1.0 Background of the Study
For Nigeria to realize her dream in the development of Senior Secondary School, the citizens of the country must show outstanding performance in all secondary school subjects. In recent years, student academic achievement in senior secondary school certificate examination mathematics. The word “Mathematics” is a Greek word, meaning things that are learned. Majasa (1995) further defined it as the science of counting, measuring and describing of the shape of objects. It deals with logical reasoning and quantitative calculations. 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 and a reason for making mathematics compulsory and one of the leading core subject in the secondary schools curriculum.
This importance accorded the recognition of the vital role it plays in contemporary society. Despite the effort put in by government, and various stakeholders of education, mathematics still remained one of the most difficult subject in schools. There is a general impression that mathematics is difficult by its very nature, and because of this impression, there is poor performance among senior secondary school students who are the focus of this study. This poor performance in mathematics has been attributed to two broad factors which include: Hereditary and environmental factors which can be subdivided into students, home, teachers, and school factors. Ola (1998). However, students reason that mathematics is highly structured and is so abstract and required special intellectual attitude. Thus; students see the subject as something esoteric.
Emenalo (1986) in Nwogu (1990) articulated the fact that inherent notion held by many Africans that mathematics is a very difficult subject which is capable of making one “mad” is at the centre of the phobia which students exhibits for mathematics and which had claimed many causalities over the years, Nworgu (1990:123), therefore passes the question “how them would any person in fairness expect our poor and innocent children to be as courageous as to face something which is capable of making even an adult mad? The students would prefer to so something else no matter how difficult rather than to attend mathematics classes. Most parents do not play a crucial role in preparing their children for school. The child is expected to see the world from the perspective of these archaic values and the goodness of otherwise of his behaviour is judged as such. Opposition from the child arises from what appears to him obsolete and defense of traditionalism by the parents. For example, Whaler (1997) argues that consistent and appropriate parental reactions to the full range of a child’s response repertoire will establish a family context conducive to positive reinforcement of child compliance. In contrast, inconsistent parental reactions appear to create a chaotic family context conducive to the negative reinforcement of child opposition.
He argues that based on these two forms of contexts, the parent and children seen to generate distinctive personal rules which outline the functions arrangements of contexts, behaviour and reinforcement. Parents on their part hardly requires their children to explain the problem or joy found in their mathematics classes. And this count as one of the causes of poor performance of students in mathematics. Teachers of senior mathematics are hard to come-by because of the site of some schools especially the schools in Uyo local Government Area of Akwa ibom State. The few available teachers have not been given opportunities to up-date the skill and knowledge available in-service training. Teachers have an important part to play in learning mathematics by students. According to Nicol (1997) “A teacher can only be seen to be effective, if the students can learn with greater ease and perform well his help than without his help. Teacher’s attitude can hinder learning especially when one does not present oneself as a high intellectual and formidable person. “A quack doctor is capable to handle an individual as a time but a bad teacher can ruin not only the individual but also a nation. Nigeria is faced with the problem of competent teachers in mathematics which is the major causes of this mass failure of student in mathematics. The school administrator also has a direct role to play as if relates to discipline of both the student and the teacher supervision of teaching and learning and preparation of students well enough for examination. According to Ekemia (2006:38) “An effective mental health for principal includes emotional, stability, maturity of character and a large capacity of frustration tolerance with the strength to withstand the strain the strain and stress inherent in running today’s Nigeria secondary school without undue fiscal or psychological disequilibria”.
Many principals are faced with managerial difficulties especially those who lack human relationship cannot execute effective administrative duties in the schools. For example, a school that lacks discipline hardly achieves the aim and objective of the educational system. Through these factors enumerated above, it could be seen that, there are many causes attributed to mass failure in mathematics examination in senior secondary school certificate examination. The senior secondary school certificate examination is an external examination organized and conducted by the ministry of education. The establishment of this senior secondary school education by the state government in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa ibom State like any other states has the same aims and objectives as the national policy on education specified that secondary education is the education received after primary education and before the tertiary institution. According to Adewale (1992), it is the only instrument that could evaluate the performance of both students and teachers at the end of senior secondary school career. He further stated that, the success or failure of the student in examination is a clear manifestation of the student academic activities during the course. Success or good performance determines a brighter future for the student wile failure is disastrous as it always indicate a dropout which is the common effect in the area of this study