Investigation Into The Factors Influencing The Academic Performance Of Secondary School Students In Mathematics

Mathematics Education Project Material

Investigation Into The Factors Influencing The Academic Performance Of Secondary School Students In Mathematics

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Mathematics has always been the foundation of all scientific knowledge and technological development that is vital to socio – economic development of any given nation or growing state. Because of this, mathematics has been made as a compulsory subject in senior secondary school in Nigeria, as a matter of fact; it has been used as a basic entry program into any prestigious course such as Medicine, Engineering, Architecture, etc. and other field of sciences. No wonder, Galileo Galilee made a statement thus, “The universe cannot be read until we learn the language of the universe and become familiar with the characters and symbols in which it is been written. It is been written in mathematical language and the language letters are triangles, lines, circles and other geometrical figures, without which it is impossible to comprehend a single word, without this known language, one is wandering and wallowing in a state of Dark Labyrinth”

Despite the vital role the science of mathematics has played in our society, there has been unfavourable performance in this field of study all-round the nation. Aremu (2000) stresses that academic failure is not only frustrating to the students and the parents, its effects are equally grave on the society in terms of dearth (lack) of manpower in all spheres of the economy and politics.

Education at secondary school level is supposed to be the bedrock and the foundation towards higher knowledge in tertiary institutions. It is an investment as well as an instrument that can be used to achieve a more rapid economic, social, political, technological, scientific and cultural development in the country. The National Policy on Education (2004) stipulated that secondary education is an instrument for national development that fosters the worth and development of the individual for further education and development, general development of the society and equality of educational opportunities to all Nigerian children, irrespective of any real or marginal disabilities.
However, different people at different times have passed the blame of poor performance in secondary school to students because of their low retention, parental factors, association with wrong peers, low achievement, low retention, low achievement motivation and the likes (Aremu & Sokan, 2003; Aremu & Oluwole 2001; Aremu, 2000).
Morakinyo (2003) believe that the falling level of academic performance is attributable to teacher’s non-use of verbal reinforcement strategy. Others found out that the attitude of some teachers to their job is reflected in their poor attendance to lessons, lateness to school, nasty comments about students’ performance that could damage their ego, poor method of teaching and the likes affect students‟ academic performance.

High academic performance is the desired expectation of every parent that sent his/her ward or youngster to school. In all educational society, success is measured by academic performance, or how well a student meets the given standard set out by the educational organization. Parents care about their youngster academic performance because they believe that high or good positive result will provide more career choice and job security in the political society.

Academic performance according Cambridge university researchers (2003), is defined in terms of examination performance. In educational organization (school) academic performance in characterized performance in test, in subject work and also in examination. To this end, Stein, Grover and Hennissen (1996) investigated that to improve the academic performance of senior secondary school students, the use of well-structured and enhance instructions as a means of building students capacity for mathematics thinking and reasoning.

Further surveys were made and the findings was that for any students in secondary classes to perform very well the students must be provided with the necessary materials and equipment in order to engage in critical thinking, reasoning and brain- storming skills. Engagement of students in such practices leads students to a deeper understanding of mathematics as well as increased ability to develop and demonstrate complex exercise solving skills. Therefore, considering the extent of the problem, this research work investigates the factors affecting the academic performance of senior secondary school students in mathematics.

1.2 Problem Statement

The academic performance of students in internal and external examination and competition in Nigeria is a great concern to many concerned citizens and stake holders in education. From experience, it has been observed that the huge investment endowed on education is not yielding the desired outcome (Adebule, 2004). In schools the teacher bitterly complains of the students‟ performance in mathematics (Ashiaka, 2010). This has a serious implication for a developing nation aspiring for technological advancement like that of our beloved country, Nigeria To this termination, the study investigates the factors affecting the academic performance of student in mathematics.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to look into the factors affecting the academic performance of student in mathematics. The specific objectives are;

  1. To examine teachers attitude in terms of teaching mathematics
  2. To examine students attitude in terms of learning mathematics
  3. To examine the qualification, professionalism and teachers strategies used in teaching mathematics.
  4. To examine the school environment and the kind of discipline in the school.

1.4 Research Questions

To facilitate the study, attempts are made in providing answers to the following questions:

  1. Does attitude of the teacher towards the teaching of mathematics affect students‟ academic performance?
  2. Does attitude of student towards the learning of mathematics affects their academic performance?
  3. Does teacher’s qualification, professionalism and teachers strategy affects the student academic performance?
  4. Does the school environment and the degree of discipline affect the academic performance of students?

1.5 Significance of the Study

In this section being and exploratory study, the research work will play a vital role to guide a process of understanding the factors affecting performance of senior secondary schools students in mathematics.

This research work is believed to be significant because it will find solutions to academic performance (improving academic outcome) and it will also be a guideline to the improvement of mathematics education Nigeria.

This research work will be useful to the following:

  1. Curriculum planners
  2. School and institution administrators
  3. Educational stake holders
  4. Mathematics teachers association and mathematics student in General

1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study

This research work is purely confined to selected mixed secondary schools in Bauchi State, a case study of Ganjuwa Local Government Area precisely; in other to investigate the factors affecting the academic performance of students in mathematics. Due to financial constraints, the study will be limited to four schools out of the Government approved Secondary schools in Ganjuwa Local Government Area of Bauchi State. Only the senior secondary class will be selected and it’s students.

1.7 Definition of Basic Terminologies


Mathematics can defined as the science of space, quantity, structure, change of state and others in its relational component.

Benjamin Peirce (1809 – 1880) called mathematics the science that draws necessary conclusion and it is the language and queen mother of all sciences. Osima Gift (2013) defines mathematics as the language of all scientific findings.

Academic Performance

Academic performance refers to how student deals with their studies and how they cope with or accomplish different tasks given to them by their teacher or instructors (extracted from

Secondary School

Secondary school is high school or a school of corresponding grade, ranking between a primary school and a college or university.


According to the English dictionary factor is anything or something that contributes to or has influence on the outcome of something either positively or negatively.

1.8 Organisation of the Study

The study will be organized into five chapters. Chapter one gives an introduction to the study, while chapter two will be a review of of the related literature. Chapter three presents the research methodology, chapter four focuses on the presentation, analysis and interpretation of data. Chapter five gives the conclusion, summary and recommendations.

Chapter Five

Conclusion, Summary and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

This chapter presents the conclusion and summary of the study. It also makes suitable recommendations to improve the academic performance of secondary school students in mathematics.

5.2 Conclusion

With regards to the data collected and analysed they show that teachers attitude, student‟s attitude, Qualification and professionalism and also the school environment and its degree of discipline affects academic performance of student positively because when all this factors ar6e properly examined and play they needed roles in educational pursuit student academic performance will be sky rocketed to a better grade.

5.3 Summary of the Study

This research work (study) was conducted to investigate and examine the factors affecting the academic performance of student in mathematics in senior secondary schools a case study of Ganjuwa local Government Area.

Four schools were randomly selected, eighty (80) students participated on the research work and twenty (20) students from each of the schools were selected. The research work brings to light the factors affecting the academic performance of students in mathematics which depends on the teachers attitude towards the teaching of mathematic, Students attitude towards the learning of mathematics, Qualification, professionalism and teachers strategies and finally the school environment and its degree of discipline.

5.4 Recommendations

Based on all the findings concerning this research work, the researcher gives the following recommendations.

  1. It has been confirmed that positive attitude towards the teaching of mathematics foster the morale of the students to be up and doing, therefore the teachers should make a right to positive attitude when teaching.
  2. Students should be made to know the importance of mathematics in bid for education.
  3. Qualified mathematics teachers should be employed and trained to acquire more experience in the teaching and learning process.
  4. Teachers should be open minded towards new reforms and be diversified in nature.

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