COMPARATIVE STUDY OF STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN MATHEMATICS BETWEEN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS IN EKITI STATE
Background of the study
The study of Mathematics as a subject in its own right began in the 6th century be with the Pythagoreans, who coined the term ‘Mathematics’ from the ancient Greek (Mathematics), meaning ‘subject of instruct’. In Nigeria and other parts of the world, there has been always national interest towards improvement of teaching and learning of science and Mathematics in particular.
The study of Mathematics is targeted at providing sound knowledgeable citizenship that would live and contribute positively towards nation building. That is preparation for useful living within the society in accordance with nation’s policy on education (federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004)
Mathematics is an inevitable subject in the school system. The students’ abilities and potentials are revealed through the help of Mathematics because it involves deductive thinking and logical reasoning which develops the brain. It also builds up skill in the students so as to meet up with different difficulties and challenges in the future academic work.
Student’s academic achievement has always been the major criteria for assessing both quality of a school and the type of a school a student’s attends. The decline being witnessed at all levels of education is attributed to the fact that a large number of students seem to learn very little at school indicating among other things that they find learning of Mathematics difficult.
Resents debates have highlighted the issue of school sector as an important consideration in students academic achievement. In 2004, a report contending that private school students score lower than student in public schools were then released to demonstrate that private schools produce greater gains in student learning.
In the study of Olunloye(2010), it was noted that school type is a major factor responsible for performance of students in Mathematics. Oredein and Oloyede(2006) argued that students in private school are well monitored, supervised and consistently corrected than their counterparts in public schools. These therefore contribute to higher performance of students in private schools in Mathematics.
However, study from Emenalo(2000) stressed that public schools is better equipped in terms of structures, staff, conducive environment and other facilities that facilitate learning in Mathematics. He described public schools as an avenue for students to perform brilliantly in Mathematics. This is because; these students have access to enough materials, experienced teachers, and relevant textbooks, adequate finding to assist in performing than other students in private school.
Ajayi and Nuraina(2011) observed that most parents prefer to register their children in private schools. According to them they noted that most parents believed that there is commitment to teaching Mathematics in private schools than public schools.
Moreover, public schools are thought to be better resourced than private schools. On the average, public schools teachers and administrators are required to receive certain level of training in Mathematics. If such factors are linked to higher students’ performance, then it is expected that public schools performed relatively well.
Indeed, using the much smaller 2000 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data base, it was found that public schools were infact performing as well as private schools on Mathematics achievement measures (Lubienski and Lubienski, 2005).
Statement of the problem
Despite the stringent measures and strategies employed by the Nigerian Governments to ensure that educational standards are maintained in public schools and especially in the teaching of Mathematics, observation shows that students in public schools still perform below expectation in relation to their counterparts in private schools.
The deficiencies among students in public schools could be due to teachers ineffectiveness, poor attitude of both teachers and students to academic work, poor monitoring and supervision, poor motivation for teachers, inadequate incentive lack of concentration of teachers on their primary assignments because of poor salary to mention a few.
Are students on their part responsible for the poor performance in Mathematics? Or does the type of school (private or public) which a student attends have any influence on the students’ academic performance? If yes, how much impact would school type have on the educational attainments of students in Mathematics?
Purpose of the study
This study is set to compare senior secondary school students’ performance in Mathematics between private and public schools in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti state. Specifically the study will examine; the differences between the mathematics performances of students in private and public schools.
Significance of the study
This study will enable students in both public and private schools to develop positive thinking towards the learning of Mathematics.
The study will reveal the performance of public and private schools students in Mathematics to parents in order to make a good choice of schools for their children to ensure sound knowledge in Mathematics.
The teachers, school administrator and curriculum planners will find the study useful as it would help in developing strategies for improving students’ performance in Mathematics.
The government will find the study useful. It will enable government develop policies that would help to enhance school effectiveness, provide necessary help to the development of both private and public schools.
Delimitation of the study
The study is delimited to private and public secondary schools in Ikere Local Government. The study is also delimited to Mathematics performance in secondary schools. Both male and female performances in Mathematics were the delimitation of the study.
The following research questions were raised:
- Would there be any significant difference between the academic performance of students in Mathematics in public and private schools?
- Would there be any significant difference between the academic performance of male and female students in Mathematics in private schools?
- Would there be any significant difference between the academic performance of male and female students in Mathematics in public schools?
The following null hypotheses were generated from the above research questions
- There is no significant difference between the Mathematics performance of students in public and private schools.
- There is no significant difference between the Mathematics performance of male and female students in private schools.
- There is no significant difference between the Mathematics performance of male and female students in public schools.
Assumptions of the study
The following assumptions were inherent in the study
- The examination Questions were the same and with the same duration for both students in private and public secondary schools.
- The students were subjected to the same examination condition.
- The level of students preparation for the examination differ
- The teachers that teach in private secondary schools are not the same who teach in public secondary school.
The method of teaching and the learning environment differ