A study of the relationship between achievement and attitudes towards mathematics among std 7 in Nairobi schools
Ogoma, Shandrack Ochieng
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This study of the relationship between achievement and attitudes towards mathematics among std. 7 pupils attempted to establish the importance of attitudes towards mathematics in achievement in the subject. It also tried to measure the effect of other variables which are closely associated with performance in mathematics. These variables, were the sex of the child, ability of the child in mathematics and socio- economic status of the child. The sample of the study consisted of children from standard 7 in Nairobi city primary schools. Four schools were drawn randomly from the schools run by the City Commission. These schools were selected to reduce the diversity in availability of learning facilities. Then Stratified random sampling was carried out to selected 10 pupils from each of four schools. Each category, above average, average and below average in mathematics was selected from. Thus, 40 pupils made the sample size of the study. The data was collected by the use of the following instruments: An achievement test which took the form of K.C.P.E. Examination format, an ability test, and an attitude test. The ability test answer sheets contained items inquiring about the sex and socio-economic status of the respondent. The instruments were scored manually, awarding points for correct responses and no point for incorrect points for correct responses and no point for incorrect responses in the case of ability and achievement tests. For attitude test, points were awarded depending on the type of feeling manifested. For example, positive feelings were awarded more points than negative feelings. The scores were then analysed by use of some statistical techniques namely: the correlation co-efficient, t-test, the percentages and mean. These helped in arriving at some Conclusions from the study. The correlation coefficient that attitudes towards mathematics and achievement in mathematics were positively correlated. However the magnitude of the correlation was found to be statistically insignificant. The same statistic revealed a significant positive correlation between ability and achievement in mathematics. The correlation between attitudes and achievement for girls was found to be higher than for boys. Lastly, socio-economic status was found to have insignificant influence on the performance on ability and achievement tests. From the above findings the researcher concluded that the positive correlation that exists indicate that attitudes have some influence on achievement. Further-more this influence is higher for girls than boys. Therefore, pupils should be encouraged in mathematics so that they develop positive feelings; more so in the case of girls. The correlation between ability and achievement was significant whereas that between attitude and achievement was insignificant. Ability was more important in achievement than attitude was. Conceptual approach to teaching mathematics should be adopted so that pupils develop the ability in mathematics. This calls for adequate teaching facilities.