The purpose of this study was to develop and validate an instrument for assessing junior secondary school Mathematics classroom environment as it affects teaching and learning of Mathematics in Enugu State. Instrumentation research design was adopted for the study. The sample of the study consisted of 1710 students drawn from the population of 43,540 Junior Secondary1, 2 and 3 students for 2010/2011 academic session in the 75 public junior secondary schools in Enugu State. The instrument used for data collection was the Mathematics Classroom Environment Assessment Scale (MCEAS) developed and validated by the researcher. The instrument covered nine dimensions as follows: Involvement, Affiliation, Teacher Support, Task- Orientation, Cooperation, Competition, Order and organization, Teacher Control and innovation. The instrument has two sections: students’ actual and students’ preferred forms. These items will enable students to provide information about the learning environment that is present in their classroom (the actual environment) as well as information about the learning environment that they would like to be present (preferred environment). Three research questions and two hypotheses guided the study. The statistical techniques used in analyzing the data were factor analysis, Cronbach’s alpha and analysis of variance. A test of reliability showed that the instrument was reliable at 0.82 and 0. 97. This result made the researcher to recommend that the instrument MCEAS be used in junior secondary schools in Enugu State to ascertain effective Mathematics classroom learning environment. The findings showed that students preferred more favorable Mathematics classroom environment than was perceived as being actually present.
1.1 Background of the Study
Mathematics plays a vital role in the development of science and technology. It is a basic requirement for day to day accomplishment of man’s social economic and technological needs. Such importance justifies its inclusion as a compulsory subject in the primary and secondary school levels of education system. Researchers buttressed this point when they stated that mathematical competence is very vital for meaningful and productive life. Maliki, Mgban and Julie (2009), see Mathematics as a subject that affects all aspects of human life at different degrees. The social, economic, political, geographical, scientific and technological aspects of man are centered on numbers.
The importance of Mathematics does not only lie in its contributions to scientific and technological development but also in its utility in day – to –day interaction at the market places, transportations, business of all sorts by both literate and illiterate members of the society. According to Obodo (2001), the language of Mathematics is a system of sounds, words and patterns used in communicating mathematical ideas by mathematician and other related professionals. It is also a system of signs and symbols used in conveying information. Obodo (2001a) described Mathematics as a language for computers in the new millennium development. Obodo stated that the advancement of technology is deeply rooted in Mathematics. Hence, Mathematics language plays a significant role in computer technology. Furthermore, Iyiola (2005) described Mathematics as the foundation of hard core science and technology and it is liable index of the potential for development. The importance of Mathematics cannot be over emphasized in the development and advancement of this country. Despite the important roles Mathematics plays in educational advancement, students still lack interest and achieve poorly in the subject. This is why the researcher deemed it necessary to develop and validate an instrument that will be used in monitoring all the activities in the Mathematics classroom environment.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In Nigeria, enough attention has not been focused on the effect of environment on teaching and learning in schools. Environment plays vital roles in academic achievement of students. Conducive classroom learning environment is needed for proper teaching and learning in schools. A classroom is a room in which teaching and learning activities can take place. The classroom attempts to provide a safe space where learning can take place uninterrupted by other distractions. It is a place where students in a particular grade meet at certain times under the supervision of a teacher who takes attendance and does other administrative businesses (Hannaflm and Oliver, 2000). Classroom learning environment is a space or a place where learners and teachers interact with one another and use a variety of tools and information resources in their pursuit of learning activities (Wilson, 1996). The nature of the classroom environment and psycho-social interaction can make a difference to how students learn and achieve their goals (Dorman, Adam and Ferguson, 2002). Due to the importance of learning environment in the school settings, instruments are developed outside Nigeria to assess learning environment. Classroom learning environment assessment according to Fraser (2006) were found to bear strong and consistent links with students ‘achievement and attitudes. To the researcher, learning environment is an environment which should be managed so that students are encouraged to set personal goals, actively gather meaningful information, monitor and evaluate their own learning. However, there is paucity of research information on the incident of instrument for assessing junior secondary school Mathematics classroom learning environment in Enugu State. There is need to assess the appropriateness of the environment for Mathematics instruction since it influences the effectiveness of teachers and students in the classroom.
The main purpose of this study was to develop and validate an instrument for assessing junior secondary school Mathematics classroom learning environment as it affects teaching and learning of Mathematics in Enugu State. Specifically, this study sought to:
The following research questions guided the study:
H0: There is no significant difference in the mean perception scores of J.S1, J.S11 and J.S111 students’ as measured in the actual MCEAS.
H1: There is a significant difference in the mean perception scores of J.S1, J.S11 and J.S111 students’ as measured in the actual MCEAS.
H20: There is no significant difference in the mean perception scores of J.S1, J.S11 and J.S111 students as measured in the preferred MCEAS.
H21: There is no significant difference in the mean perception scores of J.S1, J.S11 and J.S111 students as measured in the preferred MCEAS.
This study will help in assessing the level of environmental effects on students. It will x-ray the place of conducive environment in the learning ability of students and equally the role of unconducive environment in the learning of mathematics by students.
Furthermore, this work is an academic contribution and a requirement for the award of a bachelor’s degree.
Finally, it will serve as a reference material for further research works on this subject.
This study covers the need for assessing the role of class room environment on the learning ability of the students especially in mathematics. The scope of the study is limited to mathematics and not any other subject. The study however encountered minor challenges like time restrain in collecting data from the respondents and misunderstanding from the key respondents, in this case the teachers of some schools. Financial constraint was another limitation this study encountered.
The study is divided into five chapters. Chapter one deals with the study’s introduction and gives a background to the study. Chapter two reviews related and relevant literature. The chapter three gives the research methodology while the chapter four gives the study’s analysis and interpretation of data. The study concludes with chapter five which deals on the summary, conclusion and recommendation.