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Chemistry and Maths- Students Performance

chemistry and mathematics- Comparative Analysis of Students Performance in Chemistry and Mathematics in WAEC For the Year 2014 in Onitcha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State


Chemistry and mathematis- The research work focused on the Comparative Analysis of Student Performance in Chemistry and their Performance in Mathematics in WAEC for 2014 in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. The main purpose of the study was to find out if there is any relationship between students performance in mathematics and their performance in chemistry in WAEC. Four research questions and three null hypotheses were used to guide the study. Seventy (70) students’ results were used for this study. Data were collected through the WAEC results of the 70 students and analyzed with the mean and standard deviation and correlation coefficient. Hypothesis 1 was tested using Pearson Product Moment Correlation while hypothesis 2 and 3 were tested using t-test statistic. The result showed that there is a high mean achievement of students in chemistry than mathematics and also that the male students performed better than their female counterpart in both chemistry and mathematics. Also there is a high and positive relationship between chemistry and mathematics. Based on these findings and educational implication, recommendations were made.   



Background to the Study

          Education is the total process of human learning by which knowledge in imparted, faculties trained and skills developed. Secondary schools not only occupy a strategic place in the educational system in Nigeria, it is also the link between the primary and the University levels of education. According to Asikhai (2010), education at secondary level is supposed to be the bed rack and the foundation towards higher knowledge in tertiary institutions. It is an investment as well as an instrument that can be used to achieve a more rapid economic, social, political, technological, scientific and cultural development in a country.

          Science is a systematic enterprise that build and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanation and prediction about the Universe. According to Igwe (2003), Science is a body of knowledge that is useful in appraisal and utilization of man and his environment. The idea of science has received widespread attention from scholars in the academic world and in the society at large. The knowledge of science is very important in all aspect of human Endeavour. Science can be viewed as a process and also as a body of knowledge that has utility. The body of knowledge is called “Content” or “Product” of enquiry, while the process refers to the method or means of obtaining the knowledge. However, people have also looked at science in terms of what it has done in the area of technology called applied science or in terms of an enquiry into develop knowledge for future called pure science. Some of the applied sciences are medicine, pharmacy, biochemistry, agriculture and technology while the pure sciences are Botany, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Zoology.

          Science is the key role towards technological advancement and development. Certainly, no nation can develop without giving science study a top priority in the educational system. Science and technology have become a nominal cultural factor in the world today and any nation that is not alive to this fact is either dead or dying. Actually, science subjects such as Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology, and Physics among others have been designed so as to be taught in schools in order to acquire the knowledge to meet the scientific demand for development. Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology, and Physics are among the science subjects taught in all Nigeria secondary schools today and their importance in our day to day life cannot be over emphasized as it helps students to understand their environments, science also helps in the improvement of man in the universe.

          Chemistry is a branch of physical science and it is the study of the properties of and interactions between matter and energy. In other words, chemistry is a way to study the properties, characteristics and physical and chemical change of Mather. According to Linus (1999) chemistry is defined as the science of substances, their structures, their properties and the reactions that change them into other substances.

          Mathematics is the science that deals with the logic of shape quantity and arrangement. Mathematics I the fulcrum on which science and technology rotate, it is all round us in everything we do, it is the building block for everything in our daily lives, including mobile devices, architecture (ancient and modern), art, money, engineering and even sports. This is why Jegede and Brown (1990) have stressed that the catalytic effect of education on national development emanate mainly from the areas of science and mathematics. This could be largely due to the impact of mathematics on both cognitive of a nation.

          The general syllabus of science was therefore revised to contain these elementary subjects which are taught in the senior secondary school classes, but the teaching chemistry and mathematics in many senior secondary schools are faced with so many challenges which constitute the main obstacle  to the effective delivering of lessons on the part of the teachers Akuolinola (2001). These problems have great implications on the overall performance of students in the classroom work and most especially in the West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC) examination. 

          According to STAN (1988), some of the reasons for teaching science in Nigeria are as follows:

–         Production of needed manpower

–         Development of rational thought

–         Explanation of natural phenomena

–         Developing of personal talents and procuring of scientific knowledge

–         Creation and kindling of zeal and excitement

–         Development of scientific attitudes

–         Propagation of scientific literacy and

-`       creation of national pride

          The relationship between mathematics and chemistry is just as cake without cream. It starts with atomic number, mass and ends with nuclear energy. It is useful in rate of chemical equations, precision speed of atoms it is dominantly useful in physical chemistry example calculating molarity, normality, and how can we forget periodic table based on atomic numbers, thud mathematics is necessary for chemistry to exist, chemistry involves many calculations and calculations require mathematics. However it is from the empirical result of this work that one would be able to know the position of science in future and put the recommended therapy for the problem facing science teaching and learning.

Statement of the Problem

          Mathematics is the foundation upon which the knowledge of other sciences, such as chemistry physics, computer are built. Students who are aspiring to become doctors, computer engineer, chemist, physicist and other science career must have a good knowledge of mathematics and chemistry and perform well in the West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC). Many students prefer applying for industrial chemistry industrial mathematics, industrial physics and computer engineering in the higher institution. But it is disheartening that research and data from national examination bodies line West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC) have shown a consistent poor performance in may/June WASSCE general mathematics and chemistry in Nigeria. If this trend is allowed to continue, the fear is that the country may not achieve the vision 20:2020, which is basically anchored on education. This is consequent upon the fact that without a credit pass in mathematics and chemistry, learners will not be able to proceed to higher educational institutions where highly skilled work force in science, Technology, and Engineering needed for today’s global economy are produced. The problem of this study therefore, is to determine if there is a relationship between students’ performance in chemistry and mathematics in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State for 2014.     

Purpose of the Study

          The main purpose of the study was to find out if there is any relationship between students’ performance in mathematics and their performance in chemistry in WAEC. Specifically, the study sought to:

1.       Determine the mean achievement in chemistry and mathematics

2.       Determine the mean achievement in chemistry based on gender

3.       Determine the mean achievement in mathematics based on gender.

4        Relate achievement in chemistry and mathematics

Significance of the Study

          This research work will be of great importance at this point in time and in the future to come because it will contribute towards improved students performance in science subjects as the findings will serve as a useful source of information to all those concerned state education commission and ministry of education to be aware of what the situation is in the schools they are in charge of regarding to provision and proper use of science laboratory resources for effective teaching and learning of science. The result will help science teachers not to be conservative in their method of teaching since teaching method and techniques have very teaching method and techniques have very great effect on learning it will lead to a better performance of students in science and consequently to the production of engineers, industrialist, and technicians and so on, it will serve as indicis upon which policy maker can help in improving quality and quantity of science teachers.

Scope of the Study

          This research study was delimited to WAEC results in chemistry and mathematics; it focused on the comparative analysis of student’s performance in chemistry and mathematics in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State for the year 2014.

Research Questions

           The following research questions directed the analysis

1.       What is the degree of mean achievement of students in chemistry and mathematics?

2.       What is the mean achievement of chemistry students by gender?

3.       What is the mean achievement of mathematics students by gender?

4.       How does achievement of chemistry and mathematics students relate?


          The following hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance.

HO1:  There is no significant relationship between performance in chemistry and mathematics

HO2:  There is no significant difference between student performance in chemistry based on gender

HO3:  There is no significant difference between students performance in mathematics based on gender.

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