research work titled effect of meta-cognitive instructional strategy on
students’ achievement, interest and retention in secondary school Economics in
Asaba Education Zone of Delta State, Nigeria aimed at determining the effect of
meta-cognitive instructional strategy on students’ achievement, interest and
retention in secondary school Economics in Asaba Education Zone of Delta State,
Nigeria. It also aimed at determining the effect of the strategy on students’
achievement, interest and retention relative to gender and school location, all
with a view to finding solution to the perennial poor students’ achievement in
secondary school Economics caused by extensive use of conventional (expository)
instructional strategy in teaching economics. The
design of the study is quasi-experimental non-equivalent control group research
design, involving two intact groups of one experimental group and one control
research questions and nine hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The area of the study was Asaba Education Zone of Delta
state of Nigeria. The population of the study was two thousand; eight hundred
and thirty two students (2,832) of senior secondary school class 2 (SSS 2)
students of Economics. The study adopted purposive sampling technique to select
six schools from 42 co-education secondary schools in the area. The sample size
was 341 students made up of 99 male and 89 female students in urban schools and
85 male and 68 female students in rural schools based on the number of students
in intact classes in the sampled schools. Simple random sampling was used for
assigning the sampled schools to control and experimental groups. Different lesson
plans were prepared and used for the two strategies, that is, lesson plan for
meta-cognitive instructional strategy and lesson plan for expository
instructional strategy. Three instruments, Economics Achievement Test (EAT),
Economics Interest Inventory (EII) and Economics Retention Test (ERT) were used
for data collection. The EAT and EII were used for both pre test and post tests
while ERT was used two weeks after the post test. EAT and ERT are 48-item
multiple choice objective test questions covering four difficult Economics
concepts namely; price determination, elasticity of demand, and elasticity of
supply and price legislation. The EII was Likert-type four-point scale
comprising of 30 items covering students’ interest in Economics. The
instruments and lesson plans were validated and trial tested before use. By
means of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) computer application,
the research questions were answered using means and standard deviations. The
ordinal data of interest inventory were exported to Microsoft excel from SPSS
in order to sum up the scores of each respondent and thereafter imported back
into SPSS data as scale data for the analysis. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA)
technique was used to test the null hypothesis at 0.05 levels of significance.
The major findings are that there are statistically significant difference in achievement,
interest and retention of students in Economics when exposed to treatment.
Meta-cognitive instructional strategy proved efficacious in enhancing students’
achievement, interest and retention in Economics more than conventional
(expository) instructional strategy. There are no statically significant
difference in male and female students’ achievement, interest and retention in
Economics who are taught using meta-cognitive instructional strategy. Also, the
achievement interest and retention of students in urban and rural schools who
are taught using meta-cognitive instructional strategy are not significant. The
researcher therefore, recommended thatmeta-cognitive
instructional strategy should used in teaching Economics in secondary schools
irrespective of gender and school location. The researcher recommended seminars;
workshop and conferences to be organized for teachers to enable them learn how
to make best use of meta-cognitive instructional strategy to teach difficult
Economics concepts and topics.
Background of the Study
Globalization is affecting every area of human endeavor all over the world. As a result, there is a very high demand for improvement in nearly every aspect of human life. This demand has mounted serious pressures on all that are concerned all over the world for improvement and development. No nation or any of its component or institution wants to be left out. The economy, politics, socialization and education of the world are individually affected by globalization. School subjects including Economics and the modes of instruction are also affected.
Economics curriculum is particularly affected by these changes. The curriculum content is no longer as scanty, without mathematical and statistical contents, as it used to be from the inception till about a decade ago. Then virtually every candidate can pass it at credit level without difficulty at the school certificate and general certificate examinations. Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (2008) thus confirm that “the 21st century has witnessed landmark economic reforms and strategisation globally. In Nigeria, the last decade has also witnessed unprecedented economic reforms that have influenced different sectors of the economy. These reforms have ushered different concepts, models and theories not only into Economics but also into other disciplines. There is therefore need to make the post-basic Economics curriculum responsive to make it relevant to Nigeria’s quest to be among the top 20 players of the world economy come 2020. Development of the human capital and the entire country is the hall mark of new Economics curriculum”. “Curriculum can be taken to mean the instruments by means of which schools seek to translate the hopes of the society into concrete reality” (Onwuka, 2002:7). Curriculum, according to Great Schools Partnership (2014),is “the knowledge and skills students are expected to learn, which includes learning standard or learning objectives they are expected to meet; the units and lessons that teachers teach; the assignments … materials …tests, assessments, and other methods used to evaluate student learning”. Economics was introduced in secondary schools curriculum in Nigeria in 1966 and the students were first examined in 1967 after much controversy which led to the realization that Economics was necessary for every citizen to have the knowledge of economic system and how the economy works. It was generally believed that only those who studied Economics had all the answer to all the problems of the country. Economics was recognized as a vehicle of strict intellectual discipline. Economic is a course of study that is taught in secondary schools, college of education, polytechnics and Universities. It is central to the study of management and social science courses in the country’s tertiary institutions. Without a credit pass in it in ordinary level certificate examinations, most tertiary institutions will not offer admission to the candidates to study management and certain social science courses. It is a social science that is concerned with optimum allocation and utilization of resource to satisfy the wants of consumers, firms and the economy at large. It aims at maximizing returns such as utility, profit, welfare, personal income, firms’ out-put et cetera, at the micro level; and potential out-put, full employment level while keeping inflation low, equilibrium level of income and so on, at the macro level. It is a vehicle for rapid economic development, self reliance, economic /financial welfare and national economic self reliant. It governs the government economic policies and policy implementation, and it is a tool for regulating the economy. Economics is a course that cut across every sector of the economy and if Nigeria is going to achieve the current economic development plans: Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and vision 20: 2020 and any short, medium or long term economic plan, the teaching of economic theories, concepts and policies effectively in schools must be an imperative.
Without effective instructional delivery of Economics, nations will, without doubt, remain impoverished. This is because there must, for instance, be technological and economical efficiency in the use of both human and material resource in Nigeria to maximize output and minimize costs for firms, maximize satisfaction for consumers and welfare for governments, leading to increased Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which in-turn leads to increase in standard of living. There is also the need to stabilize the economy through effective trade, monetary and fiscal policies in order to maintain stable exchange rate, favourable terms and balance of payment as well as to reduce unemployment, control inflation and to tackle the problem of stagflation which currently ravaging the economy.
Unfortunately, many students fail Economics in senior secondary school certificate examinations organized by West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO). In fact, the poor academic achievement, retention and interest of senior secondary school students in Economics is alarming since the enrichment of the curriculum with many more contents including those that are mathematical and statistical in nature. Difficult Concepts and Topics in Economics/ Social Science Education 511 (SSE 511) students of School of Post Graduate Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, carried out a survey assignment in Enugu state of Nigeria on difficult concepts and topics in secondary school Economics and find out that many students and teachers perceive many concepts and topics in Economics difficult and that students’ dispositions about the subject have changed from what they used to be. According to them, the students claimed that the topics are too many, some of them are very difficult and that some are strange (Difficult Concepts in Economics [SSE 511] Students, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 16th February, 2015; personal communication). Using percentage for data analysis and 50% as base line for topics not preferred by the students to be set in senior secondary school certificate examination, if they were asked to choose, SSE 511 students discovered that the concepts and topics not preferred because they are perceived difficult include price determination; elasticity of demand and supply; types of demand and supply; problems involving graphical illustration; nature of Nigeria economy; mining; instruments for business finance; theory of consumer behavior; basic tools for economic analysis; fiscal policy; element of national income accounting; human capital development; economic lessons from Asian Tigers, Japan, Europe and America; Economic reform programme; current economic plans and economic development challenges amongst others.
Researchers have found out that the causes of students’ poor achievement, interest and retention in Economics are traceable to poor teaching methods, the difficult nature of some Economics concepts and topics, negative attitudes of students towards Economics, gender factors, school locations and teachers/students inability to cover their syllabus before they take their final examinations in Economics (Okwor & Nwaosu, 2011& WAEC chief examiner’s report, 2007).
It has been observed that the use of expository teaching strategy which seemed to be successful due to the scanty Economics curriculum content as at then is no longer effective in teaching and learning Economics in secondary schools since the enrichment of the curriculum with new concepts, models and theories. Ossai (2014:153) stated that “instructional strategy otherwise known as teaching method can be conceived of as a plan of activities to teach content and sequence learning experience”. Meziobi, Fubara and Meziobi (2008) stated that “teaching strategies are the umbrella term, in fact an overall large scale teaching plan or framework, that encapsulate both teaching methods and teaching techniques.” Therefore, instructional strategy includes the method and the techniques used in and outside the classroom by the teacher and learners in order to achieve the planned learning outcome.
It has been observed that teachers in Nigeria predominantly use expository instructional strategy for content delivery in various subjects (including Economics). In order to cover the scheme of work, teachers resort to transmission of facts, dogmas and theories to the students who have to regurgitate them in half digested form in examination. Oduolowu (2007) observed that “among other outdated instructional techniques, rote learning which focuses on memorization and regurgitation of facts is still used by teachers in the country (including those in Asaba Educational Zone in Delta State) p. 15. Conventional instructional method of ‘talk and chalk’ is grossly inadequate for teaching a problem- solving approach discipline such as Economics. The prevalent uses of traditional teaching method in teaching Economics do not allow the students to have in-depth knowledge of Economics concepts which also adversely affects retention and interest. This ugly development hinders the critical thinking skill that Economics develops in the learners and can make the topics difficult to the students. In order to achieve instructional objectives and education goals, students are expected to excel in the academic work, experience comfortable academic environment and provision of necessary infrastructural facilities while “Gbanaja” according to Ossai, (2014), “pointed out that the method adopted by any teacher in teaching any particular subject can affect learner’s level of achievement”. There is therefore, the need to employ appropriate instructional strategy that can enhance students’ achievements, interests and retention in Economics irrespective of their gender groups and their school locations.
Knowledge construction requires higher cognitive ability on the part of the learner to enable him/her become conscious of himself as a learner, his level of knowledge, his learning ability, the learning task needed to be performed, what is needed to be learnt from the curriculum content, be able to adjust his/her previous knowledge and use it meaningfully to restructure the new knowledge in the best way he/she can easily make meaning out of it whether in the classroom, in group interactions and in personal studies. The instructional strategies currently adopted by teachers neglected and overlooked these potentials at the various phases of Economics curriculum. However, the meta-cognitive instructional strategy variously referred to as memory-monitoring and self regulation, meta-reasoning, meta-cognition, meta-awareness and auto-consciousness can help students to improve their achievement, interest and retention in Economics. Various scholars gave various definitions of meta-cognition. Being aware of what you know and don’t know, understanding what you will need to know for a certain task and having an idea of how to use your current skill to learn what you don’t know is an aspect of meta-cognition. This is the aspect of meta-cognition referred to as meta-cognitive knowledge or meta-cognitive awareness which is made up of personal knowledge, task knowledge and strategic knowledge. Meta-cognition is defined by some scholars as the process of thinking about thinking and reflecting on ones thinking and seems to be a big predictor of success: academically, socially and professionally. In this definition, meta-cognitive awareness and meta-cognitive regulation are implied, though there is the third stage or class of meta-cognition referred to as meta-cognitive experience which has to do with the drive or the motive that propels active learning of perceived difficult task. Chick (2015) defined meta-cognition as the process used to plan, monitor and assess ones understanding and performances and includes ones thinking and learning and oneself as a thinker and learner. In Chick’s definition, the process of planning, monitoring and assessing ones understanding and performances talks about the three steps in meta-cognitive strategy or meta-cognitive regulation while the reference of oneself as a thinker and a learner has to do with meta-cognitive awareness all of which may not be developed in learners except through instruction. Any one that acquired meta-cognitive abilities has acquired the knowledge, skills, and values that govern, control and regulate the learning of other knowledge, skills and value. This means that meta-cognition has in it, the driving force behind acquisition of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values. It affects the three domains of educational objectives in which retention, achievement and interest lie. The more meta-cognitive one is, the more one would be able to acquire knowledge, skills, attitudes and values. It will help learners to choose the right cognitive tool for task and plays critical roles in active and successful learning.