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**EFFECT OF MATHEMATICS LABORATORY ON JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS LEARNING AND ATTITUDE IN GEOMETRY**

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study

Mathematical ability is crucial for the economic success of societies (Lipnevich, MacCann, Krumm, Burrus, & Roberts, 2011). It is also important in the scientific and technological development of countries (Enu, Agyman, & Nkum, 2015). This is because mathematics skills are essential in understanding other disciplines including engineering, sciences, social sciences and even the arts (Patena & Dinglasan, 2013; Phonapichat, Wongwanich, & Sujiva, 2014; Schofield, 1982). Abe and Gbenro (2014) point out that mathematics plays a multidimensional role in science and technology of which its application outspread to all areas of science, technology as well as business enterprises. Due to the importance that mathematics engulfs, the subject became key in school curriculum. According to Ngussa and Mbuti (2017), the mathematics curriculum is intended to provide students with knowledge and skills that are essential in the changing technological world.

Factors that can influence mathematics performance are demonstrated by Kupari and Nissinen (2013); Yang (2013); Tshabalala and Ncube (2016), when they show that poor performance in mathematics is a function of cross-factors related to students, teachers and schools. Among the students’ factors, attitude is regarded by many researchers as a key contributor to higher or lower performance in mathematics (Mohamed & Waheed, 2011; Mata, Monteiro & Peixoto, 2012; Ngussa & Mbuti, 2017). Attitude refers to a learned tendency of a person to respond positively or negatively towards an object, situation, concept or another person (Sarmah & Puri, 2014). Attitudes can change and develop with time (Syyeda, 2016), and once a positive attitude is formed, it can improve students’ learning (Akinsola & Olowojaiye, 2008; Mutai, 2011). On the other hand, a negative attitude hinders effective learning and consequently affects the learning outcome henceforth performance (Joseph, 2013). Therefore, attitude is a fundamental factor that cannot be ignored. The effect of attitude on students’ performance in mathematics might be positive or negative depending on the individual student. In response to this problem, this study seeks to investigate students’ attitudes towards learning mathematics in Nigeria.

In accordance with Syyeda (2016) attitude has three main components: affect, cognition and behaviour. The components are interrelated and involve several aspects contributing to the overall attitude towards learning mathematics. We draw from the ABC (Affective, Behavioural and Cognitive) model (Ajzen, 1993) to investigate the students’ attitude towards mathematics and the Walberg’s theory of productivity (Walberg, Fraser, & Welch, 1986) to interpret results about the factors influencing a like or dislike of mathematics and those impacting students’ performance. Walberg’s theory postulates that individual students’ psychological attributes and the psychological environments surrounding them influences cognitive, behavioural and attitudinal learning outcomes. This theory will be relevant for this study because it is a suitable lens through which we can explain the reasons for the attitudes that students form towards mathematics. In line with the ABC model, our study focuses on investigating attitude aspects, including: students’ self-confidence in their mathematics ability, mathematics anxiety, mathematics enjoyment, perception about the usefulness of mathematics and intrinsic motivation. Questions that guided the study are as follows:

1. What are the students’ attitudes towards learning geometry and mathematics?

2. Why do students acquire a like or a dislike towards geometry in mathematics?

3. What is the relationship between each attitude aspects and students’ performance (grades) in mathematics and geometry?

4. What is the relationship between attitude and student grades in mathematics and geometry?

This work is relevant since poor performance in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) particularly in mathematics is seen as a barrier towards achieving economic and social development, both at the individual and national level. In Nigeria, like any other country within Sub Saharan Africa (SSA), students consistently perform poorly in mathematics and science, which makes Nigeria lose economic advantages over other countries. Students’ achievement in countries within SSA is ranked far below the average point in international assessments (Bethell, 2016; 38). Bethell further points out that the long-run development of countries in SSA requires significant improvements in STEM education if they are to benefit in a competitive global economy driven by new technologies. In this regard, it is important to find ways to improve students’ performance in the subject. The study of students’ attitudes towards mathematics with associated factors and their connection to academic performance is certainly worth examining. The results will provide teachers, students, parents, and other education stakeholders with information that will help to develop strategies to improve students’ learning of mathematics.

Laboratory facilities brings to live abstract learnings in mathematics through experiments and experimental procedures. These performed experiments gives series of visual teachings with makes it easier for students to understand. By laboratory practicals in geometry secondary school students are able to have a better grasp of the realities of geometry and have deeper insights into the possibilities of geometry, and this could trigger their imaginative faculties to explore their potential in mathematics in a broader sense. This whole psycho-educational facor could in a great way improve on students attitude towards geometry and mathematics in general.

According to Umeh (2006) material resources are structured facilities that are used to ensure affective teaching and learning such as the laboratories

All science laboratories have certain general features and requirements in addition to which each separate science has its own special demand which requires a special laboratory and facilities. For example all modern laboratories need to have a preparation room with storage facilities and shelves for chemicals, tools as well as work benches for the preparation of solutions. They must have sufficient space for free movement

1.2 Statement of the problem

lack of mathematics laboratory and mathematics teachers’ non-use of laboratory technique in teaching mathematics is one of the major factors that contribute to poor academic achievement in mathematics by secondary school students. The West African Examinations Council (WAEC), Chief examiners’ Reports (2010, 2011, 2012& 2018) affirmed that candidates lack requisite practical skills to answer the questions raised in number and numeration, which point to the fact that the most desired technological, scientific and business application of mathematics cannot be sustained.

This makes it paramount to seek for an approach for teaching Geometrythat aims at improving its understanding and academic achievement by students. Ogunkunle(2000) asserted that lack of mathematics laboratory and mathematics teachers’ non-use of laboratory technique in teaching Geometryis one of the major factors that contribute to poor academic achievement of students in Geometryat junior secondary school.

Despite the fact that Mathematics Laboratories serve as fundamental sources of creative thinking, skill development and problem solving for Junior Secondary School students, its facilities are seldom used by Mathematics teachers (Shreedevi & Asha, 2014). Well-equipped Mathematics Laboratory at the basic school level has given birth to scientific and technological growth in manpower among developed nations (Imoko & Isa, 2015).Beyond availability of Mathematics laboratory materials, Malik (2017) opined that adequate use of Mathematics laboratory prepares students for a useful and meaningful living, because Mathematics is the language and key to everyday activities of mankind in the world of science and technology. For the fact that Mathematics Laboratory is equipped with numbers, symbols, objects, counting devices, measuring materials, number patterns and relationships of quantities, it is central to mathematics curriculum at the primary and secondary levels in Nigeria (Akanmu, 2017). Nneji and Alio (2017) observed that Mathematics as a subject does not only deal with manipulation of numbers, but goes further to explain practical relationships between the numbers, attributes and application of the numbers to solving day to day practical life problems.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of mathematics laboratory on the academic achievement of students in Geometry at junior secondary schools.

(1) Effect of mathematics laboratory approach on students achievement in Geometryat Junior Secondary School level.

(2) Effect of Mathematics laboratory approach on male and female students achievement in Geometryat Junior Secondary School level.

(3) Interaction effects of mathematics laboratory and gender on students achievement in Geometryat junior secondary school level.

Research Questions

The following research questions were addressed in the study:

(1) What are the achievements of students in Geometry before and after exposure to math lab facilities and conventional method?

(2) Do students differ in achievement by gender when taught Geometryusing mathematics laboratory facilities?

Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated and tested at 5% level of significance:

Ho1: There is no significant effect of the usability of Mathematics laboratory facilities on the mean achievement scores of students taught Geometry

Ho2: There is no significant effect of gender on the mean achievement scores of students taught

Geometry using mathematics laboratory approach.

Ho3: There is no significant interaction effect of Mathematics laboratory method and gender on

students mean achievement scores in geometry.

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