1.1   Background to the Study

                   The integration of laboratory practical work and student academic performance in chemistry is a crucial aspect of science education. It not only enhances students' understanding of theoretical concepts but also fosters practical skills, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities.                                                    

Chemistry deals with the composition, properties and uses of matter. It probes into the principle governing the change that matter undergoes.  Our world is  made up of matter (anything that has mass and can occupy space) thus we study chemistry to acquire knowledge  about matter and perform experiments to learn, observe, record and make intelligent inferences.

Studying chemistry gives us training in the scientific method. Chemistry has become one of the most important science disciplines in the secondary school curriculum. At secondary school  level, chemistry is taught through theory as well as practical which involve experimentation and demonstration to explain concepts. The study of chemistry as a science subject in senior secondary schools entails the exposure of learners to both theoretical and practical aspects of learning experiences. The methods of instruction vary depending on the nature of the content. Some content involves theory work while others involve practical work.


The conventional method of teaching chemistry in the secondary schools entail that theory aspect is taught in the classroom while practical aspect is taught in the laboratory. However, this method gives more priority to theory aspect and also it might seem difficult for students to relate or transfer the knowledge obtained in a theoretical class to a practical class or vice-versa. Ejedike and Oyelana (2015) found out that practical work is handled negligently or based on chemistry teachers’ conveniences. This neglect, according to Adesoji and Arowosegbe (2015) makes chemistry difficult for learners and consequently, they perceive chemistry as a difficult and abstract subject. Njoku (2015) equally attributed descending differential achievement of students in chemistry in quantitative analysis, qualitative and theory of practical questions to wrong way and manner teachers teach practical chemistry. For proper understanding of the chemistry as a subject there is a need for integration of practical work in the teaching of chemistry by teachers. Integration is the act of bringing together smaller components into a single system that functions as one (Rouse, 2015). It can be seen as an act of combination, inclusion or bringing in of practical work into the teaching and learning of chemistry for better understanding of the phenomena or concepts that seems to be abstract to students. To remove the abstract nature of chemistry, integration of practical work is necessary in the secondary school syllabus of chemistry.

The West African Examination Council Syllabus (WAEC, 2016) recommended that the teaching of chemistry should be practical-based and that students should: have the understanding of basic chemistry concepts, acquire laboratory skills, be aware of the inter-  relationship between chemistry and other disciplines and be aware of the linkage between chemistry and industry/ environment /everyday life in terms of benefits and hazards; and skills of critical and logical thinking. This is to demonstrate the importance of practical work in chemistry. The practical experience constitutes an integral part of chemistry because the subject consists of many topics that can be verified experimentally with an objective to create an enabling environment to stimulate students learning about chemistry that is commonly presumed as abstract, quantitative and boring (Read & Kable, 2007). When practical work is not properly integrated in the teaching of chemistry, it will surely show in their academic performances. The Chief Examiner’s report on practical chemistry (2015) indicated that the inadequacies in students’ performance was attributed to the following weaknesses; non-adherence to rubric, arithmetical errors in volume of acid-used, averaging non-concordant value, poor mathematical skills; poor knowledge of S.I units of mass concentration and molar concentration, tests of solids instead of solutions among others. These weaknesses may be as result of negligence of teachers to integrate practical work or the integration of practical work is done by teachers that are not professionally qualified to teach chemistry.

Abe and Adu (2013) opined that teacher’s qualification / teaching qualification, is one of a number of academic and professional degrees that enable a person to become a registered teacher in primary or secondary school. Such qualification includes but not limited to the postgraduate diploma in education (PGDE), professional diploma in education (PDE), Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.), Bachelor of Science Education (B.Sc. Ed), Bachelor of Art Education (B.A. Ed) and national certificate in education (NCE). In Taraba State teachers who are academically qualified or are professionally qualified are engaged to carry out instructional process. Academically qualified teachers refer to those who have academic training as a result of enrolment into educational institution and obtained qualification such as HND, B.Sc., B.A, M.A, and so on while professionally qualified teachers are those who got professional training that gave them professional knowledge, skills, technique, aptitude as different from the general education (Edu & Kalu, 2012). A teacher is someone who has been exposed to a good measure of training in a teaching subject areas as well as professional education. One thing is to be well grounded in the conceptual understanding of a subject; another thing is to be well equipped with the best method to pass the concepts across to the learners for proper comprehension. A professional teacher would be desirable in this regard.

According to Ikeobi (2010), it is the teacher who organizes the interactions between the subject (learner) and the object (learning materials). It is the teacher who ensures that equipment and materials are properly used by the learner to achieve the expected objectives. All these point to the fact that teacher is a very significant factor when the learners failed to exhibit the expected mastery in a science subject like chemistry. Owalobi (2012) found out that students’ perform better when taught by professional teacher than when taught by non-professional. Many other researchers such as Akinsolu (2010), Ouma (2011) and Njoku (2015) also found out that teacher’s qualifications influence students’ academic performance.

The Chemistry Chief Examiner’s report (2015) revealed that there is an increase in lack of understanding, comprehension and assimilation of chemistry as a science subject. This may be as a result of who teaches chemistry and how has it been taught. For the in-depth understanding of the subject as majority of the concept in chemistry seem to be abstract, students require practical classes organized by professionally qualified teacher that will help the students to visualize what they have been taught in a theoretical class. Many factors have been identified as responsible for lack of understanding and poor performance of students in chemistry; these are inadequate resources both human and material, curriculum related impediment and lack of laboratory work among others. In view of the several suspected factors mentioned as the reasons responsible for the continued students’ poor performance in chemistry, this study sought to investigate extent of integration of practical work in the teaching of chemistry by secondary schools in Taraba state.

1.2 Statement of the Problem                                                                   

The relevance of laboratory activities on students in Science  cannot be over emphasized. Several researches stated earlier indicate the need for effective practical lesson using appropriate equipment. Yet many Science   teachers tend to avoid organizing laboratory  lesson to their students. Some of the reasons for poor performance of students in examinations include poor science teaching due to teacher’s incompetence. Furthermore, most secondary schools teachers of Science  concentrate on meeting the demand of West African Examination Council (WAEC) practical examinations. This has drawn the attention of concerned individuals on the genesis or causes of the situation.

There are evidence of effective teaching of Science  practical in School and this has affected the performance of student in Science . This could be due to lack of equipment and materials or lack of proper training of the teachers handing the practical.


1.3 Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to investigate integration of laboratory practical and students academic performance in chemistry in ------------- local government area of -------- state

The specific objectives is

1.     To determine  perception of students regarding the integration of  laboratory practical work on their learning and academic achievement in chemistry

2.     To investigate the perception of teacher regarding the integration of laboratory practical work and academic achievement in chemistry

3.      To find out  principals attitude toward the integration   of   laboratory practical work on  students academic achievement in chemistry.

4.     To  investigate  topics integrated into laboratory practical work by secondary school teachers in teaching of chemistry based on their qualification?


1.4              Research Questions

The following research questions were raised to guide the study

1.     What is the perception of students regarding the integration of  laboratory practical work on their learning and academic achievement in chemistry


2.     What is the perception of teacher regarding the integration of laboratory practical work on their learning and academic achievement in chemistry?

3.     What is the perception of principals regarding the integration   of students to laboratory practical work on their learning and academic achievement in chemistry.

4.     To what extent are topics integrated into practical work by secondary school teachers in teaching of chemistry based on their qualification?

1.5 Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were tested at 0.05 levels of significance:

1.     There is no significant difference in the topics integrated into laboratory practical   by secondary school teachers based on their qualifications in chemistry.



1.6 Significance of the Study                                                                   

The findings form this study might assist the chemistry teachers in understanding how to teach laboratory work. The result of this study mighty also help chemistry teachers to change their attitudes toward laboratory work in the teaching and learning of chemistry. The findings of this study might also contribute to new knowledge that might help chemistry teachers to find solutions to the problems of learners who are not performing well in the practical examination paper in chemistry. chemistry teachers might also benefit from this study by finding out whether the practical work that they do at their schools is adequate to make their leaners ready for the chemistry final examination.

1.7              Scope of the Study                                                                

The major objective of this study is to find out the integration of laboratory practical and students academic performance in chemistry . the study cover five selected secondary schools in --------------------- local government area of ------------ state

 1.8             Definition of Terms


Laboratory: A room or building equipped for scientific experiments, research, or teaching, or for the manufacture of drugs or chemicals.

Investigation: Is the action of investigating something or someone; formal or systematic examination or research.


Academic Achievement: refers to a student's success in meeting short- or long-term goals in education. In the big picture, academic achievement means completing high school or earning a college degree. In a given semester, high academic achievement may mean a student is on the honor roll.


SCIENCE  Is a scientific study of life’s, study of living and non-living things, is a study of life and structure of plants and animals. There are many branches of Science  such as histology, physiology, phraseology e.t.c

PRACTICAL – It’s concerned with the reality and action rather than theory and ideas practical works impart good knowledge into the life of learner because it deals with reality and it can not forgotten







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