1.1 Background to the study
Mathematics is the study of numbers, quantity, space structure and change. Mathematics is used throughout the world as an essential tool in many fields which include Medicine, Natural science, and social science. Applied Mathematics is one of the branches of mathematics that is concerned with the application of mathematical knowledge to other fields. The applied mathematics inspires and makes use of new mathematical discoveries and sometimes leads to the development of entirely new mathematical disciplines such ad Game theory and statistics.
Mathematics is derived from Greek word “Mathema” meaning “knowledge, study, learning”. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proof. Moreover, Mathematics may be applied throughout society as in finances, healthcare, and government but also to such diverse subject as crime education, politics etc.
An attitude can be defined as a predisposition to respond in a favorable or unfavorable manner with respect to given attitude object. (Oskamp&Schultz 2005). The focus of this project is on students’ attitudes towards the study of mathematics subject in secondary school.
Subjects refer to both theory and laboratory classes in secondary schools. Attitude towards mathematics means or denotes interest or feelings towards studying mathematics. It is the students’ disposition towards like or dislikes science which attitude in science means scientific approach assumed by an individual for solving problems, assessing ideas and making decisions.
Yara (2009) assert that student beliefs and attitude have the potential to either facilitate or inhibit learning. Many factors could contribute to students’ attitude towards studying Mathematics. According to Bery (2005) and Adesoji (2008) students’ positive attitude to science [Mathematics] correlate highly with their result. In general, the attitudes of Nigeria students towards the basic sciences tend to decrease. Defiana (1995) found that using integrated science environment activities improved high school student attitude towards an awareness about the environment .Abimbola reported that student exposed to a programmed instruction recorded higher attitude towards mathematics. Ayelaagbe (1998) also reported a more positive attitude of studies after exposing them to a self-learning strategy.
Popoola (2008) also reported that students attitude and interests to sciences, especially agricultural science correlate highly with their science achievement. Halladya, Shanghnessy and Adesoji (2008) concluded that a number of factors have been identified as related to students’ attitude to mathematics and such factors include teaching methods, teacher attitude, and influence of parents, gender, age and cognitive styles of students.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Despite the greater number of mathematics graduates produced by our tertiary institutions every year, there are numbers of secondary schools where mathematics teachers are not competent in teaching of the subject. Also, the attitude of secondary schools towards mathematics as a profession is not encouraging. This makes the teaching of mathematics ineffective and inefficient even where there are competent teachers to teach. It is on this premise that this study is designed to investigate the attitude of students towards teaching and learning of mathematics in secondary schools.
The following hypotheses guided the study;
- There is no significant contribution of teachers’ qualification and secondary school students’ academic performance in Mathematics.
- There is no significant contribution of school students’ attitude and academic performance in Mathematics.
- There is no significant difference between male and female academic performance in Mathematics.
- There is no significant difference between teachers’ teaching method and academic performance of students in Mathematics.
- There is no significant difference between learning environment and performance of students in Mathematics.
1.4 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study is to investigate the attitudes of students in Ibadan North local Government Area of Oyo State towards studying of mathematics as a subject. The study is also designed to make various recommendations for teachers and other stakeholders on how to arouse or improve students’ attitudes in the subject.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study is aimed at assessing students’ attitudes towards mathematics in some selected secondary schools in Ibadan North Local Government Area of Oyo State. The results of the study is hoped to assists mathematics teachers to develop new learning experience in some ways enough to arouse the interest of the students .It would be of good assistance to teachers to create a habit where they would improve on the obsolete teaching methods, use of adequate modern and relevant instructional materials and textbooks at their disposed to the fullest. This study may also assist the students to improve their attitude towards the study of the subject.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of the study is delimited to assessing factors influencing students’ attitude towards the study of mathematics.
The study was limited to some secondary schools in Ibadan North Local Government of Oyo State only. Based on the time frame and financial constraints in covering the secondary schools in the local Government, The study was limited to the students’ senior secondary schools.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Mathematics: It is the study of numbers, quantity, space structure and change.
Attitude: It is a predisposition to respond in a favorable or unfavorable manner with respect to a given attitude object. (Oskamp & Schultz2005).
Attitude towards mathematics: It means interest or feelings towards studying of mathematics.
Secondary School: It is the school attended after primary school.
Secondary school Students: They are students’ enrolling after primary level.