THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY AND PERFORMANCE IN MATHEMATICS: A CASE STUDY OF DISTRICT SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN KILIFI AND MALINDI, KILIFI COUNTY
Mathematics is an important subject, whose usefulness touches on every area of human endeavor. Mathematics is related to other subjects; both in Pure and Applied Sciences as well as the humanities and Social Sciences, where it enhances their understanding. In addition, Mathematics aids economic and technological development of any nation (Aina, 2006). (473.2Kb)
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Despite the fact that Mathematics is the backbone of new emerging sciences, the general performance in Mathematics among secondary school students remains poor. Research evidence shows that poor performance in Mathematics not only results from intrinsic conceptual difficulties in the subject but also springs from language considerations. However, Mathematics educationists seem to be in disagreement with respect to the relationship between language proficiency and performance in Mathematics. This study, therefore, set out to find out the relationship between language proficiency and performance in Mathematics. The study was based on Vygotsky’s socio-cultural development theory. The study was conducted in Kilifi County. The research design was correlation, and simple random sampling method was used to select students. Data was collected by the use of tests, and descriptive and inferential statistics was used to analyse data collected. The Karl Pearson’s coefficient of correlation (r) was employed to measure the degree of the relationship between variables. The findings emerging from this study reveal that there is a significant positive relationship between Language Proficiency and performance in Mathematics. The findings also support strongly the Vygotsky’s theory. It is hoped that the findings of this research could help authors, language policy makers, the Ministry of Education as well as the schools management to find solutions to language related problems that hinder performance in Mathematics. Finally the results of this study could also serve as a springboard for further investigation in the same area.