The study investigated the effect of the knowledge of Mathematics on the Achievement of Physics students in secondary School in Lagos State. The study employed a pre-test, post-test control group quasi-experimental research design, using school types and gender as moderator variables. A sample size of one hundred and ninety-four (194) Physics students were purposively selected from five (5) senior secondary school (two Private, one Federal and two Public Senior Secondary School in Lagos State) from the population of 51 and 43 Senior secondary schools of Educational districts ii and iv in Lagos State respectively.

Two validated research instruments Mathematics Knowledge Test (MKT) r 0.74 and Physics Achievement Test (PAT) r 0.84 were used for data collection. The study lasted for five (5) weeks; in which both the experimental and control groups were pretested after which the experimental groups were exposed to Mathematics concepts relating to Physics concepts to be taught before exposing them to the Physics concepts, while the control groups were exposed to only the Physics concepts without prior exposure to Mathematics concepts simultaneously… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)

students performance


Competence is defined as the capability to apply or use a set of related knowledge, skill, and attitude to complete a task according to its standards in a defined work area Ashworth, P. and Saxton, J. (2000) In addition, competence can be scored and is measurable Mansfield, B. (2003). The teachers or instructors can assess students’ competence through processes of observation and evaluation. Mathematics as a subject affects all aspects of human life at different levels.

Competence is an abstract construct. It describes the quality of being competent. It is the “habitual and judicious use of communication, knowledge, technical skills, clinical reasoning, emotions, values and reflection in daily practice for the benefit of the individual and community being served” (Epstein & Hundert, 2002).

In contrast, competency is a more concrete concept to include particular knowledge, a single skill or ability, and attitudes. It speaks to the quality of being adequately or well qualified, physically and intellectually. There is misuse and/or cross-use of the terms competence and competency. For example, competence is used as a synonym for performance, a skill, or personality trait (Bassellier, Reich, & Benbasat, 2001).

Not only is competence treated as performance, but it is also used indiscriminately to refer to either the observable performance or the underlying neural functions that support the observable behavior (Connell, Sheridan, & Gardner, 2003).

Schwandt (2008) drew attention to the different nature of competence and competency. He pointed out that to identify professional competence is “another” task than to identify competencies (Schwandt, 2008).

In addition, Epstein and Hundert (2002) and Eraut (2004) agreed that professional competence is more than a demonstration of isolated competencies… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)

Statement of the Problem

Teaching of science, especially mathematics and physics, and performance of students at the secondary school level have been the concern of government and parents. The challenges that might arise could be as a result of incompetency in the side of science teachers in the schools.

It could also be that there are no facilities to be used in the teaching and learning process in the schools… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)

Research Objectives

The main aim of the study is to examine a comparative analysis between student’s competence in math and their performance in physics. Other specific objectives of the study include;

  • To determine the relationship between students competence in mathematics and their performance in physics… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)

students performance


Piaget’s Theory of learning

Piaget’s cognitive theory of learning refers to the stage theory of cognitive development. According to Piaget, children develop knowledge by inventing or constructing reality out of the experience and thus mix their observation with their ideas about how the world works. Piaget observed that people of the same age level (especially children) have a similar line of reasoning.

For instance, children of the same age level have a similar line of reasoning or thinking. Children may make the same type of mistakes. They may have the same reasoning process. This indicates that cognition develops stage by stage. Piaget used the terms ‘Assimilation’ and ‘Accommodation’ to explain his views… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)

Students Performance Theory on Learning

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Adeyemi (2017), Awodun, and Ojo (2013), Odual (2013), and Redish (2005) affirmed the submission of Obafemi and Ogunkunle (2013) by acquiescing that Mathematics is the language of science in general and of Physics in particular. The researchers admitted that without Mathematics, there is no science and that without science, there is no technology, and without technology, there is no modern society.

This is the major reason why Mathematics is a compulsory subject for students in primary and secondary school levels in Nigeria. Mathematics is also, a requirement for admission into tertiary institutions of learning. Every subject, tribe, and society has its own language, Adequate and sound knowledge in a language of a particular subject is a requirement for success in the subject, sound knowledge in the language of a particular environment, tribe or society is a requirement for such a person to belong and flow well in such environment, tribe and society.

Hence, before one can be said to have understood a subject or belong to a particular society or environment one should be able to speak the language of that subject or speak the language of such society or environment… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)

The WAEC external examination of Physics students in secondary schools between the year 2004 and 2015 is showed in Table 1.1. The trend shows that the academic performance of Physics students in the external examination with grade Al — C6 is fluctuating between 41.50 and 68.74. The trend as such is not satisfactory.

Furthermore, from Table 1.1 below, the chief examiner’s report has showed that Physics students performed below average between 2004 and 2015 WAEC external exams.

Table 1.1: students’ performance in May/June SSCE (WAEC) Physics 2004 — 2015


Total Number of candidate

Total pass


Total Pass


Total Fail (F)




2004 321499 158837 49.40 90012 27.99 61940 19.26
2005 344111 142943 41.50 102036 29.62 89150 25.88
2006 375824 218199 58.05 87025 23.15 62119 16.52
2007 418593 180797 43.19 140172 33.49 88480 21.14
2008 415113 200345 48.26 91116 21.95 116776 28.13


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The population for the study wasa ll Secondary School students in while the sample was 180 Secondary School Class II students selected from three schools. Purposive sampling was used to select two single-sex schools (one boys only and the other girls only) while simple random sampling was used to select one co-educational school.

60 students were selected from each single-sex school through simple random sampling while stratified sampling was used to select 30 boys and 30 girls from the co-educational school. The grouping of the students into experimental and control groups was also done through simple random sampling technique. However, 45 boys and 45 girls were allocated to each group. The sample size of the 180 SSII students was adequate for this kind of study according to Kiajcle, Robert, and Morgan (1970)… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)


What is the effect of Mathematics knowledge on the achievement of students in Physics?

Table 1 : Mean post-test achievement score of students (reflecting students competence) exposed to Mathematics before exposure to Physics (experimental) and those exposed to Physics (control)



Std. Deviation

Std. Error Mean












Table I showed that the mean score of students in the experimental group is 21.6863 which is greater than 12.6087 mean scores of students in the control group. This showed that the knowledge of

Mathematics knowledge has the effect of 9.0776 on Physics achievement.

  1. What is the effect of gender on the achievement of students in Physics?

Table 2: Mean Post Test Scores of Male and Female Students in Physics

Group Statistics


Mean Std. Deviation

Std. Error Mean











Table 2 showed that the mean post-test scores of male students in Physics is 17.7669 which is greater than and that of female which 16.5410 is. The effect of gender on Physics achievement is 1.2259.

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From the results obtained in the study on mathematical competences on students’ performance in Physics, it was found that students taught Physics using improvised mathematical competences performed better than students taught using conventional material; male students did not perform better than their female counterparts in Physics. The results do not suggest the ordinal interaction effect between mode of method and gender on students’ achievement in Physics… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)

Study Implications

The findings of this study have implications for education particularly in teaching Physics in secondary schools in particular, and in Nigeria as a whole. The implications of this study border on the development of more virile mathematical competences for teaching Physics. In addition, the findings of this study have implications for Physics teachers… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)

students performance


Adegoke, B.A (2009). Determining factors in secondary school students choice of Physics(Students Competence). Journal of Science Association ofNigeria. 44(1&2), 75 – 84

Adetutu, E. A. (2014). Psycho-academic variables and mathematics achievement of 9th Grade students in Nigeria (Students Competence). British Journal of Education, Society & Behavioural Science 2(2), 174-183.

Adeyemi, T.0 (2017). Mathematics as a language for involving secondary school children in science and technology in Ondo State, Nigeria, Mathematics connection (Students Competence), (6) 11-21.

Adeyemo, S.A. (2010). Teaching/learning of Physics in Nigerian secondary schools: The curriculum transformation, issues, problems and prospect t(Students Competence). International Journal of Educational Research and Technolou, 1 (1), 99 — 11.

Adeyemo, S.A. (2010). The Relationship among School Environment, Student Approaches to Learning (Students Competence) and their Academic Achievement in Senior Secondary School Physics. International Journal ofEducational Research and Technolou, 3(1), 21 — 26.

Akinloye, F. E., Adu, T. V, & Adu, D. M. (2015). Attitudes towards science: a review of the literature and its implications (Students Competence). International Journal of Science Education. 25, 10491079,

Alimi, V. F., Ehinola, E. T., & Alabi, J. Y. (2012). The use of the interactive whiteboafd for creative teaching and learning in literacy and mathematics (Students Competence). British Journal of Educational Technology vol. 39(1), 84-96.

Aransi (2015). Mathematics Skills as predictors of science achievement (Students Competence) in junior secondary schools.” World J Young Researchers 2011. (4):60

Awodun, E. F. & Ojo, N. M. (2013). Pupils’ experiences and perspectives of the national curriculum and assessment (Students Competence). Final report for the research review Slough, UK: NFER.

Ayodele, 0., A. O. A, Awofala, & E. A., Adekoya (2014). Effect of students’ background knowledge of Mathematics on senior secondary school students’ achievement in Physics (Students Competence). Bulgarian Journal ofscience education, 23 (6), 863 — 880

Babajide, V. F. T. (2013). Enhancing female participation in practical Physics (Students Competence): Effects of instructional strategies. African Journal of Pedagogy, 5(1), 45 — 57.

Babajide, V.F.T., Adeyemo, S.A., & Ogunleye, A. O. (2018). Quality and relevance of Physics Education in Nigeria. Access, quality and relevance in Nigeria education (Students Competence): A festschrift for Prof Duro Ajeyalemi. 554 — 587.

Bello, B. O. & Ariyo, G. O. (2014). “What makes Physics Difficult?” International Journal of Environmental and science Education (Students Competence), 3(1), 30-34. 2008. (Students Competence)

Charles-Organ, 1., & I. F., Okey (2017). Effects of Mathematics knowledge on Physics, students’ performance in electromagnetism (Students Competence). International Journal of Theoretical and Mathematical Physics 2017, 7(4): 61-67. (Students Competence)

students performance

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