Background of the Study
The knowledge of mathematics is paramount in the success of every man in his numerous day to day activities in life. Mathematics education holds the potency of making individuals to relate mathematics knowledge to everyday problem being encountered and hence develop the individuals to a level that they are intellectually and economically stable. Right from the pre-historic days of the early human societies to the present “hitec” age, mathematics has played a fundamental role in the economic development of many countries of the world (Popoola, 2002). In every country, regardless of the level of economic, scientific and technological development, mathematics has to be taught to a number of scientists, technical specialists, scientific researchers etc. The service of these professionals will be continuously required for the well-being of the people and for the development of the society. Nigeria as a country needs to strive for scientific and technological breakthrough in order to cater for her domestic and international needs to enable her assert her greatness among the United Nations member states. The pertinent virtue of mathematics as well as its contributions to the development of mankind has earned the subject the prominence it enjoys among other school subjects. The importance accorded to mathematics in the school curriculum from primary to secondary levels reflects accurately the vital role played by the subject in contemporary society. It is a core subject in the primary and secondary school certificate curriculum. Also a credit pass in mathematics at the senior secondary school certificate examination is needed as a pre-requisite for admission into the tertiary institutions in Nigeria. It is in realization of this that many countries resort to making specially comprehensive and well-programmed efforts towards the effective teaching and learning of mathematics and sciences at all levels of their educational system through the development and implementation of innovative programmes and projects (Azuka, 2000). Unfortunately, pupils’ and students’ performance in this all important subject have not been impressive. To support this assertion, Agwagah (2004) lamented that in spite of all the important roles mathematics play in the development of mankind; its achievement has been very poor. In the same vein Ugwuanyi (2009) stated that even though the indispensability of mathematics in the development of our society has been universally acknowledged, the out put of its teaching and learning is still not encouraging. Also (WAEC 2005 & 2009) revealed dishearting and alarming poor performance of students in mathematics. However, this situation is not peculiar to Nigeria, it depict the general trend world wide as International Studies on Education (ISE) revealed that secondary school students in developing countries lag behind in mathematics (Fennema & Sherman in Popoola, 2002).
Statement of the Problem
Evidences abound of lots of effort by researchers in Nigeria to determine the effects of different teaching methods on students’ achievement, interest and retention in mathematics. Many of these researchers report conflicting results in the magnitude of the mean effect on students’ achievement, interest and retention of both treatment and control groups when they are exposed to different teaching methods. Due to these inconsistencies in research reports, one cannot categorically state the effect of each teaching method in enhancing achievement, interest and retention that is the best or highest. Therefore, attempt should be made to integrate these studies in one research work. This kind of integration of studies have been done by some researchers. However, all of these researchers did their meta-analysis on sciences generally but not in a specific subject area like mathematics. Metaanalysis techniques are needed so as to arive at a consensus opinion on the effect of teaching methods on students’ academic achievement, interest and retention in mathematics in Nigeria. The problem of this study therefore, is to determine the magnitude of the effect of teaching methods on students’ achievement, interest and retention in mathematics in Nigeria using meta-analysis procedure.