A good or high rating from the students shows the extent to which the student has interest in the mathematics and their teacher’s instructional method. This study was therefore conducted to investigate students’ rating of their mathematics teachers in senior secondary schools in Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria.
The study was a descriptive research of survey type. The sample frame for the study consisted of 3 senior secondary schools in Ilorin (one each from Ilorin East, Ilorin West and Ilorin South LGA of Kwara State). The main instrument used for this study was a questionnaire which captured well-structured statements with respect to the purpose of this study was administered.
The findings revealed that students in the senior secondary schools in Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria, had considerably positive interest in mathematics. The result of the findings also indicated that the mathematics teachers in senior secondary schools, Ilorin, had good knowledge of mathematical concepts. In the findings of this study the students gave high ratings to their mathematics teachers. This study has helped reveal that good or high rating is possible for mathematics teachers if only the interest of their students can be put into consideration by the teachers to improve their competence, not only in Ilorin but also in every other State in Nigeria.
Background to the Study
Science is the foundation on which technological advancement is built. The knowledge of science has brought about discoveries and innovations such as the use of mobile phones, advanced means of transportation and many others that have made the world a global village. Abimbola (2013) opined that science is better defined and described using the three components of science which are science products such as concepts; science process such as methods of science and science ethics or motives.
The essentiality of science, according to Augustine (2013), was defined as a dynamic human activity concerned with understanding the workings of the world and since the world is turning scientific, nations of the world are not relenting on their efforts to improve technology wise. This brings about science education which Aina (2013) opined was the sharing of science content and process with individuals who are not traditionally considered to be members of the scientific community. Holbrook (2011) opined that science education has to do with teaching of science in schools so students can become scientists, gain factual knowledge and skills and also to be able to manipulate scientific equipment. Therefore science education can simply be said to be the transfer of scientific knowledge, methods and skills.
According to FRN (2013), General Mathematics, physics, chemistry and Biology are core subjects in the science field of study at the senior secondary level of education, but general mathematics still stands out as a basic requirement for further studies and learning in any science oriented field of study because it is the language of science itself in entirety (Abimbola, 2013), and being the language of science, mathematics take a significant position in all the other science subjects making mathematics the prime instrument of science and placing mathematics above other science and even the social sciences fields such as Economics and Accounting.
Boaler (2008) viewed mathematics as a human activity and a set of methods used to illuminate the world. Kalhotra (2013) was of the opinion that mathematics is a science of digits and numbers as well as an art of computing. Akanni (2015) also defined mathematics as a field of symbolic
representation of ideas, relations and an instrument for effecting a logical examination for the implementation of different ideas. The literal meaning of mathematics is things which can be counted and counting plays vital role in our daily life according to Laure (2008).
According to Kalhotra (2013), mathematics is one of the most important subjects which act as a bridge to all knowledge. This was amplified by FRN 6th edition (2013) in which mathematics was clearly stated as a necessary requirement for any science and other fields of study such as the engineering, health sciences (Medicine, nursing and optometry), and the social sciences (communication, economics and geography). Mathematics is also applicable in our day to day activities such as cooking, driving, savings and credit, buying and selling (Laure, 2008). Mathematics is one of few subjects that have the potential to range across practical value, disciplinary value and cultural value that the school system tries to impact in its learners (Philipp, 2013).
Inspite of the importance of mathematics to the career pursuit of students and its relevance to everyday life, it is of great concern to researchers why students still fail mathematics, which is why Bol and Berry 3 (2005) conducted a survey research to determine factors responsible for achievement gaps in mathematics, and were able to identify students background, teachers’ mathematical knowledge, students’ attitude towards mathematics such as their readiness and motivation as the factors responsible for the achievement gaps in mathematics. Obioma and Okereke in Okigbo and Okeke (2011) identified poor primary school background, lack of interest on the part of the students, incompetent teachers in primary schools, students not being interested mathematics, perception that mathematics is difficult, large class syndrome, psychological fear of the subject, poor methods of teaching, and lack of qualified mathematics teachers as causes of poor achievement in mathematics.
The cause of students’ failure in mathematics is undoubtedly a result of their own actions (Fatola, 2005). It is a fact that students have a very low interest in mathematics, students hate or dislike mathematics. Even at secondary school level in Nigeria students do not want to attend mathematics lessons (Fatola, 2005). Those who attend the mathematics lessons do not pay attention to the teacher. Most of the students do not practice mathematics on their own neither do they solve mathematics 4 problems on their own. According to Amazigo (2000), when the option is available, many students would prefer not to have anything to do with learning mathematics and this attitude has led them, among other things, to achieve poorly in mathematics.
On the other hands, Kiplagat, Role and Makewa (2012) opined that teachers are the major cause of poor performance of students in mathematics and supported by some researchers as one of the causes of poor performance of students in mathematics. Bol and Berry (2005) identified that teachers’ mathematical knowledge may cause poor performances of students in mathematics. Also, Obioma and Okereke in Okigbo and Okeke (2011) opined that teachers’ incompetency and poor teaching methods cause their students to perform poorly in mathematics. It is reasonable enough to conclude that the teacher’s attitude both during and after instructions determines the students’ attitudes and interest. Etuk, Afangideh and Uya (2012) opined that the relationship between how students perceive their teachers’ in respect of knowledge of Mathematics content, communication ability, use of appropriate teaching strategies, teachers’ classroom management skills and students’ attitude towards mathematics is the students’ rating of their mathematics teachers.
Furthermore, the students’ rating of mathematics teacher is also what Angela (2003) referred to as the students evaluation of teaching. Ernest (2012) opined that students’ rating is the perception of the students about the mathematics teachers’ teaching method. Students often rate the mathematics teachers’ teaching effectiveness before developing interest in mathematics (Ivowi, 2001). Teacher enthusiasm has also been identified as a factor that students look out for when rating the mathematics teacher according to the findings made by Kunter, Yi-Miau, Martin, Stefan and Jürgen (2008)
Teacher’s enthusiasm, that is, the teachers’ eagerness and interest for teaching mathematics as investigated by Kunter, et.al (2008) influences ratings by students seeing that the quality of their instructional behaviour is a factor of the mathematics teacher’s enthusiasm. When students rate their instructors, no matter how little, the influence of gender is inevitable as it is that virtually many students expects and believes that some fields in science especially the Engineering and Mathematics are basically meant for the male gender and so having a female instructor in their mathematics lesson might affect their ratings as their expectations is likely not to be met or against their norm (Angela, 2003). In the data put together by Angela (2003) the ratings made by the students is affected by the gender of the mathematics teacher; female professors had lower competency than the male and even there was a significant effect when a rare – examination of gender effects by study area was carried out on the colleges of Engineering and Science and Mathematics. This is supported by the survey research of Punyanunt and Carter (2015) that showed that male instructors get good ratings than female Instructors.
As helpful as students’ ratings is to the evaluation of the mathematics teacher’s teaching methods and effectiveness or competence of the mathematics teachers, Felder and Brent (2004) opined that it makes little sense to use only students’ ratings to evaluate the teacher even though they are in the best position to judge or evaluate the mathematics’ teacher’s clarity, if the teaching was interesting, respectful and how fair a course instructor is.
Statement of the Problem
Students’ ratings are often taken with levity such that some instructors according to Felder and Brent (2004) even say, “High ratings go to easy graders and if I get low ratings its only because I set high standards and students do not like demanding teachers” forgetting that the students are the ones who can give a first-hand information about the mathematics teachers’ instruction; Ernest (2012) also is in support of valuing the student ratings of their mathematics teachers because they are in the best position to provide what it is that the mathematics teacher does (Ahmed & Aziz, 2009). The students do rate major aspect of the domain of the mathematics teacher’s instructions, aspects such as clarity, interest, motivation and the emotional impact of the instructors’ instructions (Felder & Brent, 2004). If an instruction of mathematics is not interesting, students tend to lose interest in mathematics and when they rate the mathematics teacher they tend to rate the mathematics teacher low. This therefore, is why this study is to investigate how mathematics teachers can obtain good or high ratings from the students.
A good or high rating from the students shows the extent to which the student has interest in the mathematics teacher instructional method as this was supported in the report of findings from teacher’s evaluation research by Kunter, et.al (2008). This therefore will aid the learning and use of mathematical knowledge by the students, increasing their chances of thriving in science oriented fields such as Engineering and Commercial fields such as Economics, to mention but few (FRN, 2013). In the Engineering field, the contribution of students to technology development will be much needed for the development of the nation. Hence, Aina (2013) pointed out that science and Technology will not be possible without science education and that means Engineering and medicine need to be taught to students and since the core subjects needed to understand and perform in engineering and medicine fields includes mathematics (NPE, 2013) and also the logical and computational skill acquired from learning mathematical concepts will also aid the performance of students in Economics and Commercial fields of study.
However, the teacher’s knowledge of mathematical concepts (Etuk,et.al, 202), gender (Punyanunt & Carter, 2015), enthusiasm or motivational 9
Purpose of the Study
This study was aimed at investigating students rating of mathematics teachers in senior secondary schools in Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria and specifically thus study determined if:
Answers were provided to the following research questions which guided the study:
The following research hypotheses were formulated and tested in this study:
HO1. Teachers’ mathematical knowledge will not significantly affect students’ rating of their mathematics teachers
HO2. Rating of male and female mathematics teachers will not be significantly different by the students
HO3. Students’ interest in mathematics will not significantly influence the ratings of their mathematics teacher.
Scope of the Study
The scope of this study was to investigate the students’ ratings of mathematics teachers in senior secondary schools in Ilorin and senior secondary school students are to participate in this research. This study engaged students of the senior school two (SS2) from different schools in Ilorin, Kwara state. Senior school two (SS2) students are chosen for this study majorly because they have spent enough time to be familiar with their mathematics teacher but not too much time avoiding over familiarity with their mathematics teacher. The key variables of interest in this study includes; teachers’ enthusiasm, students’ interest and mathematical knowledge of teachers.
Significance of the Study
This study when concluded is expected to be of great benefit to mathematics teachers, the school administrators, policy makers in education, the textbook writers and government.
This study hopefully will be of benefit to mathematics teachers as it will guide them in the way they handle their mathematics classes, presenting their lessons in an interesting way and developing positive attitude to the students for the students to develop positive interest in mathematics
School administrators will benefit from this study as they will be enlightened about the relationship between the teachers’ motivation and students’ rating and therefore create conducive environment and appreciations to boost their teachers’ enthusiasm
Policy makers are expected through this study to realize the importance of students’ interest in mathematics and that it determines the way they rate their mathematics teachers and thus create or improve educational policies that will boost interest of students in mathematicsThe government from the findings of this study could use the ratings students give their mathematics teachers as one of the means of assessing the level of interest the students have for mathematics and thereby help to implement necessary measures to effect a positive change through seminars for the mathematics teachers.