Mathematics subject and performance of pupils in primary schools

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Kampala International University, College of Education, Open & Distance Learning
The performance of mathematics in national exams has been deteriorating over last few years. This is so in majority of primary schools in Kenya and especially Kakamega North district. The situation may not be different in other districts in Kenya. The problem is therefore of a global concern given that most of the technology is statistical based with a mathematical orientation. Mathematics being a branch of science that deals with precision and quantitative applications is widely appreciated in many fields. These include agriculture, accounting, veterinary practice, public health, and medicine just to mention a few. The poor performance of Mathematics in exams may therefore mean a definite downfall in our technological fields and the collapse of the entire Kenyan economy. This poor performance may be as a result of poor motivating, lack of or poor evaluation, physical facilities and to a large extent a negative attitude of students towards the subject. The purpose of this study was to determine factors that affect the performance of mathematics in national exams in some selected primary schools in Kabras division of Kakamega North district. The study was also used to identify some measures that might be used to predict the performance of primary school pupils studying mathematics. The sample in the study consisted of 50 pupils from std one up to std eight, 10 mathematics teachers and 5 head teachers. The data collection methodology involved questionnaire and observation of all the targeted groups. The information collected will hopefully be used to improve performance in mathematics in examinations. The Main objective was to assess the factors that affect the performance of primary school pupils in mathematics. The specific objectives were to find out if learners attitude, facilities available, caliber of pupil, class size, evaluation and motivational level of teachers and pupils among other factors affect the learners performance in mathematics. It also looked at relationship between pupils / teachers characteristics. The study found that there is insufficient quantitative equipment and no trained laboratory assistants in 66% of the population investigated. The workload is too large leading to less time being dedicated to practical work. Also 80% of the pupils had low morale to learn, many of the girls investigated had a general attitude that mathematics being a science subject is difficult and is meant for the boys. Some teachers are very harsh and lack the human face when teaching mathematics and this demoralizes some pupils in studying mathematics. It is however worth nothing that most of the problems cited by the respondents have a workable solution; and if professionally encountered the performance in mathematics examination can greatly be improved.
A Research Report Submitted to the Institute of Open and Distance Learning in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Award of the Degree of Bachelor of Education in Early Child Hood and Primary Education of Kampala International University
Mathematics subject, Pupils, Primary schools, Kabras Division Kakamega North district Kenya