Background of the Study
The students’ attitude towards mathematics and students’ in-class performance and their performance in public examinations provide evidence of students’ poor attitude and decline poor performance in mathematics. The knowledge of mathematics is universally accepted, as indispensable for the learning of science and technology related disciplines which every modern society strives to advance. As the world progresses through the industrial and technological age of information whereby the information system is becoming computerized, the impact of mathematics in areas other than the science is becoming more pronounced. According to Bajah (2000), no nation can make any meaningful progress in this information age, particularly in economic development without knowledge in technology whose foundations are science and mathematics.
Johonson and Johnson (2003) reported that students were taught mathematical concepts using poor methods, techniques and strategies. According to Effardi (2010), there is decline in mathematics achievement in schools because students consider mathematics as a difficult and boring subject; the present method of teaching mathematics is characterized by dispensing rules, definition and procedures for students to memorize rather than engaging students as active participants through discussions and collaboration among students. Bolaji (2005) found that teachers’ characteristics and activities have greater effects on students’ attitudes. The advantages of using mathematics laboratory in teaching include providing opportunity for students to understand and internalize the basic mathematical concepts (Ogunkunle, 2000).
Okereke (2002) observed that, despite the place of mathematics in the development of a nation, students and pupils acclaim the subjects to be very difficult and thus dreaded. There is no doubt that students believe that mathematics is abstract and difficult to understand. This often leads to discouragement and poor performances in the subject. Moore (1993), in a random sample of high school students concluded that impressions of a teacher, towards a subject positively or negatively predicted students attitudes towards the same subject. The West African Examination Council (WAEC) Chief Examiners (2003, 2005) revealed that candidates were weak in geometry of circles and 3-dimensional problems. According to their reports, most candidates avoided questions on 3-dimensional problem, when they attempt geometry questions. Gender also plays a major role in determining students achievement in any subject. It is significant factor in students’ achievement when mathematics is taught with certain strategies/techniques (Obodo, (1993), Okereke (2016). In the National Policy of Education (2004), mathematics is one of the leading core and compulsory subjects in the junior and senior secondary school curricula. From many years back, students have been facing the problem of poor performance in mathematics. What has also become a main concern is the negative attitude of students towards mathematics. This is import because of the contribution of the subject to a child’s education for technological development of any nation; the teaching of mathematics is made compulsory in our secondary school in Nigeria.
Statement of the Problem
The generality of the people including parents appear to hold different beliefs concerning the factors responsible for poor performance of students in mathematics. The lack of mathematics laboratory and mathematics teachers is one of the major factors that contribute to poor achievement in mathematics by secondary school students. Hence, the study is designed to find out the effect of a mathematics laboratory programmed instruction strategy on students performance in (JSS III) mathematics.
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