The study examined the effects of guided Inquiry method on academic performance of chemistry students in selected senior secondary schools in Kaduna state. The study used a quasi-experimental research design.A sample of 120 senior secondary 11 (SS2) chemistry students were selected by random sampling from 2 urban and 2 rural schools which comprised both boys and girls with 30 students each in experimental and control groups respectively. The research instruments comprised of chemistry Achievement Test (CAT). The CAT contained 30 multiple choice questions with four options (A-D) and 5 essay questions. The students were divided into two groups; Experimental and control groups which were subjected to inquiry method and traditional methods of teaching respectively. The t-test statistics was used to analyze the data. Major findings revealed that Chemistry students taught using inquiry teaching method performed significantly better than their counterparts taught using traditional teaching method. Hence the study concluded that the inquiry teaching method produced students with significantly higher academic performance inChemistry. The study therefore recommend among others that the use of Inquiry teaching method should be encouraged in all Secondary Schools that offer Chemistry to its students in Kaduna State and other states in Nigeria, also Government should sponsor teachers to attend various workshops and seminars on appropriate and effective use of the inquiry teaching method.


1.1          Background to the Study

Chemistry is the scientific study of interaction of chemical substances that constitute atoms or the subatomic particles; protons, electrons and neutrons. It is an integral part of the science curriculum both at the senior secondary school as well as higher institutions. At this level, it is often called “general chemistry” which is an introduction to a wide variety of fundamental concepts that enables students to acquire tools and basic skills useful at the advanced level. One of the objectives of science education is to develop students’ interest towards science and technology. The development of any nation today depends greatly on its technological and scientific advancement. Teachers are expected to device ways of motivating their students to develop positive attitudes towards science and science related disciplines (Sola and Ojo, 2007). Chemistry, in particular is central to many of the scientific fields of human endeavors; therefore, teaching of chemistry should be given serious attention.

Science teachers have always recognized the importance of practical work as a means of introducing learners to the scientific process of experimentation.To this end, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Union of pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) have participated in numerous international meetings to promote inexpensive experimental based teaching in chemistry. Inquiry teaching method is a style or method of teaching where the learner is seeking to discover and create answers to recognized problems through procedure of making a diligent search, some time with minimum guidance from the teacher (Callahan, et al 1995). Science process skills are based on scientific inquiry and teaching science by inquiry involves teaching students science process skills, critical thinking, scientific reasoning skills used by scientists (Pratt and Hackett, 1998) and inquiry is defined as an approach to teaching, the acts scientists use in doing science and it can be a highly effective teaching method that helps students to understand concepts and use of process skills (Yagger and Akcay, 2010). Inquiry teaching method is also a term used in science teaching that refers to a way of questioning, seeking knowledge, information or finding out about phenomena, it involves investigating data and arriving at a conclusion (Sola and Ojo, 2007). In inquiry situation students learn not only concept but also self-direction, responsibility and social communication. It also permits students to assimilate and accommodate information. It is the way people learn when they are left alone.

Cheval and Hart (2005), classify inquiry teaching method into three (3) classes,

namely: structured inquiry, guided inquiry and open inquiry. All these types of inquiry

can be useful to students to learn science when taught appropriately. Structured inquiry

is the most teacher-centered of the three types of inquiry. This type of inquiry is

commonly seen in science classrooms in the form of laboratory exercises. The teacher

provides fairly structured procedures for the inquiry activity, and students carry out the

investigations. Structured inquiry could be described as the most traditional approach to

inquiry (Cheval and Hart, 2005). The open inquiry on the other side is a type of inquiry

which requires the least amount of teacher intervention and is student centered.

Students, in this case, often work in groups and plan all phases of their investigations,

while guided inquiry falls in the middle of the inquiry instructional spectrum. This type of

inquiry is commonly used when students are asked to make tools or develop a process

that results in a desired outcome. For example, a science teacher gives his seventh grade

middle school students materials to create a rocket but no instructions for designing the

rocket. The students must use their own knowledge and creativity to design the rocket

so that it will launch properly, fly a certain distance, and land without becoming

disassembled. The teacher provides the problem and materials and the students develop the rocket using their own scientific process or procedure (Cheval and Hart, 2005). In this study, guided inquiry will be used. Students will be given a set of topic and materials to develop method to find answers to the given problem. The lecture method is used primarily to introduce students to a new subject, but is also a valuable method for summarizing ideas, showing relationships between theory and practice, and re-emphasizing main points.Chemistry activities deals with telling and showing, therefore, a lecture-demonstration method is a teaching technique that combines oral explanation with “doing” to communicate processes, concepts and facts. It is particularly effective in teaching a skill that can be observed.

Demonstration is usually accompanied by a thorough explanation, which is essentially a lecture. Lecture method according to Garba(1996), is a traditional method of transmission of knowledge; it is essentially a one-way process. The current Nigerian classroom whether primary, secondary or tertiary institutions level, tends to resemble a one-person show with a captain but often comatose audience. Classes are usually driven by “teacher-talk” and depend heavily on textbooks for the structure of the courses. Teachers serve as pipelines and seek to transfer their thoughts and meanings to passive students. There is little room for student-initiated questions, independent thought or interaction between students. Therefore, the study is aimed at determining the effect of guided inquiry teaching strategy and the traditional methods on students’ academic performance in chemistry at the senior secondary school level. Guided Inquiry teaching method is chosen in this study due to its scientific nature and it is student-centered and it involves all scientific process.

1.2          Statement of the Problem
Students’ persistent poor performance in chemistry has been partly ascribed to inadequate teaching and instructional methods adopted by teachers. In supporting this

view, Derek (2007), reported the seriousness of the deplorable performance of secondary school students in chemistry and identified the persistent use of the traditional methods of instruction as one of the major shortcoming affecting the learning and higher achievement in chemistry . Many students find chemistry to be a hindrance in attaining their aims and objectives. Donald, (2000) said students wishing to read medicine cannot do so unless they credit chemistry. It is therefore necessary to properly groom the students right from the secondary level to enable them improve their academic achievement in chemistry. Poor performance of students in science subjects, particularly chemistry, has assumed a serious dimension as reported by West African Examination Council (1991). In the light of this, science teachers need to seek suitable ways of tackling the current massive failure in chemistry if they are to halt the drifts of science students to art and social science subjects.

1.3          Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this study are to:
1.                   determine the effects of guided inquiry method and traditional method on the performance of chemistry students in senior secondary schools in Kaduna state;
2.                   determine the effects of guided inquiry method on the performance of students in chemistry in Kaduna state;
3.                   determine the effects of guided inquiry method on the performance of male and female students in chemistry in Kaduna state; and
4.                   determine the difference in the performance between urban and rural students
in chemistry  taught with guided inquiry teaching method in Kaduna state.

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