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This study set out to investigate laboratory on mathematic performanceretention and attitude in some selected secondary schools in surulere, Lagos State, Nigeria. A sample of N=290 students were drawn from 5,483 randomly selected from the secondary schools in surulere Educational Zone. The subjects were divided into two groups, the experimental group N=150 and the control group N=140. The study adopted the pretest, posttest experimental and control group design. A pretest was administered before the treatment to establish group equivalence in ability. The subjects in the experimental group were then exposed to the treatment using mathematics laboratory, while the control group was exposed to the conventional method for a period of six weeks. Two instruments were   developed and validated for data collection. They are (i) mathematic Achievement Test (MAT), and (ii) Attitude Towards Mathematic Inventory (ATGI)five null hypotheses were tested. The data collected were subjected to statistical analysis. The t-test for independent sample statistic was used to test for the hypotheses on performance.. Mann-Whitney utest tool of least significant difference was used to test the attitude of the subjects to the laboratory. The major findings from the study were that; (i) students exposed to laboratory achieved,retained the learnt concept and developed more positive attitude to mathematic than their counterpart exposed to conventional method of teaching (ii) The laboratory was suitable for both male and female students in teaching and learning of mathematics. On the basis of these findings recommendation were made some of these are as follows: mathematics teachers should be encouraged to use mathematics laboratory by providing all thematerials needed for effective implementation. Students’ attitude towards mathematics should be positively changed by involving them to participate actively in the learning process.



1.1 background to study

Mathematics is the foundation of science and technology and the functional role of mathematics to science and technology is multifaceted and multifarious that no area of science, technology and business enterprise escapes its application (Okereke, 2006). Ukeje (1986) described mathematics as the mirror of civilization in all the centuries of painstaking calculation, and the most basic discipline for any person who would be truly educated in any science and in many other endeavours.

Despite the importance placed on mathematics, researchers (Odili, 1986; Salau, 1995; Amazigo, 2000; Agwagah, 2001; Betiku, 2001; Obioma, 2005; Maduabum and Odili, 2006; Okereke, 2006) had observedthat stud-ents lack interest in the subject and perform poorly in it. Ukeje (1986) observed that mathematics is one of the most poorly taught, widely hated and abysmally under-stood subject in secondary school, students particularly girls run away from the subject.

The  West  African  Examination Council (WAEC) Chief  Examiners [2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006] consistently reported candidates’ lack of skill in answering almost all the questions asked in general mathematics. WAEC Chief Examiners [2003, 2005] further observed that candidates were weak in Mathematic of circles and 3dimensional problems. According to their reports, most candidates avoided questions on 3-dimensional problem, when they attempt mathematic questions; only few of the candidates showed a clear understanding of the problem in their working. WAEC [2004] also reported candidates’ weakness in Algebraic expression and word problems among others.

Obioma (1985), Obodo (1993) and Okereke (2006) reported gender as a significant factor in mathematics achievement and Onwioduokit and Akinbobola (2005) reported it as a significant factor in physics achievement when physics students are taught with advance organizers. However Okonkwo (1997) reported gender as non significant when students are taught with tangram puzzle game. Okereke (2006) attributed students’ poor performance to factors such as the society view that mathematics is difficult, shortage of qualified teachers, lack of mathematics laboratory and lack of incentive.

The abstract nature of mathematics should be reduced through demonstration and practical methods. Agwagah (1997) observed that the problem of ineffective teaching can be tackled through planned and intelligent application of the mathematics laboratory. Thus Agwagah recommended the use of laboratory approach to the study of mathematics. The method of drill and verbal recitation makes learning boring and lacks motivation for further learning. Srinivasa (1978) had earlier recommended the use of mathematics laboratory in teaching mathematics. According to Srinivasa, this will lead the students to formation of concepts out of experiences with discrete objects. In this case the vague theories and imaginary objects take real shape and the students understand better and perform better. It is important therefore to consider strategies that may help to improve the performance, with the view of considering their effect on teaching and learning of mathematics. Such strategies include the use of mathematics laboratory (Ogunkunle, 2000).

Mathematics laboratory is a place where students can learn and explore various mathematical concepts and verify different mathematical facts and theories using varieties of activities and material (Igbokwe, 2000). The use of mathematics laboratory helps to integrate theory and practical work in mathematics teaching /learning. Ohuche (1990) advocated the need for moderately equipped mathematics laboratories. Ogunkunle (2000) itemized the advantages of using mathematics laboratory which include;


  • Display mathematical information o Avenue for experimentation through practical work o Pool of storage of mathematical materials for easy access
  • Removing abstractness and increasing effective teaching /learning.


Based on the advantages of mathematics laboratory, it is expected that teaching and learning of mathematics with mathematics laboratory may help to reduce the abstract nature of the subject and draw the students to follow.



1.2          Statement of the Problem

Many students in post-primary schools today show negative attitude towards the learning of mathematics. Nwabueze (2010)most students think that mathematics means „getting the solution of a problem right or wrong‟. When they get it wrong they think that they are not good enough in mathematics and loose interest in learning. The Society‟s believe about mathematics itself seem to drive away many students from liking the subject. The conventionalinstruction used all along had been found to be inadequate for effective teaching. According to Wolfe (2006); there are not enough instances when a teacher has tried to teach mathematics in an interesting way, say through activities and games.

Researchers Esu(2006),Manjunath (2008) had observed that lack of mathematics laboratory and mathematics teachers‟ non use of laboratory technique in teaching mathematics is one of the major factors that contribute to poor achievement in mathematics by secondary school students. The West African

Examination Council (WAEC) chief examiner (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011& 2012) reported candidates lack of skill in answering almost all the questions asked in general mathematics. Evidence of poor performance in mathematics by secondary school students point to the fact that the most desired technological, scientific and business application of mathematics cannot be sustained.

To this effect the study assessed the impact of laboratoryinstructional strategy in selected topics in mathematics. It alsoassessed the impact of this strategy on students understanding of these topics as were compared with those taughtusing the traditional strategy. In addition the impact of laboratoryinstructional strategyon students‟ retention and attitude was also determined. Any gender-related difference was alsosought for.


1.3         Objectives of the Study

The objectives of the study are as follows:

  • assessethe impact of laboratory onperformance of students‟ in mathematic at junior secondary schools.
  • determinethe performance of male and female students taught mathematic with laboratory.
  • examinethe impact of laboratory on students‟retention ability in mathematic concept among JSS II students‟.
  • determinethe impact of laboratory on attitude change of male and female students‟ at the end of teaching the concept using


  • determinethe impact of laboratory on attitude change of students‟exposed to laboratory.


1.4         Research Questions

This study soughtto answer the following questions:

  • Is there any difference in theperformanceof students taught using laboratory and those taught using theconventional Method?
  • Is there any difference in the performance of males and that of females at the end of instruction using laboratory?
  • Is there any difference in the retention level of JSS II students exposed to laboratory and thoseexposed toconventional method?
  • Is there any difference in attitude change between male and female students at the end of teaching the concept using laboratory?
  • Is there any difference in attitudechange betweenthe students taught mathematic with laboratory and those taughtwith conventional method?


1.5         Research Hypotheses

Based on the research questions, five null hypotheses were formulated and tested at0.05 level of significance. The following null hypotheses were used for the study

HO1: There is no  significant difference between the mean performancescores of students taughtmathematic using laboratory and those taught using conventional method.

HO2: There is no significant difference between the mean performancescores of male and female JS II students taught mathematicusing laboratory.

HO3: There is no significant difference in the mean retention scores of JSS II students exposed to mathematics laboratory and those exposed to conventional instruction.

HO4: There is no significant difference between the attitude ofmaleand female JSS

II students taught mathematics using laboratory.

HO5:There is no significant difference between the attitude of JSS II students taught mathematic with laboratory.


1.6         Significance of the Study

The study is useful in bringing the teaching of mathematics in line with modern technological devices and learning will take place effectively.


Laboratorycan act like a concomitant between teachers and students and provide an opportunity to understand and discover the beauty, importance and relevance of mathematics as a discipline. This is helpful in showing the effectiveness and the usefulness of laboratory teaching strategy for teaching mathematics to the teachers and all other classroom teaching and learning activities. The integrity of learning would be rekindled as meaningful learning will be achieved as students would have a strong background as how to manipulate manipulative materials for geometrical understanding.

Through the study, students‟ attitude in mathematics and performance can be improved. Policy makers and curriculum developers can see the needto emphasize the used of laboratory in mathematicsteaching in secondary schools. The study is also beneficial to mathematical organization such as Mathematical Association of Nigeria (MAN). The study is important to make secondary school students‟ remove some of the social apathy towards mathematics and learn that their achievement depends on their own active participation not only on their teachers. Thus, the students will appreciate the need for their involvement in mathematics activities in their classroom and help them to acquire both mathematics skills and mathematics knowledge which will enhance capacity building and sustainable development. In other words, the students will be enabled towards achievement of national goals for mathematics education.

It is hoped that the study will unravel the hidden mysteries of one of the oldest subject in human history by changing the society and students‟ believe

enabling them to know that mathematics is fun and learners friendly.

The society will benefit from the study because if the study helps to improve student‟s performance and positive attitude in mathematics, then the subject and its allied courses (engineering, pharmacy, industrial physics, etc.) will be studied by many students in institution of higher learning. If students study mathematics and its allied courses, our dream in the use of science and technology for capacity building and sustainable development will be fully realized.

It is also hope that students taught using laboratory will be more involved in the learning and as such will help them develop more confidence in themselves and what they learn, as the strategy encourages the interplay thought and actions. The student may become more alert and develop the ability to creative and reflective thinking so that on there own, they would try to correct there mistakes.

The findings of the study will provide on insight into the effects of variable like gender, attitude and retention improving learning among junior students in mathematics for mathematics educators and curriculum planners.

Finally, it is believed that the findings of this work will make a modest contribution to the existing body of knowledge and also be useful for further research.


1.7         Basic Assumptions

The following are the basic assumptions for the study.

  1. The sample for the study is familiar with laboratory.
  2. The sample for the study is familiar with the topic to be taught in this study.

The selected topics are appropriate for the level of the subjects used for the study.

1.8          Scope/Delimitationof the Study

The study examined the impact of laboratory on mathematic performance, retention and attitude of Junior Secondary Two (JS 2) students in surulere Educational Zone, Lagos State. The research was limited to JSS2 students of some selected secondary schools in surulere Educational Zone because Jss2 is a stable class, JSS1 are just coming for primary six (6) and Jss3 are preparing for Basic Education Certificate Examination



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