# CONCEPTIONS OF ALGEBRA HELD BY SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN KWARA STATE, NIGERIA

Thesis

Algebra in Mathematics deals with the use of letters and signs to represent numbers and values. It also involves equations, which can be solved using graphical method. Students do perform poorly in solving problems involving quadratic equations by graphical method as contained in the chief examiners report. This could be attributed to factors such as lack of understanding and inadequate interpretation as conceived. This study, therefore, investigated the conceptions of quadratic graph held by Senior Secondary School students in Kwara State, Nigeria. The objectives of this study were to: (i) find out the conceptions of quadratic graph held by Senior Secondary School students; (ii) determine the proportion of Senior Secondary School students with correct conceptions, alternative conceptions and misconceptions of quadratic graph; (iii) determine the influence of gender on students’ conceptions of quadratic graph in algebra; (iv) determine the influence of score level on students’ conceptions of quadratic graph in algebra; and, (v) examine the influence of subject combination on students’ conceptions of quadratic graph in algebra. The study adopted a descriptive research method of the survey type. The population was all Senior School students offering Mathematics in Kwara State, while the target population was all SS 2 students offering Mathematics in the State. The sample for the study was 1,200 SS II students. The Algebra Conceptions Test (ACT) was used as the instrument. The Pearson Product Moment Correlation coefficient was used to determine the reliability of the instrument, giving a value of 0.76. The research questions were answered using the percentage, while the hypotheses were tested using Chi-square, at 0.05 level of significance. The findings of the study were that: (i) correct conceptions, alternative conceptions and misconceptions of quadratic graphs existed among Senior Secondary School students in Kwara State, Nigeria; (ii) the proportion of students with correct conceptions, alternative conceptions and misconceptions of quadratic graph in algebra were 25.7%, 30.3% and 44.0%, respectively; (iii) there was a significant difference in the conceptions of quadratic graph held by male and female Senior Secondary School students: ( (2) = 6.386; p<0.05), in favour of the male students; (iv) there was a significant difference in the conceptions of quadratic graph in algebra held by Senior Secondary School students based on score levels: ( (4) = l68.210; p<0.05), in favour of the high scoring students; and xiv (v) there was a significant difference in the Senior Secondary School students’ conceptions of quadratic graph in algebra based on subject combination ( (4) = 95.788; p<0.05), in favour of the science students. The study, therefore, concluded that a low percentage (25.7%) of the Senior Secondary School students held correct conceptions of quadratic graph; gender, score level of students and subject combination influenced students’ conceptions of quadratic graph in algebra. The implication of this result is that a high proportion of Senior Secondary School students (44.0%) held misconception of quadratic graph in algebra. It was, thus, recommended that teachers should employ innovative teaching strategies that facilitate students’ correct conceptions, and remediate their alternative conceptions and misconceptions.