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The Attitude toward Mathematics as Attributes of Students Success in Mathematics in Ladderized Education Program at the Universidad de Manila

A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School Polytechnic University of the Philippines Sta. Mesa, Manila

In partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Science in Mathematics Education


Ronnie F. Sta. Maria


The Attitude toward Mathematics of Students in Ladderized Education Program in the Universidad de Manila Chapter 1 Introduction The Problem and Its Background Mathematics education is incontestably a vital ingredient in the development of all individuals because of its links to other sciences, technology, and industry. It is at the heart of many successful careers and successful lives for societal development (Amirali 2010, p.27), and serves as a critical filter that effectively screens students for prestigious careers. Despite of its notable significance, most individuals particularly students dislike mathematics. This serves as barriers on their learning progress. The mathematics performance of Filipinos in international assessment test reflects the deteriorating competency of Filipinos in increasingly technological global marketplace. According to the Congressional Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), the rank of Filipinos in science and mathematics placed the Philippines from rank 47 in 2001 to rank 77 in 2007. In 2003, out of 45 countries that participated in Trends in Mathematics and Science Studies (TIMSS), the Philippines ranked 41 based on the average scores of High school students that were tested in Mathematics. The countrys average was significantly lower than the international average both in science and mathematics tests.

The low-level of success of students in mathematics have long been a concern of educators. Several studies have identified varied factors affecting the performance of students in mathematics from which the attitude towards it gained the interest of

many researchers. Attitude has often been studied because of the argument that students with positive attitudes toward mathematics tend to be more willing to use mathematics both in and out of school.

While educators are concerned on the different factors affecting the progress and development of students, the society in which these students live determines their purpose on pursuing higher degree of education. The demands on technically skilled workers, the employability of graduates in different fields of expertise, and the nature of the countrys industry are the factors considered in choosing a major course in college. Addition to these factors is the claim about job mismatch. Many companies (potential employers) assert that Filipino Science and Technology (ST) graduates lack technical skills required by industry standards (COMSTE).

The problems of job mismatch were addressed by the implementation of Ladderized Education Program (LEP), an addition to the existing tertiary education. The Ladderized Education is a mechanism that allows students and workers progression between technical vocational educational and training (TVET) and higher education (HE) or college and vice-versa.

The College of Industrial Technology at the Universidad De Manila adopted the Ladderized scheme of education in the degree of Bachelor in Industrial Technology. The college offer majors such as Automotive Technology (AMT), Garments Technology (GT), Computer Technology (CT), Food Technology (FT), Electrical Technology (ECT), Electronics Technology (ET), Hotel and Restaurant Technology (HRT), and Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Technology (RAC).

Mathematics plays a role in the learning and degree completion requirements of students in Ladderized education program, it seems appropriate that eventual changes in their attitudes towards Mathematics be monitored. This may provide information about their perception of the relevance mathematics has to studying program offered in Ladderized education.

Theoretical Framework The reason for studying the attitudes of the students towards mathematics is grounded in the theory that a persons attitude affects the way they view a subject, pursue and achieve within that subject area. According to Evans (2007) attitude toward Mathematics is important since there is a reciprocal relationship between achievement in mathematics and attitudes toward mathematics. Attitude is defined in many ways, and several definitions are currently accepted. Aiken (1970) defines attitude as a learned predisposition or tendency on the part of an individual to respond positively or negatively to some object, situation, concept, or another. Attitude is generally classified according to three categories of attitude responses which are affect, cognition and behavior. These three components capture the

meaning of attitudes accurately (Brown,, 2002).

The Tripartite Model developed by Rosenberg and Hovland (1960) postulates that attitude is a response to an antecedent stimulus (Breckler, 1984). The antecedent stimulus can be the independent variable. Affect, behavior and cognition are classified as the response to that stimulus (Breckler, 1984). According to Ajzen

(1988), affect is related to the evaluation of the feelings toward the attitude object while cognition reflects the perception of information about the attitude object and lastly, behavioral or behavioral intention are commitments, and actions toward the attitude object.

While Attitudes influence success and persistence in the study of mathematics (Webb, Lubinski, & Benbow, 2002), ones ability to perform mathematical task is assumed to be related on students educational choice. The Ladderized education curriculum in tertiary education might have brought changes in the attitude of students toward mathematics.

In the context of attitudes toward Mathematics in this study, affect refers to positive or negative feelings toward mathematics of Students. Cognition refers to how students perceive Mathematics, such as perceiving the usefulness of Mathematics in their lives or relating Mathematics to their daily lives, while behavior reflects how students react to Mathematics. The changes brought by the implementation of LEP in tertiary education might result to the possibility of developing some attitude of students toward Mathematics. LEP is basically not a Mathematics based program. The perception of students of the nature of LEP might affect their attitude toward Mathematics and to their performance on their Mathematics subjects. If the attitude of students enrolled in LEP toward Mathematics is understood, it would be possible to predict their Mathematics related performance in their chosen field of expertise.

Conceptual Framework

Research indicates that many factors influence a student's attitude towards Mathematics. Some factors may have more weight than others in assessing Mathematics performance: social and economic factors, gender-role identification, self-concept, teaching strategies and study habits. However, little research has been conducted on just how significant attitude towards mathematics is in effecting the performance of students in their chosen field of expertise. This study focuses on two major objectives: (a) To find the effect of students attitude towards Mathematics to their performance in the subject, and (b) To identify the differences on performance in Mathematics base on their chosen field of expertise.

Attitude towards Mathematics

Achievement in LEP major Hotel and Restaurant Technology Food Technology Electronics Technology Computer Technology

Affective Cognitive Behavioral

Performance in Mathematics

Statement of the Problem This study aims to find out the effect of students attitudes towards Mathematics to their performance in Mathematics and describe the differences between this performances and the major course they are taking in LEP. Specifically, this study sought to answer the following questions: 1. What is the attitude of the respondents towards mathematics 2. What is the achievement of students with regards to their performance in Mathematics 3. What are the differences in attitude toward Mathematics of students taking up Bachelor in Industrial Technology major in: a. Computer Technology b. Food Technology c. Hotel and Restaurant Technology d. Electronics Technology 4. What are the differences in the performance of students in Mathematics according to their major: a. Computer Technology b. Food Technology c. Hotel and Restaurant Technology d. Electronics Technology 5. What is the relationship of students attitude towards mathematics to their achievement in mathematics

Hypothesis 1. There is a significant difference on students attitude toward Mathematics when they are grouped according to course major. 2. There is a significant difference on students mathematics performance when they are grouped according to course major 3. There is a significant relationship between the attitudes of students and their mathematics performance

Significance of the Study The finding of this study aims to find out the mathematics performance of students enrolled in Ladderized Education Program (LEP) and how this achievement relates to their chosen field of specialization.

The result of this study would serve as reference to mathematics instructors as to how the changes in curricular offerings could affect the attitude and performance of students in mathematics. Thus, may employ teaching strategies suited for such occasions.

It is also the aim of this study to contribute on the clarification on the mathematics capabilities of the students in tertiary level in the objective to strengthen the foundation of mathematics in basic education. This study might be useful also to understand the attitude factor contributing to the lower performance of students in mathematics.

Scopes and Limitations The study makes use of students enrolled in the Ladderized Education Program in the College of Industrial Technology major in Hotel and Restaurant Technology, Food Technology, Electronics Technology, and Computer Technology at the Universidad De Manila. Samples are enrolled in the second semester of school year 2010 2011. All samples gathered had finished the required mathematics subject in the first semester of the same year and currently taking another mathematics required for their chosen majors. The performance of students in mathematics and their attitude towards mathematics are among the subject matter under investigation.

Definitions of Terms Attitude - a learned tendency or predisposition to respond in a consistently negative or positive manner to some concept, situation, or object (Aiken, 1996). For the purpose of this study, attitude will refer to the tendency on the part of a student enrolled in LEP to respond positively or negatively toward a mathematical situation that may affect the disposition of a student toward mathematics.

Chapter II Review of Related Literature Foreign Literature Generating positive attitudes towards Mathematics among students is an important goal of math education. Students' achievement in mathematics is usually highly correlated with a positive attitude towards mathematics (Hammouri, 2004). Addressing student mathematical disposition, including students' confidence, interest, perseverance, and curiosity in learning math is important. TIMSS 2003 reported results for two attitudinal scales: students self-confidence in learning mathematics and the value students place on mathematics. According to Mullis (2006) the students had higher mathematics achievement at both grades if they were more self-confident in learning mathematics and placed higher value on the subject. As the student achieves success in mathematics (high grades) his sense of efficacy will begin to rise which in turn will lead to increased interest in a career that includes mathematics (Ferry et al., 2000). And if students have good attitudes about learning math, they will be more likely to understand the concepts which will help them develop confidence in their ability to work mathematical operations (Furner & Berman, 2003). According to Goldin (2009) attitudes may be considered either as propensities toward certain patterns of behavior, or propensities toward certain kinds emotional feelings in particular domains, e.g. in relation to mathematics. He further stressed that the belief that ones own mathematical ability is fixed at a low level may thus encourage attitudes that reinforce avoidance behavior toward mathematics.


A study using the Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) data from Canada, Norway and the United States found attitudes toward math as the strongest predictor of student participation in advanced Mathematics courses (Ercikan, et al., 2005). However, according to Wilson (2008, p. 14), there are indications that motivation to do well in mathematics might not depend on positive attitude. This assumption is supported by Leder and Forgasz, 2006; Zan et al, 2006 stating that research evidence indicates that there is only a limited relationship between pupils attitudes to learning Mathematics and their attainment. The results from TIMSS 1999 showed that Flemish (Belgium) students at the end of the eighth grade scored lower than the international average on attitudes towards Mathematics (30th of 38 places). Nevertheless, Flemish students scored well above the international average on Mathematics achievement (6th of 38 places). Another international study on Mathematics achievement showed that the superior performance of the East Asian students did not seem to be accompanied by correspondingly positive student attitudes towards Mathematics and Mathematics learning (Leung, 2006).

Local Literature

The goal of mathematics education is to provide opportunities for individuals to acquire knowledge, rational skills, and positive attitudes needed to attain high quality science and Mathematics education (Masafumi, 2007). A person learns an attitude by the expectations of people around (Hatzios, 2002). According to Espiritu, (1996), the experiences which an individual acquires in his contact with his physical and social environment at home and in the community cause him to be different in his attitude toward learning and his demonstrated achievement. Since it was found out that attitudes are positively correlated with mathematics achievement,


mathematics teachers should help learners to build favorable attitude towards Mathematics (Paragas, 2002, p.35). In Mathematics, positive attitude cause an individual to learn more effectively. A student performs better if they like Mathematics. In contrast, negative attitude cause difficulty in learning Mathematics. The development of positive attitude helps the students learning mathematics (Angel, 2001). To develop positive attitude the following behavior should develop in students: (a) Positive response to the use of Mathematics as a tool in practical situations, (b) Confidence to apply Mathematics in real life situations, (c) Willingness and ability to work cooperatively with others and to value the contribution of others (d) Willingness to persist when solving problems and try difference methods of attack and, (e) Interest and enjoyment in the pursuit of Mathematical knowledge.

Foreign Studies

The study of Sanchez, Zimmerman & Ye (2005) investigates and compares the attitudes of secondary school students toward mathematics of the nine countries participated in TIMSS 1999. These countries included USA, Canada, Australia, Chile, England, Israel, Japan, Russia, and South Africa. The data derived from the TIMSS 1999 study on student achievement in mathematics were obtained through a student questionnaire. A total of 57 items were selected from the student questionnaire. Of these items, 11 reflected students attitude toward mathematics. Questions were centered on three categories: importance, interest, and difficulty. Results revealed the significant differences for importance, interest and difficulty among the nine countries. The Pearson correlation examining the relationship


between students' attitudes toward math study with achievement among the nine countries resulted in seven out of nine correlation coefficients that were statistically significant. The coefficients were less than or equal to 0.24 when examining importance and achievement. The coefficients were statistically significant for interest and achievement, and the values ranged from 0.10 for England and Israel to 0.33 for Japan. In contrast, the values for the relationship between difficulty and achievement ranged from -0.22 for South Africa to -0.57 for Canada. The study of Ravanan investigates the differences on gender, region, steam of study, medium of instruction types of management and socio economic status to the attitude of students in Trichy District towards mathematics. 450 XI students from 10 schools in Trichy District were the subject of investigation. Significant differences were observed in attitude towards mathematics of XI students in Trichy District, owing to differences in their stream of study, types of school management and socio economic status. Also, the stream of study, types of school management, socio economic status and region were significantly associated to the attitudes of XI students in Trichy District. However, Gender and medium of instruction were not significantly associated to the attitudes of students. In the study of Saha (2007), Gender, Attitude to Mathematics and cognitive style contributes significantly to the differences in achievement in mathematics. Fan (2005) conducted a study to assess the students attitude toward Mathematics and Mathematical learning from 7th Grade students in Singapore. The study reveals that Singapore students at lower secondary level in general hold positive views about mathematics and their learning of mathematics in terms of interest, anxiety, confidence and belief. Meanwhile, the data also reveal that they are not very keen in working on unfamiliar and challenging mathematics problems and some students do not see the potential usefulness of


mathematics in their future life. Singapore students were noted in their very good performance in TIMSS. Thomas (2006) conducted a study to determine the Attitude towards Mathematics and achievement by combining cooperative learning strategies with instruction delivered using an Integrated Learning System (ILS). Sixty five fifth grade students were randomly divided in two groups, cooperative and individual. Result revealed that students using on ILS for mathematics instruction were more positive towards math and performed better on standardized tests and they worked in cooperative groups than when they worked on the same individually. The study of Grundmeier (2002) explored the problem posing abilities and attitudes towards

mathematics of students in a university pre-calculus class and a university mathematical proof class. A measure of attitude towards mathematics revealed a significant difference in the attitude levels of students in the two classes however, there was no correlation found between students attitudes towards mathematics and problem posing abilities. The casual ordering between Attitude towards Mathematics and achievement in mathematics of secondary school students were studied by Xin Ma and Jianymin (2004). Results showed the achievement demonstrated casual predominance over attitude across the entire secondary school. Gender difference in this casual relationship was not found but elite status in mathematics moderated this casual relationship. The study of Croft (2000) as published on the Journal of Industrial Technology at Indiana State University investigated the attitude of Electronics Technology Majors towards mathematics. Results showed that Electronics technology students have positive attitudes toward mathematics, mathematics in electronic technology, and electronic technology. This indicates that students in electronics technology are aware of the usefulness of mathematics to the study of electronics. Mert Uyangor and Uzel (2006) in their study on the attitude of


7th class students toward Mathematics found out that pupils developed a positive attitude towards mathematics after realistic mathematics education is used. The result showed that students in experiment group are aware of the usefulness of mathematics in daily life after instruction. The attitude and self-efficacy beliefs of Preservice elementary teacher toward mathematics are the subject of study conducted by Cakiroglu and Isikal (2009). Results showed that there was no significant effect of gender and grade level of pre-service teachers on their attitude toward mathematics.

Local Studies

The study conducted by Dequito (2006) using senior High School students (2006) confirms that there exist a significant relationship between the respondents attitude toward Mathematics and their achievement in Mathematics. The relationship of attitudes of students toward mathematics was significantly influenced by course taken in college and to whether they graduated from public high school or private high school. Reyes (2006) states on the findings of her study that attitude toward Mathematics is dependent in grade level and gender. She said that a positive correlation exist indication a direct linear relationship between the attitudes toward Mathematic and Mathematics achievement. A descriptive study on the attitude towards school and the study habits of students was conducted by Monticado (2006) to determine the variables influencing the performance of students in mathematics. Her findings states that the satisfactory


performance of students in mathematics was influenced by favorable attitude of students towards school. In the study of Butil (2002), Gender, Age, Highest educational attainment of Parents and Parents monthly income has no significant effect on the respondents attitude toward Mathematics. She specifically studied the level of attitude of students in terms of (a) Personal confidence, (b) Usefulness, (c) Perception as a male domain and (d) Perception on Mathematics teachers. A significant relationship was found out between the respondents attitude toward Mathematics and performance in Mathematics. However, the Cramers coefficient of association value of 0.18 indicates a weak relationship. Fulo (2002) on her study identifies different variables as correlates of attitudes of High School students in Bulusan, Sorsogon. The variables considered are (a) Age, (b) Gender, (c) Parents highest educational attainment, (d) Parents occupation, (e) Availability of reading materials in mathematics at home, (f) classroom environment, (g) Instructional materials, (h) library facilities, (i) Educational qualification of teachers, (j) Level and number of relevant in-service training attended by teachers, and (k) achievement level of students. The result of the study verifies the significant relationship of attitudes towards mathematics to their achievement level. The effect of students attitude toward Mathematics to the arithmetic computational skills and problem solving ability of students was the subject of study performed by Estoque (2002). The study reveals that the gender of respondents and the type of school they graduated from Highs School (public or private) had no significant effect on their attitude toward Mathematics. However, a significant difference was observed when the respondents are classified according to their major course in college. It


was found out also that attitude toward Mathematics had a significant influence on different courses in college. The study conducted by Casquite (2000) points out that attitude toward Mathematics is not influenced by the students age and gender. However, the type of school where the students were enrolled and the teachers personality had a significant influence on the attitude of Grade VI students in learning Mathematics. Pacencia (2000) conducted a study on the predictors of mathematics achievement of students at Philippines Science High School at Eastern Visayas Campus. The study revealed that media facilities and study habits of students are significantly correlated to the mathematics achievements of students at Philippines Science High School. Moderately favorable attitude toward Mathematics was also been observed. Daligdig (2000) in his study compared the difference on achievement of students on two different approach of instruction: the free intra-class grouping scheme and the controlled grouping scheme. Results showed that a highly significant difference exist between the achievement test scores for both groups before and after the study. Both groups displayed no significant change in attitude before and after the study. But a greater mean difference in the attitude was found. Also, the free group has gained a comparatively more positive attitude towards Mathematics than their counterpart in the other group. Daligdig concluded that the significant difference in students achievement was not due to the attitude of students toward Mathematics because no significant difference in the attitude was established.


Chapter III Research Methodology This study will use the descriptive method of research. The researcher aimed to describe the students attitude toward Mathematics and their performance in mathematics. It is also the objective of this study to find possible differences in students mathematics performance when they are grouped according to their course major. The researcher adopted two sets of test instruments: Mathematics Attitude Instrument to determine the attitude of the respondents toward mathematics and Mathematics Achievement Test to determine the performance of students in mathematics. The respondents of this study were the students of College of Industrial Technology major in (1) Food Technology, (2) Hotel and Restaurant Technology, (3) Electronics Technology (4) Computer Technology. The subjects of this study are those students currently enrolled in the 2nd semester Mathematics required for their chosen majors.

Population and Sample The study will be conducted using freshmen students enrolled in Bachelor of Industrial Technology major in (1) Food Technology, (2) Hotel and Restaurant Technology, (3) Electronics Technology and (4) Computer Technology. From the population desired, the sample respondents will be picked using slovins formula: n= Where: n will be the sample size, and N will be the population size e = margin of error

The respondents of this study will be chosen at random. Only those students enrolled in the required mathematics course for 2 nd semester of S.Y. 2010 2011 will be considered as respondents.

Research Instrument The adopted sets of test: Mathematics Attitude Instrument and Mathematics Achievement Test was the instrument used in this study.


Mathematics Attitude

Instrument (Modified



Instrument) was adopted from the study of Costoy (2002). It was a 30 item made up of 22 positively worded and 8 negatively worded statements in which the respondents were expected to respond expressing their agreement or disagreement on a five-point scale of Strongly disagree, Agree, Undecided, Disagree and Strongly disagree. The Mathematics achievement Test was adopted from the study of Monticado (2006) which aim to describe the performance of students in mathematics. The test consist of 50 item mathematics test dealing with basic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division), operations on fraction, algebraic operations and simple mathematics problem solving.

Statistical Treatment of Data The study will employ descriptive measures. Likert-type scales will be used to describe the attitude of students toward mathematics. The respondents were asked to respond to the statements by marking a scale of strongly agree, agree,


uncertain, disagree and strongly disagree Statements were classified as either positive or negative. Positively worded statement responses were scored as: 5 Strongly agree 4 Agree 3 Uncertain 2 Disagree 1 Strongly Agree

These weighted assignments were reversed for negative statements. A student score is the sum of the weighted alternatives chosen by him. The responses of the students to the statements in the Attitude Scales were tallied and scored. Before the scoring was done, each statement was classified as either positive or negative. Classification of Attitudes includes behavioral, cognitive and affective. To answer question about the performance of students in Mathematics, descriptive statistics like highest and lowest scores, means and number of cases above and below the mean were used. The same statistics were used to determine the attitudes of the students. Attitude scores above the mean are considered favorable and those below are unfavorable. The One Factor ANOVA will be utilized to determine the significant difference between the attitudes of students enrolled in different majors in LEP. The formula for One Factor ANOVA is: F=

Where: F = F-Value MsTrt = Mean square treatment Mse = Mean square


To find whether students Mathematics performance was influenced by their attitude toward Mathematics, Chi-Square was used.

The formula for Chi-square is: x2 = where: x2 = chi-square O Observed frequency E Expected frequency