Why Good Mathematics Students Also Perform Better In Physics In Colleges

Science has been regarded as the bed rock on which modern day technological breakthrough is built. Nowadays countries all over the world especially the developing ones like Nigeria, are striving hard to develop technologically and scientifically, since the world is turning scientific and all proper functioning of lives depend greatly on science. Science is a dynamic human activity concerned with understanding the workings of our world. This understanding helps man to know more about the universe.

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Without the application of science, it would have been difficult for man to explore the other planets of the universe. Science comprises the basic disciplines such as physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics. Many investigations have shown that secondary school students are exhibiting dwindling interest in science

Learning of mathematics

While learning mathematics with understanding is an important instructional goal for all students, forms of classroom mathematics practice that foster meaningful learning seem to deviate from the norm, at least in colleges. This state of affairs is in part due to the challenges that arise from trying to make learning with understanding a consistent part of all students’ everyday mathematical experiences. One promising way to gain leverage on helping students learn mathematics with understanding is to equip teachers with curriculum materials (student textbooks and teacher editions) that provide them with the necessary guidance. This argument finds support in the large body of research that suggests that the mathematical activity that takes place in classrooms, including teachers’ decisions about what mathematics tasks to implement and how, are mediated through the curriculum materials they use. But the design of curriculum materials that can be used by teachers to engage their students in meaningful learning is a complex endeavor and so the guidance that curriculum frameworks can offer to curriculum developers on this issue is crucial.

The Prospect Of Learning Physics

Learning physics in secondary school level help students to gain skills useful and proficient of solving problems and to have the ability to solve challenges by thinking creatively. Learning physics gives students grounding in advance mathematics. The practical skills gained through planning experiments will be appreciated by students in future. The prospect about learning physics is about observation, understanding and predication of natural systems. As such learning physics at secondary school level will help students develop a range of skills that can be applied in many areas, both scientific and non-technical. These skills includes

- Problem-solving: studying physics give students a pragmatic and analytical approach to problem-solving.

- Reasoning: The course involves using reasoning skill to construct logic arguments, applying analytical skills and grasp complex problems.

- Numeracy: A physics degree gives you skills in using mathematics to find solution to scientific problems

- Practical skills: The learning of physics help students to obtain practical skills by planning, executing and reporting experiments, using technical equipment and paying attention to details

- Information and communication technology (ICT): Learning of physics exposes student to specialize in software packages and some programming.

- Communication: Studying physics in secondary school level give students skills to communicate complex ideas and use technical languages correctly

Attitude And Performance In Physics

Most college students have a negative perception about physics in secondary school level this is owning to their behavior that the subject is complex and difficult to assimilate, as such most students in secondary school resist studying physics and do not choose it as a subject in their senior class. As a result of the negative attitude of students in the past, their performance had significantly declined. Furthermore, students’ attitude and performance had obviously deteriorated in the last years. There is a need to emphasize and encourage positive attitude among the students in any learning area. They said that the more positive are the attitudes, the more positive are the students’ actions in all activities. The students who have positive attitudes in their subject are also positive and take their serious. Even though the students are more incline into subject that can easily be assimilated and prefer a more simple method in learning physics, they need more positive attitude the more because the subject is dealing with activities that could improve and enhance their awareness on phenomenal changes in the surroundings and by fostering positive attitudes, they will be able to develop and improve their performance as a whole

Why Good Mathematics Students Also Perform Better In Physics

In most colleges, students’ poor performance in physics have been attributed to poor knowledge of mathematics, unqualified and inexperienced teachers, poor student attitude toward physics, poor learning environment and gender effect. In spite of all the advantages derived and the recognition given to physics as one of the core science subjects and as a pivot upon which technological and economic development rest, there are wider gaps between curriculum planner intention, the implementers, that is, physics classroom teachers and what goes on in the classroom. This has led to the negative perception of students that physics is a difficult school subject. More often than not the interrelatedness of mathematics and physics is not always emphasised in physics teaching. What students already know about the content is one of the strongest indicators of how well they will learn new information relative to the content. Commonly, researchers and theorists refer to what a person already knows about a topic as “background knowledge.” Numerous studies have confirmed the relationship between background knowledge and student achievement.

In this article the reported average correlation between a person’s background knowledge of a given topic and the extent to which that person learns new information on that topic is .66. Prior research has attempted to measure the impact of high school physics courses on students’ success in undergraduate physics. These American studies generally found that students who performed well in high school mathematics and physics subjects also did well in undergraduate physics. Studies of students’ Background knowledge in science and mathematics began in the 1970s and have since produced a voluminous literature.

Interest in prior knowledge began with the careful documentation of common errors made by students in solving physics and mathematics problems. Analysis of interviews with these students reveals that the errors are not random slips, but rather derive from underlying concepts. The learner will formulate existing physics structures only if new information or experiences are connected to knowledge already in memory. It is evident that it is from experiences that students develop a cognitive structure which may be valid, invalid or incomplete. Prior knowledge is defined as a multidimensional and hierarchical entity that is dynamic in nature and consists of different types of knowledge and skills. Prior knowledge has long been considered the most important factor influencing learning and student achievement. The amount and quality of prior knowledge positively influence both knowledge acquisition and the capacity to apply higher-order cognitive problem-solving skills irrespective of gender. World-wide gender has often been a variable of interest in most research works in Education and in this study it was included as a moderator variable of interest because past studies in Nigeria had indicated gender as one of the most important variables in science/mathematics education with inconclusive report findings.



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