This study investigated the Impact of Polya‟s Problem Solving Strategy on Attitude, Performance and Retention in Algebra among Junior Secondary School Students in Zamfara State, Nigeria. Quasi-experimental and Control group design involving pretest, posttest and post-post-test was used for the study. The population for this study consisted of all the public junior secondary school three students in one hundred and eighty (180) schools under ZSTSB that are in four Education Zones of Zamfara State. The total enrollement figure in the schools consisted of 27,357 students. Eight out of one-hundred and eighty schools in the four Education Zones were selected by balloting method. Four schools were assigned to experimental groups and the other four as control groups. One intact class was drawn from each of the eight selected schools by balloting method, giving a total of 463 JSSIII students used for the study. The experimental group had 235 students while the control group had 228 students. The experimental groups were taught by Polya‟s problem solving strategy and the control groups were taught by conventional method. The experimental period lasted for six weeks. The instruments used for data collection were SLEWPPT, SLEPT and ASAIQ. These instruments were validated by five specialists in mathematics education and one specialist in language education. The reliability coefficients of SLEPT and ASAIQ were computed and found to be 0.792 and 0.826 respectively. Six research questions and six corresponding null hypotheses were formulated and used to test the significance at a = 0.05 . The independent sample t-test and Mann-Whitney U test were used for data analysis. Findings from the study showed that students in the experimental group performed significantly better than those in the control group. It also revealed that experimental group significantly achieved positive attitude than the control group; also the retention level of students in the experimental group significantly exceed those of the control groups. The results also indicated that males in the experimental group had better attitude and performed significantly better than females. From the findings of this study, it was concluded that Polya‟s problem solving strategy was effective in promoting students‟ attitude and performance in algebra than the conventional method. In addition, students taught algebra with Polya‟s problem solving strategy in small groups have better attitude and performance than students taught algebra with conventional method. Based on the findings of the study, it was recommended among other things that State Government should train mathematics teachers in the effective use of Polya‟s problem solving strategy in teaching various mathematical topics through series of workshops and seminars in order to improve the attitude performance and retention of students in


mathematics                                  at                                  the                                  secondary                                  level.


















1.1         Background to the Study




Education is essentially concerned with the growth and development of individual throughout life (Sharma, 2008). It is the bedrock upon which development revolves, and it is an invaluable tool for human growth and development (Abolade, 2009). This development can be achieved only when individuals are equipped with essential knowledge, skills and attitudes for survival and societal progress. Thus, to achieve this goal, the knowledge of mathematics is essentially needed because mathematics trains the mind and fosters creative thinking in people in order to solve problems that often occurred in everyday situations. Yusuf (2009) provides support for this view in which he stated that mathematics is not only considered important in its own right as a field of study and research, but also essential to almost every field of endearvour.


Similarly, Adetunde (2009) noted that mathematics forms the foundation of a solid education, adding that the overall national development of any nation and the building of healthy, happy and prosperous nation cannot be successfully achieved without mathematics. Therefore the position of mathematics in our national curriculum, and its role towards technological and industrial development put it in compulsory position in primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education (Madu & Hogan-Bassey, 2010). Despite the importance accorded mathematics in the educational system of Nigeria many secondary school students achieve very poorly in the subject. Many stakeholders such as the mathematics educators, researchers, governments, parents and the like have expressed their concern about students‟ persistent poor performance in mathematics especially at the





external examinations. Nevertheless, in the past few years several research studies were conducted to determine the causes of students‟ poor performance in mathematics with a view to improve their performance (Saritas & Akdemir, 2009; Eniayeju & Azuka, 2010; Farayola, 2011; Obomanu & Adaramola, 2011; Mbugua, et al., 2012; Salman, et al., 2012; Useni, et al., 2012). Findings of these studies identified several factors responsible for this poor performance such as poor teaching method, lack of qualified teachers, lack of instructional materials, attitude, interest and motivation, mental ability, large classes and curriculum among others. Although the last decade, or so, have witnessed attempts on how best to improving the teaching of mathematics education in Nigeria, there still seems to be very little evidence of students‟ improvement in the subject. This is evident by the results obtained by secondary students at the senior school certificate examinations every year. This poor performance was reflected in their ten years of senior secondary certificate examinations reported by the West Africa Examination Council (2009 – 2018):


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