EFFECTS OF PROBLEM SOLVING INSTRUCTIONAL PROCESS ON ATTITUDE AND PERFORMANCE IN ALGEBRA AMONG SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL PUPILS IN KADUNA STATE NIGERIA

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EFFECTS OF PROBLEM SOLVING INSTRUCTIONAL PROCESS ON ATTITUDE AND PERFORMANCE IN ALGEBRA AMONG SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL PUPILS IN KADUNA STATE NIGERIA 

ABSTRACT

This study basically assessed the effect of problem solving strategy on attitude and academic performance of students in algebraic concept of mathematics as well as the effect of school location on students’ performance were established., A total of two hundred and thirty-eight (238) students out of a population of two thousand four hundred (2400) students were used for the study.  The responses from the instrument used in the study formed the basis for data analysis   The study cited several literature and empirical studies. The quasi-experimental design was used for this study. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used for the analyses of the data collected from the sampled students. The reliability of the two instruments AAT and ATQ were established with the use of the test-retest reliability estimate and the coefficients were found to be 0.87 and 0.89respectively which signified that the instruments were highly reliable. Five objectives and five research questions were set and five null hypotheses were propounded for the study. Basically, independent sample t-test statistic was used to test all the hypotheses since they are all two variables parametric data.  It was observed that problem solving strategy had significant positive effect on students’ attitude towards algebra as well as improved the performance of students; it was recommended that Mathematics teachers should be given all needed encouragement and motivation to use the problem-solving method in place of the conventional lecture method for better   academic performance. Also, the study recommended that Teachers who had mastery of the subject (algebra) should be encouraged to teaching the rural areas. Finally, the study recommended that for students’ attitude towards the learning of mathematics improves, well qualified teachers should be allowed to teach the subject mathematics.

CHAPTER ONE:

THE PROBLEM

            1.1      BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Mathematics is a body of knowledge centered on concept such as quantity, structure, space and change (Onuh, 2011). Oyifioda (2006) defines mathematics as the science of structure, order and relation that has evolves from elementary practices of counting, measuring and describing the shapes of objects. It involved the abstraction and logical reasoning for counting, calculating measuring and study of shapes and motion of physical objects.

The word mathematics come from Greek word „‟mathema‟‟, which means learning, studying, subject of instruction, science and additionally turned out to have a narrower and a more technical meaning lgomu (2009).. It is a unique aspect of human life and its development and growth has continued from antiquity to the present time. Today mathematics used throughout the world in many fields including science, technical and Art

(Nzeni, 2008).

Mathematics as a Subject has been viewed by many as difficult subject (Edeh, 2008). Ibebuike (2006) has noted that many students, even as far back as their primary school days did not take interest in mathematics to a meaningful degree; remarking that methods of instruction were not very favorable to these students. Furthermore, Chima (2002) has hinted that there was no denying fact that mathematics as a subject has acquired the infamous status of student‟s enemy number one. It has become such a terrible nightmare and monster to most students that not only fear but also hate it. Today, all fields of knowledge are dependent on mathematics for solving problems and predicting outcomes. It is an indispensable tool in creating new knowledge

The quality of teaching the subject cannot therefore be over emphasized. The effectiveness of many educational systems depends on the type of instructional materials or methods, adopted by the teacher. Obiom (2004) confirms this statement by saying that education unlocks the door to modernization but the method the teacher adopts holds the key. In learning process, it is not all teaching methods, strategies and techniques that lead themselves to the effective teaching of mathematics. Therefore, teachers should use methods that involve learner‟s active participation such as problem solving, problem centered teaching and mathematical recreation (Games).

Academic problems affecting teaching and learning of mathematics in Nigeria secondary schools include unparallel hatred, indifference and poor attitude toward mathematics education among others (Adebule, 2004).He further explain that various factors affecting the teaching and learning of mathematics in Nigeria at the secondary school level include: political, Economic and academic problems. He stressed further that the academic problem include student unparalleled hatred, indifference and poor attitude toward mathematics among others.

It is common knowledge however, that performance of students in mathematics at the senior secondary school level in Nigeria is not encourage despite the importance attached to it both as academic discipline and as knowledge that everybody need in the society as stipulated by National Policy on Education (FGN) (2013) in Nigeria though different efforts have been made by Researchers, Educationist, government and non-governmental organization (NGOS), The Federal Government of Nigeria established National Mathematical Centre Abuja in Nigeria and one of the school responsibilities of the centre is the improvement of the teaching and learning of the mathematical  sciences at all levels.

Also non-governmental organizations have been organizing Mathematics competition e.g Cowbell, Mathematical Olympia, MDGS.

The teaching and learning of mathematics at all lends of educational system can be described to be in a dismal state. Just as students find, it difficult to understand (Amazigo, 2000). The difficulties to students and the poor teaching usually come to light through the poor performance of students .students are seen to perform poorly in both internal and external examination. This every concerned educationist is seeking way out of these problems of poor performance in mathematics. One way is the improvement of the teaching process by introduction of problem solving strategy in our class. Hence, the research “Effect of problem solving strategy on Attitude and performance in Algebra among senior secondary school students in Kaduna state”.

            1.2      STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The problem of this study is to analyze the impact of problem solving method on attitude and performance of secondary schools students in Kaduna state, Nigeria. The major concern and important function of the School system is to improve the academic performance of students and produce a pool of skilled manpower that will help a nation grow and develop. Problem solving is at the core of learning in mathematics. Personal classroom experience with secondary school students in Nigeria and results of private and public examination show that most learners are yet to acquire the vital problem solving skills required for success in mathematics.

Mathematics is a subject that majority of the secondary school students are not interested in because of its nature and content (Ojonugwa, 2007). Algebra as one of the major component of mathematics at the senior secondary school is seen as abstractic in nature and cannot be understood by many students as such most questions on algebra are not attempted in the examination at all or fairly attended to, methodology of instruction is another factor that lead to poor performance in Algebra.. Despite several attempts by parents, stakeholders in education and the government of Nigeria to achieve the formulated objectives of mathematics, it seems that attempts are not yielding positive result in senior secondary schools in Kaduna state hence, the basis for this dissertation effect of problem solving strategy on attitude and performance in algebra among senior secondary school students in Kaduna state.

Table 1.1: No of Student who sat Exam. and Percentage Passed in WAEC from 2010 to 2014 in Kaduna State Educational Zones and Location

Year / Location 2010 2011   2012             2013                         2014
Educational Zones    N %

pass

N %

pass

N %

pass

N %

pass

N %

pass

Anchau Rural 3142 8.85 3373 7.26 2240 7.54 2772 0.83 2324 7.10
B/Gwari Rural 1243 0.87 1105 2.239 642 1.71 686 1.17 509 17.29
Giwa Rural 2410 9.87 1649 2.42 2919 5.93 2148 1.86 1326 18.33
Kachia Rural 1370 0.38 1102 2.05 2322 3.66 2022 4.00 1613 12.15
Kaduna Urban 3062 6.54 3354 1.69 2667 12.97 3185 2.61 1553 35.35
Kafanchan Urban 3864 7.22 4503 4.04 3770 16.84 4572 3.83 3379 25.63
Lere Rural 1056 2.69 1328 1.05 1143 0.35 953 3.36 550 26.36
Rigachikun Urban 1245 1.25 1103 0.18 1538 10.25 2139 6.73 1645 22.49
S/Tasha Urban 5932 7.60 6262 1.56 5032 9.29 6643 3.10 4923 13.93
Zaria Urban 5431 11.93 6100 2.270 5022 5.03 5933 2.56 2581 20.88
Godo Godo Rural 3867 30.80 3518 9.92 3966 13.79 3592 3.00 3734 20.89
Zonkwa Rural 1126 12.03 1817 7.54 1839 3.86 1646 3.22 1516 24.60
Total 33748   35214   33100   36291   25653  

Source: Kaduna State Ministry of Education ERC (Education Research Centre) Kaduna (2015) Table 1.2: No of Student who sat Exam. and Percentage Passed in NECO from 2010 to 2014 in Kaduna State Educational Zones and Location

Year / Location           2010                          2011 2012             2013                          2014
Educational Zones    N %

pass

N %

pass

N %

pass

N %

pass

N %

pass

Anchau Rural 1942 3.36 3598 9.59 2240 2.54 3140 3.61 2980 10.40
B/Gwari Rural 779 3.92 1182 6.22 645 1.71 978 2.32 84 1.81
Giwa Rural 2363 5.00 1804 9.02 2919 5.93 2799 2.88 1826 3.24
Kachia Rural 2664 1.06 1370 7.23 2322 3.66 2418 2.95 1993 4.82
Kaduna Urban 3667 6.07 3840 7.28 2667 12.97 4072 14.26 2702 9.97
Kafanchan Urban 2881 0.81 4912 9.39 3770 16.84 5073 7.26 3964 8.92
Lere Rural 1042 0.10 1993 5.96 1143 0.35 1136 4.20 829 1.72
Rigachikun Urban 1324 0.35 1386 6.38 1538 10.21 7422 31.22 1973 1.62
S/Tasha Urban 1146 0.37 6980 7.49 5039 9.29 2341 2.54 5311 32.86
Zaria Urban 2214 2.12 7140 12.92 5022 5.03 6924 7.78 3222 15.93
Godo Godo Rural 2016 5.92 3996 10.97 3966 13.79 4821 18.65 4280 6.10
Zonkwa Rural 1952 2.83 2183 7.54 1839 3.26 1777 3.02 2016 2.86
Total 23990   40384   33110   42901   31180  

Source: Kaduna State Ministry of Education ERC (Education Research Centre) Kaduna (2015)

 

The Head of National Office WAEC Eguridu (2014 SSCE)in a released result stated that passed rate was 33% and in 2013 SSCE it was 31%. Year in year out parents, guidance and the general public have great concern over the massive failure of students in mathematics (Ojonugwa, 2007). Some of the factors responsible for the failure of students in mathematics in secondary school are:-

  1. Poor mathematics background
  2. Students‟ negative attitude towards learning mathematics
  • The quality of the teachers compared with the challenges of teaching mathematics.
  1. Poor instructional materials.
  2. Sub-standard mathematics laboratory (Ojonugwa, 2007)

Manouchetri (2002) pointed out that good subject matter knowledge alone is not enough for a teacher to teach well, they (teachers) need adequate knowledge of how to teach to enable them perform well and give out a rich harvest. Bolaji (1990) pointed out that through effective method of teaching, it may be possible to make mathematics lively and less difficult. Hence, it is against this background that the researcher deems it necessary to investigate the effect of problem solving strategy on attitude and performance in Algebra among senior secondary school students in Kaduna state Nigeria.

            1.3       OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The main objective of this study was to investigate effects of problem solving strategy on attitude and performance in algebra among senior secondary school students in Kaduna State Nigeria, the other specific objectives are to:-

  1. Establish the attitude of student taught Algebra with problem solving strategy

(EG) and those taught with conventional method (CG).

  1. Find out the difference between performance of student taught Algebra with problem solving strategy (EG) and those taught with conventional method (CG).
  2. Investigate the attitude of Male and Female students taught Algebra with problem solving strategy (EG).
  3. Find out difference in performance of male and female students taught Algebra with problem solving strategy (EG),
  4. Find out if students from Urban and Rural areas taught Algebra with problem solving strategy (EG) differs in performance.

    

            1.4       RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The study was guided by the following research questions:

  1. What is the difference between attitude of student taught Algebra with problem solving strategy (EG) and those taught with conventional method (CG)?.
  2. What is the difference between performance of student taught Algebra with problem solving strategy (EG) and those taught with conventional method (CG)?.
  3. Do Male and Female students taught Algebra with problem solving strategy

(EG) differs in attitude?.

  1. Do Male and Female students taught Algebra with problem solving strategy

(EG) differs in performance?

  1. Do students from Urban and Rural areas taught Algebra with problem solving strategy (EG) differs in performance?

 

            1.5       NULL HYPOTHESES

The following research hypotheses were formulated based on the research questions raised and are the null hypothesis tested at 5% level of significance.

HO1: There is no significant difference between the attitude of student taught Algebra with problem solving strategy (EG) and those taught with conventional method (CG).

HO2: There is no significant difference between the average performance of student taught Algebra with problem solving strategy (EG) and those taught with conventional method (CG).

HO3: There is no significant difference between the attitude of male and female students taught Algebra with problem solving strategy (EG)

HO4: There is no significant difference between the average performance of male and female students taught Algebra with problem solving strategy (EG)

HO5: There is no significant difference between the average performance of students from urban and rural areas taught Algebra with problem solving strategy (EG)

 

            1.6       SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The study would provide adequate information on the importance of using problem solving method in solving Algebraic problems in mathematics. This study would contribute immensely by reducing the general mathematics phobia worrying students at post-basic level of education due to the use of ineffective instructional strategies by mathematics teachers

The findings of this research would reduce the distaste students and their teachers have towards teaching and learning algebra as a difficult area in mathematics. They would come to realized that with the application of suitable methods of teaching, algebra can be easily taught and learnt.

The study would also, provide teachers, curriculum and textbook developers with relevant materials that may be used to improve the teaching and learning algebra at SSS level. This study could also, help to provide empirical basis for improvement and modification of the methods of teaching mathematics which could be of special interest to curriculum planners, authors of textbooks and students. Such improvement and modification could also make parents to be happy to see that their children are passing mathematics for their future educational progress.

It is also hoped that the findings of the study would stimulate and promote further researches. Professional organizations in mathematics like Mathematical Association of Nigeria (MAN), curriculum development organizations like Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) and even individual mathematics educators will find the results worthy of discussion and dissemination to stimulate and promote further researches.

            1.7       SCOPE/DELIMATION OF THE STUDY

The main point of the research is to determine the effectiveness of problem solving for teaching Algebra at senior secondary school in Mathematics in Kaduna State. The study covered only the senior secondary schools thus were faced with some limitation.

The study is limited to only SSS in Kaduna State; private ad junior secondary schools are not included in the study. However, the result of the research can be applied to those not included in the study as Algebra is taught from the primary school level of educational system in Nigeria to tertiary level.

Another limitation is in the numbers of schools used in the research. Four schools are used, two in the urban and two in the rural area which included two girls‟ schools and two boys‟ schools

However, as delimitation, the study did not go into other causes of poor performance beyond the issue of teaching methods. The study did not also, treat other topics of mathematics such geometry, number and numeration and statistics as the study was only confined to algebraic aspect of mathematics.

 

 

 

 

 

            1.8       BASIC ASSUMPTIONS

  1. That the students in senior secondary school had learned the content of Algebra in mathematics as stipulated in the National curriculum by NERDC.
  2. The schools that will be chosen for the study have similar teaching and learning facilities and resources.
  3. All teachers who take these students who were sampled were trained and had good mastering of Algebraic content and have good teaching strategies

EFFECTS OF PROBLEM SOLVING INSTRUCTIONAL PROCESS ON ATTITUDE AND PERFORMANCE IN ALGEBRA AMONG SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL PUPILS IN KADUNA STATE NIGERIA 

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