# Influence Of Problem Solving On Senior Secondary School Student Academic Performance In Mathematics

## Abstract

This study focused on the influence of problem solving on senior secondary school student academic performance in mathematics in ankpa local government as case study. The study is was specifically focused on determining if there was any significant difference between the level of achievement of students taught using problem solving strategy and those taught using the conventional lecture method, determining the attitudes of students towards mathematics problems when taught using problem solving strategies and finding out the influence of gender on students’ achievement in mathematics when taught using problem solving strategy.. The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 30 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are senior secondary school students in anka local government. The findings of this study showed that the performance levels of both male and female students after treatment improved significantly though male students achieved slightly higher than their female counterparts after exposure to PSS. The results further showed that students taught using PSS performed significantly better than their counterparts taught with conventional lecture approach. Furthermore, the result revealed that students in private schools performed better than the students in public schools after exposure to PSS. The study concluded that the use of PSS promotes students’ understanding of concepts translating to optimal performance in mathematics examinations. It was recommended among others that authors and textbook writers of textbooks should transform textbooks into problem solving forms, apply and provide proper illustrations so as to meet the criteria of PSS as doing this would help in enhancing students’ achievement.

## Table of Content

- Title Page
- Certification
- Dedication
- Acknowledgement
- Table of Content
- List of Tables
- Abstract

### Chapter One:

#### Introduction

- 1.1 Background of the Study
- 1.2 Statement of the Problem
- 1.3 Objective of the Study
- 1.4 Research Questions
- 1.5 Research Hypothesis
- 1.6 Significance of the Study
- 1.7 Scope of the Study
- 1.8 Limitation of the Study
- 1.9 Definition of Terms
- 1.10 Organisations of the Study

### Chapter Two:

#### Review of Literature

- 2.1 Conceptual Framework
- 2.2 Theoretical Framework
- 2.3 Empirical Review

### Chapter Three:

#### Research Methodology

- 3.1 Research Design
- 3.2 Population of the Study
- 3.3 Sample Size Determination
- 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
- 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
- 3.6 Method of Data Collection
- 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
- 3.8 Validity of the Study
- 3.9 Reliability of the Study
- 3.10 Ethical Consideration

### Chapter Four:

#### Data Presentation and Analysis

- 4.1 Data Presentation
- 4.2 Analysis of Data
- 4.3 Answering Research Questions
- 4.4 Test of Hypotheses
- 4.5 Discussion of Findings

### Chapter Five:

#### Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

- 5.1 Summary
- 5.2 Conclusion
- 5.3 Recommendation
- References
- APPENDIX
- QUESTIONNAIRE

## Chapter One

### Introduction

#### 1.1 Background to the Study

Mathematics, undoubtedly, is the pillar of all sciences, and the scientific and technological attainment of any nation solely revolves around the mathematical base of that nation. According to Ogwuche and Kurumeh (2011), mathematics is the backbone of science and technology and no nation can hope to achieve any measure of scientific and technological advancement without proper foundation in school mathematics. Okereke (2006) states that mathematics is the science of things that have a pattern of regularity and logical order and finding and exploring the regularity. Mathematics is the foundation of science and technology and the functional role of mathematics to science and technology is multifarious, that no areas of science, technology and business enterprise escape its application. Irrespective of the rich importance of mathematics, it is observed that it is one of the most poorly taught, widely hated and abysmally understood subjects in secondary schools. Ale (2003), Obodo, (2004), and Ifamuyiwa (2007) variously note that despite the important role of mathematics, it still remains one of the subjects in which many students at all levels of the school system persistently perform very poorly. Okereke (2006), further attributed students’ poor performance to factors such as the society view that mathematics is difficult, shortage of qualified teachers, lack of mathematics laboratory and lack of attractiveness and novelty in teaching method. Most mathematics teachers still adopt the unpopular and unproductive traditional methods of teaching mathematics which is teacher centred than students centred. Ogwuche and Kurumeh (2011) note that most teachers adopt the conventional approach in the teaching of mathematics. The approach focuses on what is being taught and as such, it is a teacher or subject centered approach. This situation has continued to diminish the achievement of students in mathematics and as such, endangered the scientific and technological quest of the nation Nigeria. The need to reposition the achievement of students in mathematics requires that attention should be given to student-centred approaches such as the problem-solving approach.

Obodo (2004) notes that problem solving technique comprises the identification and choosing of mathematical problems which grow out of the experiences of individual students, placing these problems before the students and guiding them in their class in solving the mathematical problem as a group. These techniques encourage students to arrange and clarify facts or data as well as allow students to learn from their success and failures, since it permits the students to participate in their learning. In the problem based learning model, the students turn from passive listeners of information receivers to active, free self-learner and problem solvers. It also shifts the emphasis of educational programs from teaching to learning. It enables the students to learn new knowledge by facing the problems to be solved instead of feeling bored. The technique affects positively certain other attributes such as problem solving, information acquisition and information sharing with others, group works, and communication etc. The basis and foremost aim of this learning approach is acquisition of such information which is based on facts (Yuzhi, 2003 and Mangle, 2008). According to Chris (2005), problem solving, in any academic area, involves being presented with a situation that requires a resolution. Being a problem solver requires an ability to come up with means to resolve the situation fully. The ultimate goal of any problem solving approach is to improve students’ performance at solving problems correctly. Learning to solve problem is the principal reason for studying mathematics (Nekang, 2013). Stannic and Kilpatrick (1988) opine that mathematics is synonymous with problem solving (doing word problems, creating patterns, interpreting figures, developing geometric constructions, pulling theories’ and so on). The specific goals of problems-solving in mathematics are to:

- Improve students’ willingness to try problems and improve their perseverance when solving mathematical problems.
- Improving students’ self-concepts with respect to the abilities to solve mathematical problems.
- Make students aware of the mathematical problem solving strategies.
- Make students aware of the value of approaching mathematical problems in a systematic manner
- Make students aware that many problems in mathematics can be solved in more than one way.
- Improve students’ abilities to select appropriate solution strategies in mathematics.
- Improve students’ abilities to implement solution strategies in mathematics accurately.
- Improve students’ abilities to get more correct answers to problem in mathematics.

According to Gallagher, Stephen, Sher and Workman (1999), in a problem based learning environment, students act as professionals and are confronted with problems that require clearly defining well-structured problems, developing hypotheses, assessing, analysing, utilising data from different sources, revising initial hypothesis as the data collected developing and justifying solutions based on evidence and reasoning. Grouws and Cebulla (2000) note that teaching that incorporates students initiative solution methods can increase students learning, especially when combined with opportunities for students’ interaction and discussion.

Student achievement and understanding are significantly improved when teachers are aware of how students construct knowledge are familiar with the intuitive solution methods that students use when they solve problems. Structuring instruction around carefully chosen problems allowing students to interact when solving problems, and then providing opportunities for them to share their solution methods result in increased achievement on problem solving measures (Grouws and Cebulla, 2000). Based on the foregoing, it becomes necessary to investigate the efficiency of problem solving approach on students’ achievement in mathematics.

Considering the dwindling nature of students’ achievement in an important subject like mathematics, it becomes pertinent for teachers and researchers to source for strategies that will sure-up students’ achievement in the area and prepare them for the future. Therefore, the main purpose of this study is to determine the impact of problem-solving approach on secondary school students’ achievement in mathematics..

#### 1.2 Statement of the Problem

The academic performance of senior secondary school students in mathematics is a critical concern, particularly given the foundational role that mathematical proficiency plays in their overall cognitive development and future academic pursuits. One significant factor that may impact students’ performance is their ability to engage in effective problem-solving strategies. Problem-solving is considered a fundamental skill in mathematics education, requiring students to apply mathematical concepts and principles in real-world scenarios. Despite the recognized importance of problem-solving, there is a need to investigate its specific influence on the academic performance of senior secondary school students in mathematics.

The current state of research on the relationship between problem-solving and academic performance presents a gap in understanding how different problem-solving approaches and methodologies may affect students’ mathematical achievements (Brown, 2018; Smith & Jones, 2020). Additionally, there is limited empirical evidence on the specific challenges students face in developing effective problem-solving skills in the context of senior secondary school mathematics education (Johnson et al., 2019). In light of these considerations, the research aims to address the following question: To what extent do problem-solving strategies influence the academic performance of senior secondary school students in the field of mathematics?

#### 1.3 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study are as follows:

- Determine if there was any significant difference between the level of achievement of students taught using problem solving strategy and those taught using the conventional lecture method..
- Determine the attitudes of students towards mathematics problems when taught using problem solving strategies.
- Find out the influence of gender on students’ achievement in mathematics when taught using problem solving strategy.

#### 1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study:

- What is the level of achievement of students before and after exposure to problem solving strategy?
- To what extent does gender affect students’ achievement in mathematics when taught using problem solving strategy?
- What is the attitude of students towards problem solving in mathematics?

#### 1.5 Hypotheses

- There is no significant difference between mean achievement scores of students taught using problem solving strategy and those taught using the conventional lecture method.
- There is no significant difference between the post-test mean achievement scores of male and female students who were taught using problem solving strategy.
- There is no significant difference between the post-test mean achievement scores of students in public schools and their counterparts in private schools exposed to problem solving strategy?

#### 1.5 Significance of the Study

This research is based on the assumption that the findings will be useful in both practical and theoretical contexts. Teachers, students’ curriculum designers, and educational administrators will profit from the research. The research might be considered theoretically relevant since it will provide light on current ideas that may impact issue resolution. Curriculum planners would use the information from the study’s findings to plan their lessons. The data might aid curriculum planners in determining the appropriateness of the senior secondary biology program’s problem-solving component. Finally, the research would add empirically to the body of existing literature and serve as a reference source for students or other academics interested in conducting research on a comparable issue.

#### 1.7 Scope of the Study

The broad objective of this research is to look into the effect of problem solving strategy on academic performance in mathematics among senior secondary school students in Ankpa local government. The goal of this study is to see if problem-solving techniques may help students improve their critical thinking skills in secondary school. It will be determined whether brainstorming, as a problem-solving strategy, is capable of instilling problem-solving skills in secondary school students. It will look into whether problem-based learning is more innovative and superior than standard lecture learning. However, the study is confined to a few secondary schools. the Local Government.

#### 1.8 Limitation of the Study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scanty literature on the subject owing to the nature of the discourse thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. More so, the choice of the sample size was limited as few respondent were selected to answer the research instrument hence cannot be generalize to other corporate organizations. However, despite the constraint encountered during the research, all factors were downplayed in other to give the best and make the research successful.

#### 1.8 Definition of Terms

##### Teaching Method:

A teaching method comprises the principles and methods used by teachers to enable student learning. These strategies are determined partly on subject matter to be taught and partly by the nature of the learner.

##### Problem-Based Learning:

Problem based learning (PBL) is a teaching strategy during which students are trying solve a problem or a set problems unfamiliar to them. PBL is underpinned by a constructivist approach, as such it promotes active learning.

##### Academic Achievement:

Academic achievement is the extent to which a student or institution has achieved either short or long term educational goals. Achievement may be measured through students’ grade point average, whereas for institutions, achievement may be measured through graduation rates.

#### 1.10 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows.

- Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
- Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
- Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
- Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
- Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

## Chapter Five

### Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

#### 5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on the influence of problem solving strategy on academic performance in mathematics among senior secondary school students in anka local government as case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.

#### 5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was on the effect of problem solving strategy on academic performance in mathematics among senior secondary school students in ankpa local government as case study. The study is was specifically focused on determining if there was any significant difference between the level of achievement of students taught using problem solving strategy and those taught using the conventional lecture method, determining the attitudes of students towards mathematics problems when taught using problem solving strategies and finding out the influence of gender on students’ achievement in mathematics when taught using problem solving strategy..

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 30 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are senior secondary school students in anka local government .

#### 5.3 Conclusions

With respect to the analysis and the findings of this study, the following conclusions emerged;

The study concluded that Students taught using PSS achieved more than those taught through the conventional lecture method of teaching. This by implication means that the use of PSS in teaching improves students’ achievement in mathematics. Students have a positive attitude towards problem solving in mathematics. This means that the use of PSS in teaching is enjoyable to students and that is why their attitude is positive. The findings of this study revealed that gender did not affect students’ achievement significantly when taught using PSS.

#### 5.4 Recommendation

Based on the findings the researcher recommends that;

- Authors and textbook writers of biology textbooks should transform mathematics textbooks into problem solving forms, apply and provide proper illustrations so as to meet the criteria of problem solving strategies.
- Extensive and result-oriented training programs, seminars and workshops on PSS should be organized by associations, examination bodies, and delegates of education for teachers to equip them with new strategies for solving problems in all topics.
- Problem solving strategies and courses intended to instruct these strategies should be added to the curriculum of institutions which train teachers such as colleges of education and faculties of education as doing that would help in producing trained teachers that are equipped with PSS.
- More time should be allocated to lessons so that more strategies can be explored in the classroom. When little time is given to lessons, teachers rush through instructions so promote the conventional lecture method rather than take time to follow the lesson step by step with the appropriate strategy.
- Teachers should be encouraged to use problem solving method to develop students’ problem solving skills and the related outcomes such as course achievement.

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