Vol. 5, Issue 1 (2020)
Basic mathematical skills knowledge and senior secondary students’ performance in algebra
Author(s): Zalmon Ibaan Gogo, Charles-Ogan Gladys Ibibo
Abstract: This study investigated the impact of senior secondary students’ knowledge of Basic Mathematical Skills (BMS) on their performance in algebra in Obio-Akpor Local Government Area (LGA) of Rivers State, Nigeria. The study adopted the descriptive survey research design with a population of 18,087 senior secondary students of which 7,668 were males while 10,419 were females. A sample of 400 students obtained from the population using Taro Yamane formula was selected using simple random sampling technique and used for the study. Two research questions and two hypotheses guided the study. The Basic Mathematical Skill Test (BMST) and the Algebra Performance Test (APT) were the two instruments used for data collection. The BMST and APT comprised of twenty-five (25) multiple-choice questions each. BMST was used to collect data to measure student’s knowledge of basic mathematical skills while APT was used to collect data to measure students’ performance in algebra. The reliabilities of BMST and APT were established by test-retest method. After correlating the test and re-test scores for each instrument using the Pearson product moment correlation, 0.74 and 0.78 correlation coefficients were obtained for BMST and APT respectively. The correlation coefficients of 0.74 and 0.78 showed high positive correlation, signifying that the instruments were reliable. Mean and standard deviation were used to answer the two research questions while Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to test the two hypotheses at 0.05 significant level. The result of the study showed that students with high knowledge of basic mathematical skills performed significantly better than their counterparts with low knowledge of BMS in algebra. The result also revealed that there is no significant mean difference in the performance of the male and the female senior secondary students with high and low basic mathematical skills in algebra. It was recommended among that Mathematics teachers at the basic level of education should ensure that students learn basic mathematical skills because they are prerequisite knowledge to higher or advance Mathematics learning. Gender disparity among students in Mathematics education should also be discouraged.