Causes Of Poor Academic Performance In Mathematics

Mathematics Education Project Material

Causes Of Poor Academic Performance In Mathematics

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

The art of thinking and computation is known as mathematics. It is the study or science of numbers, amounts, or shapes. Kitta (2004) defined mathematics as a language that enables us to articulate concepts and relationships derived from our surroundings. Mathematics allows one to make the invisible apparent, allowing one to solve issues that would otherwise be impossible.

Mathematics is one of the most significant educational courses in the world’s curriculum. It is a subject that is directly related to other disciplines, particularly technical and scientific subjects. Mathematics is also a subject that is required in both primary and secondary education. According to Umameh (2011) in Tshabalala & Ncube (2013), mathematics is the backbone and a vital instrument for every nation’s scientific, technological, and economic growth. Furthermore, Davies & Hersh (2012) perceive mathematics as a vital subject not just for obtaining an academic certificate at school or college, but also for preparing pupils for the future, regardless of the job of life they want to be a part of. According to Mefor (2014), mathematics is related to everything in the cosmos, from the tiniest to the largest. According to Umameh (2011), mathematics is inextricably linked to daily life and everyone’s long-term plans. As a result, mathematics is a topic without which education and human existence cannot work successfully. Similarly, mathematics is given the appropriate priority in the curriculum and all educational initiatives in Nigeria, from primary to higher levels.

According to Lambdin (2009), when children progress through school and begin their adult lives at home and at work, the mathematical expectations placed on them expand. In order to perform mathematically literately in the future, students must have a solid mathematical foundation. A sound foundation necessitates considerably more than the mindless application of procedural knowledge. According to a 2004 report by the Ontario Ministry of Education, all students should be able to understand, make sense of, and apply mathematics, as well as establish connections across topics and detect patterns throughout mathematics.

Many research and authority have identified a variety of reasons for students’ low performance in Mathematics. Vudla, (2012) in Tshabalala & Ncube, (2013), for example, believed that there was a shortage of well-trained teachers, inadequate teaching facilities, a lack of funds to purchase necessary equipment, poor quality textbooks, large classes, poorly motivated teachers, a lack of laboratories and libraries, poorly coordinated supervisory activities, civil service interference in the school system, incessant transfers of teachers and principals, and automatic promotions of graduates.

Tata (2013) conducted his research in Nigeria and discovered that poor mathematics performance is caused by students’ unfavorable attitudes about mathematics, fear of mathematics, a lack of skilled teachers, and inadequate instructional resources. Students’ performance in mathematics could be improved by cultivating a good attitude, motivation, and adequate direction toward mathematics, as well as providing suitable instructional resources.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Over the years, experts, educators, the government in mathematics, and parents have been concerned about Nigeria’s high rate of poor student performance. Obviously, this is due to the significant impact that education has on the country’s overall development. According to a research analysis, there is widespread agreement that Nigeria’s educational standards have deteriorated (Adebule, 2004). Parents and the government agree that their education expenditure is not generating the anticipated results. According to reports from the chief examiners of the West African Examination Council, applicants’ overall performance in mathematics for the May/June 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015 tests did not differ considerably from previous years (Odili & Vincent, 2011). However, the Chief Examiners also reported that candidates’ mathematics performance is declining and getting worse every year, even though the rate of failure in all subjects appeared to have decreased when compared to previous years (WAEC, 2013 & 2014), but there is still a low percentage of students passing mathematics. However, the researcher’s goal is to do research on the performance of Nigerian students in mathematics.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to examine the causes of poor academic performance in Mathematics. Other objectives are:

  1. To determine whether teachers attitude toward mathematics influences students academic performance in mathematics.
  2. To determine whether teachers teaching methods influences students academic performance in Mathematics
  3. To determine whether students personal factors influences students academic performance in Mathematics
  4. To examine the challenges students face in the studying and learning of mathematics
  5. To find out possible solutions to the challenges students face in the studying and learning of mathematics.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions will be answered in this study:

  1. Does teachers attitude toward mathematics influence students academic performance in mathematics?
  2. Does teachers teaching methods influence students academic performance in Mathematics?
  3. Does students personal factors influence students academic performance in Mathematics?
  4. What are the challenges students face in the studying and learning of mathematics?
  5. What are the possible solutions to the challenges students face in the studying and learning of mathematics?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study’s findings will give a framework for the government, curriculum planners, and education stakeholders to develop methods for improving the teaching and learning of mathematics. The study will be beneficial to teachers because it emphasizes the importance of improving teaching methods and implementing instructional strategies to ensure effective teaching and learning of mathematics in secondary schools.

Empirically, the study will add to the general body of knowledge and serve as a resource for both scholars and students interested in furthering their studies in a related field.

1.6 Scope of the Study

This study will be focusing on examining the causes of poor academic performance in Mathematics as the broad objective. Specifically, it will be focusing on determining whether teachers attitude toward mathematics influences students academic performance in mathematics, determining whether teachers teaching methods influences students academic performance in Mathematics, determining whether students personal factors influences students academic performance in Mathematics, examining the challenges students face in the studying and learning of mathematics and finding out possible solutions to the challenges students face in the studying and learning of mathematics.

This study will be using students of selected secondary schools in Abeokuta North LGA of Ogun State will be used as enrolled participants for the survey of this study.

1.7 Limitations of the Study

The researcher encountered minor obstacles when conducting the study, as with any human endeavor. The significant constraint was the scarcity of literature on the subject due to the nature of the discourse, so the researcher incurred more financial expenses and spent more time sourcing for relevant materials, literature, or information and in the data collection process, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. Furthermore, the researcher did this investigation alongside other academic activities. Furthermore, the sample size was limited because only a few respondents were chosen to answer the research instrument, therefore the results cannot be generalized to other secondary schools outside the state. Despite the constraints encountered during the research, all elements were minimized in order to provide the best results and make the research effective.

1.8 Definition of Terms


A person or thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon, or condition.

Academic Performance:

Is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has attained their short or long-term educational goals. Completion of educational benchmarks such as secondary school diplomas and bachelor’s degrees represent academic achievement.


Mathematics includes the study of such topics as numbers, formulas and related structures, shapes and spaces in which they are contained, and quantities and their changes. There is no general consensus about its exact scope or epistemological status.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the causes of poor student performance in mathematics?

Based on his finding some problems are caused by the parent and this has effect on their pupil performance in mathematics, for instance poverty in some homes whereby most parents couldn’t make ends meet in terms of provision of the necessary materials, such as text books and other materials that promote good mastery of mathematics.

What are the causes of low achievement in mathematics?

Mathematics by the perception of students and lack of exercise as a major cause by the perception of teachers. Likewise, lake of attention as a major cause was revealed by the perception of parents. Keywords: Mathematics; Low Achievement; Education; Student.

What are the factors that affect students in mathematics?

In general, performing well in mathematics seems to be related to various external factors, such as the education system, school, teacher, and family, as well as internal factors, such as the child’s personality traits, motivation, attitude, and math anxiety.

What are the main causes of poor performance in mathematics?

Stephen (1999) believes that the teacher is the major causes of pupils poor performance in mathematics according to him, teacher’s bad method of teaching mathematics can make or cause the pupils to performance woefully and this also can make them lack interest in mathematics.

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