IMPACT OF ASEI STRATEGY ON MATHEMATICS PERFORMANCE OF PRIMARY SIX PUPILS

ABSTRACT

This study examined the Impact of ASEI Strategy on mathematics Performance of primary six pupils in Zaria Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Nigeria. The study was guided by three objectives, three research questions and three null hypotheses. A pre-test Post-test quasi experimental research design involving two groups (one experimental and the other control) was used. The population of the study comprised of primary six pupils of 113 public primaryschools with 11,627 pupils (6,028 Males and 5599 Females) in Zaria Local Education Authority of Kaduna State. Four (4) coeducation schools were randomly selected from two educational districts by simple random sampling method, where two hundred (200) pupils wererandomly selected. Mathematics Performance Test 1 (MPT1) and Mathematics Performance Test 2 (MPT2) were the instruments used in collecting data as pre-test and post-test respectively. A spearman Brown property of coefficient r = 0.71 was obtained. The data were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (S.P.S.S). Descriptive statistics (means and standard deviations) was used to reduce the data while t-test statistics was used to test hypotheses at 5% level of significance. The results obtained revealed that the strategy had significant impact on performance of pupils in the experimental group when compared with that of the control group. However, it was discovered from the study that the strategy had no significant impact on the performance of pupils when comparison was made between male and female pupils. Finally, the study reported insignificant difference in the performance of pupils from rural and urban areas when taught with ASEI strategy. The study concluded that ASEI strategy was effective in teaching mathematical concepts at primary six level in the local government and that ASEI was gender and location friendly. Based on the findings recommendations were made such as mathematics teachers should endeavor to use ASEI strategy during classroom instructions to teach mathematical concepts. Also, pupils should be encouraged by their teachers to carry out hands-on and minds-on activities in every mathematics lessons so as to make learning easy, real and permanent.Finally teachers should update their skills on improvisation by attending workshops on ASEI strategy for teaching mathematical concepts.

CHAPTER ONE

THE PROBLEM

1.1 Introduction.

To face the challenges of the 21st century, each young person needs to have confidence in using mathematical skills and every country needs both specialist mathematicians and a highly numerate population (Boaler, 2002). Mathematics carries with assumption that the knowledge of the subject is essential for all members of the society. According to Okeke (2009), Mathematics competence is a critical determinant of the post-secondary education and carrier options available to young people. Mathematics as a subject has been extremely useful to humanity. It is the tool for understanding science, technology and business. Generally, it is accepted that mathematics is a foundation of science and technology (Okeke, 2009).

Mathematics is a compulsory subject at primary and secondary school levels of Nigerian educational system as stated in the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004). It has been a subject that many students have developed negative attitude towards and this leads to the poor performance in the subject as justified by Carnine (2006). Jones (2007) states that even though students fail in mathematics, but the reason for that could be linked to curriculum and methods of teaching rather than the students‟ lack of capacity to learn. Kajuru (2006) also reported additional challenges from the learners and poor learning environment. Granstrom (2006) shows that different teaching approaches in classrooms influence the outcomes for students in different ways. In Nigeria, studies show that large number of students seem to

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learn very little mathematics and science in schools, learning tend to be rote and pupils find learning mathematics and science to be difficult. Teachers read from the textbooks, interspersed with a few explanations while pupils copy as their teachers dubs textbooks or old notes (Uzoechi, 2006). In Nigeria, Ifegbo, (2012) found that lack of adequate instructional materials and human resources contributes to poor performance in primary mathematics and science, hence low achievement of pupils in the subject.

Associations such as Western Eastern Central and Southern Africa (WECSA) have been formed to strengthen science and mathematics education and enhance learners ability through improved teacher mastery of content, pedagogical skills, enhancing teachers and learners attitude towards mathematics and science through in-service education and training of teachers, thus, SMASE-WECSA (Nui &Wahome, 2006).The overall goal of the SMASE program is to upgrade the capabilities of young Nigerians in mathematics and science education. The program identified Activity, Student, Experiment and Improvisation (ASEI) and Plan, Do, See, Improve (PDSI) strategies for enhancement of classroom practices for quality teaching and learning of mathematics.

Mc Combs & Miller (2006), defined student-centered learning as “ways of thinking about teaching and learning that emphasize student responsibility and activity in learning rather than content or what the teachers are doing”. The conventional teacher centered approach is focused on the teacher where the teacher talks and the student just listen while student-centered approach the students are exposed to hands-on activities thus they will gain first-hand experience and they will also know how to use all their senses. Students will be able to make keen and reliable observations and develop the skill in employing the steps of scientific approach. Learners‟ performance is improved if the learning process is relevant to the learners

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as advocated by the principle of ASEI/PDSI. ASEI movement is important in the teaching method that SMASE- program disseminates to the teachers through INSET- training (CEMASTEA, 2010). When the learner –centered approaches are well used in classroom practices, there will be positive effect on learners performance in mathematics.

Therefore, the problem of this study is to investigate the impact of ASEI strategy on mathematics performance of primary six pupils in Zaria Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Nigeria.The important position occupied by mathematics and science in the curriculum of the basic and senior secondary school levels of the educational system is borne out of the role of mathematics and science in nation building. It is in recognition of this that the Federal Ministry of Education spelt out the goals of science education (as stated in the NPE 2004) as:

To produce scientists for national development.

Cultivate inquiring, knowing and rational mind for the conduct of a good life and

democracy.

Service studies in technology and the cause of technological development.

Provide knowledge and understanding of the complexity of the physical world.

The teacher should be able to direct the pupil‟s attention towards matters which are significant to him as well as the society. If his creative thinking is awakened or developed, he can also harness or manipulate many things in the environment to his advantage and the society at large. The pupils can be made to begin to learn the processes of mathematics upon which the pupil is expected to build his/her mathematics concepts later in life. For mathematics to be able to do this to the pupils, the aims and objectives must be clearly and suitably stated for the teacher to comprehend. For example, mathematical operations are very useful in our daily life such as addition and subtraction.

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If our educational system is mathematically oriented, each pupil will possess fundamental knowledge that will enable him/her explain some of the natural events and forces around him. There are other social values that are by-products of mathematics education. These are open-mindedness, curiosity and an optimistic approach to failure.The study of mathematics can bring some educational advantages that will foster intellectual and emotional growth. Nigeria needs engineers, doctors, architects, geologists and science teachers. These professionals could only be produced through the teaching of mathematics in our schools. Individuals need to perform well in mathematics because it is so important in daily life and achieving goals in the future. There is no doubt that mathematics play a crucial role in attaining success in life.Now, how do we teach our pupils at primary school level this important subject (mathematics) well, arouse their interest during instruction so that they appreciate the subject and apply the concepts learnt to real life situations? In order to achieve this aim, ASEI principles should be used so as to improve the pupils‟ performance in mathematics.

Consequently, Strengthening Mathematics and Science Education (SMASE) survey was carried out in three pilot states namely; Niger, Kaduna and Plateau. The base line survey was essentially to ascertain the state of mathematics and science education in the primary schools in Nigeria.The survey came up with the result that the current obvious situation in mathematics and science is the staggering decline in the performances of learners at all levels of our education system (Simon, 2000). For this reason, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) officially joined the SMASE in 2004 and subsequently became interested in adopting/adapting and promoting student- centered methods of teaching through the ASEI approach. The FGN‟s decision to adopt/adapt an in-service Education and training (INSET)

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system based on ASEI movement and PDSI approach was based on the premise that such INSET system will help in making mathematics and science teaching activity based.

Furthermore, from the survey four (4) major teaching strategies/methods, namely; Demonstration, Lecture, Group and project methods were found to be in use in teaching mathematics and science by the teachers in the schools visited. Specifically, 81.0% of the teachers use lecture method, 91.0% group method, 85.7% play method and 83.3% use questioning method. Majority of the teachers engaged on what could be called “chalk and talk” delivery as they do not give room for pupils‟ active participation in the class room activities. Based on this result, it shows that it is high time the policy provision that “teacher education shall continue to take cognizance of chances in methodology and in the curriculum”. However, some teachers that were contacted through oral interview argued that these methods do not ensure effectiveness and efficiency in teaching and learning of mathematics.The result of the survey also shows that the difficulties encountered in the teaching and learning of mathematics can be grouped into six major problems, namely; attitudinal problems, cognitive competence and socio-economic problems, teaching and learning resource materials, pedagogy, and administrative problems of policy makers and lack of capacity building (Simon, 2000).The attitudinal problems start from lukewarm attitude of pupils to mathematics and science and lack of commitment on the parts of the teachers to nonchalant attitude of the parents to the education of their wards. This caliber of teachers needs to be equipped to teach the subjects they are deficient in through INSET. On the issue of pedagogy, the survey shows that there was a need for a shift from a pedagogy that is teacher-centered to the one that is pupil-centered. In terms of teaching/learning materials used in schools, the survey shows that there was general dearth of teaching/learning materials.

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Even the available ones were found to be obsolete (outdated) and grossly inadequate. Teachers also were not competent in the improvisation of resource materials. On the issue of lack of teaching resources, teachers should be exposed to the ways of improvising teaching materials through a system of INSET. They were however positively disposed to attend any form of training that will make them competent in teaching resource mobilization and utilization. On the classroom observations carried out during the study, results show that:

i. Quality of teaching was generally poor because there was poor time management,

ii. poor resource utilization and most classroom interactions were teacher-centered.

iii. Although the teachers had good communication skills, many of the pupils did not make any attempt to ask questions or seek clarifications on the topic for the day. This often resulted to poor classroom interaction during mathematics lessons.

iv. Teaching/learning resources were not properly utilized to achieve the stated objectives of the lessons in most of the lessons observed. Teachers made little or no effort to improvise materials where the standard ones were not available or inadequate.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Despite the significance attached to mathematics, poor performance in the subject has been a perennial problem. The poor performance has been attributed to negative attitude among students towards mathematics and sciences; poor mastery of teaching and learning content on the part of teachers; teacher-centered teaching methodology; lack of interactive fora for teachers; failure to develop teaching and learning materials; and administrative factors. To upgrade the quality of mathematics and science education in primary schools and address the

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problem of poor performance, the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) in collaboration with the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) initiated SMASE, INSET Project in August, 2006 on a pilot basis, and later as a nationwide program. Activity, Student, Experiment and Improvisation (ASEI) approach has been one of the strategies usually embarked upon to deal with the problems mentioned.

A lot of resources, both financial and material have been invested in the program. However, since the conclusion of the third cycle, not much is known about the extent of pupils‟ performance when ASEI strategy was used in teaching mathematical concepts.One will hence ask the question: To what extent is the strategy improves the pupils‟ achievement in mathematics? Thus, it is against this background that the researcher was motivated to investigate the impact of the ASEI strategy onmathematics performance of primary six pupils in Zaria Local Government Area of Kaduna state,Nigeria with the purpose of making suggestions that will help bring about positive change in the performance of pupils in mathematics.

1.3Objectives of the Study

The specific objectives of the study were to:

1. determine the impact of ASEI strategy on the performance of pupils in some mathematical concepts.

2. compare the impact of ASEI strategy on male and female pupils in some mathematical concepts.

3. compare the impact of ASEI strategy on urban and rural pupils in some mathematical concepts.

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1.4 Research questions

Based on the above objectives, the following questions were formulated for answering:

1. What is the difference between the mean scores of pupils exposed to ASEI strategy and conventional method in some mathematical concepts?

2. What is the difference between the mean scores of male and female pupils exposed to ASEI strategy in some mathematical concepts?

3. What is the difference between the mean scores of urban and rural pupils exposed to ASEI strategy in some mathematical concepts?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

From the research questions, the following null hypotheses were formulated and tested at 5% level of significance.

1.There is no significant difference between the mean scores of pupils exposed to ASEI approach and conventional method in some mathematical concepts.

2.There is no significant difference between the mean scores of male and female pupils exposed to ASEI approach in some mathematical concepts.

3. There is no significant difference between the mean scores of urban and rural pupils exposed to ASEI in some mathematical concepts.

1.6 Significance of the study

The study investigated the impact of ASEI strategy on mathematics performance of primary six pupils in Zaria Local Government area of Kaduna State, Nigeria. The findings of this study would be of benefit to pupils, mathematics teachers, curriculum planners, textbook publishers, school administrators, researchers and professional bodies by means of the following:

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The outcome of this study could provide insight into the factors responsible for poor performance of pupils in some identified difficult mathematical concepts which when ASEI strategy is used effectively by teachers would facilitate positive achievement because of the pupils‟ full participation and engagement in hands-on and minds-on activities.

The result of the study could provide mathematics teachers with improvisation skills as it facilitates learning and make it real, easy and permanent.

Curriculum planners could benefit from the findings of the study by understanding that the use of general curriculum could no longer meet the need of the other learners. The study revealed that pupils performed better in learning mathematical concepts when they were exposed to ASEI strategy. Hence, provides necessary information to curriculum planners in making good policies.

The outcome of the study would encourage textbook publishers to reframe their books on difficult mathematical concepts so that new textbooks would be activity-based and more of worksheet for hands-on and minds-on activities that promote thinking and discourage rote learning.

The findings of this study would also help the school administrators and policy makers to encourage mathematics teachers to adopt ASEI strategy when teaching mathematical concepts in order to improve the performance of pupils in mathematics.

It was hoped that the result of the study would be an eye opener for further research as it adds new information to the existing literature, hence the researchers can use the findings of this study for further studies.

The findings of this study may be of much benefit to professional bodies such as Mathematics Association of

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