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Factors Affecting Student Academic Performance in Biology in Senior Secondary School

In: Science

Submitted By olubunmiowoade
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Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
, Vol. 9, No. 1, January 2009
, pp. 64

Factors influencing academic performance of students enrolled in a lower di vision Cell Biology core course
Julio G. Soto
and Sulekha Anand
Abstract: Students’ performance in two semesters of our Cell Biology c ourse was examined for this study
Teachin g strategies, behaviors, and pre
course variables were analyzed with respect to students’ performance. Pre
semester and post
semester surveys were administered to ascertain students’ perceptions about class difficulty, amount of study and effort put into t he course, and professional goals
square ( χ 2
) tests of independence showed that completion of chemistry requirements, passing the laboratory component of Cell Biology, homework, and attendance were related to passing our course
Logistic regression sh owed that perfect attendance followed by GPA, were the most important factors associated with passing the course.
Keywords: undergraduate, GPA, attendance, lower division cell biology, pre
requisites, assessment
I. Introduction.
As educators, one of th e most important goals of our teaching is to help students understand the course material. Equally important for science students, is the goal of obtaining a grade that will facilitate academic and professional advancement.
Numerous science education stud ies have focused on the question of which teaching strategies are best for improving students’ learning and overall course performance. Some of these have emphasized the development of scientific inquiry as a way of increasing students’ understanding of th e content being taught in the course (Ebert
May et al., 1997; DebBurman,
2002; Wright and Boggs, 2002; Knight and Wood, 2005; Smith et al., 2005)
For the most part, teaching strategies studies deal with what we can do to improve our students’ content unde rstanding. But very few of these studies provide insights about the type of experiences or factors the students must have before they enroll in our courses in order to succeed.
Several studies have ascertained if demographic factors, previous experiences, or background are associated with students’ course performance. Some of these have examined the importance of previous GPA (Graunke and Woosley, 2005; Tai et al., 2005; Salaiman and
Mohezar, 2006; Freeman et al., 2007; Klomegah, 2007), academic background and course pre
requisites (House, 1994; House, 2000; Tai et al., 2005), demographic characteristics such as gender (Graunke and Woosley, 2005; Salaiman and Mohezar, 2006), and students’ own perception of their abilities (House, 2000; Klomegah, 2007)
Our study aimed to identify factors associated with students’ success in a large, lecture and laboratory, lower division, undergraduate Cell Biology course.
The following research questions guided our investigation:

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