EFFECT OF MATHEMATICS LABORATORY ON STUDENT PERFORMANCE IN MATHEMATICS IN ENUGU STATE SECONDARY SCHOOLS
The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of mathematics laboratories on students’ performance in mathematics in secondary schools in Enugu State, utilizing 10 chosen secondary schools in Enugu as case studies. The study specifically sought to ascertain the availability of mathematics laboratory facilities in secondary schools, investigate the extent to which the use of a mathematics laboratory will improve student performance in mathematics, and ascertain mathematics teachers’ perceptions of the effects of laboratory availability or non-availability on student performance.
The survey descriptive research design was used in the study. A questionnaire was utilized to collect data, which was then analyzed using frequency tables and percentages. The Pearson correlation statistical tool was used to conduct the hypothesis test (SPSS v.23). A total of 338 respondents from Northern and Southern Ghana were conveniently chosen as the sample size.
The poll collected and validated 259 replies from the 338 respondents. The findings revealed that the majority of the schools have a mathematics laboratory, based on the replies gathered and analyzed. Furthermore, the utilization of a mathematics laboratory has greatly improved the student’s mathematical skills.
Furthermore, the study discovered a substantial association between laboratory use and student achievement in mathematics. Based on these findings, it was suggested that mathematics teachers use mathematics laboratories when teaching mathematics. In addition, the government should construct mathematics laboratories in all schools, just as it does for other science courses.
Furthermore, seminars/worships on the usage of mathematics laboratories should be arranged for secondary school mathematics teachers. In addition, mathematics student-teachers in the mathematics methodology class should be trained in the usage of the mathematics laboratory.
Mathematics, Laboratory, Students, and Performance
1.1 THE STUDY’S BACKGROUND
Mathematics’ significance in man’s development and way of life cannot be emphasized. Mathematics, in general, is a useful tool in practically every aspect of human effort, including science, engineering, industry, technology, and even the arts. No country can make scientific or technological development if mathematics is disregarded (Azuka, 2003).
Mathematics is the foundation of science and technology, according to Okereke (2006), and its functional role in science and technology is so intricate and diversified that no sector of science, technology, or commercial organization is immune to its application.
Mathematics, according to Umoinyam (1997), is the cornerstone of science and technology, without which a nation will never be affluent and economically independent.
According to Oyedeji (2000), a primary goal of many curricula is to provide children with at least the fundamental mathematical skills that will enable them to think mathematically and adapt this thinking to the fast changing demands of the modern world. As a result, mathematical abilities are vital for every individual to cope with life’s tasks.
Mathematics is a core subject in the school curriculum and is regarded as essential knowledge for the educated person. According to Azuka (2003), all main professions nowadays require understanding of mathematics in order to practice. Engineering, accounting, medical, economics, banking, technology, and other professions fall under this category. Mathematics is required in offices, industries, and other human enterprises for the analysis, arrangement, and assessment of information required to make new judgments.
According to Ukwu (1995), “it is the attributes and characteristics of this subject that make everything about it a matter of concern to every nation on the planet.” Math is now required in both primary and secondary schools. In Nigerian universities nowadays, there is almost no
programme that can be studied without demonstrating a basic understanding of basic mathematical principles through at least a credit pass in an ordinary level test in the subject. In fact, practically all higher education institutions provide one or two mathematics courses that all students take as general studies to prepare them for their respective specialties.
Despite the importance of mathematics, it has been observed all over the world that the subject has peculiar features, nature, and structure that cause many people to be afraid of it and lose interest in it (Ukwu 1995). Nigeria is one of those countries that suffers the most effects of the problems of poor performance and under achievement in Mathematics (Azuka 2003).
Galadima (2002) claimed that practically every year, pupils perform poorly in both internal and external mathematics examinations. This report is supported by the studies of (Odili, 1986), Salau (1995), Amazigo (2006), Agwagah (2001), and Okereke (2006).
The West African Examinations Councils (WAEC) chief examiners in mathematics (2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006) repeatedly highlighted candidates’ lack of ability to answer practically all general mathematics questions. According to Abakporo (2005), the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) had a credit pass of no more than 36.91 percent in mathematics for 11 years. WAEC chief examiners (2003, 2005) also found that candidates lacked proficiency in Geometry of Circles and three-dimensional issues.
According to their report, most applicants avoided three-dimensional problems, and when they tackled Geometry questions, only a few candidates demonstrated a clear knowledge of the topic in their workings.
Both Ojo (1990) and Adetula (1987) attempted to discover some of the reasons why pupils perform poorly in mathematics. One of the variables identified for students’ low performance and failure in mathematics in secondary schools was teachers’ failure to employ the appropriate technique of instruction.
Studies such as those of Habor Peters (2002) and Iji (2005) have identified one of the core causes of students’ poor mathematics achievement as the teaching styles and strategies utilized in the classroom by mathematics teachers.
Okereke (2006) also linked pupils’ poor performance to reasons such as society’s perception of mathematics as difficult, a lack of qualified teachers, a lack of mathematics laboratories, and a lack of incentives.
The abstractness with which some lecturers teach mathematics scares some of the best pupils in the field.
Ukwu (2008) found that the only method to make mathematics teaching and learning successful, meaningful, and exciting is to use instructional materials or teaching aids as well as delightful activities that learners enjoy.
The current state of mathematics education and learning is far from satisfactory. Mathematics is not a spectator sport; studying mathematics needs active engagement of the learners in the session, and actively engaging in mathematics is the greatest approach to learn mathematics. Mathematics lectures should not be dominated by teachers.
In a classroom, teachers use time-honored approaches such as the lecture method (talk and chalk). As a result, students’ ability to comprehend, understand, and retain information is not developed, and as a result, kids show less enthusiasm in mathematics study.
As a result, traditional approaches utilized by teachers have failed to develop abilities such as those required in creating, modeling, and solving problems. Students do not always recall and retain what they have previously learned. Simple geometrical shapes, such as cubes, cuboids, pyramids, cylinders, and cones, to name a few, are studied in the classroom without exposing students to the real items.
Mathematics’ abstract character should be achieved through demonstration and practical approaches. A plan is required to improve abilities and give practical experiences with mathematical concepts, assumptions, claims, and rules.
Agwangah (1997) noticed that the problem of ineffective teaching can be addressed by using the mathematics laboratory in a planned and logical manner. As a result, in quest of a way of teaching that can accommodate for the cognitive affective and psychomotor elements of learning, this researcher is interested in determining if students’ performance in mathematics in secondary schools may be enhanced by adopting the laboratory method of teaching.
The laboratory technique and mathematical laboratory are the appropriate responses. This activity method guides students through the discovery of mathematical facts. It is founded on the ideas of observational learning and progressing from tangible to abstract.
A mathematics laboratory is a location where students can learn and explore various mathematical concepts, as well as test various mathematical facts and theories, using a variety of activities and resources (Igbokwe, 2000). The usage of mathematics laboratories aids in the integration of theory and practice in mathematics teaching and learning. Ogunkunle (2000) listed the benefits of using a mathematics laboratory, which include:
Show mathematical information
Practical labor provides an avenue for experimenting.
a pool of mathematical materials for convenient access
Getting rid of abstraction and improving teaching/learning effectiveness
Based on the benefits of the mathematics laboratory, it is believed that using the mathematics laboratory to teach and learn mathematics will assist to lessen the abstract aspect of the topic and boost students’ interest in the subject.
1.2 THE PROBLEM’S STATEMENT
The process of promoting learning, or the development of knowledge, skills, values, morals, beliefs, and habits, is known as education. Teaching, training, storytelling, conversation, and focused study are all examples of educational practices.
Many secondary subjects cannot be taught effectively and efficiently without the use of a well-equipped laboratory for adequate subject dissemination to students.
Mathematics is a topic that students despise and despise, but it is required for every school child and in many professions and jobs. Evidence of poor mathematics performance by secondary school students suggested that the most desirable technological, scientific, and business applications of mathematics are not being sustained.
As a result, it is critical to seek an approach for teaching mathematics that aims to improve students’ knowledge and performance. One of the key issues contributing to secondary school pupils’ poor mathematics performance is a lack of mathematics laboratories and the use of laboratory approaches in teaching mathematics (Ogunkunle, 2000).
As a result, the purpose of this research is to determine the impact of implementing a mathematics laboratory in the classroom on the performance of Senior Secondary School (SSS) mathematics students.
1.3 THE STUDY’S OBJECTIVES
Research objectives are just as useful as they are in most other aspects of life. “Research objectives provide the researcher a wonderful feeling of aim and direction,” according to Etim (2004). The overarching goal of the project is to explore the effects of using a mathematics laboratory in teaching on the mathematics performance of Senior Secondary School (SSS) students. The study, on the other hand, was intent on reaching these specific objectives.
1) Determine whether secondary school mathematics laboratories are available.
2) To determine the extent to which the utilization of a mathematics laboratory will improve the student’s mathematical performance.