Identification And Remediation Of The Causes Of Students Poor Performance In Mathematics And English Language In West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination WASSCE
This research work focus on the investigation of the causes of student’s failure in Mathematics and English Language in West African School Certificate (WASSCE) Examination in Enugu Education Zone. Their possible remediations were also sought. In other words, this work is aimed at finding the factors that contribute to the student’s failure in Mathematics and English Language in West African School Certificate (WASSCE) Examination in Enugu Education Zone and suggesting solution on how to remedy them. Three research questions and four hypotheses were formulated and tested. Literature on all forms of services and teaching were extensively reviewed. The study employed survey design.
A sample of hundred respondents including teachers and students were drawn for the study. Data collected were analyzed using percentages for the research questions and chi-square (X2) for testing the hypothesis. Using the results from the analysis, it was found out that some teachers of Mathematics and English language were not qualified. The number of periods allocated for the two subjects are inadequate. Based on our findings, we therefore recommended among others that; Government should employ qualified teachers to teach the students in secondary schools. The teachers should teach the students with enough teaching materials/ aids. There should be adequate periods allocated for the two subjects. Governments should award scholarship to all trainee teachers reading for degree courses in mathematics and English language. There should be constant teacher’s supervision in the schools to ensure teachers dedication to duty.
1.1 Background of the Study
Mathematics is a field of study that comprises of various areas. Some of which deal with abstract concepts which cannot be easily related to our day to day experiences. These abstract concepts need to be clearly explained and followed step by step by the teachers to ensure a proper understanding of the said concepts. Mathematics like every other field of study is built upon fundamental laws and principles and once a student of mathematics has a weak foundation on the basic principles, it becomes difficult for such a student to understand the subject (Mohammed and Luka, 2009).
The importance of mathematics cannot be over emphasized, in that mathematics is a central issue for educationists, and it is most applicable to every discipline. Everybody needs are involved in mathematics process everyday. Mathematics is already playing an important role in the filed of engineering, science, medicine, computer, infact in everyday life (Douglas, 2007).
Mathematics is used throughout the world as an essential tool in many fields, natural science, social science etc. and this is one of the reasons why higher institutions in this country placed emphasis on credit pass in mathematics before they offer provisional admission to the students into a good number of disciplines.
To all eminent scholars in the world over and Nigeria in particular, to all economic planners and politicians, to all potential employers and to the ordinary public, mathematics is a subject of articulate purpose and structure. Despite all the emphasizes placed on the importance of mathematics, one observes that students still perform poorly in the subject. Mathematics curriculum has suffered sudden shifts of emphasis between its traditional and modern aspect (Nwosu, 2007).
Another all important subject is English Language. English Language is that set of grammatical and lexical forms which are typically used in speech and writing by educational native speakers.
English Language is the principal means of human communication. It is a number one for the transmission or exchange of knowledge ideas and feelings. It is used for interpersonal, intergroup and international relationships and also provides better understanding among friends and co-operation. Without the knowledge of English Language, effective communication would be impossible once one leaves one’s region for another, mostly in Nigeria.
English Language is invaluable to our lives and that is why it is taught and made compulsory in primary schools, secondary schools and higher institution in Nigeria.
It is obvious that without the knowledge of English Language-it would be difficult to study other subjects such as history, geography and even mathematics. Despite all the emphasis placed on the importance of English Language. The researchers observed that students still perform very poor in the subject especially in West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
According to statistics released by Federal Ministry of Education as was recorded in the Daily Sun of Monday, May 12 2009, one out of the ten students who took mathematics between 2005 and 2008 passed. In 2008, only 24, 366 or 11.44% of 473, 534 passed mathematics and also in English Language, only 104,232 or 8.9% of 401.385 candidates of who wrote the English Language Examination in School Certificate Examination passed. Seeing the importance of these two subjects: Mathematics and English Language, then why the mass failure that are recorded in West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). This is precisely the objects of this research to highlight the pros and cons therein.
1.2 Statements of Problem
The development of any nation depends on their scientific and technological advancement which can be built on a sound mathematical education capable of making effective function in nature (Edward, 2008).
English Language is the principal means of human communication; it is a tool for the transmission or exchange of knowledge, ideas and feelings. It is used for interpersonal, intergroup and international relationships. Without the knowledge of English Language, effective communication would be impossible once one leaves a region for another (Lehamann 2007).
The importance of mathematics and English Language cannot be over emphasized. It is due to the high esteem placed on mathematics and English Language that made them to be compulsory subjects for both Primary and Secondary Schools. A credit pass is one of the prerequisites for entering higher or tertiary institutions.
So many students who fail these two subjects; mathematics and English Language are very hopeless today because they cannot go any further educationally and so cannot contribute to the development of our beloved state, Enugu Nigeria. Regardless of the importance of mathematics and English Language, Students in the secondary school still perform very poorly especially in West African senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). This ugly situation has given the researchers much concern. The problem of this study therefore is to identify the root causes of this massive poor performance in these two subjects, mathematics and English Language and to suggest solutions on how to remedy the situation.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this project is to find out the factors that contributed to the student’s poor performance in Mathematics and English Language in West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) In Enugu Education Zone and to profer possible remedy.
Specifically, the Researchers Sought to:-
- Determine whether teachers of the two subjects are adequately qualified.
- Determine whether teacher’s methods of teaching affect the learning of those subjects.
- Determine whether the students are taught with teaching aids/resources to quicken their understanding.
- Determine whether student’s attitude towards these subjects is poor.
- Determine whether the books recommended to the students are appropriate.
- Determine whether the school environment is really conducive for teaching and learning.
- Determine whether the educational curriculum is effectively and properly made.
- Determine whether the teachers who teach these subjects frequently give class exercise on it to know if the specific objectives are achieved at the end of the lesson.
- Determine whether government do provide adequate materials or facilities like computer, adequate text books etc. for better teaching and learning.
1.4 Research Questions
- What are the problems teachers of mathematics and English Language encounter in teaching that relates to the present poor performance in mathematics and English Language in West Africa School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in Education zone?.
- What are the place of instructional materials in terms of teaching and learning mathematics and English Language?
- What are the problems students of mathematics and English Language encounter in terms of teaching and learning as relates to the present poor performance in mathematics and English Language in (WASSCE)?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
- Ho: There are enough and suitable facilities in schools for effective teaching and learning.
H1: There are not enough and suitable facilities in schools for effective teaching and learning.
- Ho: All mathematics and English language teachers are professionally qualified for teaching.
H1: All mathematics and English Language teachers are not professionally qualified for teaching.
- Ho: Mathematics is so hard that people do not like to study it.
H1: Mathematics is not so hard to study
- Ho: Recommended textbooks for the student are difficult for them to understand at their level.
H1: Recommended textbooks for the student are not difficult for them to understand at their level.
1.6 Significance of Study
The research on the identification and remediation’s of the causes of students poor performance in mathematics and English Language in West African senior School Certificate Examination will be highly valuable and beneficial to everybody especially the present students in secondary school in Enugu Education Zone and also to other secondary schools in some other area who might have been facing similar problems.
The teachers on the other hand would through this research know the best way of programming their students as to ensure that students grow up to the art and science of mathematics and English Language right from their tender years and also help the children to build a passion for these subjects. Thus, this would result to excellent performance in the field of mathematics and English Language. Also the government would through this research know the importance of providing teaching facilities like computers, adequate textbooks, projectors in the classrooms etc. to schools for adequate teaching and learning.
Finally, the curriculum planners would through this research, identify some aspects of the curriculum to be revised or enhanced.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The research work is primarily concerned with identification and remediation of the causes of student’s poor performance in mathematics and English Language in West African senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in Education zone.
Summary and Conclusion, Implication and Recommendation, Suggestions for further study
5.1 Summary and Conclusion
Mathematics is a subject most applicable to every discipline; the mysteries of nature cannot be thoroughly understood without some knowledge of mathematics. English Language on the other hand, is basic to all formal education in Nigeria, it is an international language and opens the door of employment, admission and makes direct contact possible.
Statistics revealed that majority of the students who sat for these two important subjects in West Africa School Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) failed them. As a result, they become hopeless because they cannot go any further educationally nor secure job to help them and so cannot contribute to the development of their beloved country.
The researchers thought that the failure in these two subjects could be attributed to many factors. They were therefore motivated to carryout the research work effectively, nine (9) specific purposes were mapped out which were designed to find out whether.
- Teachers are adequately qualified
- Some teacher’s methods of teaching contribute to student’s poor performance in the two subjects.
- Student’s attitude towards the two subjects contributed to their poor performance.
- Students are taught with teaching aids.
- The environment is really conducive for teaching and learning.
- The books recommended to the students are appropriate.
- The schools have sufficient qualified teachers.
Some authors identified some common issues affecting Mathematics and English Language education in Nigeria, such issues includes inability of the teachers to use good teaching techniques, students low mentality, change of school on the part of the students, shortages of teachers, inability to reconstruct the curriculum other issues include, lack of qualified and experience teachers, communication difficulty, lack of uniform textbooks, family background etc. Others blamed students for their non-challant attitude towards learning.
Nevertheless, some useful suggestions were made on how to improve this ugly situation. Such suggestions includes:-
- Expansion of existing training facilities in colleges of education, universities and other institutions of higher learning.
- Well organization of curriculum
- Deployment of qualified teachers.
- In – service training
To achieve the nine specific purpose of this research, a sample of 80 students and 20 mathematics and English Language teachers from four secondary schools in Enugu Education Zone were selected to form the working sample.
Questionnaire was the main instrument used. Questions were designed for students and for teachers. They were all geared towards achieving the nine (9) specific purposes. The questionnaires were collected and analyzed. From the analysis, the researchers found out that:-
- Some teachers of mathematics were not qualified (see table I).
- Some teacher’s methods of teaching may have contributed to the students poor performance in these two subjects as table III and IV indicated.
- The students generally have poor attitude towards the study of mathematics and English Language. This idea is clear from table V and VII:
- The students are most of the time taught with little or not teaching aids (see table VIII).
- The number of periods allocated for the two subjects are inadequate (see table IX).
- The books recommended are appropriate.
- The schools generally lack enough qualified mathematics teachers and few English teachers as table XII indicated.
5.2 Implications and Recommendations
The findings of this study could imply a number of possibilities.
- Many people do not wish to study mathematics as a course for the purpose of teaching.
- Those teachers who are not adequately qualified do not know the various methods of teaching.
- Student are not motivated to study these subjects and hence the reason for their poor attitude towards the two subjects.
- There are no constant supervisions in the school.
- Teachers are not dedicated to their duties.
- The schools have no adequate teaching aids.
Consequent upon the implications, the researchers recommends as follows:-
- Government should award scholarship for all trainee teachers reading for degree or NCE course in mathematics. This will ensure adequate and sufficient number of mathematics teachers in schools.
- There should be constant teacher’s supervision in the school to ensure teachers dedication to duty.
- Teachers should be encouraged to attend workshops, conferences, seminars etc to improve their methodology.
- Students should be made to know the importance of mathematics and English Language.
- The schools should be provided with enough teaching aids to ensure effective teaching and learning.
- Government should encourage more able students in the study of mathematics by providing the special incentives to those who would be committed to their study.
- Government should only employ adequately qualified teachers in the field.
5.3 Suggestions for Further Study
For further studies, the researchers suggest that a repetition of this study should be made as indicated.
- Increase the number of towns and possibly use larger sample size for each town.
- Since some factors such as (background, age, transfer of students from one school to another intelligent quotient) are not revealed by this research. It is suggested that a similar study be carried on them.
- A research into the causes of failure in mathematics and English Language should be carried out in primary schools.
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