Type of paper: | Essay |

Categories: | Science Mathematics |

Pages: | 7 |

Wordcount: | 1656 words |

## Introduction

Mathematics is the science of computation and critical reasoning. It is the study of quantities, numbers, or shapes. Burns (2017) argued that mathematics as a language is significant in helping people in expressing ideas as well as relationships that are drawn from the surrounding. Mathematics enables one to make the unseen visible, therefore, helping in solving problems that would otherwise be impossible.

According to Kiwanuka et al. (2015), the demand for mathematics has significantly increased among students as they continue with their academics as well as in the workplace. Burns (2017) maintained that in order to reason mathematically in the future, it is necessary for students to have a firm foundation in mathematics. A solid foundation in mathematics constitutes more than the mere application of the procedural knowledge of mathematics. However, a student needs to be in a position of understanding, making sense of and applying mathematics as well as making connections between concepts and visualizing various patterns in mathematics.

Kiwanuka et al. (2015) further argued that the significance of mathematics in daily applications had been globally recognized, and due to this, the subject has been accorded a distinct place in every school curriculum. Despite the significance attached to mathematics, the poor performance in mathematics in a common phenomenon worldwide; it has become a common culture among students to perform poorly on mathematics (Kiwanuka et al., 2015). Poor performance in mathematics has been a common trend for several decades and has come with negative implications hence a source of worry among professionals within education sectors. Whereas teachers are looking for the best ways of enhancing mathematics grade among students, the efforts might end up in a vein if the root causes of mathematical failure are never established (Kiwanuka et al., 2015). The primary concern of this study, therefore, is to examine factors leading to poor performance in mathematics among students.

## Disconnection between the Subject and Students

Ashcraft and Faust (2018) argued that disconnection is one of the many reasons why the majority of students fail in mathematics; this is owing to the fact that students are unable to develop a connection between themselves and the subject. They view the subject as a mystery, something strange and scary to them. Students of such types most often try to avoid mathematics classes. Absenteeism from mathematics classes makes such students not to grasp previous math lessons as well as the ones they might be currently attending. Kiwanuka (2015) argued that missing mathematics classes are a result of a disconnection between students and the subject, an act that impairs their capability of performing better in mathematics.

## Lack of Self Confidence

Peer pressure is one of the main reasons why students perform poorly in math. They cannot cope with the pressure to perfume well in school. Ashcraft and Faust (2018) claimed that peer pressure, together with constant self-comparisons with other good performing students, results in increased doubts. Whenever doubts have arisen, it is hard to recover. In the end, the ability of the student to do well in mathematics is permanently thwarted. Kiwanuka (2015) further argued that students might give up when, in reality, they are very afraid of the subject. As a result of this, they tend to look for ways of avoiding learning the subject.

## Attitudes of Students towards Mathematics

Attitude plays a pivotal role in determining the success of everything. Moreover, it all depends on a person's attitude toward the topic being discussed. The mindset of the student plays a significant role. If initially, students think that they will not be capable of performing well in mathematics, then they will end up with mathematics phobia; this will affect his ability to learn and perform. Bekdemir (2010) argued that a positive attitude could make a big difference since it serves as a boost to self-esteem.

Burns (2017) further noted that positive attitude among students is a pivotal determinant for good academic results in Mathematics. Consistently poor results in mathematics have an effect of making students give up as well as losing interest in the discipline. On the contrary, students who perform well in mathematics develop a positive attitude towards the subject, which acts as a motivational factor towards careers related to mathematics.

## Teaching Methods

Ideally, Mathematics should be taught in a way that is easy to understand. The process should be so that learners can understand it even after class has ended (Burns, 2017). If the teaching method is correct, students will be able to add, subtract, divide, and multiply without using a calculator. The introduction of the lesson is very important for students' understanding of the concept being taught. When a subject is presented from known to the unknown, the student is stubborn as compared to the subject presented in the unknown. An academic teachers' union can increase or decrease student attention and concentration. Ashcraft and Faust (2018) noted that teacher teaching strategies and teaching strategies influence students' academic performance. Ashcraft and Faust (2018) have made it clear that although there are fundamental changes in the teaching and learning areas, teachers should not completely forget traditional teaching methods as they still have an impact on learners. New teaching strategies that have received widespread attention in teachings, such as peer-to-peer teaching and student assessment, should be integrated with traditional methods such as group discussion, problem-solving, and student inquiry. However, more often than not, teachers of mathematics rely on methods that are difficult to understand. They can appear all right in the text and in the papers. But when its use reaches the world outside the classroom, problems begin to emerge, the teaching method is, therefore, a factor that contributes to poor performance in mathematics.

## Resources

Mathematics lessons work best when the necessary resources are made available. Resources such as these can be textbooks, teaching aids, computers, time, and staff. Ashcraft and Faust (2018) argue that the quality of education is improved not only by obtaining resources such as textbooks, extending teaching time with teachers but also by the way teachers and students use the resources they receive. The teacher should create an environment conducive to learning and guide learners to make the best use of resources.

Effective academic performance is built on strong teacher presence, adequate resource provision, and a close relationship between content and instructional guidelines (Bekdemir, 2010). Ashcraft and Faust (2018) said that the shortage of teachers and resources leads to poor academic performance

## Wrong Understanding and Usage of Symbols

Most students fail in mathematics due to the wrong understanding and usage of symbols and words. Appropriate usage of words and symbols is of great importance as it constitutes part of knowing how to best write mathematics. Most students fail in mathematics since they use symbols to mean something else. Lee (2020) argued that one of the common mistake that most students make is the inappropriate use of “=” symbols. For example:

2(32x) − 4(3x) = −2 = 2(3x) 2 − 4(3x) +2=0 =

2(3x − 1)2 =0 = 2(3x) =2 = x = 0

Some students use the equal sign when they mean “imply” or “the next step”. For instance, the example above actually says that -2 = 0 = 2 (Lee, 2020). Making use or arrows in place of the equal sign is a bit of an improvement, though not desirable yet:

Most students use the equal sign when you really mean “the next step is" or "implies," hence making them fail in mathematics (Lee, 2020). It is advisable to use arrows when you want to mean “implies” are shown:

2(32x) − 4(3x) = −2 →2 (3x) 2 − 4(3x) +2=0 →

2(3x − 1)2 =0 → 2(3x) =2 → x = 0

However, with a series of calculations, it is good at times to just put every equation on a new line for the purpose of clarity (Lee, 2020). Some students express numerous equations on one line hence bringing confusion to those marking their papers.

2(32x) − 4(3x) = −2

2 (3x) 2 − 4(3x) +2=0

2(3x − 1)2 =0

2(3x) =2

x = 0.

However, in complex computations, where it might not be ready to follow every step, one may include words to show steps taken (Lee, 2020). For instance, a student may say:

We want to find the solution for x in the equation

2(32x) − 4(3x) = −2

We can divide through by 2

(3x) 2 − 2(3x) +1=0.

We can factorize the equation:

(3x) 2 − 2(3x) +1=0.

Factorization gives

(3x − 1)2 = 1

This means that

3x = 1, or x = 0.

Inappropriate usage of mathematical symbols is one of the main reasons why most students register poor performance in mathematics (Lee, 2020). For example, most students misuse the symbol “=” thereby leading to confusion and consequently get a bad result in their math exams.

## Conclusion

The study was aimed at investigating the causes of Mathematics performance among students. The findings of this study confirmed the fact that disconnection between the subject and students, lack of self-confidence, attitude of students towards mathematics, teaching methods, resources, short attention span, teacher to student ratio and wrong usage of symbols are the main factors leading to poor performance in Mathematics among students.

These factors will, therefore, be of much help to government, teachers, students, policy makers and parents in providing a robust platform for implementing a new template for finding a lasting solution to the problems concerned with poor performance in mathematical among students

**References**

Ashcraft, M., & Faust, M. (1994). Mathematics anxiety and mental arithmetic performance: An exploratory investigation. Cognition & Emotion, 8(2), 97-125. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699939408408931

Bekdemir, M. (2010). The pre-service teachers' mathematics anxiety related to the depth of negative experiences in mathematics classrooms while they were students. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 75, 311–328. https://www.jstor.org/stable/40928564?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents

Burns, M. (2017). Math: Facing an American Phobia (1st ed., p. 344). Solutions. Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Math-Facing-American-Marilyn-Burns/dp/0941355195

Kiwanuka, H., Van Damme, J., Van Den Noortgate, W., Anumendem, D., & Namusisi, S. (2015). Factors affecting Mathematics achievement of first-year secondary school students in Central Uganda. South African Journal of Education, 35(3), 1-16. https://doi.org/10.15700/saje.v35n3a1106

Lee, K. (2020). A Guide to Writing Mathematics. Web.cs.ucdavis.edu. Retrieved 14 August 2020, from https://web.cs.ucdavis.edu/~amenta/w10/writingman.pdf.

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Essay on Math: A Language of Expression, Quantities, and Problem-Solving. (2023, Nov 12). Retrieved from https://speedypaper.com/essays/math-a-language-of-expression-quantities-and-problem-solving

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