STUDENTS’ ATTITUDE AND SELFCONCEPT AS CORRELATES OF THEIR ACHIEVEMENT IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL MATHEMATICS IN ANKPA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF KOGI STATE
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Abstract
This study examined the students’ attitude and selfconcept as correlates of their achievement in senior Secondary School mathematics in Ankpa Local Government Area of Kogi State of Nigeria. The design was correlational research type. The target populations for the study were mathematics students of senior secondary II (SS II) classes in Ankpa Local Government Area of Kogi State, Nigeria. The sample for the study was three hundred and thirty two (332) mathematics students (male: 166 and female: 166) selected using stratified and simple random sampling techniques. Five hypotheses were raised to guide the study. The instruments used to elicit the relevant data were: A twenty item instrument questionnaire called Mathematics Attitude Scale (MAS) and a twenty item instrument questionnaire called Academic Selfconcept Questionnaire (ASCQ) designed by the researcher and the 1^{st}, 2^{nd} and 3^{rd} terms examination scores of students in their senior secondary one mathematics were obtained as the students’ academic achievement. The reliability coefficients of 0.80 and 0.83 for MAS and ASCQ respectively were obtained. The data collected were analyzed using Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation and multiple regression analysis. The hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance. The results revealed that: there is significant relationship between students’ attitude and their academic achievement in mathematics, also the results revealed a significant relationship between students’ selfconcept and their academic achievement in mathematics in senior secondary school mathematics. A significant difference between male and female students’ attitude, selfconcept and their academic achievement in mathematics in secondary school mathematics was also found in favour of female. Based on the findings of the study, it was recommended among others that academic achievement is not a gender issue, both genders should be encouraged to excel in academic achievement since equal opportunities is provided for both genders. Students should be discouraged from forming stereotyped attitude and selfconcept towards certain subjects, because of their sexes. This will boost positive competition between males and females, and enhance academic achievement and excellence among senior secondary school mathematics students.
CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Mathematics throughout the world is regarded as essential tool in many fields, including natural science, engineering, medicine, finance and social sciences. Branches of Mathematics include: algebra which are abstract algebra, modules, vector spaces, combinatory and number theory; analysis which include: calculus, real and complex analysis, vector and tensor analysis, differential equations and functional analysis; geometry which includes euclidean and geometry, affine, metric, projective geometry, discrete geometry, differential geometry and algebraic geometry; foundations which are Logic, computability, recursion theory, set theory, category theory and applied mathematics which are probability, statistics, game theory system and control theory and computer science (Obodo, 2004). Applied mathematics as a branch of mathematics is concerned with the application of mathematical knowledge to other fields. This branch of mathematics inspires and makes use of new mathematical discoveries which has led to the development of entirely new mathematics disciplines, such as statistics and game theory. The earliest uses of mathematics were in trading, land measurement, painting and weaving patterns and recording of time. The use of mathematics has since been greatly extended to politics, stock market, financial calculations (like budget), population, competition, and even as a prestige (Usman & Ojo, 2014).

Mathematics is a science with the basic scientific skills and objectives. Zakariyya (2014) posited that without mathematics, there will be no science, without sciences there will be no technology and without technology there will be no modern society. From this statement, it is therefore an accepted truth that no society can reach heights of greatness unless there is an ample supply of dedicated men and women in all fields critical to its growth, and developing such experts like scientists and technologists to satisfy the concept, there is a need for a good knowledge of mathematics in order to work efficiently. Education enables science and technology with a good knowledge of mathematics to convert human skills and enterprises into materials wealth and social amenities. It affords man a comfortable living and simplifies man activities. For instance, technology has provided a tractor for farming instead of a hoe and a vacuum cleaner for clearing instead of broom, while science is primarily concerned with the production of knowledge, technology is concerned with its use with mathematics playing an essential role in the development of technology. The future and longevity of any social sector depends on how many talented young people are attracted to mathematics (Usman & Ojo, 2014).
According to Thomaskutty and George (2008), mathematics cannot be considered as a classroom discipline only. This implied that not only an academician, a scientist, or an engineer, need mathematics but also a shopkeeper, a housewife, a sportsman, a farmer, and an employee need mathematics. A common man gets on sometimes very well without learning how to read and write, but he can never pull on without learning how to count and calculate. Thus mathematics has therefore become an everyday and everybody’s phenomenon. Man uses it directly or indirectly in everyday life or activities. It is a human invention, borne out of human in attempt to solve human problems (Kolawole & Oluwatayo, 2005). In spite of all these importance accorded to mathematics in the society, there exist low levels of mathematics attainment of students at every segment of the educational system in the country. This has given many educators/stakeholders a high level of concern (Ajayi, Abiola & Adeyanju, 2011).
There are many factors suspected to be responsible for low level of students’ academic achievement in mathematics. Some of these factors include; students’ mathematical achievement score, teaching materials, teachers’ knowledge of the subject matter, parental background, extrinsic motivation, anxiety, interest, attitude and selfconcept (Kogce, Yildaz, Aydiz & Altindaz, 2009).
When reviewing literature on students’ attitude towards mathematics, it reveals that several factors play a vital role in influencing students’ attitude. These factors according to Kogce, Yildaz, Aydiz & Altindaz, (2009) can be categorized into three distinctive groups. Firstly, factors associated with the students themselves. Some of these factors include students’ mathematical achievement score, anxiety towards mathematics, students’ selfefficacy, selfconcept, extrinsic motivation and experiences at school. Secondly, the factors that is associated with the school, teacher and teaching. Some of these factors that influence attitudes are teaching materials used by teacher, teachers’ classroom management, teachers’ content knowledge and personality, teaching topics with real life enriched examples, other students’ opinions about mathematics courses, teaching methods, reinforcement, receiving private tuition, teachers’ beliefs towards mathematics, teachers’ attitude toward mathematic. Thirdly, factors from the home environment and society also affect students’ attitude towards mathematics. Factors such as educational background of parents, occupation of parents and parental expectations play a crucial role in influencing students’ attitude towards mathematics. Due to these several factors students have different attitude towards mathematics. More often, the public image of mathematics is labeling it as a difficult, cold, abstract, theoretical and ultrarational subject (Ernest, 2004). Some studies show that students have a relatively positive attitude towards mathematics (Akinsola & Olowojaiye, 2008; Ranjana & Dhiraj, 2012 Anne, 2013). However some studies suggest that there is no significant difference between attitude towards mathematics among students (Mohd, Mahmood & Ismail, 2011; Kogce, Yildaz, Aydiz & Atindaz, 2009; Nicolaidou & Philippou, 2003). And there are some other studies which suggest that the attitude of the participants of their study towards mathematics was more positive (Grootenber & Lowrie, 2002). Hence it can be said that students’ attitude towards mathematics are very subjective and varies among the students
Aremu and Sokan (2003) submitted that the search for the causes of poor academic achievement in Mathematics is unending. Some of the factors identified by them are: motivational orientation, attitude, selfesteem/selfefficacy, emotional problems, study habits, teacher consultation and poor interpersonal relationships among students. Bolaji (2005) in a study on the influence of students’ attitude towards Mathematics found that the teachers’ method of teaching and his personality greatly accounted for the students’ positive attitude towards Mathematics.
It is generally believed that students’ attitude towards a subject determines their success in that subject. In order words, favourable attitude result in good achievement in a subject. A student’s constant failure in school subjects and mathematics in particular can make the student to believe that they can never do well on the subject, thus accepting defeat. On the other hand, students’ successful experience can make such students to develop a positive attitude towards mathematics (Akinsola & Olowojaiye, 2008)
The attitude of a learner toward mathematics will determine the measure of the learners’ attractiveness or repulsiveness to mathematics (Usman & Ojo, 2014). This invariably will influence the learner’s choice and even achievement in mathematics. The word attitude is defined within the framework of social psychology as a subjective or mental preparation for action. According to Zan and Martino (2008), attitude defines outward and visible postures of human beliefs. Attitude determines what individual will see, hear, think and do. According to them, attitude means individuals prevailing tendency to respond either favourably or unfavourably to an object (people or group of people, institutions or events). According to Bohner and Wanke, (2002) attitude is a central part of human identity. Everyday people love, hate, like, dislike, favour, oppose, agree, disagree, argue, persuade etc. All these are evaluative responses to an object of thought.
Therefore attitude can be defined as a mental and neural state of readiness organized through experiences, existing directive or dynamic influence upon the individual response to all objects and situations with which it is related. Attitude consists of three components: cognitive, affective and connotative (Pant, 2009). The cognitive components in learner’s behaviour refer to how information about a particular subject such as mathematics is perceived by the learner. That is, at this stage attitude is expressed as beliefs, opinions and perception of the subject. The affective component refers to evaluation, feelings and emotions. At this stage, learners express their likes and dislikes. The connotative suggests learner’s behaviour, intention or preference. Attitude towards mathematics is defined as an aggregate measure of a liking or disliking that one is good or bad at mathematics, and a belief that mathematics is useful or useless.
Attitude can be formed as a result of some opinion or by following the example of someone like parents, teachers, peer group and friends. Among the personality factors that contributes to academic achievement are attitude and selfconcept. A learner’s attitude relates to all the factors of his education. According to Ajayi, Abiola and Adeyanju (2011), the attitude of a learner towards mathematics will determine the measure of the learner’s attractiveness or repulsiveness to mathematics. This invariably will influence the learner’s choice and even achievement in that subject, hence it become necessary to investigate the relationship between students’ attitude and their achievement in mathematics. Attitude can be positive or negative. A positive attitude towards mathematics reflects a positive emotional disposition in relation to the subject and, in a similar way, a negative attitude towards mathematics relates to a negative emotional disposition (Zan & Martino, 2008). Research findings (Akinsola & Oluwojaiye, 2008; Lawsha & Hussain, 2011; Ranjana & Dhiraj, 2012; Mensah, Okyere & Kuranchi, 2013) revealed that positive attitude in mathematics lead to higher level of achievement in mathematics. Anne (2013) concurs that students with positive attitudes performed better regardless of the schools than students with negative attitudes in mathematics
Research on attitude in mathematics education has been necessitated by the belief that something called “attitude” plays a crucial role in learning mathematics (Zan & Martino, 2008). It is imperative to continue to search for linkages between attitude of the students and their academic achievement in mathematics. Hence, the need for the present study which is the students’ attitude and selfconcept as correlates of their achievement in senior secondary school mathematics in Ankpa Local Government of Kogi State
Selfconcept also called selfconstruction, self identity or self perspective is a multidimensional construct that refers to an individual’s perception of ‘self’ in relation to any number of characteristics (Bong, 1999). It is internal models which comprise selfassessment (Gerrig, Richard, Zimbardo & Philip, 2002). According to Baldwin and Hoffman (2002), selfconcept is a variable with which an individual evaluates himself or herself in domains in which they considers important and it is influenced positively or negatively by an individual’s age, gender, educational discipline/level and socioeconomic status. It is a person’s perception or view of self which is formed through experiences gained in the environment from reinforcements. It simply refers to how one thinks about oneself.
SelfConcept is an important construct in psychology and education. Byrne (1984) concluded that selfconcept is a multidimensional construct, having one general facet and several specific facets, one of which is ‘academic selfconcept.’ The term ‘academic selfconcept’ can be characterized by two elements consistent with the Shavelson model. First, academic selfconcept reflects descriptive (example, I like mathematic) as well as evaluative (example, I am good at mathematic) aspects of selfperception. Second, selfperceptions associated with academic selfconcept tend to focus on scholastic competence, rather than attitudes. It is referred to as a person’s perception of self with respect to achievement in school. A student’s selfperception of academic ability or achievement will affect their school performance. Psychologists have recognized the important role of selfconcept in an individual’s personal adjustment while educators are becoming increasingly aware that a students’ perception may have a significant influence on their academic achievement in school.
Selfconcept is the collection or impression a student makes about their appearance. The impressions form the cognition or the understanding in dealing with persons or things. Thus, what makes up the cognitive map or selfconcept may not be fully known. Every one shares some factors or constructs. These constructs are selfconcept traits that become valuable when choosing a career. The environments such as formal education have played a major role in the formation of constructs. Organizations of personality or selfconcept constructs are evident in three situations. First the individual sees the factors that could potentially change selfconcept. Second, only certain environmental factors impinge upon the individual. These environmental factors enter into the ideas that the individual has had about themselves.
An individual self concept may either be positive or negative. A positive selfconcept in an individual is expressed in the development of interest to school subjects like mathematics, having many friends, putting oneself up before others, accepting compliments, always happy and humorous, always trying new things and non jealous (Berger, 2008). On the contrary, several signs which indicates that an individual has a negative selfconcept include; poor attitude towards school subjects like mathematics, having few friends, putting down oneself, rejecting compliments, teasing others, showing excessive amount of anger, being excessively jealous, appearing conceited and hesitating to try new things (Berger, 2008).
Negative selfconcept during adolescence has been associated with maladaptive behaviours and emotions while positive selfconcept has been linked to positive, social and emotional development. Adolescence is the time between childhood and adulthood – between the ages of 12 to 18 – that is marked by growth and change, and physical and emotional development. While according to the National Policy on Education (NPE, 2004), in Nigeria, secondary schools is for children from ages 10 to 18. This period coincide with adolescence period. For the fact that negative selfconcept in adolescence has been associated with various maladaptive behavioural and emotional problems, it is important to address signs of negative selfconcept in adolescence. Furthermore by determining the specific cause of selfconcept, adolescents can be helped to combat any negative views that they hold about themselves. Also by intervening to improve on adolescent’s selfconcept, social academic and behavioural adjustment can be improved upon.
It is a truism that the way you present yourself is the way you will be seen and addressed. Selfconcept is purely a case of how and what you think about yourself. It could be positive or negative. As widely believed by many, that improved selfconcept in a subject will lead to greater happiness and academic achievement. According to Yara (2010), selfconcept will enable students to build selfconfidence in them both at school and at work and will equally stir them to pursue academic excellence (achievement).
In educational institutions, academic achievement is the outcome of educational goals that are achieved either by students or the teacher that is how well a student meets standards set by local school authority or the institution (Hughes, 2004). Academic achievement refers to how students deal with their studies and how they cope with or accomplish different tasks given to them by their teacher (Hatcher & Prul, 1996). It is the ability to study and remember facts and being able to communicate your knowledge verbally or down on paper. Thus, it implies a process where a student success in school is measured to determine how they stand up to others in the same area.
Achievement is the capability to operate efficiently, react quickly or perfectly to a given task. Achievement in mathematics is the ability of the learner to operate efficiently, react quickly or perfectly to a given mathematics problem. Therefore to achieve is to accomplish, acquire or gain by effort or do something successfully with an effort or skill. It describes the level of success in relation to a task or job carried out. Academic achievement is an outcome of teaching and learning encountered. It reflects the extent to which students have attained their educational stated objectives as well as students’ cognitive attainment in the core subject at school level. Academic achievement has become an index of a child’s future in the competitive world. In order to develop an identity in the society, children are becoming more concerned about their academic achievement. For example, the head, National Office of the council for West Africa Examination Council (WEAC) Eguridu announced that over 60 percent of WAEC candidates fail to make five credits Mathematics and English Language inclusive. Eguridu who announced the result in Lagos said that of the total 1,593,442 candidates that sat for May/June 2015 WAEC, 616,370 representing 38.68 percent obtained credit in five subjects and above, including mathematics and English language. Also the result of November/December 2014 show that out of 241, 161 candidates who sat for the examination, only 72, 522 scored five credits with English language and Mathematics giving a pass rate of 29.27 percent. In 2013, out of 298,971 candidates who sat for the exams, a total of 86,612 candidates representing 29.17 percent obtained five credits including Mathematics and English Language (Premium Times Thursday, 18 December, 2014). Children’s academic achievement may differ due to predictor factors like attitude and selfconcept.
Gender differences are a recurrent theme throughout the literature in academic studies in general and in math studies in particular. Mathematics is often considered to be a domain in which boys are higher achievers, both in terms of attitudes and selfconcept. Contrary to this, findings show that mathematics school achievement and grades do not differ significantly between boys and girls (Scafidi & Bui, 2010: Lindberg, Hyde, Petersen & Linn, 2010). This similarity in academic achievement between males and females is clear in the metaanalysis conducted by Lindberg, Hyde, Petersen and Linn (2010), indicating no gender differences and nearly equal male and female variances. There are, however, noticeable differences in the beliefs held by boys and girls. Research has consistently shown that girls have lower math selfconcept than boys (Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2004). Results concerning gender differences in attitudes are less consistent than those in selfconcept. Some studies have reported significant differences when compare girls and boys attitudes towards mathematics (Eshun, 2004: Asante, 2012), nevertheless there are a number of studies where these differences are not identified (Nicolaidou & Philippou, 2003: Kogce, Yildiz, Aydin & Altindag, 2009: Mohamed & Waheed, 2011). Asante (2012) states that, when compared with boys, “girls lacked confidence, had debilitating causal attribution patterns, perceived mathematics as a male domain, and were anxious about mathematics”. The finding showed that boys had more positive attitudes towards mathematics.
According to Asante, school environment, developmental changes in gender identity, and teacher and parent attitudes and beliefs towards mathematics are factors that may contribute to the differences identified between boys and girls in their attitudes towards mathematics. Mathematics achievement of the students has been one of the trending topics at educational journals. Numerous scholars have tried to identify the different causes that can be associated to a lack of satisfactory achievement of the learners in mathematics. The attitudes of the students and their selfconcept regarding their own aptitude in mathematics have been identified as important factors in predicting the mathematics achievement. However, none of such studies are complete in the sense that they have not identified or given due importance to each face of the problem of underachievement. Moreover, an overwhelming majority of such studies have been conducted in developed countries of the west. The prevailing educational climate in such nations is very different from Kogi State and Ankpa to specific and approaches of the people also differ. Hence it is necessary to investigate the students’ attitude and selfconcept as correlates of their achievement in senior secondary mathematics in Ankpa Local Government Area of Kogi State
Statements of Problem
Mathematics affects all aspects of human life and that the social, economic, scientific and technological aspects of man revolve around numbers. Being the basic skills that underlie all scientific and technological skills, mathematics is generally seen as a language of most branches of science and technology. Despite its importance, the observations and reports from examination bodies revealed that a high percentage of senior secondary school students continue to perform poorly in mathematics examinations. The head, National Office of the council for West Africa Examination Council (WEAC) Eguridu announced that over 60 percent of WAEC candidates fail to make five credits Mathematics and English Language inclusive. Eguridu who announced the result in Lagos said that of the total 1,593,442 candidates that sat for May/June 2015 WAEC, 616,370 representing 38.68 percent obtained credit in five subjects and above, including mathematics and English language. Also the result of November/December 2014 show that out of 241, 161 candidates who sat for the examination, only 72, 522 scored five credits with English language and Mathematics giving a pass rate of 29.27 percent. In 2013, out of 298,971 candidates who sat for the exams, a total of 86,612 candidates representing 29.17 percent obtained five credits including Mathematics and English Language (Premium Times Thursday, 18 December, 2014) This low academic achievement in mathematics continues to generate much concern among students, parents, teachers and other stakeholders in the education sector. The failure is likely to be caused by factors such as teachers’ mastery of the subject, teachers’ personality, methodology used in imparting the knowledge to students, availability of instructional materials and equipments, parental support, interest of the learners, environmental factors, attitude and selfconcept of the students. Though some researches have been conducted on the factors responsible for students’ low academic achievement in mathematics as regards to teachers’ factors, parental support, background of students, interest of students, environmental factors and instructional materials. It seemed that enough works have not been done on the influence of attitude and selfconcept on the academic achievement of students in mathematics. As a result of these, this study sought to investigate the students’ attitude and selfconcept as correlates of their achievement in senior secondary school mathematics in Ankpa Local Government of Kogi State.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to investigate students’ attitude and selfconcept as correlates of their achievement in senior secondary school mathematics in Ankpa Local Government Area of Kogi State. Specifically this study will investigate:
 The relationship between students’ attitude and their academic achievement in mathematics.
 The relationship between students’ selfconcept and their academic achievement in mathematics.
 The difference in the relationship between students’ attitude and academic achievement in mathematics based on gender.
 The difference in the relationship between students’ selfconcept and academic achievement in mathematics based on gender.
 The inter relationship between students’ attitude, selfconcept and their academic achievement in mathematics.
Significant of the Study
Learning theory states that attitude can be formed or change through the use of learning principle such as operant conditioning. Attitudes that are followed by positive consequences are reinforced and are more likely to be repeated than attitudes that are followed by negative consequences. Hence, this research work will provide necessary evidence to support operant conditioning on how attitude form towards mathematics should be reinforced and maintain
Self Regulation Theory (SRT) refers to the selfcapacity to alter its behavior (Baumeister & Vohn, 2007). These behaviours are changed in accordance to one standard, ideals or goal either stemming from internal or social expectations, the presence and quality of these actions depends on ones beliefs and motive. Theoretically, the research work will also provide necessary evidence to support this theory in this area. Specifically, the findings from this study will help affirm existing theory.
The study should be beneficial to students especially those that are easily defeated when they encounter some academic tasks or have some problems militating against their academic success. This is because selfconcept encourages student to develop positive attitude in the study of mathematics and this will provide necessary information for provoking inquisitive spirit of secondary school students which will lead to good academic achievement in mathematics.
Psychologists should hopefully find the study useful in the sense that it will help them in determining what is responsible for negative attitude and poor selfconcept. This is because the outcome of this study may form the basis for future intervention program which aim at improving students’ attitudes and selfconcept that will eventually improve their academic achievement in mathematics which is an indicator of quality education in senior secondary school.
This study may also have significance for educators in that it could provide useful information pertaining to the relationship between attitude of students and their academic achievement and the relationship between students’ selfconcept and their academic achievement in mathematics. This is because individual with negative attitudes towards mathematics are often reported to have a low selfconcept and feelings of incompetence. These attitudes are manifested as selfdepreciating remarks and a perpetual lack of success in mathematics which.
It should provide the necessary framework for parents to encourage wards to build selfconfidence at school and work. This is because the results of this study will help the parents to sensitize their children the necessity of building high selfconcept through child rearing practices.
The findings should also be useful to teachers who implement the curriculum and build the students’ knowledge. Teachers are the implementer of any curriculum developed from the federal ministry of education and the state. Hence the failure or success of any academic endeavour solely rest on the teachers, and for the efficient results teachers are to know the importance of attitude and selfconcept in mathematics
It should serve as a good data base for government, policy makers, examination bodies and other stakeholders of education on issues relating to attitude and selfconcept, the need to provide adequate learning materials and enabling environment for the teaching and learning process, to pave way for positive attitude and academic selfconcept for bright academic achievement.
Scope of the study
This study will be conducted in Ankpa Local Government Area of Kogi State. The study will include all the senior secondary school mathematics students in Ankpa LGA. The study will be limited to investigating students’ attitude and selfconcept as correlates of their achievement in mathematics. Students’ attitude will be limited to their attitude towards mathematics, while selfconcept will base on the students’ evaluation of themselves in relation to their school achievement. The difference in the relationship between students’ attitude and academic achievement in mathematics based on gender and the difference in the relationship between students’ selfconcept and academic achievement in mathematics based on gender will be investigated.
Research Questions
The following research questions were posed to guide the study.
 What is the relationship between students’ attitude and their academic achievement in mathematics?
 What is the relationship between students’ selfconcept and their academic achievement in mathematics?
 What is the difference in the relationship between students’ attitude and academic achievement in mathematics based on gender?
 What is the difference in the relationship between students’ selfconcept and academic achievement in mathematics based on gender?
 What is the inter relationship between students’ attitude, selfconcept and their academic achievement in mathematics?
Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were formulated to guide the study.
 There is no significant relationship between students’ attitude and their academic achievement in mathematics.
 There is no significant relationship between students’ selfconcept and their academic achievement in mathematics.
 There is no significant difference in the relationship between students’ attitude and academic achievement in mathematics based on gender.
 There is no significant difference in the relationship between students’ selfconcept and academic achievement in mathematics based on gender.
 There is no significant interrelationship between students’ attitude, selfconcept and their academic achievement in mathematics.