1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Biology is the scientific study of living beings. It focuses on the nature of organisms and their interactions with one another and with their surroundings. On the other side, it is a discipline that helps people comprehend themselves, including major biological functions like digestion, respiration, circulation, excretion, and gaseous exchange. Biology, like other science areas, is a hands-on field that encourages students' scientific inquiry and problem-solving abilities.
Biology is the scientific study of life. According to Maduabum (2006), science (Biology) is the backbone of national development since it encompasses all human activities that entail organized understanding of natural events. It simply means that science is the methodical study of nature with the goal of amassing an ordered body of matter, its interactions, and effects. According to Omiko (2011), science is a method of learning about natural facts and theories. This understanding of facts and hypotheses, he claims, fosters attitudes of reality, objectivity, curiosity, self-examination, and the pursuit of truth.
Biology, according to Eweleukwa (2005), is a science discipline that deals with life. It was derived from two Greek words: "bios" for life and "logos" for study. Biology is thus defined as the study of life or living things. Biology, according to Ekwu (2012), is a natural science that studies living organisms. According to him, it is derived from two Greek words: "bios" (life) and "logos" (knowledge). It is an enthralling study that encompasses the earth's surface and its living beings, ranging from minute cellular molecules to the biosphere.
Biology, according to the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, is the scientific study of the life and structure of plants and animals. Biology, according to Taylor (2012), is the study of living organisms. Biology, as a natural science, is the study of individual life forms within the world of life known as nature. Biological studies encompass everything known about plants, animals, microbes, and other living things from the past and present. It is the study of fish, grass, flies, grasshoppers, humans, mushrooms, flowers, sea stars, worms, and molds. Biology, in fact, is the study of life on the highest peaks and at the bottom of the deepest seas.
In comparison to other courses on the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate examination, biology has the biggest enrolment and also the highest failure rate, according to Egbujor (2006).
In his 2008 report on practical biology, the Chief examiner noted that "many candidates could not give the distinguishing features of the vertebra" and that "some wasted their time describing the features instead of pointing out the relevant things required." In his 2006 report on teaching practical biology, the Chief examiner (2006) noted that "most candidates who were to study the diagrams in the stage of germination of seeds and draw a graph for it, avoided the questions." The handful that attempted it used erratic seeds to create the graph. These kids also struggled to appropriately spell the labels on their diagrams.
The biology teaching syllabus in Nigeria is currently divided into the following sections: themes, performance objectives, material, activity, and notes. The main rationale for having performance targets in the segments is to allow teachers to assess their own teaching and the students' achievements after each class. Despite meticulous planning and structure in the classroom, some teachers and students still find some aspects of biology difficult to teach and understand. Teachers, for example, are not well-versed in anatomy and genetics in the curriculum, and when they are, they rarely pay enough time and attention to teaching the subjects. According to Oyewole (2011), some lecturers promote the idea that genetics is a difficult and abstract subject that requires a lot of brainstorming and should not be studied.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
According to Charlse (2013), biology teachers in Nigeria have numerous challenges, particularly in secondary schools. These issues at this level had caused a plethora of other concerns that were harming the students' success in the subject. According to Udofia (2019), many students consider biology to be a challenging subject in secondary school due to their negative attitude toward it, while others find it difficult to read Biology materials due to their reading laxity. This, together with other issues, has resulted in widespread failure of students in biology exams. According to Juso (2017), these causes include students', schools', and government's lack of ambition, as well as a lack of appropriate materials and a weak curriculum.
Furthermore, failure in secondary school biology has been blamed on a number of factors. "Poor performance in biology has been linked to pupils' lack of ambition, ingenuity, curiosity, practice, confidence, and self-drive towards sciences," writes Dahs (1998). Similarly, Ndirangu (2000) lamented a lack of practical experience in biology teaching and learning, which resulted in a lack of mastery of critical scientific abilities and concepts. Ekaw (2018), on the other hand, attributed poor Biology performance to a lack of practical exposure during the learning process, insufficient expression of biological statements, and inappropriate use of scientific terminology. Professors, according to Kirima (2000), are to blame for poor biology achievement. Most teachers, according to Kirima, are unqualified, lack innovative teaching methods or the use of learning materials, have low student motivation, focus primarily on theory, and rarely engage students in carrying out practical and projects that, while demanding, equip students with skills and improve their understanding of biological concepts. As a result of students' poor performance in Biology, this study attempts to identify the reasons to blame for this academic issue in Biology.