3899 words - 16 pages

The purpose of this research is to investigate how some factors affect students' performance in Mathematics. Maine (1998) posits that Mathematics develops the strictures for cognitive and logical development. It is essential that students grasp the concepts in Mathematics as they will set the premise for further usage. The writer states that Mathematics is originally a study of quantity and of points, lines and figures in space. Modern mathematicians have enlarged its scope, however, to include the study of more abstract and basic concepts.Most people use Mathematics in their everyday activities. Shopping, for example, requires some arithmetical skill. It is difficult to imagine any career in which Mathematics does not play some part. Mechanics, engineers, doctors, nurses, businessmen, soldiers, economists, all need mathematical tools to do their jobs. Consequently students should be encouraged to practice Mathematics so that they will reap the benefits in the future.The researcher observed that a number of students in Grade Five were not performing at the mastery level in this subject area. Clearly there were some factors that were affecting their performance. Some of these factors include socio - economic status of students, parental involvement and a lack of motivation.After carefully examining these students it was apparent to the researcher that the factor of low socio-economic status played a vital role in the students' performance. From mere observation it was clear that the students from an upper and middle socio-economic status performed better than students from a low socio-economic status.Another factor that concerned the researcher was the involvement of parents in the students' academic life. Students whose parents were involved in their education, performed higher than students whose parents were not involved.In addition, motivation plays an important role in students' interest in the subject, Mathematics. The researcher realised that the students were not motivated enough and consequently their interests were not strong.The research has highlighted these factors and intends to discover their impact on performance in Mathematics.Socio-Economic Background of ParentsIt is quite obvious that the Socio-Economic Status of parents will affect their children's cognitive development in a number of ways. According to Maslow (1970) needs or motives exist in a hierarchy. Only when physiological needs, for example food and sleep, are satisfied, can growth needs, which are esteem and achievement, be met. This means that if children are functioning without adequate nutrition and rest, it is likely that they will be unable to perform at a required level to attain educational mastery.In other countries, researchers such as Coleman (1990), Duke (2002) and Neuman and Celano (2001) have demonstrated that the influence of socio-economic status and family background are important factors on students' academic performance. According to Jones and Jones...

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