Least mastered competencies in biology: Basis for instructional intervention


  • Jack Torno Delos Santos College of Teacher Education, President Ramon Magsaysay State University
  • Roselyn Lim College of Teacher Education, President Ramon Magsaysay State University
  • Danilo V. Jr Rogayan College of Teacher Education, President Ramon Magsaysay State University




Biology education, Biology learning, Interest in biology, Mastered competencies


Teaching the students of today’s generation has been a perennial challenge for the teachers, particularly in providing these students the core competencies to be more globally competitive and functionality literate in science and in biological disciplines in particular. The purpose of this study was to determine the least mastered competencies of 10 graders in different biology competencies they learned from grade 7 to grade 10. The researchers used a quantitative descriptive cross-sectional study utilizing a self-made survey questionnaire. The respondents were 122 of 10 graders of three state-owned secondary schools in Zambales, Philippines. The findings showed that the biology competencies for seven and eight graders were the least mastered by graders. There were also significant differences of students’ least mastered competencies by school and sex. There were also significant correlations among the least mastered competencies in biology. The study recommends that science teachers may consider employing inquiry-based and hands-on learning activities to further enhance the proficiency of students in biology and decrease students’ difficulties.


Download data is not yet available.


Ali, T. (2012). A case study of the common difficulties experienced by high school students in chemistry classroom in Gilgit-Baltistan (Pakistan). SAGE Open, 2(2), 2158244012447299. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244012447299

Aliaga, M., & Gunderson, B. (2000). Introduction to quantitative research. Doing quantitative research in education with SPSS (pp. 1–11). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781849209014.n1

Anderman, E. M., Sinatra, G. M., & Gray, D. L. (2012). The challenges of teaching and learning about science in the twenty-first century: Exploring the abilities and constraints of adolescent learners. Studies in Science Education, 48(1), 89-117. https://doi.org/10.1080/03057267.2012.655038

Antipolo, A. M. R., & Rogayan, D. V. Jr. (2021). Filipino prospective teachers’ experiences in teaching in K12 science curriculum: A cross-sectional research. Jurnal Pendidikan Biologi Indonesia, 7(1), 1-10. https://doi.org/10. 2022219/jpbi.v7i1.15468

Ardan A. S., Ardi, M., Hala, Y., Supu A., & Dirawan G. D. (2015). Needs assessment to development of biology textbook for high school class x-based the local wisdom of Timor. International Education Studies, 8(4), 52-59. https://doi.org/10.5539/ies.v8n4p52

Awan, R.-U.-N., Sarwar, M., Naz, A., & Noreen, G. (2011). Attitudes toward science among school students of different nations: A review study. Journal of College Teaching & Learning (TLC), 8(2). https://doi.org/10.19030/tlc.v8i2.3555

Bahar M, Johnstone AH, Hansell MH (1999). Revisiting learning difficulties in biology. Journal of Biological Education, 33(2), 84-86. https://doi.org/10.1080/00219266.1999.9655648

Baram‐Tsabari A., & Yarden A. (2005). Characterizing children’s spontaneous interests in science and technology. International Journal of Science Education, 27(7), 803–826. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500690500038389

Bergmann, J., & Sams, A. (2012). Flip your classroom: Reach every student in every class every day. International Society for Technology in Education.

Buckley, E. (2018, June 8). The importance of biology in school curriculum. Charter Me Now. https://chartermenow.com/the-importance-of-biology-in-school-curriculum/

Chi, S., Wang, Z., Liu, X., & Zhu, L. (2017). Associations among attitudes, perceived difficulty of learning science, gender, parents’ occupation and students’ scientific competencies. International Journal of Science Education, 39(16), 2171-2188. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2017.1366675

Cimer A. (2004). A study of Turkish biology teachers’ and students’ views of effective teaching in schools and teacher education (Published Doctoral Dissertation). The University of Nottingham, Nottingham, U.K. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/233358366

Cimer, A. (2012). What makes biology learning difficult and effective: Students’ views? Educational Research and Reviews, 7(3), 61-71. https://academicjournals.org/article/article1379665422_Cimer.pdf

Cipkova E., Karolcik S., Dudova N., & Nagyova S. (2018). What is the students’ interest in biology after the biology curriculum modification? The Curriculum Journal, 29(3), 370–386. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585176.2017.1406811

Dawson C. (2000). Upper primary boys’ and girls’ interests in science: Have they changed since 1980? International Journal of Science Education, 22(6), 557–570. https://doi.org/10.1080/095006900289660

Department of Education (DepEd). (2016). Science K to 12 Curriculum Guide. https://www.deped.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Science-CG_with-tagged-sci-equipment_revised.pdf

Etobro A. B., & Fabinu O. E. (2017). Students’ perceptions of difficult concepts in biology in senior secondary schools in Lagos state. Global Journal of Educational Research, 16(2), 139. https://doi.org/10.4314/gjedr.v16i2.8

Foy, P., Arora, A., & Stanco, G. M. (2013). TIMSS 2011 User Guide for the International Database. ERIC. https://timssandpirls.bc.edu/timss2011/downloads/T11_UserGuide.pdf

Garza, E., & Cavazos, L. (2020). Shifting to an outdoor learning space: Embracing nature to support science process skills for english learners. Journal of the World Federation of Associations of Teacher Education, 3(3), 32-49. https://www.worldfate.org/docpdf/journal_03-03.pdf

Grosschedl, J., Mahler, D., Kleickmann, T. & Harms, U. (2014). Content related knowledge of biology teachers from secondary schools: Structure and learning opportunities. International Journal of Science Education, 36(14), 2335-2366. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2014.923949

Honey, M. A., & Hilton, M. L. (2011). Learning science through computer games and simulations. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/13078

Ignisha Rajathi, G., Vedhapriyavandhana, R., Pooranam, N., & Oswalt Manoj, S. (2021). Holistic Education by breaking the binaries beyond the boundaries. Turkish Journal of Computer and Mathematics Education, 12(1S), 709-717. https://www.turcomat.org/index.php/turkbilmat/article/view/2514

Kelly, M. A., Forber, J., Conlon, L., Roche, M., & Stasa, H. (2014). Empowering the registered nurses of tomorrow: Students' perspectives of a simulation experience for recognising and managing a deteriorating patient. Nurse Education Today, 34(5), 724–729. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2013.08.014

Kempa, R. F. (2006). Students' learning difficulties in science. Causes and possible remedies. Enseñanza de las Ciencias. Revista de investigación y experiencias didácticas, 9(2), 119-128. https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/ensciencias.4702

Lawsin, N.L.P. & Garcia, G. (2017). Development of digital courseware in Transmission Genetics (Published Master's Thesis). Philippine Normal University, Manila. https://pnu-onlinecommons.org/omp/index.php/pnu-oc/catalog/book/369

Lazarowitz, R., & Penso, S. (1992). High school students' difficulties in learning biology concepts. Journal of Biological Education, 26(3), 215-223. https://doi.org/10.1080/00219266.1992.9655276

Malkawi, N. A. M., & Smadi, M. (2018). The effectiveness of using brainstorming strategy in the development of academic achievement of sixth grade students in English grammar at public schools in Jordan. International Education Studies, 11(3), 92-100. https://doi.org/10.5539/ies.v11n3p92

Millanes, M. A. A., Paderna, E. E. S., & Que, E. N. (2017). Podcast-Integrated physics teaching approach: Effects on student conceptual understanding. The Normal Lights, 11(2), 60-85. https://po.pnuresearchportal.org/ejournal/index.php/normallights/article/view/527

Miller, P. E. (1963). A comparison of the abilities of secondary teachers and students biology to understand science. Proceeding of the lowa Academy of Science, 70(1), 510-513. https://scholarworks.uni.edu/pias/vol70/iss1/82/

National Geographic. (n.d.). Field work. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/field-work

Osborne, J., & Collins, S. (2000). Pupils' & parents’ views of the school science curriculum. London: Kings College. https://www.kcl.ac.uk/archive/website-resources/education/web-files2/news-files/ppt.pdf

Ozcan, N. (2003). A group of students’ and teachers’ perceptions with respect to biology education at high school level (MA Thesis). Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. https://etd.lib.metu.edu.tr/upload/1086933/index.pdf

Patterson, A., & Gray, S. (2019). Teaching to Transform: (W)holistic Science Pedagogy. Theory into Practice, 58(4), 328-337. https://doi.org/10.1080/00405841.2019.1626616

Pem, K. (2019). Can computer- assisted through tailored motion graphics assist in biology teaching and enhance academic results and science visual literacy in grade 8 biology learners in Mauritius? Open University of Mauritius. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Can-Computer-Assisted-Instructions

Prokop, P., Tuncer, G., & Chuda, J. (2007). Slovakian students’ attitudes toward biology. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 3(4), 287–295. https://doi.org/10.12973/ejmste/75409

Reddy, L. (2017). Gender differences in attitudes to learning science in grade 7. African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 21(1), 26-36. https://doi.org/10.1080/18117295.2017.1279450

Rogayan, D. V. Jr., & Dollete, L. F. (2019). Development and validation of physical science workbook for senior high school. Science Education International, 30(4), 284-290. https://doi.org/10.33828/sei.v30. i4.5

Sagmeister, K. J., Schinagl, C. W., Kapelari, S., & Vrabl, P. (2020). Students’ experiences of working with a socio-scientific issues-based curriculum unit using role-playing to negotiate antibiotic resistance. Frontiers in Microbiology, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2020.577501

Sarwar M., Naz A., & Noreen, G. (2011). Attitudes toward science among school students of different nations: A review study. Journal of College Teaching and Learning, 8(2), 43. https://doi.org/10.19030/tlc.v8i2.3555

Schwab, K., & Sala-i-Martín, X. (2016). The global competitiveness report 2013–2014: Full data edition. http://repositorio.colciencias.gov.co:8080/handle/11146/223

SEI-DOST & UP NISMED. (2011). Framework for Philippine science teacher education. Manila: SEI-DOST & UP NISMED. https://sei.dost.gov.ph/images/downloads/publ/sei_sciteach.pdf

Sjøberg, S., & Schreiner, C. (2010). The ROSE project: An overview and key findings. Oslo: University of Oslo. https://roseproject.no/network/countries/norway/eng/nor-Sjoberg-Schreiner-overview-2010.pdf

Taylor, J. C., Tseng, C. M., Murillo, A., Therrien, W., & Hand, B. (2018). Using argument-based science inquiry to improve science achievement for students with disabilities in inclusive classrooms. Journal of Science Education for Students with Disabilities, 21(1), 1-14. https://doi.org/10.14448/jsesd.10.0001

Tekkaya C., Ozkan O., & Sungur S. (2001). Biology concepts perceived as difficult by Turkish High School students. Journal of Hacettepe University Education Faculty, 21, 145-150. http://www.efdergi.hacettepe.edu.tr/yonetim/icerik/makaleler/1048-published.pdf

TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study). (2013). TIMSS 2011 user guide for the international data base. Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College. https://timssandpirls.bc.edu/timss2011/downloads/T11_UserGuide.pdf

World Economic Forum (2014). Global competitiveness report. https://reports.weforum.org/global-competitiveness-report-2014-2015/

Zeidan A. (2010). The Relationship between grade 11 Palestinian attitudes toward biology and their perceptions of the biology learning environment. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 8(5), 783–800. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-009-9185-8



2021-10-11 — Updated on 2021-10-11



Academic Achievement and Learning Difficulties