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*Name: EFFECTS OF COGNITIVE RESTRUCTURING, ON MATHEMATICS ACHIEVEMENT OF SECONDARY SCHOOL ADOLESCENTS**Type: PDF and MS Word (DOC)**Size: [420 KB]**Length: [153] Pages*

## ABSTRACT

This study was geared towards investigating the effects of cognitive restructuring, in enhancing mathematics achievement of adolescents in secondary schools in Oshimili South Local Government Area. Two research questions and two null hypotheses, guided the study. Quasi experimental research design was adopted. The population used was four thousand and twenty two students of the SSII class from Oshimili South Local Government Area. Random sampling was used to compare two boys schools and two girls schools for the study. Through purposive sampling, 40 pupils with poor mathematics performance from each of the four schools made up the final sample. A 50 item researcher developed mathematics achievement test, validated by three experts from Delta State University (D.E.L.S.U) and Nnamdi Azikiwe University (N.A.U) was used to collect data. Data analysis was done using mean, standard deviation, t-test and ANCOVA at 0.05 levels of significance. The findings of the investigation were that:-Cognitive restructuring technique is effective in enhancing students’ mathematics achievement and also females gained higher mean achievement scores than their male counterparts when cognitive restructuring technique is adopted. Based on the findings of this study, necessary conclusions and recommendations were also made. One of which is that learning of specific restructuring technique should be incorporated as an aspect of school curriculum.

## TABLE OF CONTENTS

TITLE PAGE I

APPROVAL PAGE II

CERTIFICATION III

DEDICATION IV

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS V

TABLE OF CONTENTS VI

LIST OF TABLES VIII

ABSTRACT IX

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 1

Background of the Study 1

Statement of the Problem 8

Purpose of the Study 10

Significance of the Study 10

Scope of the Study 12

Research Questions 12

Research Hypotheses 13

CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE 14

Conceptual Framework 15 Theoretical Framework 29 Empirical Studies 35 Strategic interventions and Academic achievement, by School Counsellors. 43

Summary of Literature Review 46

vii

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODS 48

Design of the Study 48

Area of the Study 49

Population of the Study 49

Sample and Sampling Technique 50

Instrument for Data Collection 51 Validity of the Instruments 51

Reliability of the Instruments 52 Method of Data Collection 53 Method of Data Analysis 56

CHAPTER FOUR: PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA 58

Research Questions 58 Testing the Null Hypotheses 59 Summary of Findings 62

CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION, CONCLUSION, AND SUMMARY OF FINDINGS. 63 Discussions of the Findings 63 Conclusion 65 Implication of the Findings 66

Recommendations 67

Limitation of the Study 68

Suggestions for Further Studies 68

Summary 69

REFERENCES 71

APPENDICES 82

## CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Mathematics is a branch of knowledge dealing with measurements

numbers and quantities. It’s such an important subject that currently, it’s

been made compulsory for admitting candidates into all discipline in

tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Therefore, for students to achieve success

in their desired academic career, they are expected to pass the subject

properly with at least a credit pass.

According to Cohen, O’Donoghue & Fitzsimons (2000), mathematics is

the language of science, as a discipline. It is the pivot around which the

whole essence of living revolves. Again mathematics is viewed as the

basis for scientific and technological analysis. According to Gillings

(1982), for analysis of weather to be accurate, mathematical calculations

are necessary. Also Mckee (2002) opined that, every new body of

discovery is mathematical in form. This is because, variables such as

time and age, must be calculated mathematically, since it is concerned

with symbols and is necessary for any meaningful involvement in

modern civilization. This is why adolescents, who must fit positively into

society, are expected to understand the basic concepts and principles of

the subject mathematics by constantly practicing the rudimentary

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concepts involving figures, particularly in the basic areas of factorization,

like and unlike terms, simultaneous equation, quadratic equation and

word problems in mathematics, as their usefulness is relevant in

everyday dealings.

For this reason, the subject must be embraced by restructuring the

cognitive pattern of thinking in the adolescents, which society, peer

group, and adults have irrationally and erroneously misconstrued in the

adolescents’ mind, through what they say and how they react even when

the subject is merely mentioned.

Accordingly to Benson (2000), for transactions in relation to buying and

selling to succeed, ones cognitive abilities must be tuned to a point that

he understands some level of mathematical symbols and calculations.

This he believes will eliminate cheating amongst the parties involved, to

a large extent, which is why cognitive skills of students should be

sharpened through cognitive restructuring techniques to reduce or

eliminate the phobia associated with learning the fundamental

mathematical concepts, particularly in the adolescent age.

It’s as a result of the importance of mathematics that it has been made

one of the compulsory and pre-requisite subjects that science and arts

students must pass at the school certificate level in order to be admitted

into the University. This is one of the moves by the Federal Government

of Nigeria to make mathematics popular. Also with the inclusion of

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scientific and technological development in the National Development

Plan, it becomes obvious that if mathematics achievement is not

enhanced among the adolescents in secondary schools using

appropriate cognitive restructuring techniques, national progress and

development would be adversely affected (Okoye, 2006).

As regards school subjects, the irrational belief that some school

subjects are difficult to comprehend begins to register in the adolescents’

subconscious, based on environmental and societal irrational beliefs.

Probably, this could be the reason why most students do not achieve the

desired pass in some dreaded school subjects like mathematics. Gal in

2000, emphasized that some contributory factors to students’ lack of

mathematics achievement are the students’ attitude towards the subject,

which is based on fear and the general impression created by the

society, who believe that mathematics is difficult to comprehend. Also,

the teacher’s method of teaching the subject content which seems to be

complex particularly if the subject is not taught with the right models.

This invariable affects the students level of achievement.

Even amongst the students’ gender, there still exists some level of

discrepancy in mathematics achievement. According to Davis (2001),

female students still have not attained mathematics equity as their male

counterparts in school because, the female students see the subject as

emotionally draining and cognitively difficult, coupled with the routinely

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negative self- statements the female students make about mathematics

being a difficult subject to pass. He also attributes these lapses to some

parents’ negative attitude towards science inclined courses for their

daughters, a shortage of female mathematics teachers to serve as role

models, early marriage age for females and most especially the societal

discriminatory attitude in terms of job opportunities. These factors seem

to create a negative attitude amongst the female students thereby

inhibiting their enhancement, in mathematics performance.

Even amongst secondary school students however, the skills in

enhancing learning has been a major concern of many scholars,

particularly Guidance Counsellors, who seek diverse ways of enhancing

students’ level of achievement particularly in a core subject like

mathematics (Dossey & Usiskin, 2000). Students, according to Dahir

and Stone(2003), do not learn automatically, particularly in mathematics

and that they need guidance and direction before real interest is

developed in the subject, eventually leading to effective learning. Some

of the diverse ways sought by Guidance Counselors includes trying to

adopt the technique of cognitive restructuring to encourage the students

particularly the females, who have unconsciously developed a phobia for

the subject and to re-address their mind with positive statement such as,

“I will understand mathematics, if I practice the concepts regularly”.

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Again, Mckee (2002), opines that there is growing evidence in the

importance of students’ negative attitude and belief about mathematics

and that, through various teaching and learning styles, adopted by

Guidance Counsellors to aid students understanding, by making the

students talking to themselves positively, the students’ positive attitude

and self esteem becomes actualized.

Cognitive restructuring is a type of therapeutic technique, which refutes

ones irrational ideas and replaces them with rational ones. Dibatolo,

Frost, Dixon and Almodorar (2001), defined Cognitive restructuring as

“employing self-statements, arguments and disputations to make the

client see irrationality in his or her behaviour and to be able to devise

positive alternative ways to such irrationality in case the urge arises in

the future”.

Mcmulin (2005) affirms that, human beings are generally rational, but

that they can develop irrational beliefs and neurotic behaviour as a result

of biological and social forces, through imitation of what people around

them regard as acceptable societal norms, which sometimes are

irrational thoughts. He further states that, as children develop into

adolescence, they tend to accept unconsciously, these irrational beliefs.

This invariably affects the psyche of the growing child, particularly

students who are prone to all sorts of forces, based on peer pressure

and societal beliefs passed on to the children. This is the basic reason

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why students’ school performance particularly in mathematics has been

adversely affected in some regions in Nigeria, such as the Oshimili

South Local Government Area of Delta State.

According to Gargus (2002), when adolescents encourage themselves

with positive self-talk, on issues or areas that have been a burden to

them, they tend to increase their level of determination to succeed, in

that particular area of interest. This helps the adolescent to attain the

aspired level to achieve success.

Achievement according to Dahir & Stone (2003) is a common life

experience, which is obtained by the acquisition of skills and using these

acquired skills to the best of the individual’s abilities and capabilities, so

as to enhance his/her performance in life. In the words of Bandura

(1997), people’s personal expectations for achievement play an

important role in enhancing their desire to succeed. For instance, if you

believe that your effort at studying will lead to a good grade in your

examination, you will be motivated to study. This belief helps to mobilize

the individuals’ energy in performing a lot better. This is why students,

who constantly solve mathematics problems, with a mind-set to achieve

success in the subject, always excel.

According to Mangal (1998), when ones’ achievement in a desired field

is attained, life is fulfilling. The desire to achieve success he believes is

as basic and natural as other biological needs, such as Oxygen, which is

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essential for survival as well as psychosocial needs, which an individual

requires for self-actualization. In the same vein, (Darling-Hammond,

2000) is of the opinion that, the desire to achieve success helps people

to succeed, particularly in their area of interest. This desire to achieve

becomes realistic when rational thinking is adopted by the individual,

through the cognitively restructuring of their thought pattern.

Meichenbaum (1977) adopted rational thinking to teach poor achievers,

to see if they could become more effective achievers, through cognitive

restructuring techniques. In his findings, he concluded that cognitive

restructuring is an appropriate technique that could be used to

encourage poor achievers.

This is also why cognitive restructuring technique, is adopted amongst

students whose mathematics achievement level has been declining

consistently over the years, to see if their level of understanding the

subject could be upgraded to a standard that will give them the

confidence they desire to be successful and the positive self belief to

write examinations into the tertiary institutions. However Davis (2001)

believes that, the imbibed phobia for mathematics sometimes affects

students’ level of performance, to higher achievement levels, even when

it is obvious that a good grasp of the subject would enable them gain

admission into higher educational bodies.

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Inspite of its importance, students still perceived the subject with phobic

tendencies which is why the researcher decided to research on it since

there has been no known study by the researcher, which directly dealt

with enhancing mathematics achievement in adolescents, using

cognitive restructuring in the Oshimili South L.G.A of the Delta State of

Nigeria. Being a Guidance Counsellor, such information is considered

necessary to enable Guidance Counsellors give needed help to students

in their subsequent mathematics achievement. Based on this

background, the present research was committed to finding the effects of

cognitive restructuring technique in enhancing mathematics

achievement, amongst adolescents in the Oshimili South Local

Government Area of Delta State.

Statement of the Problem

A lot of families in Delta State have been known to have excelled

academically in the past such as the Ofilis, Azinges and the Obanyas.

Presently however, poor academic performance amongst students

particularly in mathematics, in the Oshimili South Local Government

Area of Delta State, over the years has made many students drop-out of

school, particularly the female students. This is because, the students

perceive the subject as very difficult to understand, compared to other

subjects. Therefore, the required credit needed in the subject which is a

compulsory prerequisite to gaining admission into any Nigerian tertiary

institution is not achieved by the student.

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Even when students are aware that mathematics is a core subject and

that it has become part of our everyday life, which cannot be avoided,

the students still generate a high level of anxiety for the subject to the

extent that they run away from mathematics lessons. According to

Brigman & Goodman (2001), students’ negative attitude to mathematics

leads them to develop a lack of self-confidence in themselves and lack

of enthusiasm.

In the process, career interest becomes jeopardized and the end result

is lack of enthusiasm and low self esteem.

Obanya (2002) believes that, poor performance trend in mathematics in

a student, could lead to the student developing an unconscious fear for

the subject, which could invariably hamper anticipated optimal

achievement level in the pursuit of academic excellence of the student.

As a result of the obvious effect of this mathematics phobia in students

and adolescents in general, it becomes necessary to find out why this

trend consistently exists amongst students. Also, since the primary

source of problem associated with poor performance in mathematics has

been identified to be fear and irrational thought of the subject, it

becomes necessary that a technique that tends to restructure the

students cognition be used.

It is against this background that the study asks, what is the effect of

Cognitive Restructuring in enhancing mathematics achievement of

students in Delta State?

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The Purpose of the Study:

The purpose of the study is to determine the effects of Cognitive

Restructuring technique in enhancing mathematics achievement of

students in Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State.

In specific terms, the study seeks to:-

1. Determine the effects of cognitive restructuring in improving

students’ mathematics achievement.

2. Determine the effects of cognitive restructuring in pre and post-

test scores performance of students, in respect to their gender.

Significance of the Study:

The findings of this study will be of immense importance to the end users

when eventually published. Such end users includes: Teachers,

students, Guidance Counsellors, the school and future researchers.

These findings it’s expected, will yield data that would confirm, support

or reject the theories of achievement as they relate to cognitive

restructuring which holds that, peoples’ achievement goals affect their

achievement related attitude and behaviours .

The outcome of the study will offer useful framework for teachers who

are both planners and decision makers in the classroom, so that while

teaching the students, the technique of cognitive restructuring would be

inculcated in the scheme of work to help the students understand the

topic.

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It is hoped that teachers would become aware of the necessary and

relevant cognitive restructuring techniques, which would be useful in

teaching mathematics.

Through these findings, students it is hoped will become aware of

necessary relevant cognitive restructuring techniques, which will be very

useful for them. Moreover, no educational guidance of secondary school

students will ever be complete without the guidance counsellors giving

them hints on how to improve on their academic achievement.

The result of this study also, will be of relevance to school guidance

counsellors, who will encourage students during counselling sessions,

with techniques such as self monitoring, positive self statements,

thought stopping and systematic desensitization so that the students will

adopt these skills to enhance themselves to improve their studies.

The school authority, it is hoped will use the findings of the study to

assess the extent of utilization of vital cognitive restructuring techniques

by teachers and know how lack of utilization of these techniques would

affect students’ mathematics achievement. Such an assessment, will

guide the school in its future use.

Finally, it is hoped that the study will be of immense benefit to

researchers, for future research information. This is because; the

findings are expected to prepare grounds for future researches and raise

questions for investigation. For instance, how would cognitive

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restructuring technique, be used to enhance academic performance of

mathematics students so they become better achievers in the subject?

Scope of the Study:

The study was delimited to Senior Secondary School (S.S.11) students

in Oshimili South Local Government Area in the Delta State.

The study also covered the effect of cognitive restructuring in

mathematics problems in like and unlike terms, factorization, quadratic

equation, simultaneous equation and performance in word problems in

algebra. Another variable discussed included gender, as it relates to

cognitive restructuring skills and academic achievement.

Research Questions:

The following research questions guided the study:

1. What are the mean achievement scores of students who were

exposed to cognitive restructuring and those who were not

exposed?

2. What is the difference in pre and post test scores of male and

female students who are exposed to cognitive restructuring

techniques?

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Research Hypotheses:

The following Null Hypotheses (Ho) were tested in the study, P (0.05)

level of significance.

Ho1 The effects of cognitive restructuring in enhancing students’

achievement in mathematics will not be significant in the

experimental group when compared with the achievement of the

students’ in the control group.

Ho2 The effects of cognitive restructuring in enhancing students’

achievement in mathematics will not differ significantly due to their

gender.

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