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EFFECT OF PROBLEM-SOLVING APPROACH ON LEARNING ON JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN MATHEMATICS

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EFFECT OF PROBLEM-SOLVING APPROACH ON LEARNING ON JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN MATHEMATICS

ABSTRACT

The broad objective of this study is to examine effect of problem-solving approach on learning in Junior secondary school academic achievement in Mathematics using Enugu town, Enugu State as state. The study further examine the difference in performance of students taught with problem solving approach and lecture method, examine the difference in the performance of male and female student aught with problem solving approach and determine the effects of problem-solving teaching methods on general achievement of students in Mathematics. The study adopted the survey descriptive research design and with the aid of convenience sampling method, the researcher conveniently selected hundred and fifty (248) participant who are student, teachers and management in junior secondary schoool in Enugu. Self- structure questionnaire was issued to the respondent of which 141 was retrieved and validated for the study. Data was analyzed using simple percentage presented in frequencies and tables. Hypothesis test was conducted using Independent T-test Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS v.23). From the analysis of the study, it was revealed that There is a significance difference in the performance of students taught with problem solving approach and lecture method. More so, gender factor contributed as There is a statistical difference in the performance of male and female student taught with problem solving approach . findings of the study recommends that teachers should often use the scientific approach to problem solving because they motivate the learners and develop the spirit of exploration and discovery. In addition seminars and in-service programs should be organized by delegations of education and the pedagogic offices for mathematics teachers in the field to be acquainted with teaching of mathematics using problem-solving and discussion teaching methods.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  1. Background of the Study

Mathematics as a school subject is recognized as the foundation of science and technology without which a nation will never become prosperous and economically independent. This underscores the importance of mathematical competence of all the learners at all levels of education . It is also the reason for making mathematics compulsory and one of the leading core subjects in the secondary schools curriculum in Nigeria (NPE,2004). Mathematics is not only the language of science, but also the essential nutrient for thought, logic, reasoning and progress (Aminu, 1990). For instance, the skills acquired in mathematics namely: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are needed in farming, sewing, driving, plumping work, bricklaying and generally in the day to day activities of buying and selling. Mathematics enables one to think independently and acquire discipline of the mind. Mathematics inculcates the spirit of economy with reference to time, money, speech and thought . Mathematics class exposes the student to the knowledge of how to read and interpret graphs, diagrams, and tables. It also helps in prediction of events, based on knowledge of past events, and in creative thinking in order to plough new grounds for better results(Uka,2010).

In spite of the great emphasis placed on the study of mathematics and the huge investment in it, it can be said without any fear of contradiction that all is not well with its teaching and learning. Nweke (2015) asserted that no teacher in Nigeria concerned with the teaching of mathematics at any stage, from infants upwards and particularly at secondary school level can honestly say to himself that all is well with the teaching of the subject. She further pointed out that the state of mathematics in the country is appalling as the subject is disliked by many students in spite of its utility.A lot of steps have been taken to arrest this ugly situation.

Generally students were afraid of studying mathematics, as there are various reasons for that method being one of them. Pupils tend to learn mathematics through a meaningful approach rather than by a mechanical process. Between 1930 and now, the mathematics curriculum has been reviewed many times. The review included effective approaches for teaching and learning. Many approaches have been used in the past for teaching algebra. These approaches include problem solving, discovering, concept development, and advanced organizer. Though each of these methods has been found effective for teaching algebra, none is 100% effective. The results of Abonyi and Umeh (2014) revealed that heuristic problem solving approach has positive effect on student achievement in algebraic word problems. Research evidence of Igbokwe (2007) revealed that concept development approach is an effective instructional strategy for teaching graph of inequalities. The work of Chinwoke (2008) revealed that the use of advanced organizer is an effective instructional approach for teaching undefined fraction.

Although, these methods or approaches have been found efficacious for teaching algebra, secondary school students’ interest and achievement in algebra are still on the downward side. This tends to suggest that there is a room for further research on how to improve students’ achievement in algebra. This implies that there is that there may be other more effective approach for teaching algebra at the secondary school level that has not been most appropriately explored. Researchers in mathematics education (Abonyi and Nweke, 2014; Abonyi and Umeh, 2014) recommended that teaching and learning enterprise be structured to accommodate new instructional strategies which will make student good problem solvers.

    1. Statement of the Problem

There are overwhelming evidences of poor performances of students in mathematics at all levels of our educational system WAEC, 2012; WAEC, 2013). At the secondary school level, both WAEC and NECO chief Examiners have continued lament the poor achievement of students in mathematics. Annual reports of WAEC of 2011, 2012, and 2013 revealed disheartening and alarming poor secondary school student’s achievement in mathematics. Summary of the report shows that only 11.36%, 15.74% and 32.81% of the total enrolment in mathematics for the respective years were able to make up to credit passes in mathematics in the senior school certificate examination. The remaining percentages of 88.64, 84.26 and 67.19 respectively, obtained ordinary passes and failure grades in mathematics in the respective examinations. The Chief Examiners report further revealed that students were weak in simplification of equations and interpretation of quadratic graphs. This has a direct bearing on the fact that they have poor knowledge of simplifying algebraic expression. According to Emmos (2004), students at JSS level find it difficult to comprehend the concept of inequality. This implies that the students attend SSS level with poor prerequisite knowledge and background of the concept. This, according to Aminu (2007) makes it extremely difficult for the students to cope with further studies of mathematics at higher level. This contributes to the poor achievement of students in Senior School Certificate Examination.

Despite the importance of mathematics, there are a number of observable problems plaguing the teaching and learning of the subject, especially at the junior secondary school level. One of which is poor method of instruction. This is supported by the assertion of Agommuoh and Nzewi (2003) that deterioration in students’ achievement in Physics is due to ineffective method of teaching Physics. This perhaps may be the reasons for students’ poor academic performance in the subject both at the secondary and tertiary school levels. Based on this deplorable trend of poor performance mathematics educators have designed some strategies over the years to curb the problem of underachievement in the subject. One of such strategies is problem-solving strategy.

Significantly, Learners need to be made to construct their own knowledge and ideas in learning because they are the architects of their own learning and constructors of their own ideas and knowledge. A popular method of teaching problem-solving involves the use of “stage models”. Stage models are simplified lists of stage and steps used in general problem-solving. These skills can be considered as the analytical parts (heuristics) of the problem solving process which requires defining, investigating, reviewing and processing of the information regarding the problem.

Literature have shown that there is paucity of research in the area of mathematics problem solving in Markurdi. Even the ones carried out did not investigate the variables of achievement and motivation or students’ achievement. In view of this, this study therefore determines the effect of Problem-solving approach on learning in Junior secondary school academic achievement in Mathematics

    1. Objective of the Study

Th objective of this study is focused on effect of Problem-solving approach on learning in Junior secondary school academic achievement in Mathematics. The specificic objective of the study include:

  1. To examine the difference in performance of students taught with problem solving approach and lecture method.

  2. To examine the difference in the performance of male and female student aught with problem solving approach .

  3. To determine the effects of problem-solving teaching methods on general achievement of students in Mathematics

    1. Research Hypotheses

Ho1: There is no significance difference in the performance of students taught with problem solving approach and lecture method.

Hi1: There is no significance difference in the performance of students taught with problem solving approach and lecture method.

Ho2: There is no difference in the performance of male and female student aught with problem solving approach .

Hi2: There is no difference in the performance of male and female student aught with problem solving approach .

    1. Significance of the Study

This study is built on the framework that the findings will have both practical and theoretical significance. The study will benefit teachers, students’ curriculum planners and educational administrators. The study might be deemed theoretically significant because it will 11 provide insights into the current existing theories which could influence problem solving. In particular, Gestats’ and Gagner’s theory of hierarchical learning Gestalts’ theory of problem solving explained that problem solving occurs with a flash of insight. During insight, problem solvers devise a way of representing the problem that enables solution. The result of this study will strengthen the tenets of these theories and shall help to expand the body of knowledge in the area of students’ achievement in mathematics problem solving.

The findings of the study would enable mathematics teachers to identify ability levels of their students. The identification of the ability levels will enable the teachers to structure teaching for effective learning, better classroom management and appreciate problems militating against problem solving among the students. The findings could help identify the extent and types of skills students need for problem solving. The benefit to students is that it will help them to develop problem solving skills. Finally curriculum planners would utilize the information from the findings of the study in curriculum planning. The information could help the curriculum planners to determine the adequacy of problem-solving aspect of senior secondary biology curriculum. More notably, this study will be relevant to students, researchers, teachers, lecturers and other personnel who may carry out research related to the one under review.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The scope of the study borders on effect of problem-solving approach on learning in Junior secondary school academic achievement in Mathematics. The study further examine the difference in performance of students taught with problem solving approach and lecture method, examine the difference in the performance of male and female student aught with problem solving approach and determine the effects of problem-solving teaching methods on general achievement of students in Mathematics. The study is however delimited to selected secondary school in Enugu town, Enugu State

1.7 Limitation of the Study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.


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