statements that will be tested as the research hypotheses:

i)               There is a significant influence of the instructional strategies being used by teachers in teaching Basic Science and Mathematics on the academic achievement of students

ii)             There is a significant relationship between instructional strategies in Basic Science and Mathematics preferred by the students and their academic achievement

1.6           Significance of the Study

            This research investigated the teachers’ classroom strategy and academic achievement in Basic Science and Mathematics. The findings of the study provide empirical evidence for further research in the area of the study. Besides, teachers of Basic Science would have insight and awareness of the effectiveness of each of the two teaching strategies being compared in the study.

            Curriculum designers would hopefully benefit from the findings of this study, fitting in activities to topics that require activity. Such findings may be developed in future curriculum. Textbook writers would hopefully find this study relevant to their profession in view of the fact that the effectiveness of two teaching strategies being investigated in Basic Science would be incorporated into their publications for effective teaching and learning. Stakeholders in education would hopefully benefit from this study in that teachers, lecturers will be aware of the topic that required activities in their teaching.

1.7           Scope of the Study

            The study was limited to JSS 2 students from two Government Junior Secondary Schools in Bosso Local Government Area of Niger State.  The two schools are public schools with same academic calendar, similar staffing and similar provision of infrastructures. JSS 2 were selected because they are stable and have adequate exposure to Basic Science and Mathematics concepts. The topic selected for this study is “Measurement” which is central to JSS 2 curriculum and has applications to several other concepts.

1.8       Limitation of the Study

The study limited its scope on the general teaching performance and academic achievement of students in Basic Science and Mathematics. The strength and weakness of teachers in specific areas were not determined by the study. The academic achievement of students in Basic Science and Mathematics were not also separately analyzed.

1.9       Definition of Terms

The following terms were used in the build up to this study:

Academic Achievement: refers to grade or rating of high school students in Basic Science and Mathematics during the first grading period.

Demonstration Method: refers to instructional strategies that allow the students to actually observe how a particular procedure is being done.

Instructional strategies: refers to the teaching strategies being executed by the teachers in delivering or explaining the concepts in Basic Science and Mathematics.

Problem – Solving Method: refers to instructional strategy that uses scientific method.

Project Method: refers to instructional strategy that involves gathering and organizing information about the concept and presenting it in concrete form.

Teaching performance: refers to the overall rating of Basic Science and Mathematics teachers in Competency-Based Performance Appraisal System for Teachers (CB-PAST).