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The purpose of the study was to assess the factors that affect effective teaching and learning of mathematics in senior secondary schools in Adamawa State. The study had five objectives: (i) Investigating the extent to which instructional methods contribute to the student’s performance in Mathematics at Secondary school level, (ii) find out the extent to which attitudes affect the performance in Mathematics in Adamawa State, (iii) assess the extent to which teachers experience affect study performance in Mathematics at secondary level in Adamawa State, (iv) find  out the extent to which teachers qualification affect  performance in Mathematics  in Secondary schools in Kakamega  State. (v) Investigate the extent to which physical and financial resources affect the performance in Mathematics in Adamawa State. The study was guided by Bruno’s theory of Knowledge and Organization. The study employed the Survey design. The survey design was selected for the study because it involves describing, recording, analyzing and reporting conditions as they are. The target population was 150 principals, 4,500 form four students, 60 teachers of mathematics and one QASO. This yielded a sample size of 15 schools based on the entry of boarding schools of each type of school. From each school, 1 Principal, 2 teachers of Mathematics and 45 students were sampled. Data was collected through a questionnaire, interview schedule for the State quality assurance and standards officer and observation schedule for the researcher.  The data was manually coded and descriptive statistics used for analysis. The statistical package  for social sciences SPSS, was used to analyze data and to determine  the correlation co-efficient of  each independent  variable  on the stepwise multiple regression analysis as well as  the  interactive  effect of  independent  variables. A pilot study was conducted to validate as appropriate the research instruments before the actual research commenced. The research used split-half method to determine the reliability of the research instruments which scored, r = 0.78. Qualitative and quantitative data was collected and the findings were presented by use of descriptive narrative, frequencies and percentages. The study established that there was a strong positive relationship between the teachers level of classroom preparedness, practice and instructional methods which influence the students’ academic performance in Mathematics. The study further established that personal character, attitudes of students towards Mathematics was strongly affected by fellow students’ perception of the subject. The study established that teacher’s experience affect the academic performance in Mathematics to a great extent. Student-textbook ratio and student-teacher ratio did not directly influence student performance in Mathematics. From the findings, the study concluded that teachers rarely incorporated varied learning activities in Mathematics lessons, their teaching methods and strategies were ineffective and inefficient. To enhance the incorporation of learning activities during Mathematics instructions, the study recommended reduction of Mathematics teacher workload to afford them adequate time to prepare and deliver the content effectively and efficiently. There is need for mounting of more regular in service training and education on pedalogy and attitude change in Mathematics by both students and teachers. For performance in mathematics to improve in secondary schools in the State, the study recommended that the government and other educational stakeholders should provide secondary schools in the the state with sufficient capital, learning materials and human resources which should be equitably distributed in good time, based on each school population of students to avoid learning and teaching disruptions.





1.1 Introduction

This chapter deals with the background to the study, statement of the problem, purpose, objectives, research questions, significance of the study, assumptions, limitations, delimitations, theoretical framework, conceptual framework and definitions of central terms.

1.2 Background to the Study

Education has been an important aspect of human life throughout the history of mankind. Education is one most fundamental instrument that can be used to bring about positive change in life of an individual and that of an entire society as far as development is concerned. According to Ballara (1992) on education and human rights, education is a human right and a necessary condition for the full exercise of other human rights. Education is one of the inalienable rights of every person and has been recognized as such in both the universal declaration of human rights of 1947 and the universal covenant of economic, social and cultural rights (Orodho, 2005). Indeed education is perceived as a cornerstone of economic growth, social development and the principle means of improving the welfare of individuals (Ibid).

According to Makau (1986) on improving teacher effectiveness in the schools of Kenya, education has been perceived as a major weapon to liberate human kind in two senses: first, to socialize human beings to a level of making him/her work with others and second, to free himself/ herself from foreign bondage. This is particularly important in a developing country like Kenya, Carlen, C. (2002) MetaAnalytic Finding on Grouping Programs, Gifted Child Quartery, 36(2), 73-77, (Carlen et al, 1992).

According to the World Bank Development Report of 1993:6, "A household improves rapidly as people escape poverty and low education." This report further states that a nation's income and stability to acquire and apply new scientific knowledge depend on the level of schooling of its population. Schultz and Denision, (1962) show that education contributes directly to the growth and national income by improving skills and productive abilities of labour force. Psacharopoulos and Woodhall (1985) concur with this view and argue that investment in human capital contributes to economic development. Emphasizing the importance of education to the individual Shanker (1993), as quoted by Huta, (2003:14) says: rich people know how they can pass on money to their children, they can pass on land, title deed but there is one great gift that workers can give their children and that is education. That is the best basis for hope that the children will live better lives, be able to move to a job, to a position within their societies that is different and better than the one they enjoy.”

Kenya, like many other developing countries in the world, appreciates the vital role that education plays in equipping its citizens with appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes to enhance the realization of self- reliance and to work actively towards the maintenance and development of their society (Republic of Kenya, 1988). Consequently, the Nigeria Government is devoted to the development and expansion of the education. This is being implemented by the provision of Free Day Secondary Education (FDSE).


Currently, Nigeria’s education structure is in which pupils and students are required to spend a minimum of six years in primary school, three years in junior secondary school, three years in senior secondary school and minimum of four years in university. The secondary cycle forms an important structure of the system and builds on the foundation laid at primary school level. Secondary school level seeks to strengthen the general intellectual skills that are more relevant to many occupations and subsequent education. The Nigeria Government has endeavored to increase secondary school's quality and relevance to education.

Performance in national Examinations levels, determines who would transit from one cycle to the next cycle of the education in their systems. Such assessments are therefore very important; researchers have attempted to identify the factors that affect performance of students in the NECO examinations in public secondary schools. Eshiwani, (1983); Njeru and Orodho (2003), identified adequacy of resources both human and physical to determine performance in national examinations. To improve the performance therefore requires improvement in the provision of teaching and learning resources. In addition, adequacy of teaching and learning resources; physical, human and instructional materials have been noted to be of crucial importance in determining the achievement of students in the national examinations (Eshiwani, 1993; Njeru and Orodho, 2003).

Instructional resources are an integral part of learning. Adequacy of instructional resources offers opportunities to the teachers to make learning more effective, lack of instructional resource imposes restriction, which may mean that the learners cannot be taught by methods that would otherwise be most suitable. Mereku, (2003) investigated the extent to which a particular activity based teaching method is employed in teacher’s classroom practice and how effectively the method has improved performance. Teacher qualities as measured by their education, knowledge, experience and certification have been linked to higher student achievement in terminal examinations (Scheerens, 1999). In addition, Hice, (1970) on studies in different subject fields that compare teachers with and without preparations found higher ratings result evidence and greater student learning gains for teachers who have formal preparation for teaching.

Teacher education, ability, training and experiences are associated with student achievements in final examinations (Raju, 1973). A study of high school students' examinations performance in various academic disciplines in, found that fully certified teachers have statistically significant positive impact on students test scores relative to teachers who are not certified in their respective subject areas, as teachers who hold a degree in these subjects (Green ward, Hedges and Laine, 1996). Studies conducted in United States on examination performance suggest that student achievement is higher when teachers have a minor or major university degree in the field they teach (Wenglisky, 2000).

Beginning teachers are rarely totally prepared to meet core classroom requirements, including classroom management.  Yet, in the context of education reforms experience may not necessarily to translate into better teacher preparedness for certain classroom activities, unless experience teachers have had continued training to upgrade their skills and their knowledge in those areas.

Teaching experience might be expected to make a difference in being prepared to manage classrooms because these area of experience may be particularly problematic for beginning teachers.  Jepsen, (2005).  Teacher with few years of teaching experience are less likely than more experience teachers to report being very well prepared to maintain order and discipline in the classroom.

The extent to which teachers feel prepared to implement the state curriculum also vary with newer teachers less likely than more experienced teachers to report being very well prepared for these classroom requirements.  Newer teachers did not differ from more experienced teachers in addressing the needs of students with limited English proficiency or from diverse cultural background. Teaching experience affect classroom management.  (Jepsen, 2005).  However even schools with experience and long-serving teachers also low performance trends.

Eshiwani, (1993) states that school quality of teachers is important in school success in terms of examination performances. The training of teachers has some impact on pupils' performance in examinations. Raju, (1973) revealed that most rural schools lack properly trained teachers and have to accept unqualified teachers who may not be aware of modern trends in teaching methods and curricula. Training equips the teachers with the skills of delivering contents to students more effectively than when teachers have no training. Thus, the higher the professional training, the more effective a teacher should be and the better the performance by students examinations.

Human resource largely determines students' achievements. Mwamwenda and Mwamwenda (1987), on the effects of school's physical facilities and adequacy of teachers had a direct link with performance of pupils. The issue of teacher and student absenteeism is rapidly becoming an important topic area of education policy analysis in both developing and developed countries such as Nigeria largely because of its impact on the examination performances. According to Scott and McCcellan, (1990), of particular importance is the fact that teacher absence might on the transition from one level to the other affect good examination performance. Similarly, a study by (Anikeef, 1954; Dalton, Macenaro, and Nivarro, 2003; Lin and Chen, 2006) on determinants of secondary students' performance found out that attending classes frequently yields a positive and significant impact on examination performance. Entry marks set for students transiting from primary to secondary education are also crucial determinants in examination performance. Kinad and Reinherz (1986) on the study reported differences between students with high entry and students with low marks in examination performance (ibid). In the same study, it was revealed that those students with high entry marks do score higher grades than students with low marks.

Despite the commitments of parents and community to supplement government efforts contributing in the provision of Free Day of Secondary Education (FDSE) and holding Harambees (self-help initiatives) to raise funds for schools, there has been a challenge in financing secondary education which has been perceived as costly. The immediate consequence of cost sharing policy in education in Nigeria since 1988 at the secondary level has been the payment of fees. The fees and other school related costs such as uniforms, textbooks and building facilities have become very expensive for parents to afford. Thus, the dream of many parents to give secondary education to their children is becoming out of reach for most of them, making secondary education a preserve for the rich. However, the demand of education by students from poor households led to government's preference for day secondary schools.

According to the Sessional Paper No. 6 of 1988 (Republic of Kenya, 1988), more day secondary schools be established. Increasing day schools would be a more cost effective way of expanding and providing accessibility to secondary education as day schools are cheaper to establish and maintain than boarding schools. The report further indicated that day schools should be established within reasonable walking distance. It also pointed out that every secondary school should have a feeder primary school. This would enable those secondary and primary schools to share classrooms and playing fields in order to reduce the fixed costs of running the two institutions. Sessional Paper No. 6 of 1988 (Republic of Kenya. 1988), also recommended that single and double stream secondary schools should be expanded to become a minimum of three streamed schools. Such expansion would increase enrolment and be more economical in terms of teachers, facilities and other resources.

According to Sessional Paper No. 1 of 2005, the Nigeria Government plans to promote the development of public day secondary schools as a means of expanding access and reducing costs to parents. The Nigeria Government also plans to provide targeted instrumental materials to needy schools, (Republic of Kenya, 2000).

In academic performance, examination has therefore elicited a great research interest among scholars who have tried to investigate the factors that influence performance Duighan (1986), noted that there are many factors, which influence a students' performance in examinations. Some of these factors are external to the school, while others are internal. Internal factors are as follows:

Adequacy of teaching, learning and physical resources, leadership and decision making, effects of absenteeism on performance, adequacy of teacher personnel, school culture and climate, teachers' behaviors. External factors are as follows: Academic and professional training of teachers, entry marks used as screening device, parental support and involvement, socio-economic background of students.

In Kenya, the same factors affect students' performance in NECO examinations (Kibui, 1995). Similarly, it is evident from the research findings that most of the factors mentioned above influence students' performance in examinations in Adamawa State. Hutta (2003) on study examinations found that poor teaching, absenteeism among learners and teachers, irrelevant of the curriculum and inadequacy of the examination system, causes poor performance in examinations. Huta (2003), referring to the examination system in Kenya, re-affirms the crucial role played by examinations when he says that the certificate of primary education examination determines the whole destiny of the child. This is because if the child passes the examination, he/she has a better chance of securing a job where his income would be much higher than for someone with formal education. Likewise, the importance of certificate of primary education is appreciated in Adamawa State since it also determines the whole destiny of the child. Primary education consequently determines the other subsequent levels of education.

1.3 Statement of the Problem

Programs in education produce qualified teachers of mathematics for Secondary Schools. However, the general performance in mathematics among Secondary School students has been poor for many years National Examination Council, (NECO, 2006). This has the amplifying effect that Nigeria may not achieve goal of industrialization as envisaged in the Vision 2030, for which mathematical knowledge is necessary. This has raised concern on quality of teachers and their inputs in the teaching and learning process.

Since teachers have been professionally trained to handle students' learning problems, whenever there is unsatisfactory performance, they are the immediate persons to be criticized. The teacher needs to make instructional judgements, respond to learning questions and manage the learning environment. Learning preparations analyze the identification of lessons objectives to be achieved and organization of learning tasks to be undertaken. Besides it allows for identification of the evaluation procedures to be applied during and after the lesson. It is the responsibility of the teacher to create an environment where mathematical and the aforementioned is achieved with the persistent low performance in mathematic as earlier mentioned, the teachers' input into teaching of mathematics becomes suspected. Even schools with experienced and long-serving teachers also show low

performance trends. This raises doubts on the quality of teachers' contributions to the learning process which should be reflected in instructional planning. No specific and precise guide to instruction has been used to facilitate students' understanding of mathematical prior instructional planning on secondary school students' engagement and understanding of mathematics concepts and skills.

1.4 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study was to determine the factors affecting student’s performance in Mathematics at NECO level in Secondary schools in Adamawa State.

1.5 Objectives of the study

The study was guided by the following objectives:-

  1. To investigate the extent to which instructional methods contributes to the students' learning and performance in Mathematics at secondary school level.
  2. To find out the extent to which attitudes of teachers and students affects the performance in mathematics in Adamawa State.
  3. To assess the extent to which teachers experience affect the performance in mathematics at secondary level in Adamawa State.
  4. To find out the extent to which teachers' qualification affect the learning and performance in Mathematics in secondary schools in Adamawa State.
  5. To investigate the extent to which physical and financial resources affect  the performance of mathematics in Adamawa State.

1.6 Research Questions

The study was sought to answer the following: -

  • How does the instructional method influence the performance in mathematics at secondary school levels?
  • How do attitudes of students and teachers towards Mathematics affect the performance at secondary school level?
  • Is teacher experience related to the performance in Mathematic in secondary schools in Adamawa State?
  • Are teachers' qualifications related to the performance in Mathematics at secondary school level in Adamawa State?
  • How do physical and financial resources affect students’ performance in

Mathematics in Adamawa State?

1.7 Assumption of the study

The study was based on the following assumptions:-

  1. The NECO examinations is adequate measure to compare the examination performance among students in high and low performing schools.
  2. The questionnaires and interviews are adequate instruments for collecting the data required for the study.

1.8 Limitations of the study

Due to time and resource constraints, not all secondary schools in Adamawa State were selected for the study. This reduced the accuracy of the determination of the factors that were considered contributing to the student performance in mathematics at NECO level in secondary schools in Adamawa State. The study was also limited to secondary schools in the performance of mathematics in Adamawa State, only due to scarcity of resources since the respondents will be drawn from the few selected schools in Adamawa State, the students' performance in mathematics from the The state will reflected the same situation from other Counties in the whole the state a large number of variables will be required to assess the effects of factors contributing to the performance of mathematics in Adamawa State at NECO level. Ten sampled schools were used in the survey.

1.9 Delimitations of the Study

Private and Primary schools were left out of the study, as some of the factors that affect the performance of mathematics from the two levels was not be the same as those of secondary schools level. Several factors affecting NECO performance in Mathematics in Public Day Secondary Schools in Adamawa State. This was limited to only a few factors that affect examination performance, in Mathematics at NECO level, although many factors could affect examination performance in mathematics in public day secondary schools level, in Adamawa State.


The study confined itself to only secondary schools in Adamawa State. The respondents include principals, teachers and students of the sampled public day secondary schools. In addition one QASO was included in the study. The students and teachers that were included in the sample were those in session in the respective institutions by the time of the study. Those who were absent were included in the sample, even if they would have had an interesting input.

1.10 Significance of the Study

The study was to:-

Help the Secondary Schools in the The state to take appropriate action towards the performance of mathematics at Secondary School level. Benefit the quality assurance standards officers to take appropriate measures to the problems and this was not only  beneficial to the The state but also to the entire country.

1.11 Theoretical Framework

This study was subscribed to Brunner's (1996) theory of instruction. In this theory, Brunner points out that a theory of instruction is a prescription of rules for achieving knowledge or skills and providing techniques for measuring or evaluating outcomes. This theory facilitates the researcher with the factors affecting the performance of mathematics in secondary schools in Kenya. Brunner,

argues that a theory of instruction is concerned with what one wishes to teach can best be learnt. He specifies four salient features that the theory must embrace. These include: predisposition to learn, a group of knowledge structure, hierarchy and sequencing of (mathematics) content, and ability to reward and reinforce learning effects. These teachers of mathematics needs to be adapted at all these four constituents of learning. To Brunner (1996), with sufficient understanding of the structure of a field of knowledge more advanced concepts can be taught appropriately at much earlier ages. This is achieved by planning and structuring learning experiences that arise the curiosity of the learner. The theory further emphasizes that the experiences provided should recognize the different levels of the learner's thinking. Brunner says that it is the responsibility of the teacher to identify the concepts that form the basic structure of the subject, in this case factors affecting the performance in mathematics. This theory was chosen because it provides knowledge on how teachers of mathematics can develop cognitive abilities of learners by preparation of instructional products and processes. The theory further guides the teacher in structuring and sequencing of learning, activities, preparation before class instruction includes content familiarization, lesson plan preparation and sourcing of instructional resources.

The mathematics curriculum is organized hierarchically and spirally (Eshiwani, 1993; NECO, 2006). The teacher therefore used this to make lesson preparations that were identified, the pre-requisite concepts and those that were to come later. This makes the learners to have better understanding of the concepts by integrating them into existing knowledge of the content structure; the teacher therefore to develop a lesson where the concepts are arranged hierarchically. This further enabled the students to understand the concepts and so improve their achievement, attitude and motion sequence of the learning tasks again promoted classroom interactions. Since learning of mathematics is an ongoing process of building on the previous, the sequencing should be well planned to create room for students to be rewarded and feel motivated. This further resulted in more classroom interactions of the students with resources teachers and amongst themselves. These variables explained are represented in the conceptual framework as shown in figure 1.1.

      1.12     Conceptual Framework

A conceptual framework is a model of presentation where researchers represent their relationship between variables in the study and show the relationship graphically or diagrammatically. According to (Orodho, 2009) conceptual framework assists the researcher to quickly see the proposed relationship between variables. Teachers were the main unit of the main study. Simon's (1980) contends that the teacher factor such as experience, professional, academic qualifications and motivation are the input variables that interact and impact good learning to the students. In this study it was conceptualized that the teacher within a school set up was considered a central variable that other variables interact as shown in the figure 1.1. The teachers were expected to be provided with adequate resources and facilities in order to teach the students as required. The administration was expected to perform their managerial tasks as professionals. It could be possible that attitude, academic and professional qualifications contributes to effective teaching of mathematics to a great extend. Academic and professional qualifications largely determined the teacher's ability to group concepts and issues during in service training. The teachers were expected to be provided with adequate resources and facilities in order to teach the students as expected. The administration was expected to perform the managerial tasks as professionals.


Fig. 1.1 Conceptual Framework showing relationship between School Based factors and Physical Resources influencing Performance


Independent  Variable       

Source: Adapted from Orodho (2012)


According to the conceptual framework above, school examination performance in Mathematics depends on a number of factors: teacher qualification, experience and teachers attributes the rate of teachers and student absenteeism, adequacy of resources and entry grade of pupils. Likewise, this study was related to Tyler's Theory because if the school performance has to improve, the teachers must understand the objectives of the course.


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