Science scholars's perceptions on rearrangement of some physics topics as a way of enhancing performance: a case of Lusaka district

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Kapata, Abel, C
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The University of Zambia
This study was aimed at exploring the perceptions of science scholars on the rearrangement of some physics topics as a way of enhancing performance at grade 12 physics and science national examinations. A case of selected institutions in Lusaka district was considered. The study was guided by the following objectives: To determine the perceptions of scholars (Science Specialists, Educators and Learners) on the rearrangement of some physics topics, to establish the general performance of grade 12 pupils in physics and science from 2003 to 2014 and to identify topics that can enhance the performance. An exploratory research design was used in which purposive and simple random sampling procedures were employed. The sample comprised 312 respondents - 86 were college and university students who were studying physics, 59 were teachers who were either teaching or had taught physics or science, 116 were pupils from secondary schools, and 53 were science specialists from Examinations Council of Zambia, Curriculum Development Centre, National Technology and Science Council and the Zambia Bureau of Standards. The study was situated in the frameworks of Gagne’s model of instruction design and the attribution theory. Gagne’s model of instructional design focuses on the learning outcomes and how to arrange specific instructional events to achieve those outcomes and consequently points out the need for prerequisite knowledge for the process of meaningful learning. The attribution theory suggests that success or failure may be attributed to internal or external factors which can be controllable or uncontrollable. Data on scholars’ perceptions was collected via structured questionnaire while the one on pupils’ performance was accessed from the Examinations Council of Zambia. Data was quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed. Quantitative analysis was done descriptively using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software. The findings indicated that science scholars perceive the rearrangement of some physics topics as one of the ways which might enhance the performance. Relative to other selected compulsory subjects pupils performance in physics and science was lower and differed significantly (p = 0.000 for 2003, p = 0.00145 for 2009 and p = 0.000 for 2014). Finally, the results show that some topics where candidates performed poorly did not have adequate prerequisite coverage meanwhile some were repeated at both junior and senior secondary levels. In view of the above, the study recommended that those topics where candidates performed poorly (radioactivity, electromagnetism or basic electronics) are the ones which might enhance the performance if they were rearranged and their prerequisites reconsidered.
Science--Study and teaching--Physics--Zambia , Science(Physics)--Student performance--Rearrangement of topics--Zambia