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1.1       Background of the Study

For Nigeria to realize her dream in the development of Junior Secondary Schools, the students of the country must show outstanding performance in all secondary school subjects, most especially in junior secondary school certificate examination mathematics.

The word “Mathematics” comes from Ancient Greek word “Mathema”, meaning “that which is learnt” or “subject of instructions”. Mathematics is a very useful and dynamic subject. It has long been accepted as a veritable tool of communication, of knowledge. It is the language of science and all areas of technology, engineering, commerce and business. It has long been referred to as the Mother and Queen of all subjects. Majasa (2015) further defined it as the science of counting, measuring and describing of the shape of objects. It deals with logical reasoning and quantitative calculations. Mathematics as a school subject is recognized as the foundation of science and technology without which a nation will never become prosperous and economically independent. This underscores the importance of mathematical competence of all the learners at all levels of education and a reason for making mathematics compulsory and one of the leading core subject in the secondary schools curriculum. This importance accorded the recognition of the vital role it plays in contemporary society. Despite the effort put in by government, and various stakeholders of education, mathematics still remained one of the most difficult subjects in schools.

1.2 History of Mathematics and Contributions of Early Greek Mathematicians the development of Mathematics.

The ordinary man associates a lot of mystery with mathematics. This should not be so, since mathematics is as old as man himself. Primitive man started counting by matching objects. He also started writing by marking on cave wall strokes to represent the number of cattle, hens or other objects he possessed. he started counting in base ten because he is endowed with ten figures and ten toes. He could have counted in other bases such as two or five or seven. In fact, themayas of south America counted in base twenty (20).

Today, different types of people count and write in different ways. so it was in early days with different civilizations. Our present system of counting and writing numbers was developed from the Hindu-Arabic system i.e. 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9.

The earliest type of mathematics was “Earth Measurement” which developed in Egypt by the river Nile. It was the partitioning of land for farming year by year. This was the beginning of survey or rope stretching.

The first writing material was the papyrus paper. They were made of reels of Papus which grew by the river Nile. They were difficult to make. Later, writing was done on parchment paper from skins of animals. Printing did not start until the 14th century. The first discovered book was written by Amos an Egyptian in 1500 BC. It was titled “Rules for inquiry into nature and knowing all that exist”.

Simple Arithmetic’s-Addiction and subtraction did not begin until as late in the 15th century. This was because of the clumsy way of writing numbers, the absence of symbol for zero and lack of positional value.

The following is the history of some early Greek Mathematicians and their contributions to the study of mathematics as a subject.

1.2.1 Thales of Miletus

He was born in 640 B.C. and lived in Miletus. He was a merchant politician. He visited Egypt and Babylon to buy and sell wares. So, in Babylon, he came in contact with its people and got their ideas of Astronomy and Earth Measurement from Egypt. After retiring from merchandise, he devoted his time to study of astronomy and mathematics. He started Deductive Geometry. He successfully predicted an eclipse of the sun from May 28th in 585 B.C.

1.2.2      Pythagoras

He was born in 580 B.C. on the Island of Samos. He later moved to Crotona in southern Italy, where he did most of his mathematics. He studied under Thales. He founded a school in Crotona and his students lived liked a brotherhood or cult, (the Pythagoreans). Some of their knowledge were treasured orally but later became written. Their specific contributions to Mathematics included:

i)  Discover of the harmonic progression

ii)  Invention of the terms odd and even numbers

iii)  Pythagoras theorem.

iv) They were the first to use the word parabolas, ellipse, hyperbole; Apollonius borrowed these words in conics.

v)  He was the first to discover that the world was a sphere.


He lived 400 B.C in a place near Athens. He founded a school called the academy. His philosophy was that anyone who would become a leader of men should learn and know mathematics. This philosophy influenced the great American leader Abraham Lincoln to learn the thirteen (13) books of Euclid called elements”. He believed that Mathematics was the best discipline for the human mind. His idea was that mathematics should be taught with amusement and pleasure and made very interesting. He wrote at the entrance of his school “let no man destitute of mathematics, enter my door”.

1.2.4        Euclid

His name was first met in the records around 300 B. C. Before him, Mathematical knowledge was in fragments and pieces. He collected all these knowledge and wrote them in 13 volumes known as “Euclid Elements” He taught mathematics in the Royal school of Alexandria. He was the mastermind that collected all the muddled, confused pieces of mathematics jigsaw, puzzle and put them together in such a way that a clear and beautiful picture suddenly emerged. All the proofs in the Elements were based on deductive reasoning.

1.2.5     Apollonius of Perga

He was born some 50 years after Euclid. He also studied in Alexandria where Euclid taught. He contributed substantially to the study of conics. His treatment of conics section was the best for 18 centuries until 1637 when Decartes completely revolutionized the study.

1.2.6   Archimedes

He was born in Syracuse in 287 B. C. He was perhaps the world’s greatest Mathematician. He too studied in the Royal School of Alexandria. His father was a mathematician and Astronomer. He was so much a man of ability, energy and power of application that he brought the mathematics of his time to such a height that not much further progress were made until new mathematics tools were invented. He was said to have remarked, “Give me a place to stand and I will move the earth” His achievement included;

i) Calculated an approximate value of ∏.

ii) He invented a method for finding square roots.

iii) Discovered how to find area of an ellipse.

He wrote a number of books on sphere, cylinder and cones. With his death in 212 BC, came the end of the Golden Ages of the Greek Mathematicians.

Since the 19th Century till now, Mathematics has witnessed a great development quantitatively and qualitatively. Mathematics has been applied to virtually all faces of human activities. It has become the greatest tool in modern technology, industries and business.

1.3       Statement of the Problem

Perhaps not much attention has been given to the performance of students in junior secondary school subjects in recent years. This neglect, no doubt has relegated this junior subjects to the background in our junior secondary certificate examination. A close look at the 2013-2017 JSSCE result records, confirms that students’ performances have been very poor generally and the increase number of school dropout in the area of study is a clear pointer of the theme. The poor performance is caused by many factors such as;

i). Students ineffective study techniques in learning mathematics.

ii).Quantity and quality of teachers teaching mathematics as a subject.

iii). Methods of teaching Mathematics by the teachers.

iv). The Parent’s inability to provide useful learning materials like textbooks, exercise books and school fees.

v). Problem of inadequate instructional materials for teaching and learning of mathematics in schools and so on.

 There is a general impression that mathematics is difficult by its very nature, and because of this impression, there is poor performance among junior secondary school students who are the focus of this study. This poor performance in mathematics has been attributed to two broad factors which include: Hereditary and environmental factors which can be subdivided into students, home, teachers, and school factors. Ola (2018).

 Most parents do not play a crucial role in preparing their children for school. The child is expected to see the world from the perspective of these archaic values and the goodness of otherwise of his behaviors is judged as such. Opposition from the child arises from what appears to him obsolete and defense of traditionalism by the parents. For example, Whaler (2017) argues that consistent and appropriate parental reactions to the full range of a child’s response repertoire will establish a family context conducive to positive reinforcement of child compliance. In contrast, inconsistent parental reactions appear to create a chaotic family context conducive to the negative reinforcement of child opposition. He argues that based on these two forms of contexts, the parent and children seen to generate distinctive personal rules which outline the functions arrangements of contexts, behavior and reinforcement. Parents on their part hardly require their children to explain the problem or joy found in their mathematics classes. And this count as one of the causes of poor performance of students in mathematics.

Teachers of junior mathematics are hard to come-by because of the site of some schools especially the schools in Kaduna North local Government Area of Kaduna State. The few available teachers have not been given opportunities to up-date the skill and knowledge available in-service training.

Finally, it is obvious that the findings of the study will definitely aspire the researcher to seek for possible suggestions and recommendations to students, teachers, parents, sponsor and government to bring an end to student mass failure of mathematics in a such external junior certificate examination and to improve student performance in the future examination in these schools and other part of the country having similar educational problems.

In philosophical view of these causes, this study therefore is specifically designed to assess the causes and effects of mass failure of mathematics in junior secondary school certificate examination in Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

1.4       Purpose of the Study

The Objectives of this study is to:

1.      Find out the causes of mathematics failure in junior secondary school Certificate Examination in Kaduna North Local government area, Kaduna State.

2.      Ascertain the impact of quantity and quality of mathematics teachers in junior secondary school in Kaduna North Local government area, Kaduna State.

3.      Examine the level of provision and utilization of instructional materials in the teaching and learning of mathematics in Kaduna North Local Government Area, Kaduna State.

4.      Determine the consequences of mass failures on the students in Junior Secondary School Kaduna North Local Government Area, Kaduna State.

1.5       Significance of the Study

The student will be able to appreciate the importance of the effective domain like interest and motivation in improving their performance. With this awareness, the student might put up a positive attitude towards mathematics which will increase their performance and enhance higher grades in junior secondary school certificate examination. Teachers will also be able to adjust their teaching methods and offer remedial helps where they find out that student are putting up a low attitude. State government will also see the need of guidance and counseling in each school, the ministry of education and curriculum planners for better organization of junior subjects in education.

1.6       Scope of the Study

The scope of this study was focused on the causes and effect of mass failure of mathematics in junior secondary school certificate examination in Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Due to military factors such as time and other resources and the inconvenience of handling a large scope, the researchers focused only on junior mathematics.

1.7Limitation of Study

As a result of short time available, bad roads and other variables, the researchers limited the study to all the government junior secondary schools in Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State only.

1.8       Research Questions of the Study

 The following are the research questions of the study:-

1.      What are the causes of mathematics failures in Junior secondary school certificate examination in Kaduna North Local government area, Kaduna State?

2.      In what way do the quantity and quality of teacher’s impact on the mathematics failures in junior secondary school in Kaduna North Local government area, Kaduna state?

3.      How do the level of provision and utilization impact on mathematics failure in junior secondary schools in Kaduna North Local government area, Kaduna State?

4.      What are the Consequences of mathematics failure in Junior Secondary School Certificate Examination on Kaduna North Local Government area students?

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