Alternative Conceptions as Determinant Factor for Students’ Explanation of Biological Phenomena of Genetics



Alternative conceptions are erroneous ideas about natural phenomena that students construct before formal instructions.  These ideas are different from what is generally accepted in the scientific community.  They are caused by cultural and social factors.  These factors affect the child in his/her process of growing up and eventually culminate in conceptions which he/she brings to the classroom.  Studies have shown that these alternative conceptions are deeply rooted and if neglected can hinder effective teaching and learning.  This study sought to determine if the method of teaching use by biology teachers in our secondary schools can address these alternative conceptions to enhance achievement in biology.  The design used for the study was quasi- experimental design.  Two research questions and one hypothesis guided the study.  The sample was made up of 282 SS3 biology students.  The instrument was a 30-item multiple choice Biology Achievement Test (BAT) on genetics.  The BAT was face and content validated by experts in Measurement and Evaluation and Biology Education.  Also, a reliability co-efficient of 0.82 was obtained for BAT using Kuder Richardson Formula 20.  Percentage was used to answer the research questions and hypothesis was analyzed using Pearson’s r.  The study revealed that alternative conceptions exist in genetics and that significant majority of students did not shift in their alternative conceptions even after formal instructions by the teacher.  The researcher recommended conceptual change instructional model as an intervention package that will enable students understand biological concepts appropriately so that they can explain biological phenomena adequately.

Keywords: Alternative conceptions, Biological phenomena, Genetics.

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