Elementary Mathematics: A Review Of Students’ Understanding Of The Causes Of Poor Academic Performance In The Subject

Project and Seminar Material for Child and Basic Education

Elementary Mathematics: A Review Of Students’ Understanding Of The Causes Of Poor Academic Performance In The Subject

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Mathematics is a large and complex discipline with a long history (Adekoya). The Sumerians created mathematics as a formal subject of teaching and learning around 5,000 years ago. They did it at the same time as they were learning to read and write. The origins of mathematics, on the other hand, date back far more than 5,000 years. According to Olusegun (2009), mathematics is the cream of all subjects, whether in the society or human mind, because it honestly deals with concept, proof, and reasoning. Mathematics is employed as a fundamental tool in many areas throughout the world, including natural science, engineering, medical, and social sciences. Arithmetic, Algorithm, Trigonometric, and Geometric are branches of mathematics, which is the science of size and number. It’s an age-old subject that’s at the heart of any school’s curriculum. Mathematics may afford to be omitted since the aim for teaching any topic is to have value and objective for which it is designed (Hughes, 2005). The Pythagoreans, who invented the name mathematics from the ancient Greek (“mathema”) meaning topic of teaching (Anderson, 2002), began studying mathematics as a separate discipline in the 6th century BC. The methods of Greek mathematics were substantially advanced (particularly via the introduction of deductive reasoning and mathematical proofs) and the subject matter of mathematics was greatly broadened. A place value system was one of the first contributions made by Chinese mathematics (Maloney, 2015). The Hindu-Arabic number system and the principles for its operation, which are still in use across the world today, most likely arose in India around the first millennium A.D. and were transferred to the west via Islamic Mathematics (Kena, 2012). Islamic mathematics, in turn, developed and enlarged civilization’s mathematics. Many Greek and Arabic writings on mathematics were later translated into English, allowing mathematics to advance in Medieval Europe ( Williams, 2015). From antiquity until the Middle Ages, bursts of mathematical invention were frequently followed by years of stasis in mathematics (Helaine, 2009). Beginning in Renaissance Italy in the 16th century, new mathematical advancements were created at an increasing rate, interacting with new scientific discoveries, which continues to this day (Ainbriosio, 2009). Mathematics is a technique of expressing the relationship between numbers and other quantifiable characteristics. Simple particles and the furthest object in the known universe may both be expressed mathematically. Scientists may explain their thoughts using universally understood vocabulary because to mathematics. It is, without a doubt, the language of science (Selin, 2008). Until the 17th century, the only mathematical disciplines were arithmetic, algebra, and geometry, and mathematics was practically indistinguishable from science and philosophy. These techniques for exploring the universe were developed by the ancient Greeks and were kept by Islamic scholars and handed on by Christian monks during the Middle Ages (Louis, 2009). With the discovery of calculus by English mathematician Isaac Newton and German philosopher and mathematician Augustin and his contemporaries, mathematics became a science in its own right. However, until the late nineteenth century, mathematics was primarily employed by physicists, chemists, and engineers (Encarta, 2009). Mathematics is an important and unique part of knowledge as a whole; we might describe it as part of our cultural heritage, dating back to times when what was studied had little practical application and continuing to its current position as the foundation on which our scientific and technical knowledge has been built (Asikhia, 2010). Despite the subject’s distinctiveness and importance, many students still fail it. “Educators, government officials, and parents in Nigeria are concerned about kids’ varying academic success, which has been and continues to be a subject of study interest. This is due to the significant impact that education has on the country’s overall growth” ( Ojo, 2010). Parents, teachers, and the government believe that the massive investment in education isn’t producing the anticipated results. Both internal and external assessments show that students perform badly. Poor academic performance is defined by Asikhia (2010), paraphrasing Aremu, as a performance that is regarded by the examinee/testee and some other person as falling below an expected standard. Secondary school pupils have shown poor academic achievement in school courses, particularly Mathematics and English. Students at tertiary institutions have varying perspectives on why they struggle in mathematics. One of these factors is the lecture mode of instruction. Lecturers’ methods or tactics for imparting knowledge to pupils are extremely significant. Many lecturers are unconcerned about whether or not their pupils grasp what they are being taught (Bowler, 2015). They are just concerned about completing the course outline on time. Because he is unconcerned about whether the kids comprehend the subject, the student may fail to assimilate, resulting in failure (Akinade, 2009). At all levels of school, students’ incapacity to fully revise their notes and books following lectures has resulted in a blatant failure in mathematics. Many students find it difficult to recall that review of specific lessons presented in class is important for a better grasp of the content of teaching due to the surroundings and scenario on campuses. No honest student will disagree that different diversions on campus are to blame for diverting many students’ attention away from things that do not aid in discipline improvement, such as mathematics. As a result, there is a lack of preparation and, as a result, anxiety over answering questions, particularly in examination rooms. According to Azikwe, “good reading (studying) demands for a strong interest in and a purpose for reading.” This lack of preparation is portrayed in what Chukwu (2008) in a project referred to as “lack of preparedness.” Students are well aware that late preparation causes them to fail a test. This situation is extremely relevant to first-year students who are easily distracted by the personal freedom afforded by higher institutions and forget that their major goal is to focus on their schoolwork. Unnecessary trips, phone browsing, pinging, online live chats, and social gatherings on special occasions are just a few of the many things that keep students occupied while they ignore their academics. At the conclusion of such activities, studying gets weary, and when they finally arrive at their hostels, they soon fall asleep. As the examination day approaches, some students realize they have not read their books and begin studying when it is almost time for the exam (George, 2008). As a result of their tardy preparation, they fail miserably. Sakyi (2008) succinctly summarized the situation. “However, I believe that modernisation is exacerbating the situation. Instead of reading, the kids choose to jam out in public.” “Africa used to have a wonderful reading culture until the arrival of home video, which has taken over reading,” writes Olaosebikan (2008). The introduction of the internet and its associated social networks has greatly exacerbated the problem under investigation. “Most kids read when on the internet,” according to Rufai (2005). This unfortunate circumstance has made it impossible for some students to read their textbooks instead of sitting in front of a computer surfing the internet. Time spent reading or studying books might have a significant impact on kids’ mathematics achievement. Third-world nations are classified as backward, impoverished, and underdeveloped, and many Nigerian households have a low and pitiful level of life. Alagbo M (2005) said in a BBC Africa study that “parents struggle to pay their children’s school fees.” Make provisions, but they find it difficult, if not impossible, in the field of materials.” What’s more, if parents are stressed, how much more will pupils be? Most students at higher schools struggle to feed themselves, much alone have enough money to purchase necessary books for a more in-depth study of their field of study (Kwaku, 2006). True, a student should be able to do well in his or her field of study, but who can blame pupils given the high expense of many mathematical textbooks? Students in this position are bound to have issues with their academic achievement in their respective disciplines. In the opinion of Ntumba (2008), the situation is best characterized as follows: “Aren’t we supposed to state that an empty stomach has no ears?” Is it really feasible to focus on reading while my stomach is still grumbling for food? Before we can focus on other issues in Africa, we must first solve the problem of hunger. This has nothing to do with culture, but we do prioritize, and food always takes precedence.” According to Asikhia (2010), the topic is consistently failing at the secondary school level. Many pupils have lost interest in the topic completely. They fear they will never be able to master the topic. As a result, many pupils appeared to be uninterested in the topic. How can you excel in a subject that you are passionate about? Students who lose interest in a subject are less likely to grasp what is being taught, which can lead to failure. According to Adebanjo (2009), good teacher traits are essential for efficient teaching. Teachers and lecturers should be aware that their students’ level of performance in class is influenced by their interpersonal relationships. When the instructors are personable, it makes the lecturers more approachable. Various researchers have published about techniques for teachers to develop and build positive relationships with pupils, such as Thomas G in the Teacher Effective Training (TET) paradigm. In conclusion, students’ perceptions of the causes of low academic achievement are broad. It cuts across all stakeholders’ perspectives on education. Despite the fact that instructors and the school atmosphere have been blamed for a variety of causes, students who offer Mathematics have also been blamed. As previously discussed, poor academic performance in elementary mathematics is a result of a number of factors, including the teacher’s method of instruction, a lack of revision, late preparation, inadequate facilities, the advent of the internet, a low standard of living, a loss of interest as a result of the level of difficulty, and repeated failures (Kapinga, 2010).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

  1. Students’ incapacity to update their notebooks beyond lecture hours has a significant impact on their primary mathematics performance.
  2. Reading just for the sake of exams relates to pupils’ poor performance in mathematics.
  3. The internet’s ability to distract pupils is a crucial role in their poor performance in primary mathematics (Thetas, 2016).
  4. Lecturers’ attitudes and methodologies are important determinants in low performance in elementary mathematics.
  5. Inadequate educational facilities are determinant variables in basic mathematics achievement ( Watts, 2005).

1.3 Objectives of the Study

From the perspective of students at Tertiary Institutions, the research activity is centered on researching and determining the variables responsible for poor performance in elementary mathematics.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. How can the incapacity to edit their notes beyond class hours have an impact on their academic performance in primary mathematics?
  2. What Is the factor in low academic performance in elementary mathematics?
  3. Do the internet and social media have a significant role in students’ low academic achievement in elementary mathematics?
  4. Do teacher attitudes and methods have an impact on students’ success in primary mathematics?
  5. Are students making the most use of the educational resources available to them?

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the factors affecting student’s academic performance?

Those factors which are affecting student’s academic performance. The students’ academic performance depends on a number of socio-economic factors like students’ attendance in the class, family income, mother’s and father’s education, teacher-student ratio, presence of trained teacher in school, sex of the student, and distance of schools.

How can we solve the problem of poor academic performance?

Solutions to poor academic performance. Government should be able to provide supports for students from a poor background like grants, scholarships, etc. This will assist students in this category to remain focus. Teachers should be student focus rather than being content minded.

What are the causes of poor academic performance in Oman?

Causes of Poor Academic Performance among Omani Students. The factors involved in students’ low academic achievements categorized into four macro groups; student-related factors, teacher- related factors, family- related factors and some other factors such as marriage, health problem, toxic friendships and transportation problem.

What are the causes of poor academic performance among primary school pupils?

There have been a lot of seminars and workshops on the causes of poor academic performance among primary school pupils in Nigeria. A lot of reasons have been given for the fault of pupils, teachers, parents and government. According to Eke (1986), poor performance implies obtaining low or poor grades by majority of pupils. 


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