CAUSES AND EFFECT OF MASS FAILURE IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION NORTH WEST REGION
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1.1 Background of the study
Mathematics education is the bedrock of scientific and technological development in any country. Mathematics is one of the school subjects that any nation needs for industrial and technological advancement, useful for most vocation and higher specialized courses of learning (Olili, 2006: Sidhu, 2006). According to Nwoke and Nnaji (2011), Mathematics is the study of quantity, structures, space and change, it developed through the use of abstraction and logical reasoning, from counting, calculation, measurement and the study of the shapes and motion of physical objects. Mathematics is an excellent vehicle for the development and improvement of a person’s intellectual competence in logical reasoning, spatial visualization, analysis and abstracts thought. Students who study mathematics, therefore, develop numeracy skills, reasoning, thinking) and problem solving skill through the learning and application of mathematics.
Cameroon as a developing country needs scientific innovations in teaching and learning process, and as such requires mathematics that would enable early and proper utilization of this desire. Unfortunately, the position of Mathematics education in the country at the moment seems to be far from being impressive. The place of mathematics in development of any nation cannot be overemphasized.
Betiki (2001) maintains Mathematics education has been widely acclaimed to be the index of measuring any nation’s socio-economic and geo-political developments. Among science and technology courses, according to the National policy on education (2004) Mathematics is one of the core subjects to be offered by all students till the tertiary level of education.
The inclusion of Mathematics as a core subject in the Secondary school curriculum is due to the key roles it has played in the achievement of the objectives of the secondary school educations: such roles include: promoting of science and technology, provision of trained manpower in the applied sciences, technology and physical, as equipment for the individual to live on and contribute to the development of his society.
However, it is also important to note that in our universities, teaching and learning of Mathematics should consider the quality of the products. This is because mathematics has done good for the attainment of standard. The proper study of mathematics should assist individual in ordering, Organization, and Investigating his or her environment. This is only possible through active personal experience with material resources.
From Interaction with parent, some students and from result of SSCE in Mathematics, it is obvious that the subject has not fully achieved its purpose in Cameroon for Example taking SSCE Many times because of Mathematics, wasting resources, Poor background of the knowledge of Mathematics. This perhaps may be due to the method teacher’s use and not using instructional materials. At times some of them have not gone through education such can hinder their (teacher ) performance in lesson delivering .Student themselves on the other hand are not left out , some of them may not have interest and therefore lack attention .These may be due to the reason above or friends or due to the negative talks about Mathematics.
In essence Obodo (2000), Lament the poor state of Mathematics instruction in Cameroon and declared that the problem of Mathematics instruction and learning from diverse sources. The teacher has been accused to be responsible for the low quality of student’s performance in our secondary schools.
The study will be carried out in 21 Senior Secondary School in North West education zone (North West –South; and Furore Local Government Areas) in Adamawa State. Adamawa State is located North-Eastern part of the country at Latitude 9.330N and longitude 12.50E with its capital in North West . The state was created from the deform Gongola State and has since been one of the thirty six (36) states that constitute Federal Republic of Cameroon. Adamawa State is one of the highest State in terms of land mass, occupying about 36,917km2. The State share boundaries with Borno state to the North, Gombe state to the west, Taraba to the south, as well as the Republic of Cameroon to the East, which has 21 local government areas with five education zones namely: North West ,Mubi, Gombi, Numan and Ganye. The main constraints to diversify livelihood in the area is lack of basic social infrastructure. All education zones are under the umbrella of one board called Post Primary schools Management Board. The board is however under the Management of State Ministry of Education, Adamawa State. The language of the study area is mostly Hausa then Fulfulde and English.
Despite the relative importance of Mathematics, it is very disappointing to note that the students’ performance in the subject in both internal and external examinations seems to have remained consistently poor, possibly the alarming evidence of lack of Mathematics laboratory, negative notion students have concerning Mathematics, poor provision and learning materials and other possible causes, that would improve learning effectiveness and promote excellence in Mathematics. Moreover, it has conformed and re-affirmed that through research, resourceful teaching strategy is learner-centered and problem solving oriented. This cannot be implemented successfully in the absence of equipment.
Mathematics educators have put up efforts aimed at identifying the major problem associated with the teaching and learning of Mathematics in the nation’s schools. Despite (Poor performance in Mathematics) all these efforts, the problem of poor performance in SSCE result show that this has continued to rear its head in the nation’s public secondary schools.
This research examines the core board of Mathematics trying to find out why the problem of teaching and learning Mathematics is so difficult todays. Mathematics as a subject deals with different topics under it, which students see as a difficult subject to study. This could be because most of the teachers who teach the subject seem not to go into detail of simplifying the topics under Mathematics. In respect to the above, statistics have shown that difficulty in teaching and learning as some termed it to be has resulted in mass failure of the subject.
A cluster of variables have been implicated as responsible for the poor performance of students in Mathematics. These may include government related variables, curriculum related variables, examination body related, teacher, student, home and textbooks related. Apart from these variables Amazigbo, (2000) has identified poor primary school background in Mathematics subject, lack of incentives for teachers, unqualified teachers in the system, lack of learner interest, perception that Mathematics is difficult, large classes and psychological fear of the subject as factors responsible for the dismal performance of the students in the subject. In addition Bornstein (2011) contends that curriculum changes in Mathematics have occurred in several countries for one reason or the other, but more importantly it is for the desire to improve Mathematics teaching and learning to meet the needs of the society. In Cameroon, curriculum changes have occurred and for a long time, the tendency has been to transfer unquestionably, syllabus from the advanced countries based on the University of the subject. Such undertakings, loses sight of some problems usually raised by curriculum changes in Cameroon. Failure of the Mathematics is related to the child’s environment and immediate application of Mathematics in day to day living.
Mathematics is also bedrock of science and technological development; the issue of adequate physical facilities cannot be overemphasized. The physical facilities, such models will help grasp the idea of mathematics which seems to be abstract.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It is observed that few students offered Mathematics as a course in tertiary institution compare with other subject like Biology, Geography, Hausa, Physics etc. Alfred (2013). This perhaps may be attributed to the following factors, inadequate Mathematics teachers, unqualified Mathematics teachers, inadequate Mathematics instructional materials, class size, time tabling schedule and what have you.
Alfred, David and Aboyemi, (2013) maintained that in secondary schools, students perform below expectation and even develop phobia in Mathematics. This perhaps is based on fact that the teacher intends to use the study to find out possible causes.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main aim of this study is to investigate the Problems Affecting Teaching and Learning Mathematics, Particularly in some Secondary Schools in North West Region cameroon.
The study also aims at achieving the following objectives;
- To find out the availability of qualified Mathematics teachers in Senior Secondary Schools in North West Educational Zone.
- To find out the adequacy or inadequacy of Mathematics instructional materials in teaching and learning Mathematics in North West Educational Zone.
- To find out the average number of students per class in senior secondary schools in North West Educational Zone.
- To find out the problems of time tabling schedule and learning capacity that hinder affective teaching and learning Mathematics in North West Educational zone.
1.4 Research Questions
- Will student’s lack of interest hinder effective teaching and learning of Mathematics?
- Do parent contribute to students’ failure in Mathematics?
- Are there enough trained teachers for teaching Mathematics in senior secondary schools?
- Does the school have adequate instructional materials for teaching Mathematics in senior secondary schools?
1.5 Significance Of The Study
The significance of the study is to help the Mathematics teachers, Students, Parents and society at large to appreciate the need for proper instruction delivery. The significant of the study is shown in the table below;