A study of some factors associated with failure to learn mathematics diploma colleges of Kenya
Kaba, Wilfred Chege
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This study was carried out in Kenya Science Teachers' College. The study, which used data collected from students and their tutors was an attempt to explore the presence of relationships between mathematics learning and various inhibitory factors among college students. Among the factors considered in this study included sex, age, attitudes, culture, environment, classroom-teacher encounter, teacher effect, parent and relative associates, etc. In summary, some physical, social and psychological factors that contribute towards failure to learn mathematics with particular reference to the college student who has just left the secondary school and will go back to teach there after a two type-college training. RESEARCH DESIGN AND PROCEDURE: The study utilised empirical survey methods of inquiry. The sample of the study was 74 students from a stratified selection of college students at one of the Diploma Colleges in Kenya (the Kenya Science Teachers' College). The study was conducted at the college in July 1985, which involved both students and their tutors taking and tutoring mathematics. ANALYSIS: Relative correction analysis was used and decisions were made compared to the one-sample statistic. ''Kolmogorov-Smirnov Statistic''. The tutors and students item analysis was tabulated and conclusions drawn in comparison to the hypotheses, that were stated. FINDINGS: The major findings of the study were: 1. Students at college level have favourable attitudes towards mathematics education. 2. Parental follow-up is necessary even at college level just like in the secondary school. 3. Students' attitudes may change due to their tutors influence and ability to teach them at the college. 4. Both male and female students have no significant difference in terms of classwork, fieldwork and assignments. 5. Hobbies for students are not mathematically enriching and therefore some change is desirable. 6. Some small percentage of about 7.3 percent seem not to perceive the role of mathematics in life, and this should be a serious concern for the tutors. 7. Tutors attitude towards failure is such that they blame their students for failure while one fifth of students blame their tutors wholly for their failure. 8. Only about one-third of the students prefer the present system of evaluation . The rest prefer a continous assessment system where the final examination is only a part of the continous assessment. RECOMMENDATIONS: It is recommended that tutors and students classroom -relationship should be a comfortable one. The relationship should be a warm comradeship in the whole task of teaching. The student should view his/her tutor as an older, experienced comrade while the tutor views the student as a younger, ambitious comrade who should be told the good and the bad, the challenges and the enjoyable phenomenons about mathematics and the whole profession of teaching, not only at the secondary school level but at the kindergarten, primary, secondary, college and the university levels. All the students enrolled for mathematics have favourable attitudes, they like and enjoy mathematics. They have chosen to live with the subject and would only hate it under the influence of either their tutors or external influence. Therefore, actualization into becoming life-long mathematicians not only in the school but also at home, in business and to their contemporary society.