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A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS BETWEEN STUDENTS COMPETENCE IN MATHEMATICS AND THEIR PERFORMANCE IN PHYSICS (A CASE STUDY OF SS2 STUDENTS)

Abstract

This study examined a comparative analysis between student’s competence in math and their performance in physics. The designed adopted for this study was a survey design. A linear correlation/regression statistics was used to treat the null hypothesis of this study. The sample was 180 Secondary School Class II students selected from three schools. Purposive sampling was used to select two single-sex schools (one boys only and the other girls only) while simple random sampling was used to select one co-educational school. The result indicated moderate to weak correlation involving students’ performance in physics and mathematics during the period of this research. It is therefore difficult to use students’ achievement in physics as accurate predictors of their success in mathematics. The result of the null hypothesis which states that there is no significant correlation between the performance of students in mathematics and their performance in physics from the year 2009-2012 was accepted. The result of his study indicates an apparent multiple relationship existing between mathematics and engineering disciplines as well as technology education.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

1.1   BACKGROUND OF STUDY

Competence is defined as capability to apply or use a set of related knowledge, skill and attitude to complete a task according to its standards in a defined work area Ashworth, P. and Saxton, J. (2000) In addition, competence can be scored and is measurable Mansfield, B. (2003). The teachers or instructors can assess students’ competence through processes of observation and evaluation. Mathematics as a subject affects all aspects of human life at different levels.

Competence is an abstract construct. It describes the quality of being competent. It is the “habitual and judicious use of communication, knowledge, technical skills, clinical reasoning, emotions, values and reflection in daily practice for the benefit of the individual and community being served” (Epstein & Hundert, 2002).

In contrast, competency is a more concrete concept to include particular knowledge, a single skill or ability, and attitudes. It speaks to the quality of being adequately or well qualified, physically and intellectually. There is misuse and/or cross-use of the terms competence and competency. For example, competence is used as a synonym for performance, a skill, or personality trait (Bassellier, Reich, & Benbasat, 2001). Not only is competence treated as performance, but it is also used indiscriminately to refer to either the observable performance or the underlying neural functions that support the observable behavior (Connell, Sheridan, & Gardner, 2003).

Schwandt (2008) drew attention to the different nature of competence and competency. He pointed out that to identify professional competence is “another” task than to identify competencies (Schwandt, 2008). In addition, Epstein and Hundert (2002) and Eraut (2004) agreed that professional competence is more than a demonstration of isolated competencies.

Mathematics is seen by society as the foundation of scientific technological knowledge that is vital in social economic development of a nation. It is in realization of the vast applications of mathematics that made Eraikhuemen (2003) to posit that a disciplined and ordered pattern of life can only be achieved through the culture of mathematics. Science is an integral part of everyone’s life. Scientific knowledge and skills provide practical assistance in helping people make informed decisions and choices concerning life that best suit them (Hirschfeld, 2012).

Physics generates fundamental knowledge needed for future technological advances that will continue to drive the economic engines of the world (Amunga, et al. 2011, Nashon, 2009). It contributes to the technological infrastructure and provides trained personnel needed to take advantage of scientific advances and discoveries (Kuhn et. al, 2012; Freeman, 2012). All school systems have provision for studying physics. In other for efficiency in math and good input in physics, hence the study a comparative analysis between student’s competence in math and their performance in physic, a case study of ss2 students.

1.2   STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Teaching of science, especially mathematics and physics, and performance of students at the secondary school level have been the concern of government and parents. The challenges that might arise could be as a result of incompetency in the side of science teachers in the schools. It could also be that there are no facilities to be used in the teaching and learning process in the schools. The students in the schools might show little or no concern about learning of mathematics and physics. Finally, several researches has been carried out on teacher’s competencies but not even a single research has been carried out on a comparative analysis between student’s competence in math and their performance in physics a case study of ss2 students.

1.3   AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF STUDY

The main aim of the study is to examine a comparative analysis between student’s competence in math and their performance in physics. Other specific objectives of the study include;

  1. To determine the relationship between students competence in mathematics and their performance in physics.
  2. To determine the difference between male and female student’s competence in math and their performance in physics.
  3. To determine the extent to which student’s competence in math affects their performance in physics.
    • RESEARCH QUESTIONS               
  1. Is there any relationship between students’ competence in mathematics and their performance in physics?
  2. What is the effect of gender on the achievement of students in Physics?
  3. What is the effect of Mathematics knowledge on the achievement of students in Physics?

 

1.5   STATEMENT OF RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS

Hypothesis 1

H0: there is no significant relationship between students’ competence in mathematics and their performance in physics

H1:     there is significant relationship between students’ competence in mathematics and their performance in physics

1.6   SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

The study on a comparative analysis between student’s competence in math and their performance in physics will be of immense benefit to the entire SS2 students in the sense that it will educate the students to be zealous in learning mathematics which they will possibly need in the course of studying in any area of their choice, most especially, the science students. The study will also enable the government to employ the competent and qualified mathematics teachers that can teach the students to their understanding which will make them perform well in physics class since mathematics is also found in other science subject. Finally, the study will contribute to the body of existing literature and knowledge to this field of studies and basis for further research.

 

1.7   SCOPE OF STUDY

The study on a comparative analysis between student’s competence in math and their performance in physics is limited to ss2 students.

1.8   LIMITATION OF STUDY

Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

1.9   DEFINITION OF TERMS

Comparative:   Measured or judged by estimating the similarity or dissimilarity between one thing and another; relative.

Analysis: Detailed examination of the elements or structure of something.

Competence:    The ability to do something successfully or efficiently.

Performance:    Is completion of a task with application of knowledge, skills and abilities.

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