IMPACTS OF SCAFFOLDING- ENRICHED COLLABORATIVE STRATEGY ON TEST –ANXIETY, PERFORMANCE AND RETENTION IN GEOMETRY AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN NIGER STATE, NIGERIA
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The study was carried out to investigate the Impacts of Scaffolding- enriched Collaborative Strategies on Test- anxiety, Performance and Retention in Geometry among Senior Secondary Schools in Niger State. The study was borne out of the poor performance of students in Geometry area of mathematics in both internal and external examination as reported by WAEC Chief Examiners (2010). A quasi-experimental research design was used. From the total population of Sixty-two thousand, Two hundred and Forty-nine (62,249) Students in Two hundred and Eighteen (218) Senor Secondary Schools in Niger State, a total of Three hundred and Eighty( 380) Senior Secondary Schools Two(SSSII) Students were randomly selected from three (3) Senior Secondary Schools in three (3) Educational Zones using simple randomly techniques. The experimental group one has sample size of One hundred and Thirty-Five(135) Students were exposed to Scaffolding enriched Collaborative Strategy( SCS), while the experimental group two with sample size of One hundred and Twenty( 120) Students was exposed to Collaborative Learning Strategy( CLS) and control group with sample size of One hundred and Twenty-Five( 125) Students exposed to Conventional Teaching Strategy( CTS). Four (4) instruments were developed and used for data collection. They are: Geometry Performance Test (GPT), Geometry Achievement Test (GAT), Geometry Retention Test (GRT) and Geometry Test Anxiety (GTA). They were validated and reliability coefficients estimated as r=0.79, r=0.69 and r=0.87 respectively. The hypotheses were tested using t-test statistics. The results revealed that (i) there was significant difference in the performance scores of students taught geometry using SCS and CLS than those taught with CTS. (ii) There was significant difference in the retention ability of students exposed to SCS and those exposed to CTS. (iii) There was significant difference in the retention ability of students exposed to CLS and those exposed to CTS. (iv) There was no significant difference in retention ability of students taught geometry using SCS and those taught with CLS. (v) There was no significant difference in reducing test- anxiety of students exposed to SCS and than those exposed to CLS. (vi) There was significant difference in reduction in test- anxiety level of students exposed to SCS and CLS than those exposed to CTS. Based on these results, the following recommendations were made: (i) SCS should be adopted in teaching geometry in secondary schools since the strategies have enhanced better performances among students. (ii) Since SCS promotes retention ability, then the teachers of mathematics should constantly use the method. (iii) SCS could serve as a viable alternative to the CTS in teaching geometrical concepts.
Mathematics as one of the science subjects taught in the primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in Nigeria, deals with the study of numbers, shapes and space which involve problem-solving activities and a very powerful way of communication. Benjamin (2007) describes mathematics as the science of pattern and relationship which can be expressed in symbols. It involves clarification of the problem, reduction of consequence and formulation of alternative as well as development of appropriate tools as part of the modern mathematicians‟ craft (Tisha, 2008). He further gives a full description of mathematics as context of reasoning analytically about particular types of quantitative and spatial phenomena. Mathematics consists of thinking in a logical manner, formulating and testing conjectures, making senses of things, forming and justifying judgments, inferences and conclusions. Mathematics is done when recognizing and describing patterns, constructing physical and/or conceptual models of phenomena. It is also creating a symbol system to assist in representing, manipulating, and reflecting on ideas and inventing procedures to solve problems. Mathematics concepts taught at the secondary school level in Nigeria are in seven major areas namely: Number and Numeration, Algebra, Mensuration, Geometry, Trigonometry, Statistics and Probability.
Geometry is an aspect of mathematics which deals with the study of different shapes. The shapes can either be plane or solid shapes. A plane shape is in geometrical form such that the straight line that joins any two points on it wholly lies on the surface. A solid shape on the other hand is bounded by surfaces which may not wholly be represented on a plane surface. Examples of plane shapes are: triangle, rectangle, square, rhombus, circle and trapezium. Examples of solid shapes are cubes, cuboids, cone, pyramid, cylinder and sphere.
Geometry is a vital branch of mathematics which forms the building block of engineering and technical graphics. It has been observed that student have not been demonstrating strong conceptual knowledge of the course. Many students in the secondary schools were not adequately prepared for geometry courses (Senk, 2005). Duru (2010) found that there is too much emphasis placed on formal symbolism and naming in the curriculum while relational understanding was underestimated. Students in the senior secondary schools often lack experience in reasoning about geometry. They would have been capable of developing good reasoning about geometry situations, if they had substantial experience in geometry during their junior classes.
Learning mathematics with understanding is the main goals of teaching the subject at secondary schools level as opined by the (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics [N.C.T.M], 2000). Students must be mathematically competent for them to have meaningful and productive lives. It is not enough for an individual to have mathematics knowledge but mathematics power is what is needed to succeed in life (Hassan, 2010). Mathematics is the language of science and technology geared towards scientific/ technological development and all other activities of human development. For instance, automobiles, bicycles, furniture, cell phones, computers, which demand mathematics, input in their manufacturing processes (Gotring, 2005,
Musa, 2006 & Obioma, 2011). Mathematics is an academic subject in secondary school which one cannot afford to neglect because of its importance in all aspects of life. This led the Federal Government of Nigeria to make it one of the core subjects and spelt out the objectives of teaching mathematics, so as to develop interest in the subject and provide a solid foundation for everyday life. Efforts are also being made to develop computational skills and foster the desired level of accuracy to a degree relevant to the problem at hand and develop necessary background for further education. It is in recognition of this that our curriculum planners included mathematics as one of the major and compulsory subjects in our schools (Federal Government of Nigeria [F.G.N], 2013).
According to Sawyer (2006) instructional scaffolding is of three types: contingent scaffolding, reciprocal scaffolding and technical scaffolding. Scaffolding may involve modelling behaviours, coaching and prompting, thinking out a loud, dialogue with questions and answers, planned and spontaneous discussion as well as doing other interactive activities to bridge the cognitive gap. This can also include peer mentoring from more experienced students. These supports in the scaffolding strategies are referred to guidance, all of which depend on the instructor‟s approach.
Studies have shown that higher level of guidance has a greater effect on scaffold learning, but it is not a guarantee of more teaching (Jumaat et al, 2014). The impact of higher amount of guidance is dependent on the level of detail (Reingold, 2008). The scaffolding learning approach is most effective when it contributes to the learning environment. Scaffolding is gradually applied, modified and finally removed according to the needs of the student. This learning process should never be in place permanently whenever the goal of the student is achieved.
Test-anxiety is a term used for several conditions that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension and worry during a test. It is also seen as a cognitive behavior a rising from self-doubt and self-depreciation. Mathematics anxieties affect students‟ confidence in the subject (Josiah et al, 2014). Many students who suffer from mathematics anxiety have little confidence in their ability to master the subject and this, in turn brings about poor performance. Mathematics anxiety involves a feeling of tension and apprehension about performing mathematics. It is associated with delayed acquisition of core mathematics and number concepts leading to poor mathematics competence. Garba (2013) has described mathematics anxiety as the panic helplessness, paralysis and mental disorganization that arises among some people when they are required to solve mathematics problem.
However, scaffolding when used with collaborative strategy can assist a great deal to reduce level of test-anxiety. Since group learning provide a source of support and create more relaxed learning atmosphere that allow for positive learning experiences. Groups use some stress-reducing strategies as long as they remain on task (Smagorinsky, 2007). Thus the present study was conducted to examine the impact of scaffolding enriched collaborative strategy on test-anxiety, performance and retention in geometry concepts among senior secondary school students.
Retention can be defined as the ability to retain materials or things that have been learnt or experienced. According to Desiree (2009) and Ahmad (2010), retention is the ability to retain and later recall information or knowledge gained after learning. Geometry retention is the ability to recall geometry concepts. Most students view mathematics as very abstract and difficult in understanding, assimilating and retaining the concepts. The Chief Examiner, West Africa Examinations Council [WAEC] report (2006) has revealed that one of the problems encountered by students in mathematics is their inability to recall mathematical processes. This is associated with methods by which it is being taught in the class. Hence mathematics concepts need to be taught to the students in a way or method that touches their sub-consiousness. This can trigger quick reproduction of the concept being taught or experienced.
Using a teaching strategy such as the scaffolding learning strategy both high and low ability learners would be able to collaborate in terms of learning and retaining the concept they have learnt in a mathematics class. West Africa Examinations Council Chief Examiner (WAEC, 2006) reported that the general performance of candidate over the three years 2004-2006 is indicative of poor quality of education at the senior secondary school level. WAEC maintained that the low level of performance calls for assessment and review of the methodologies for the teaching and learning of mathematics.
The following null hypotheses were formulated and tested at P ≤ 0.05 level of significance:
Ho1: There is no significant difference between the mean performance scores of students taught geometry concept using scaffolding-enriched collaborative strategy and those taught using conventional teaching strategy.
Ho2: There is no significant difference in the retention ability of students taught geometry using scaffolding-enriched collaborative strategy and those taught using conventional teaching strategy.
Ho3: There is no significant difference in the level of test-anxiety of students taught geometry using scaffolding-enriched collaborative strategy and those taught using conventional teaching strategy.
Ho4: There is no significant difference between the mean performance scores of students taught geometry concept using collaborative learning strategy and those taught using conventional teaching strategy.
Ho5: There is no significant difference in the retention ability of students taught geometry using collaborative learning strategy and those taught using conventional teaching strategy.
Ho6: There is no significant difference in the level of test-anxiety of students taught geometry using collaborative learning strategy and those taught using conventional teaching strategy.
Ho7: There is no significant difference between the mean performance scores of students taught geometry concept using scaffolding-enriched collaborative strategy and those taught using collaborative learning strategy.
Ho8: There is no significant difference in the retention ability of students taught geometry using scaffolding-enriched collaborative strategy and those taught using collaborative learning strategy.
Ho9: There is no significant difference in the level of test-anxiety of students taught geometry using scaffolding-enriched collaborative strategy and those taught using collaborative learning strategy.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will hopefully uplift the standard of mathematics education in the following ways:
Mathematics Students: will have the opportunity to participate fully in the classroom discussions since collaborative and scaffolding strategies promote working together, sharing ideas and also arriving at joint decision. These may reduce mathematics anxiety and promote mathematics retention. It will also provide useful method of teaching mathematics based on understandings rather than on the conventional learning strategy.
Mathematics Teachers will find the result of this research a useful resource for training teachers as well as handling students of different abilities based on their previous knowledge. The social interactions that teachers and students have in collaborative and scaffolding strategies will assist them learn to work in groups and increase their capacity of working cooperatively together, respecting the view of one another. In collaborative and scaffolding learning process, teachers are engaged in professional tasks such as curriculum evaluation, curriculum revision and curriculum development.
Policy Makers and School Administrators may wish to incorporate the use of scaffolding enriched collaborative strategies as a means of mathematics instruction in secondary schools. If done, it would create room for better achievement, reducing test- anxiety level and there will improvement in the retention ability of learners.
Furthermore, Mathematics Educators and Curriculum Planners will find the study beneficial if the strategy proves effective in helping students to access more advanced knowledge, skills and interest in mathematics. It would be included among the active instructional strategies in the teaching and learning of mathematics in our secondary schools in Nigeria.
Professional Bodies like the Mathematical Association of Nigeria (MAN) and Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN) will be encouraged to organize workshops seminars and conferences for mathematics teachers on the use of the strategy.
Researchers in the Mathematics education can benefit from the study. This study will serve as base for further studies in algebra, trigonometry and statistics. It will also serve as a source of current information on mathematics education. High anxiety level acquired at the secondary school level could continue to hurt the students at post secondary education, if the trend is allowed to continue.
1.7 Basic Assumptions
This study is based on the following assumptions:
- It is assumed that the Senior Secondary School two (SSS11) students used for the study have acquired knowledge of geometry in mathematics and were also taught by well-qualified mathematics teachers.
- It is assumed that the students were not taught using collaborative strategy enriched with scaffolding.
- It is also assumed that the students were not taught using the collaborative learning strategy.
1.8 Scope of the Study
This study was conducted to examine the Impact of Scaffolding –enriched Collaborative Strategy on Test-anxiety, Performance and Retention in Geometry among Secondary School Students in Niger state. The study was delimited to (380) Senior Secondary School (SSS II) students in (3) senior secondary schools within (3) local governments of Niger State. The public schools were selected for the study because they were averagely the same. The variables covered were scaffolding – enriched collaborative strategy, test-anxiety, retention performance and retention. The
tests used were Geometry Performance Test, Geometry Achievement Test, Geometry Retention Test and each contained 40 objective questions. Geometry Test-anxiety contained 10 statements. The geometric concepts taught in the study were delimited to length of arc, chord, segment, cube, cuboids, cylinder, cone, sphere and hemisphere. The lesson models of scaffolding –enriched collaborative strategy and collaborative learning strategy were used.
1.9 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Collaborative Learning Strategy: The terms collaborative learning and cooperative learning sometimes are used interchangeably. This is reasonable as both favour small-groups to study together and complete common a goal. It is an educational approach to teaching and learning that involves groups of students working together
Conventional Teaching Strategy: It is a traditional method of teaching in which the teacher does most of the talk.
Scaffolding- Enriched Collaborative Strategy: It is a teaching model designed from two strategies (collaborative & scaffolding)
Geometry Retention: is an ability of the students to reproduce the geometrical concepts learnt after an interval of time or when need arises.
Geometry Test-anxiety: This refers to the combination of psychological emotional and cognitive components that are caused by the stress and fear when confronted with geometry problems.
Geometry Performance Test: This refers to the initial test administered to the three groups in the study which served as the pretest.
Geometry Achievement Test: This is the test administered to the three groups in the study to evaluate their performances after the treatment.
Geometry Retention Test: is the test administered to the three groups to evaluate their retention abilities.
Geometry Test-Anxiety: This is the test administered to the three groups to known their level of anxiety.
Scaffolding Learning Strategy: This is an instructional technique that focuses on raising students‟ abilities one step at a time and removing the support as they progress.
Zone of Proximal Development: This is the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance, or in collaborations with more capable peers.
Zone of Approximal Development: This is what a learner knows or is able to do on the basis of acquired knowledge and experience
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