Development And Validation Of An Instrument For Assessing Junior Secondary Schools Mathematics Classroom Environments
Despite the important roles mathematics play in Educational advancement, students still lack interest and achieve poorly in the subject. Much emphasis has not been laid on the classroom environment as one of the factors that affect the teaching and learning of mathematics in the school system. Based on this, the researcher delves into the development and validation of an instrument for assessing junior secondary school mathematics classroom environment in Enugu State of Nigeria. The researcher identified some major construct attributes from where 108 items (students actual and students preferred) and 63 items teachers actual forms that constitute the elements of effective mathematics classroom environment came.
The constructs were grouped into nine (9) scales. The scales are: Involvement, Affiliation, Teacher Support, Task-Orientation, Cooperation, Competition, Order and Organization, Teacher Control and innovation. The instrument has three sections: students’ actual, students preferred and teachers’ actual forms. These items will enable students to provide information about the learning environment that is present in their classroom (the actual environment) as well as information about the learning environment that they would like to be present (preferred environment). To guide the study, eight research questions were posed and answered while six hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance. A 100-item instrument for students actual and students preferred form and 60-item instrument for teachers actual forms were constructed from the scales and presented to four specialists in instrument development, for purposes of face validation.
After the validation, the 100-items and 60-items were put into four-point response format of Always, Often, Sometimes and Rarely. This was subjected to field trial using students and teachers from two junior secondary schools in Awgu education zone. The data collected from the field trial were subjected to factor analysis to determine the items that were valid and qualify to be included in the instrument for use in the actual study. The result of the factor analysis showed that 29 items of students actual, 24 items of students preferred form and 31 items of teachers actual forms were found to be well loaded and therefore acceptable as suitable for the study.
The 53 items (students actual and students preferred forms) and 31 items (teachers actual forms) were administered to the 43,540 JSS1, JSS11 and JSS111 students and their teachers in the 75 junior secondary schools in Enugu state. One quarter of the entire population of schools were randomized into nineteen (19) schools from three education zones; Agbani, Enugu and Nsukka, considering the urban and rural schools by stractified random sampling techniques. An instrumentation research design was employed using a sample of 1710 students and 63 teachers from 57 classes in nineteen (19) secondary schools of the three education zones in Enugu State to obtain data on students and teachers perceptions of their mathematics classroom environment. Data from the research subjects were analyzed using factor analysis, Cronbach’s alpha, mean and standard deviation, analysis of variance (ANOVA), post hoc test and t-test statistic.
A test of reliability using the 53 items and 31 items showed that the instruments were reliable at 0.75, 0.82 and 0.78. Mean perception responses on the influence of gender and location showed that the items are stable across the variables. This result made the researcher to recommend that the instrument MCEAS be used in junior secondary schools in Enugu State to ascertain effective mathematics classroom learning environment. It was also recommended that the instrument should be used by principals, inspectors and ministries of Education in monitoring mathematics classroom learning environment in schools. The students preferred more favorable mathematics classroom environment than was perceived as being actually present. Recommendations and conclusions were made based on the findings.
1.1 Background of the Study
Mathematics plays a great role in the development of science and technology in Nigeria and beyond. It has been conceptualized as a culture which affords man the opportunity to know, access things and objects within his immediate and remote environment (Harbor-Peters, 2000). It forms the basic ingredients to the understanding of science and technology (Ibraheem &
Ogunnusi, 2001). Different schools of thought have different definitions of Mathematics such as Peirce (1881) defined Mathematics as “the science that draws necessary conclusions”. Russell (1903) defined Mathematics “as symbolic logic”. Curry (1951) defined mathematics simply as “the science of formal system”. Maliki, Mgban and Julie (2009), see Mathematics as a subject that affects all aspects of human life at different degrees. The social, economic, political, geographical, scientific and technological aspects of man are centered on numbers. The importance of Mathematics does not only lie in its contributions to scientific and technological development but also in its utility in day-to-day interactions at the market places, transportations, business of all sorts by both literate and illiterate members of the society.
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