n IFE PsychologIA : An International Journal - Effects of two psychological techniques in improving academic performance of secondary school students in mathematics




Poor academic performance of students in Mathematics has been of great concern to educationists, researchers, parents and teachers and calls for a concerted effort at remediation. The study set to determine the efficacy of goal-setting and cognitive restructuring in improving the academic performance of secondary school students in Mathematics. The design was a pre-test, post-test control group quasi-experimental design. The sample consisted of 120 students aged 15 to 18 years purposively sampled from a randomly selected co-educational public secondary school in Ilorin metropolis. Participants were randomly assigned to three experimental groups: Goal-Setting; Cognitive Restructuring (treatment groups) and Control Programme (placebo). A validated Mathematics Ability Test (MAT) was administered to the three groups before and after the experimental programme which was packaged into 8 weekly workshop sessions. Analysis of covariance with Scheffe post-hoc measure was employed for the data analysis. When the treatment group was compared with the control group in an attempt to treat analysis, there were significant differences in the Mathematics performance ability of the three groups. Those in the treatment groups reported improved Mathematics performance ability than their counterparts in the control group. Lack of behavioural effect on the control group could be linked to differential quality of delivery of intervention. The treatment gain was however not mediated by participants' gender. Both male and female students benefited maximally from the intervention programmes. The result is an indication that students' Mathematical ability can be improved using psychological strategies and these should be factored in secondary school Mathematics curriculum.


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