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  • 1. Chapter 1 THE PROBLEM AND ITS BACKGROUND Introduction We live in a mathematical world. Whenever we decide on a purchase, choose an insurance or health plan, or use a spreadsheet, we rely on mathematical understanding. The World Wide Web, CD-ROMs, and other media disseminate vast quantities of quantitative information. The level of mathematical thinking and problem solving needed in the workplace has increased dramatically. In such a world, those who understand and can do mathematics will have opportunities that others do not. Mathematical competence opens doors to productive futures. A lack of mathematical competence closes those doors. Students have different abilities, needs, and interests. Yet everyone needs to be able to use mathematics in his or her personal life, in the workplace, and in further study. All students deserve an opportunity to understand the power and beauty of mathematics. Students need to learn a new set of mathematics basics that enable them to compute fluently and to solve problems creatively and resourcefully. It has been long time to discover the importance of Mathematics in our world. And these discoveries lead us to more technological or what so called Industrial era, wherein the different usage of technological devices occur. In this era, application of Mathematics helps to develop and invent such technological devices. Through these applications our life became easier. Now a day, Mathematics is the key to all Sciences.
  • 2. Despite explaining more about mathematics and the proof that it’s really important, the students today don’t like this subject. They think that the Mathematics is a boring subject, and it’s hard to understand formulas, they always say “Why should we study Mathematics, only four major operations are enough and the rest no longer needed. We do use graphs and formulas in our daily living.” Only if they understand the logic behind this subject and the principles applied in different problems, if they get what Mathematics really meant to be, they will find that it is not a boring subject, that mathematics is an interesting one. Mathematics becomes part of our life, not only in our academic subjects, but in all part of our integral life. We don’t see that even in simple conversation mathematics take place. In our transportation it also occurs, and in our daily living it definitely applied. Background of the Study According to Schereiber (2000) those who have positive attitudes toward mathematics have a better performance in this subject. Mathematics achievement has shown that the students from each major level of Education in Asia seemed to outperform their counterparts. Many studies have examined students’ thinking about school and their attitude toward Mathematics. Mathematics performance involves a complex interaction of factors on school outcome. Although the relationship between mathematics performance and students factor has been studied widely, it is important to explore the factors that contribute students’ mathematics performance.
  • 3. Wendy Hansen (2008) stated that boys are more likely than girls to be math geniuses. Girls scored in the top 5% almost as often as boys, the data showed Comparing the average scores of girls and boys in California and nine other states, the researchers found that neither gender consistently outpaced the other in any state or at any grade level. Even on test questions from the National Assessment of Education Progress that were designed to measure complex reasoning skills, the gender differences were minuscule, according to the study. Student engagement in mathematics refers to students’ motivation to learn mathematics, their confidence in their ability to succeed in mathematics and their emotional feelings about mathematics. Student engagement in mathematics plays a key role in the acquisition of math skills and knowledge – students who are engaged in the learning process will tend to learn more and be more receptive to further learning. Student engagement also has an impact upon course selection, educational pathways and later career choices. Math performance has improved, again, through expecting students to achieve, providing instruction based on individual student needs and using a variety of methods to reach all learners. One factor...has been aligning the math curriculum to ensure that the delivery of instruction is consistent with the assessment frequency.
  • 4. This particular study attempts to determine the factors affecting mathematics performance of Laboratory High School at Laguna State Polytechnic University Academic Year 2009-2010. Theoretical Framework Dweck, C. S. (1999) stated that students believe that their ability is fixed, probably at birth, and there is very little if anything they can do to improve it is called fixed IQ theorists. They believe ability comes from talent rather than from the slow development of skills through learning. “It's all in the genes”. Either you can do it with little effort, or you will never be able to do it, so you might as well give up in the face of difficulty. E.g. “ I can't do math”. And Untapped Potential theorists, students believe that ability and success are due to learning, and learning requires time and effort. In the case of difficulty one must try harder, try another approach, or seek help etc. Inzlicht (2003) stated that entity and incremental theories of ability were assessed separately so that their separate influences could be examined; math performance was examined by controlling for prior math performance. Entity theory was expected to be a negative predictor of performance, whereas incremental theory was expected to be a positive predictor. Guohua Peng (2002) stated that simple traditional methods gradually make the students feel that mathematics is pointless and has little value to them in real life. It becomes a subject they are forced to study, but one that is useless to them in real life. In
  • 5. the traditional classroom setting discussed above, both students and teacher are often frustrated because the students’ individual needs are not met. Another disadvantage of the conventional teaching method is that it provides no way for students to practice generic skills such as communication and teamwork, which are very important for every university student. Dan Hull (1999) stated that growing numbers of teachers today—especially those frustrated by repeated lack of student success in demonstrating basic proficiency on standard tests are discovering that most students’ interest and achievement in math, science, and language improve dramatically when they are helped to make connections between new information (knowledge) and experiences they have had, or with other knowledge they have already mastered. Students’ involvement in their schoolwork increases significantly when they are taught why they are learning the concepts and how those concepts can be used outside the classroom. And most students learn much more efficiently when they are allowed to work cooperatively with other students in groups or teams. Conceptual Framework The major concept of this study is focused on factors affecting Mathematics Performance of Laboratory High School at Laguna State Polytechnic University Academic Year 2009-2010. Figure 1; shows the relationship of input variables which contain the extent of the student-related factors and the extent of the teacher-related factors. While in the process
  • 6. contains the survey, data gathering, data analysis, and data interpretation. And output variables contain the analysis of student-related factors and teacher-related factors. INPUT PROCESS OUTPUT STUDENT-RELATED FACTORS Interest Study Habits An Analysis of student- Survey related factors TEACHER-RELATED Data Gathering FACTORS Data Analysis An analysis of teacher- Data Interpretation related factors Personality Traits Teaching Skills Instructional Materials FIGURE 1. A conceptual paradigm shows the relationship of students’ mathematics performance in student-related factors and in teacher-related factors.
  • 7. Statement of the Problem The study attempts to determine the factors affecting mathematics performance of Laboratory High School at Laguna State Polytechnic University Academic Year 2009-2010. Specifically, it sought to answer the following questions: 1. What is the extent of the student-related factors in terms of: 1.1 Interest 1.2 Study Habits 2. What is the extent of teacher-related factors as evaluated by the students in terms of: 2.1 Personality Traits 2.2 Teaching Skills 2.3 Instructional Materials 3. What is the level of students’ mathematics performance? 4. Is there significant relationship between students’ mathematics performance and students-related factors? 5. Is there significant relationship between students’ mathematics performance and teacher-related factors?
  • 8. Hypothesis The following are the null hypothesis of this research: There is no significant relationship between students’ mathematics performance and students-related factors. There is no significant relationship between students’ mathematics performance and teacher-related factors. Significance of the Study The result of the study will merit the following: School Administrator. The result of this study could serve as a baseline data to improve programs for school advancement. Curriculum Planner. The result of this study will help them appraise the existing programs in terms of the student’s needs and abilities and make changes as required. Guidance Councilor. This study will help develop the guidance program in line with individual needs and abilities of the students. Facilitators. The results of this study may serve as an eye opener to create and innovate instructional materials, and to use varied and appropriate teaching strategies.
  • 9. Students. This study will help the students to develop their interest toward Mathematics and appreciate the importance of Mathematics in their daily lives. Parents. Who are directly concerned with the education of their children considering school performance in different discipline. Future Researcher. The result of this study can serve as basis for further study on teaching learning activities and student mathematical performance. Scope and Limitation This study is limited only to Laboratory High School Students of Laguna State Polytechnic University during the Academic Year 2009-2010. Determining the factors affecting Mathematics Performance of Laboratory High School Students was the focus of this research. The information needed will be gathered using the checklist style research-made questionnaire. All information and conclusions drawn from this study were obtained only to this particular group of students. Definition of Terms For better clarification and understanding of the terms related to this study, the following terms are defined conceptually and operationally.
  • 10. Mathematics Performance. This refers to the degree or capacity of students’ knowledge in Mathematics. Instructional Materials. This refers to motivating techniques that teaching materials or equipment used. It can high technology or simple materials that can use in learning preference. Interest. This refers to the amount of the students’ dislike or like of particular things. Study Habits. This refers to usual form or action of a person in studying. Teaching Skills. This refers to the skills of teachers in mathematics in terms of teaching her/his lesson. Personality Traits. This refers to the good relationship of the mathematics teachers with the students.
  • 11. List of Tables Table 1 Level of Interest in Mathematics as Perceived by the students 2 Level of Study Habits as Perceived by the Students 3 Student-related factors in terms of Interest and Study Habits 4 Personality Traits of Mathematics Teachers as Perceived by the students 5 Teaching Skills in Mathematics as Perceived by the Students 6 Instructional Materials used by the teachers in Mathematics as Perceived by the students 7 Teacher-related factors in terms of Personality Traits, Teaching Skills, and Instructional Materials 8 Significant relationship between students’ mathematics performance and students-related factors. 9 Significant relationship between students’ mathematics performance and teacher-related factors.
  • 12. Guohua Peng Mathematical College Sichuan University Chengdu 610064 People’s Republic of China ghpeng@mail.sc.cninfo.net