### **IMPACT OF INQUIRY AND
PROBLEM - SOLVING STRATEGIES ON ATTITUDE, RETENTION, AND PERFORMANCE IN
TRIGONOMETRY AMONG SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ **

**ABSTRACT**

This study investigated the impact of inquiry and problem-solving Strategies on Attitude, Retention and Performance in Trigonometry among Senior Secondary School Students in Zamfara State, Nigeria. A Quasi-experimental research design with pretest-posttest control group design was adopted. The study used senior secondary school two (SSII) students with population of 23,910 admitted during 2015/2016 academic session in Zamfara state. A Multi-stage sampling procedure was used for the study. A simple random technique was used to select the classes that participated in the study. A total of 381students in the six randomly selected intact classes were used as sample size. Three research instruments were developed and used: Trigonometry Attitude Scale Questionnaire (TASQ) targeted at the change in attitude. Trigonometry Performance Test (TPT) was used to measure the academic performance of the students, and Trigonometry Retention Test (TRT) was used to measure the retention ability of the students. The test instruments were validated by three experts and Test-rest reliability was observed. Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient (PPMCC) was used to estimate the reliability coefficients and was found to be 0.68 and 0.83 respectively. The Trigonometry Attitude Scale Questionnaire was also validated by three experts and had a reliability of 0.78 using Cronbach-alpha method of estimating reliability. Six research questions were raised and six hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The research questions were answered using mean and standard deviation. While Null hypotheses were tested using Kruskal –Wallis test, Mann-Whitney U-test and one andtwo-way (ANOVA). Statistics analyses at ∝= 0.05 level of significance.The results of the study indicated that Senior Secondary School Students in Zamfara state showed no significance difference in their attitude towards the learning of trigonometry due to the use of inquiry and problem solving Strategies. The inquiry and problem-solving Strategies improved on students‟ academic performance in trigonometric concepts taught than the lecture method.The inquiry and problem-solving methods improved on students‟ retention in trigonometric concepts taught than the lecture method. The finding showed that there was no difference in the performance of Male and Female students in the trigonometric concepts taught using inquiry and problem-solving Strategies.The male students retained better than their female counterpart in the trigonometric concepts taught using inquiry and problem-solving Strategies. Based on the findings from the study, it was recommended that Inquiry and problem-solving Strategies should be used by mathematics teachers to teach senior secondary school students to enhance positive performance, and aids retention.

**CHAPTER ONE**

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**1.1** **Introduction**

Trigonometry is the study of triangles in relation to their sides and angles. It is widely applied in many disciplines; in particular, trigonometric functions have come to play great roles in science. For example, in physics, it is used to analyze different kinds of waves, such as radio waves, sound waves, light waves, etc the study of trigonometric has made great significance in engineering, navigation and surveying.If proper mathematical foundations are not laid during the formative years of childhood and adolescence it becomes increasing difficult to address this weakness in later life. Among all the subjects studied at school, mathematics has distinctly contributed more to the objective of general education of man than any other subject (Odeyemi, 2004). It is in realization, of this that almost all nations of the world make compulsory the study of mathematics, and trigonometry in particularAccording to Ojim and Nyim (2012) defined education as the processes of giving intellectual, moral and social instructions or a process involving training or giving information on a particular subject. Therefore, secondary education is an important sub-sector of the entire education system. On one hand, it provides middle level workers for the economy and on the other; it acts as a feeder for higher levelsof education.

A sound education in mathematics is important for any modern knowledge based economy, this because Mathematics has become the central intellectual discipline of all technological societies and it is indispensable in helping the individual to think more clearly about the values involved in this fast changing world.(Gambari, Falode, andAdegbenro, 2014).. The quality of higher education, which is expected to produce high qualify professionals in different field of social, economic, and political life of the country depends upon on secondary education. Secondary education, therefore, needs to be organized in such a way that it should prepare young men and women for the pursuit of higher education, as well as makingthem able to adjust their practical lives to be fullyproductive. In this study trigonometry was considered, because it is one of the difficult topic in mathematics at secondary school level.

Today, lack of basic mathematical knowledge and skills in any society has isolated such society from the global scientific trend. According to Olorundare (2007), the development of any nation is usually characterised by the degree or extent of the impact of science, technology and mathematics in such nation. In order to train the required highly skilled personnel needed for science, technology and the industry, Mathematical competence is essential, the important role which mathematics plays made it a compulsory subject at both primary and secondary school levels, so that every school child will acquire appropriate scientific and mathematical knowledge. The Government of Nigeria recognised this, hence its inclusion in the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2013) as one of the core subjects being studied at both primary and secondary levels of education.Studies have shown that Nigerian students‟ achievement in Secondary School mathematics has been relatively low over the years,(WAEC, 2011; Gimba, 2013).

Inquiry Strategy of learning is a students‟ centred learning process where the teacher acts as a facilitator or coach rather than an instructor. In this method, the teacher allows the students to raise questions and seek solutions through guided instruction. The method gives the opportunity to the students to use their own initiative.According to (Abrams,Southerland, and Silva, 2008) inquiry is a “building” process that moves learners along a continuum when they are encultured in the practice of inquiry. Students come to the classroom expecting “one right answer” and need exposure to inquiry incrementally. By gradually structuring inquiry experiences, students are able to exhibit greater independence and feel less risk from the absence of the dreaded “just tell me what I need toknow” (Hsu, Kysh, Ramage, and Resek.,2009) found a lower Mathematics failure rate in inquiry classroom as opposed to traditional maths classes. .This ability to find solutions to problems rather than memorize them is often cited as a better way to understand mathematics and is linked to better retention, because if your memory fails you, your logic will not. In this study inquiry strategy which was students-centred approach was use to teach the experimental group the concepts of trigonometry to see if the strategy would be the best in teaching trigonometry at SSSII level

Polya(1973) established four stages of solving problems in mathematics as follows: Understanding the problem, Devising a plan, Carrying out a plan, andLooking back. According to Inekwe (2002), to teach problem solving skill successfully, mathematics teachers must provide a more conducive learning atmosphere that will allow students to think, analyse, experiment and be willing to entertain and answer questions to improve students‟ performance in the concept While Problem solving is an aspect of the mathematics curriculum which begins with initial contact with the problem and ends when solution is reviewed in the light of the given information (Suleiman, 2010). Problem-Solving performance seems to be enhanced through regular experiences and systematic instruction that aim to assist the development of problem scheme and increase students‟ awareness of problem solving strategies. Problem –solving strategy was used in this study as students- centred learning to teach the experimental group 2 to see if the strategy can improve the performance and enhance retention of students in trigonometry concepts.

The role attitude play in the teaching and learning of trigonometry cannot be over emphasized.Attitude is the degree of likeness associated with an objectAdedeji, (2007) stated that interest in activities tends to increase the like hood that Individual formulate goals relating to that activity and invest more time and effort to achieve them. According toEffendi and Normah, (2009), a student needs to think and make decisions using appropriate strategies to solve mathematical problems. They add that student‟s success in achieving their goals encourage to develop positive attitudes towards mathematics and other problem solving activities. Positive attitude are assumed to have significant relationship with students‟ achievement. Hence students‟ attitude towards mathematics is a major factor that might influence the performance of the students. It is therefore pertinent to search for ways to encourage positive attitude in the learner towards learning, in order to improve the trigonometry concept at SSII level

Retention is the ability to remember things, for the purpose of this study, retention is defined as the ability to keep or retain the knowledge of trigonometry learnt and be able to recall it when requires..One problem asserted by Ezeamenyi(2004) is that failure to provide enough applications to real life activity and social usage cum poor teaching techniques are strong Limiting factors to student‟s retention in mathematics..Therefore the achievement and retention of students in mathematics depend solely on teaching methods used by the teachers. Moreover, Emaikwu (2012), refers to academic performance as an individual‟s academic attainment after a specified course of instruction.From this definition, trigonometry performance can be defined as the quality of results produced by students in trigonometry as reflected in their examination scores.

Gender is a psychological terms used to describing behaviours and attributes expected of individual on the basis of being born as either male or female. Gender based studies revealed that boys performed better than girls in Mathematics achievement (Asante, 2010)Also Iwendi (2012) found no gender difference in the performance of male and female students in school mathematics. However, some literature research reported that female students performed better than male students when exposed to mathematics test

(Unodiaka, 2015). Furthermore, no significant differences in mathematics achievement test between males and females students were also reported (Jane and Janet 2016).These inconsistency reports on males and females‟ students‟ superiority in mathematics achievement test appear inconclusive. With these inconsistencies more empirical researches are needed to investigate the existence of gender differences in the classrooms. In this study, the researcher wants to see if the two strategies are gender bias or not. It is based on this background that the researcher carried out the study to investigate the impact of inquiry and problem-solving, strategieson Attitude, Retention and Performance in trigonometry among senior secondary schools students in Zamfara State, Nigeria

**1.2** **Statement of the Problem**

The methods and strategies employed to teach difficult component of secondary school Mathematicscurriculum like trigonometry need to be given serious attention. Despite the importance of trigonometry in Science and technology, its teaching is being faced with a lot of challenges and it is sad to note that the achievements of secondary school students in trigonometry are not encouraging. Students express difficulty in understanding and retaining concepts being taught by their teachers. According to WAEC Chief Examiners report (2015) reported that questions on trigonometry were poorly attempted by candidates which lead to the poor performance in mathematics in general. The Reports cited above revealed that students have difficulty to accurately measure, draw, and construct and prove identities or use of formulae in trigonometry. This by implication means the students did not retain any knowledge while learning trigonometry or have negative attitude towards trigonometry concepts. This led the students to poor performance in Mathematics and trigonometry in particular which may be due to poor method of teaching by some teachers that resulted to negative attitude by some students, or lack of good instructional materials that will stimulate and sustain the interest of the students, which may lead to good understanding of the subject and enhance retention of the material learned. It is based on these problems that the researcher carried out the study onthe impact of the inquiry and problem solving strategies on attitudes, retention and performance, among Senior Secondary Schools students in Zamfara state, Nigeria.

**1.3** **Objectives of the Study**

The objectives of the study investigated the impact of inquiry and problem solving strategies on students‟ Attitude, Retention and Performance in Trigonometry among Senior Secondary School in Zamfara State. The study specifically stated the following objectives:

1. Investigate the impact of inquiry and Problem solving strategies on student‟sAttitude towards trigonometry among senior secondary schools in Zamfara State

2. Determine the impact of inquiry and Problem solving strategies on students‟ academic performance in trigonometry among senior secondary schools in Zamfara state.

3. Examine the impact of inquiry and Problem solving strategies on students‟ retention ability in trigonometry among senior secondary schools in Zamfara state.

4. Determine the impact of inquiry and Problem solving strategies on gender andattitude changetowards trigonometry among senior secondary schools students in Zamfara state.

5. Determine the impact of inquiry and Problem solving strategies on gender and academic performance in trigonometry among senior secondary schools students in Zamfara state.

6. Find out the impact of inquiry and Problem solving strategies on gender and retention ability in trigonometry among senior secondary schools students in Zamfara state.

**1.4** **Research Questions**

This study investigatedthe impact of Inquiry and Problem Solving Strategies on attitude, retention and performance in trigonometry among Senior Secondary School Students in Zamfara State base on the followingresearch questions:

1 What is the effects of inquiry,problem solving strategiesand lecture method on attitude towards trigonometry among Senior Secondary School Students‟ in Zamfara State?

2 What is the impacts of inquiryproblem solving strategies and lecture methodonacademic performance in trigonometry among Senior Secondary School

Students‟ in Zamfara State?

3 To what extent does inquiry,problem solving strategiesand lecture method affect retention ability in trigonometry among Senior Secondary School Students in Zamfara State?

4 What are the impacts of inquiry, problem solving strategies on gender and attitude towards trigonometry among SeniorSecondary School Studentsin Zamfara State?

5 To what extent does inquiry, problem solving strategies affect gender and academic performances in trigonometry amongSenior Secondary School Students‟in Zamfara State?

6 What are the impacts of inquiry, problem solving strategieson gender and retention ability in trigonometry among Senior Secondary School Students‟ in Zamfara State?

**N**

** ****Scope / Delimitation of the study**

This study examines the impact of inquiry and problem solving strategies on attitude, retention and performance in trigonometry. The study was conducted in Zamfara State withSenior Secondary School two students‟ (SS II) with a population of 23,910 admitted in the year 2015/2016 academic session. Two schools in Maru and Bungudu Local Government were used in the pilot study. The study used a sample of 381 SSII students as the sample size of the study. The variables covered two independent variables (Inquiry and Problem solving Strategies) and three dependent variables (Attitude, Retention and Performance), and gender was used as moderating variable. The instruments used were Trigonometry Performance Test (TPT) aimed at measuring students performance, Trigonometry Retention Test (TRT) alsoaimed at measuring students‟ retention ability and Trigonometry Attitude Scale Questionnaire (TASQ) aimed at measuring students‟ attitude change in trigonometric concept. In addition SSII students‟ was chosen because the students have already acquired substantial knowledge at SS1, and also they were not an examination class.

The geographical scope of the study was Zamfara state. It was created from the former Sokoto State and one of the 36 states in the Federal Republic of Nigeria with Gusau as its Capital. Zamfara State shares boundaries with Niger republic on the North, Kaduna state, on the South, Katsina state on the east, and Sokoto and Niger states on the west. The state has a land mass of 38,418 square Kilometres and a population of 3.278,873 million people(Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2006). This area was chosen for the study because of poor performance recorded by the students in mathematics at Senior School Certificate Examination and National Examination Council.

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