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INFLUENCE OF STUDENTS’ ATTITUDES TO THE LEARNING OF MATHEMATICS ON THEIR ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN JALINGO METROPOLIS

ABSTRACT

This study looked at secondary school pupils’ attitudes about mathematics instruction in Nigeria’s Jalingo Metropolis. This research was prompted by apparent misconceptions among students, parents, instructors, and even government officials that mathematics is a difficult subject. The study’s goals were to: determine the extent to which students’ attitudes toward mathematics affect their academic performance in exams; establish the relationship between teachers’ qualifications, teaching methods, instructional materials, and attitudes of both teachers and students influence mathematics teaching and learning, as well as the implications for students’ academic performance.

The goal of this study was to see if students’ attitudes toward mathematics are affected by their gender, and, eventually, to see if male students score much better academically than female students in mathematics examinations. The data was collected from the respondents using a well-structured questionnaire. A total of 120 people were surveyed.

The findings revealed that mathematics teachers’ qualifications, teaching methods, and instructional resources were all significant drivers of students’ performance in learning mathematics and academic accomplishment. In addition, students’ attitudes about mathematics instruction and learning influenced their academic achievement. According to the findings of this study, it is necessary to increase the quality of mathematics teachers. The government of Taraba State should invest in serious in-service mathematics teacher training to prepare them to teach mathematics in secondary schools. There is also a need for mathematics teachers to try to understand their students’ perceptions and to adopt instructional strategies and improvised teaching aids where none exist, so that whatever students perceive as easy turns out to be easy and whatever is difficult is properly addressed to motivate and encourage students to see the need in learning mathematics.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Mathematics is regarded as an important tool in many fields around the world, including natural science, engineering, medicine, economics, and social sciences. Algebra includes abstract algebra, modules, vector spaces, combinatory and number theory; analysis includes calculus, real and complex analysis, vector and tensor analysis, differential equations, and functional analysis; geometry includes euclidean and geometric geometry, affine, metric, projective geometry, discrete geometry, differential geometry, and algebraic geometry; and foundations include logic, computability, recursion theory, and semantics (Obodo, 2004). The application of mathematical knowledge to other subjects is the focus of applied mathematics as a branch of mathematics.

This branch of mathematics stimulates and utilizes new mathematical discoveries, resulting in the formation of wholly new mathematical disciplines such as statistics and game theory. Trading, land surveying, painting and weaving patterns, and time recording were among the first applications of mathematics. Since then, mathematics has been widely applied to politics, the stock market, financial calculations (such as budgeting), population, competition, and even as a status symbol (Usman & Ojo, 2014).

Math is a science with fundamental scientific abilities and goals. According to Zakariyya (2014), there will be no science without mathematics, no science without sciences, no technology without technology, and no contemporary civilization without technology. According to this assertion, It is therefore an accepted truth that no society can achieve greatness unless there is a plentiful supply of dedicated men and women in all fields critical to its development, and developing such experts as scientists and technologists to satisfy the concept, there is a need for a good understanding of mathematics in order to work efficiently. With a thorough understanding of mathematics, education enables science and technology to translate human abilities and enterprises into material prosperity and social comforts. It allows man to live comfortably and streamlines his activities. While science is primarily concerned with the generation of knowledge, technology has supplied a tractor for farming instead of a hoe and a vacuum cleaner for clearing instead of a broom.

Mathematics, according to Thomaskutty and George (2008), cannot be considered solely a classroom discipline. This meant that a merchant, a housewife, a sportsman, a farmer, and an employee needed mathematics just as much as an academician, a scientist, or an engineer. A common man can get by without learning to read and write on occasion, but he will never be able to get by without learning to count and calculate. As a result, mathematics has become a commonplace occurrence that affects everyone. It is used by man in his daily life and activities, either directly or indirectly. It is a human innovation, conceived in an effort to answer human issues (Kolawole & Oluwatayo, 2005). Despite the importance of mathematics in society, there are still certain problems. While topic curricular content changed from time to time, the framework and practice remained constant (Akinlua, 2007: 99). One of the persistent elements is that the relevance of examination and certification as a means of assessing students in the learning process is still emphasized. However, as Lugard (1965) pointed out, the primary goal of Western education was to generate clerks and interpreters to serve the imperial overlords’ administrative apparatus. This style of education, according to Akinlua (2007: 95), was not “built on realistic philosophical premises,” and while the frame of reference for curricular content was localized, other relevant concerns like as learning and teaching methods were based on the British system.

Mathematics, as a fundamental subject in secondary schools, is one of the subjects impacted by the Nigerian educational system’s curriculum content. Mathematics will be defined as numbers and operations, algebra, and geometry in this subject (Michelli, 2013).

Students’ success or failure in a subject is determined by how they perceive it. Some students view mathematics as a no-go area due to the negative impression passed down to them by previous generations who had bad experiences with unqualified mathematics teachers; that mathematics is the most difficult subject in school, that the subject is not meant for everyone, that not everyone passes it, that it is meant for those with special talent, that some people were born to do mathematics while others were not; that mathematics is the most difficult subject in school, that the subject is not meant for everyone, that it is meant for those. Hearing all of these negative sentiments before reaching school age or being admitted to school, the child develops a psychological phobia of the subject and enters the class with these preconceived conceptions and biases, which dissociate learning patterns that are unable to build upon. This belief has harmed the teaching and learning of mathematics significantly. Math phobia is the result of these incorrect beliefs. That is, fear leads to low productivity, which leads to poor academic performance in mathematics. This study looks at how students’ attitudes about mathematics learning affect their academic performance in senior secondary schools in Jalingo.

 Statement of the problem

This research was prompted by apparent misconceptions among students, parents, instructors, and even government officials that mathematics is a difficult subject. When compared to pupils from other countries, such as Ghana, most Nigerian students perform badly in mathematics examinations. These findings encourage the development of additional research aimed at characterizing and understanding various variables that may influence student mathematics ability. This will aid in the development of future strategies for action in schools, families, and communities to improve the failure rate in mathematics on school and public examinations. Students’ perceptions of a teacher or a subject also influence their success or failure in that area. Because of negative impressions passed down to them by previous generations who had bad experiences with unqualified mathematics teachers, some students today perceive mathematics as a no-go area: mathematics is the most difficult subject in school, it is not meant for everyone, not everyone passes it, it is meant for those with special talent (Audu, 1995). Hearing all of these bad expressions before reaching school age or being admitted to school, the youngster develops a psychological phobia of the subject, and when confronted with any mathematical problem-solving will immediately conceptualize him/her.

As a result, both teachers and students’ hierarchy demands should be addressed in order to inspire both sides to improve their performance. According to Maslow, teachers should do everything they can to help students meet their deficiencies (mathematics), because an inner drive for learning will not arise until these basic needs are addressed. He observed that teachers are not always able to intervene in a student’s life to the extent necessary to meet deficiency needs, but that teachers are in a position to provide a classroom conducive to learning, which could meet deficiency needs, particularly in mathematics, a subject in which no student could be admitted to any tertiary institution if not passed with credit, especially in science and technology-related courses, if not passed with credit. As much as teachers and, in particular, parents,

Objective of the study

The study’s major goal is to look into the impact of students’ attitudes toward mathematics learning on their academic performance in senior secondary schools in Jalingo. The study’s objectives are as follows:

i. Determine whether students’ attitudes about mathematics affect their academic achievement in exams.

 

ii. look on how teacher qualifications and teaching practices affect students’ academic achievement in secondary school mathematics exams.

 

iii. Determine whether the student’s gender influences his or her attitude toward mathematics learning.

Research Questions

The following research questions were proposed to lead the study based on the research objectives:

1. Does a student’s attitude toward mathematics have an impact on their academic achievement in exams?

2. Do teachers’ qualifications and teaching approaches affect students’ academic success in secondary school mathematics exams?

3. Is a student’s gender a factor in his or her approach toward mathematics study?

 Significance of the Study

The goal is to educate current and future generations about the potential elements that affect mathematics learning and teaching in secondary schools, resulting in a high rate of failure in the subject. What a person thinks, feels, and wants to do or behave towards an idea or object is determined by their attitude toward that idea or object. As a result, students’ perceptions of their teachers’ qualifications may influence their attitudes toward learning mathematics or any other school topic, as well as their academic achievement in exams. Students frequently criticize their teachers on topics such as subject knowledge, communication, ability, and the selection of an effective teaching technique, class management, and leadership style. A teacher who scores highly on these indices in the eyes of his or her pupils is more likely to gain their trust, respect, and admiration, and in turn become their role model, mentor, and inspirator in the subject taught. By evaluating the many perspectives, attitudes, beliefs, and myths about mathematics held by parents, former students, community members, and policymakers, such perceptions, attitudes, beliefs, and myths can be scientifically questioned, supported, or discouraged. The information gathered will help promote better strategies and measures, as well as information and understanding.

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