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FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN MATHEMATICS IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

Mathematics, as a school subject, has over the years attracted the interest of educators and researchers who are concerned about its teaching and learning. It is the only subject that is commonly studied globally. Mathematics is the meeting point of most disciplines. The concern of Mathematics educators and researchers might have been predicated on the fact that teaching Mathematics as a subject or course is a very important tool that could be used for the understanding of other subjects especially in science. It is indispensable to science and technology and essential to studies in humanities. The usefulness of Mathematics in everyday life is obvious in areas such as measuring, shopping, cooking, sewing, woodwork and other areas of human endeavour. Emphasising the importance of Mathematics, Udousoro (2000) makes it clear that knowledge of the sciences remains superficial without Mathematics. It is important to the extent that it occupies a central position in the school curriculum (Amao and Disu, 2012). It is uniquely essential and has an unparalleled number of learners globally. It also provides solutions to the problems of quantity and quality. It is daily used by all and sundry. Mathematics as a subject is a friend to many but loved by very few. It is constantly applied by all whether intuitively, perceptibly or otherwise, consciously or otherwise. That is why Udousoro (2000) referred to it as the central intellectual discipline of the technological societies. The contributions that mathematical knowledge and skills have made to economic, industrial and technological growth of modern world are quite obvious. The importance of Mathematics does not only lie in its contributions to scientific and technological development but also in its utility in day-to-day interactions at market places, in transportations, and other various businesses engaged in by both literate and illiterate members of the society. As a result, one cannot escape Mathematics as there is real value in and real-life applications for it. Mathematics has beauty just as it has patterns. It is a tool and it is a language. It has many uses. So, there is need for students to study Mathematics to be properly prepared and equipped to face the challenges ahead if they are to be effective in this present age. The most emphasised objective of education in Nigeria is academic achievement as certificate issued at the end of completion of a course is the only evidence tenable to secure employment and to gain admission to a higher institution (Olowo, 2001). Among the higher institutions in which students will gain admission to is College of Education where preservice teachers are being trained. As far as Mathematics is concerned, it is one of the core subjects expected to be passed at the secondary school level and one of the subjects to qualify a candidate to gain admission to the university. At the higher institution, Mathematics is usually one of the general courses which students are made to offer. As a result, academic achievement in Mathematics has been the focus of researchers over the years.

Statement of the problem

It is observed by researchers, and as confirmed by literature that performance of students in Mathematics in the tertiary institutions have not been encouraging. Most students lack the ability to do Mathematics, the attitudes of some students and even teachers towards the subject are bad while most colleges lack adequate instructional materials and infrastructure for teaching Mathematics. Although government is making frantic efforts to employ more lecturers and improve infrastructural facilities in colleges while the National Council of Colleges of Education prepared the curriculum in such a way that some instructional materials needed are stipulated, this is yet to fully arrest the situation of preservice teacher‟s poor performance in Mathematics in the colleges. Hence the need for this study. Efforts at addressing the problem have not taken cognizance of the variables in this study. Also those who attempted to study part of the variables did it at the univariate level, but this study considers it at the multivariate level

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Updated: 9th May 2019 — 10:46 am

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