Cognitive Styles and Attitude to Science of Senior Secondary School Science Students of High Cognitive Ability Level
International Centre for Science, Humanities and Education Research Journal (ICSHER Journal), Vol. 1, Number 3, December 2015, pp.10-26.
17 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016
Date Written: December 30, 2015
The study was designed to determine the cognitive styles and attitude to science of senior secondary school science students of high cognitive ability level. The study also examined the attitude and cognitive styles of male and female students of high ability level. The study adopted correlational survey research design. The population comprised all the 1875 Senior Secondary School Two (SSS II) science students offering biology, chemistry and physics in all the public senior secondary schools in Education Zone C of Benue State for 2014/2015 academic session. The sample comprises 553 high ability students from thirty-five (35) intact classes. Five research questions were generated and three null hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance. Two sets of instrument used for data collection are Science Students Attitude Scale (SSAS) and Group Embedded Figure Test (GEFT). The science students of SSS2 had already appeared in SSS1 promotion examinations. Therefore, students cognitive ability levels was determined using baseline data obtained from the SSS1 promotion results in biology, chemistry and physics. The GEFT was face validated while the SSAS was both face and construct validated. Estimate of internal consistency was obtained through Cronbach’s alpha for SSAS and Kudder-Richardson (K-R20) method was used for GEFT. The internal consistency estimate was found to be 0.882 for SSAS and 0.779 for GEFT. The collected data were analyzed using mean and standard deviation for answering research questions while correlation and t-test was used to test the null hypotheses. It was spotlighted that the high cognitive ability level students are both field dependent and independent as well as have positive attitude towards science. The result also indicates that 71% of the variation in the students’ attitude towards science is as a result of the variation in their cognitive styles. It was also found that there was significant difference between the cognitive styles of male and female science students of high cognitive ability levels. Similarly, it was found that there was significant difference between the attitude of male and female science students of high cognitive ability levels. Based on these findings, it was recommended among others that science teachers should ensure differentiated classroom activities so that high cognitive ability level students could have opportunity to engage in tasks appropriate to their needs, textbook writers should be encouraged to specify guide that will help students to be independent learners. Existing science textbooks should also be reviewed and better and innovative instructional methods employed effective teaching of science at secondary education level. These will help students to be aware of their responsibilities and also be able to face challenges in and outside the classroom situations.
Keywords: Cognitive styles; attitude towards science; high cognitive ability level, field dependent; field independent
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