Enhancing Science Process Skills and Academic Performance in Biology: The Impact of Practical Work

Keywords: Academic performance, Biology, Practical work, Science process skills


Purpose of the study: This study aims to determine whether the use of practical work can enhance General Science students’ science process skills acquisition and academic performance students in biology at Juaben Senior High School in Ghana. The study sought to answer two research questions and test one hypothesis at a 0.05 significance level.  

Methodology: The study used action research, and the sample consisted of 45 students, selected through convenience sampling. The study used various instruments, including pre- and post-tests, weekly intervention exercises, and scoring rubrics, to collect data. The analysis of the gathered data employed descriptive statistics and a paired sample t-test to reveal and solidify the findings of the study.

Main Findings: According to the study’s results, the use of practical work resulted in a steady increase in students’ acquisition of science process skills in each cycle, and all students were able to demonstrate some degree of required science process skills at the post-test level in contrast to the pre-test level. Furthermore, the pre- and post-test outcomes of a paired sample t-test analysis with a 95% confidence level showed a significant improvement in the academic performance of the students, attributed to practical work.

Novelty/Originality of this study: This research update confirms the need for practical work in biology education and shows that incorporating it into biology lessons enhances students’ acquisition and development of science process skills, which in turn enhances their academic performance.


N. Twahirwa and E. Twizeyimana, “Effectiveness of practical work in physics on academic performance among learners at the selected secondary school in Rwanda,” African Journal of Educational Studies in Mathematics and Sciences, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 97 - 108, 2020, doi: 10.4314/ajesms.v16i.2.7.

V. Antwi, N. A. Sakyi-Hagan, F. Addo-Wuver and A. B, "Effects of practical work on physics learning effectiveness: A case of a senior high school in Ghana,” East African Journal of Education and Social Sciences, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 43 - 55, 2021, doi: 10.46606/eajess2021v02i03.0102.

Ministry of Education, Teaching syllabus for SHS Biology, Accra: MOE Press, 2010.

I. S. Nwuba, A. M. Osuafor, O. S. Egwu and O. F. Awosika, “Promoting senior high school students' acquisition of science process skills in biology using experiential learning approach in Anambra State, Nigeria,” Asian J. Interdiscip. Res, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 24 - 33, 2022, doi: 10.54392/ajir2243.

R. O. Ongowo and F. C. Indoshi, “Science Process Skills in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education Bioogy Pratical Examinations,” Creative Education, vol. 4, no. 11, pp. 713 - 717, 2013, doi: 10.4236/ce.2013.411101.

A. H. Kamba, A. A. Giwa, I. A. Libata and G. T. Wakkala, “The relationship between science process skills and students attitude toward physics in senior secondary school in Aliero metropolis,” African Educational Research Journal, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 107 - 113, 2018, doi: 10.30918/AERJ.63.18.038.

E. Kusuma., and R. Rusmansyah, "”nalysis of Science Process Skills for Senior High School Students in Banjarmasin,” Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research, vol. 619, pp. 11 - 16, 2021, https://doi.org/10.2991/assehr.k.211219.003.

V. B. Issah., and S. A. Oware, “The impact of laboratory practical activities on students' academic performance at queen of peace senior high school in the nadowli-kaleo district of the upper West Region of Ghana,” International Journal of Scientific Research and Management, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 2727-2739, 2023, doi: 10.18535/ijsrm/v11i03.el2.

J. P. Tuyishime., and D. Tukahabwa, “The role of practical approach on students' engagement in Biology: A case of lower secondary schools in Rulindo District, Rwanda,” East African Journal of Education and Social Sciences, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 129 - 139, 2022, doi: 10.4314/eajess.v3i3.187

West African Examinations Council, “Chief Examiners' Report,” WAEC, Accra, 2019.

West African Examinations Council, “Chief Examiners' Report,” WAEC, Accra, 2020.

West African Examinations Council, “Chief Examiners' Report,” WAEC, Accra, 2021.

A. Dagnew and C. Sitotaw, “The use of practical work to enhance ninth grade achievement in biology class: The case of diaspora secondary school, Ethiopia,” Global Journal of Guidance and Counselling in Schools: Current Perspectives, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 95 - 105, 2019, doi: 10.18844/gjgc.v9i3.4253.

H. Oliveira., and J. Bonito, “Practical work in science education: A systenatic literature review,” Front. Educa., vol. 8, pp. 1 - 20, 2023, 10.3389/feduc.2023.1151641

I. Kibirige., R. M. Maake., and F. Mavhunga, “Effect of Practical Work on Grade 10 Learners' Performance in Science in Mankweng Circuit, South Africa,” Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, vol. 5, no. 23, pp. 1568 - 1577, 2014, doi: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n23p1568.

C. C. Okam., and I. I. Zakari, "Impact of laboratory-based teaching strategy on students' attitudes and mastery of chemistry in Katsina Metropolis, Katsina State, Nigeria.,” International Journal of Innovative Research and Development, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 112-121, 2017, doi:

Z. J. Shana and E. S. Abulibdeh, “Science practical work and its impact on students' science achievement,” Journal of Technology and Science Education, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 199-215, 2020, 10.3926/jotse.888

A. P. Johnson, A short guide to action rsearch (4th ed.), New Jersey: Pearson Education, 2012.

A. Clarke, “Teacher inquiry: by any other name (Teachers' Lives, Work, and Professional Education),” in International Encyclopedia of Education (4th ed.), Amsterdam, Elsevier, pp. 232-242, 2023

L. Cohen., L. Manion., K. Morrison, Research Methods in Education (8th ed.), London and New York: Routledge, 2018.

M. K. Tsobaza and Z. C. Njoku, “Effect of practical chemistry teaching strategies on students' acquisition of practical skills in secondary schools in Kogi State,” African Journal of Science, Technology and Mathematics Education, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 195 - 203, 2021.

I. M. Kambaila, K. G and F. Kayamba, “Assessing the effects of Biology Practical Activities on Academic Performance of Senior Secondary School Students, Zambia,” Journal of Education and Practice, vol. 10, no. 24, pp. 116 - 124, 2019, doi: 10.7176/JEP.

A. Alhadabi., and A. C. Karpinski, “Grit, self-efficacy, achievement orientation goals, and academic performance in University students,” International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 519-535, 2020, doi: 10.1080/02673843.2019.1679202

Namoun., and A. Alshanqiti, “Predicting student performance using data mining and learning analytics techniques: A systematic literature review,” Applied Sciences, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 237, 2020, doi: 10.3390/app11010237

E. Alyahyan., and D. Düştegör, “Predicting academic success in higher education: literature review and best practices,” International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 1-21, 2020, doi: 10.1186/s41239-020-0177-7

E. F. S. Rini and F. T. Aldila, “Practicum Activity: Analysis of Science Process Skills and Students’ Critical Thinking Skills: ”, In. Sci. Ed. J, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 54-61, 2023, doi: 10.37251/isej.v4i2.322

H. Waheed., S. U. Hassan., N. R. Aljohani., J. Hardman., S. Alelyani., and R. Nawaz, “Predicting academic performance of students from VLE big data using deep learning models,” Computers in Human behavior, vol. 104, pp. 106189, doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2019.106189

H. Harizon, “Description of Teacher Responses to the Implementation of Student Process Skills Portfolio Assessment”, In. Sci. Ed. J, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 128-134, 2023, doi: 10.37251/isej.v4i3.731

J. Passmore., and R. Evans-Krimme, “The future of coaching: a conceptual framework for the coaching sector from personal craft to scientific process and the implications for practice and research,” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 12, pp. 715228, 2021, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.715228

S. Karabatak., and H. Polat, “The effects of the flipped classroom model designed according to the ARCS motivation strategies on the students’ motivation and academic achievement levels,” Education and Information Technologies, vol. 25, pp. 1475-1495, 2020, doi: 10.1007/s10639-019-09985-1

J. Sari, R. Asyhar, and S. Purwaningsih, “Integrated Science Learning Devices on Substances and Their Characteristics Material with Character Enrichment Through the Application of Problem-Based Learning”, In. Sci. Ed. J, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 90-95, 2023, doi: 10.37251/isej.v4i3.691

G. R. El Said, “How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect higher education learning experience? An empirical investigation of learners’ academic performance at a university in a developing country,” Advances in Human-Computer Interaction, vol. 2021, pp. 1-10, 2021, doi: 10.1155/2021/6649524

M. Kuhfeld., J. Soland., B. Tarasawa., A. Johnson., E. Ruzek., and J. Liu, “Projecting the potential impact of COVID-19 school closures on academic achievement,” Educational Researcher, vol. 49, no. 8, pp. 549-565, 2020, doi: 10.3102/0013189X209659

M. G. B. Doblon, “Senior High School Students’ Multiple Intelligences and their Relationship with Academic Achievement in Science”, In. Sci. Ed. J, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 01-08, 2023, doi: 10.37251/isej.v4i1.298

How to Cite
S. Apeadido, D. Opoku-Mensah, and G. O. Mensah, “Enhancing Science Process Skills and Academic Performance in Biology: The Impact of Practical Work”, In. Sci. Ed. J, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 34-41, Jan. 2024.