PATH ANALYSIS OF THE INFLUENCE OF TEACHER AND STUDENT VARIABLES ON SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT IN PHYSICS
This study developed a causal model for the explanation of the achievement of students in physics based on eight selected teacher and student variables. A correlational survey research design was adopted for the study. The study was carried out in both Obollo-Afor and Nsukka Education zones of Enugu state. Five thousand nine hundred and thirty five (5935) senior secondary two (SS2) physics students for 2015/2016 and two hundred and sixty two (262) physics teachers in all the one hundred and nine (109) government owned senior secondary schools in Obollo-Afor and Nsukka Education Zones of Enugu State formed the target population for the study. A sample of six hundred and thirty (630) respondents comprising of five hundred and eight five (585) SSII physics students and forty five (45) physics teachers obtained through multi-stage sampling procedure was used for the study. The first stage involved the use of purposive sampling technique to select two education zones from the six education zones in Enugu State. The second stage involved the use of proportionate stratified random sampling technique to draw 20 schools from a population of 50 schools in Obollo-Afor Education zone and 25 schools from a population of 59 schools in Nsukka Education Zone. In each of the schools, one SS 3 physics teacher was purposively selected for the study. Finally, disproportionate stratified sampling technique was used to draw 13 physics students from each of the 45 senior secondary schools that were used for the study making a total of 585 physics students. Data were collected using Teacher Variable Questionnaire (TVQ), Students’ Attitude to Physics Inventory and Students score proforma (SAPI). The instruments were appropriately validated by two experts in measurement and evaluation, and one expert in physics education all from the department of Science Education University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Reliability indices of TVQ and SAPI were estimated to be 0.948 and .958 using Cronbach Alpha. Data collected were analysed using path analysis and multiple regression analysis. The findings of the study showed that the most meaningful causal model for providing an explanation of the achievement of students in physics is the recursive model involving, family background of students, qualification of teachers, students’ attitude to physics, professional development and classroom practices. Besides, family background of students, qualification of teachers and students’ attitude to physics significantly influenced students’ achievement in physics. It was found also that there is no significant model fit between the empirically observed model and theoretical model proposed for the study. One of the implications of these findings is that if the family background of the students, qualification of teachers and students’ attitude to physics are not considered in designing an instruction for the physics students, their achievement in the subject may not be enhanced. Based on that, it was recommended among others that physics teachers should take into consideration the students’ attitudes and family background characteristics during teaching and learning process.