Teachers’ academic orientations and students’ performance in mathematics at O’Level in Mityana District
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The study focused on teachers’ academic orientations and their relationship to students’ performance in Mathematics. The study particularly focuses on how the teacher’s Mathematics orientations affect their teaching practices and how in turn these teaching practices affect the performance of students in Mathematics at the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE). The purpose of the study was to establish the relationship between teachers’ academic orientations and the performance of students in Mathematics at O’level in schools within Mityana district. The Mathematics experiences of the teachers while they were in school and their current teaching practices were investigated and the researcher tried to establish if there were any relationships between the teacher practices, orientations and the performance of students. Primary data was collected from teachers and students in the specified categories of schools within Mityana District using self-administered questionnaires and the interview guide. Secondary data was obtained through documentary review of the performance records of the participating schools. Data was analyzed by grouping similar categories of data, finding the frequencies and percentages of this data and using the percentages to explain performance, teacher orientations and current practices. In order to establish if there were relationships between the variables, cross tabulation using SPSS was used. Data from the interview guide was used for qualifying statements and cross referencing. Findings show that students from urban schools perform better than those from the rural and peri-urban schools. Further findings reveal a gradual improvement in Mathematics performance over the study period. Furthermore the teachers’ practices in the selected secondary schools are skewed more towards undesirable practices. The Mathematics orientations of the teacher influence their practices both positively and negatively with those with positive orientations like knowing that Mathematics is their strong subject showing better teacher practices than those whose orientations are negative. Conclusions drawn indicate that urban schools outperform the rural schools despite the teaching practices of the teachers being undesirable in all the three categories of schools. The teachers’ Mathematics experiences were positive however knowledge of the subject was found to have very little effect on student achievement. Fear and anxiety affect performance negatively; the researcher therefore recommends that these should be minimized while teaching and those positive experiences of the teacher whilst in school are maximized so as to affect students positively.