E ISSN: 2583-049X

International Journal of Advanced Multidisciplinary Research and Studies

Volume 3, Issue 6, 2023

Salient and Mythical Sources of Secondary School Students’ Difficulties in Learning Mathematics in Cameroon

Author(s): Kesiki Samuel, Nekang Fabian Nfon


Several studies have identified sources of students’ difficulties in learning mathematics. In most of these studies however, mainly qualitative methodology has been the leading inquiry strategy. Making a distinction between valid and mythical sources of learning difficulties have not been given much attention in studies, especially within the context of Africa. The present study approached, the antecedents of students’ difficulties in learning mathematics from two directions and attempted to identify through interviews, validate through confirmatory factor analysis, and classify through regression analyses, salient and mythical sources of students’ difficulties in learning mathematics. The study utilised an exploratory sequential research design and sampled 500 first and second cycle secondary school students from all school types. Nine sub-themes emerged from the thematic analyses of interview data. Six separate confirmatory factor analysis models consisting of a univariate, multivariate, 4-factor 1st order, 5-factor 1st order, 1-factor hierarchical, and 4-factor hierarchical models were tested at separate stages. The results revealed the 4-factor 1st order model to be the most parsimonious for salient sources of difficulties [CMIN/DF=1.755, RMSEA=0.039, CFI=0.971, SRMR=0.0323], while the 5-factor 1st order model appeared to be the most parsimonious for mythical sources of difficulties [CMIN/DF=1.770, RMSEA=0.039, CFI=0.954, SRMR=0.0381]. Salient sources were classified in order of their regression weights as follows; perceived prior mathematics achievement, personal interest, mathematics anxiety, and presecondary school myths, while mythical sources of students’ difficulties in learning mathematics classify as follows; knowledge of mathematical concepts, peer pressure, classroom/home environment, teaching strategies, and teaching methods.

Keywords: Sources, Mathematics Learning Difficulty, Mathematical Myths, Mathematics Performance, Factor Model, Confirmatory Factor Analysis

Pages: 137-154

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