Effect of Problem-Based Learning Approach on Students’ Academic Performance in Senior Secondary Mathematics

  • Obaseye A. Ogunsola Federal School of Statistics, Oyo State, Ibadan, NIGERIA
  • Owolabi Paul Adelana Department of Science and Technology Education, Educational Technology Unit, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, NIGERIA
  • Kayode A. Adewale Department of Counseling Psychology and Educational Foundations, College of Specialised and Professional Education, Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode, NIGERIA
Keywords: Problem-based learning (PBL), Students’ academic performance, Mathematics, Quantitative ability, Gender


Conventional teaching method alone cannot enhance the mathematical creativity and thinking skills needed in the 21st Century. Therefore, modern teaching methods are needed to facilitate students’ problem-solving skills. This study examined the effect of the problem-based learning (PBL) approach on students’ academic performance in senior secondary Mathematics. The pretest-posttest control, quasi-experimental design, was adopted in the study. An intact class of Senior Secondary School (II) Mathematics students (108) from two randomly Selected Senior Secondary schools in Akinyele Local Government Area, Oyo State, Nigeria, were used selected. Four null hypotheses were formulated and tested using Analysis of Covariance at the alpha level of 0.05. Results revealed that problem-based learning approach enhanced students’ academic performance in Mathematics (F1, 108= 7.130; p = (.009) < .05). It also revealed that gender has no main effect on the academic performance of students (F1, 108= .051; p = (.821) > .05). In addition, there was no significant interaction effect of PBL and gender on students’ academic performance in Mathematics (F1, 108= .000; p = (.985) > .05), and; there is a significant main effect of PBL on the quantitative ability of students (F1, 108= 6.756; p = (.010) < .05). It was recommended that stakeholders in education and the government need to train and retrain teachers on adopting the PBL approach in Mathematics classrooms to enhance students’ academic performance.


Download data is not yet available.


Adegbemile, O. (2011). Human resource availability and students’ academic performance in secondary schools in North West Geo – Political Zone of Nigeria. Journal of Education and Practice, 2(6), 11.

Adesanya, O. A. (2015). Effects of problem-based learning and individualized instructional strategies on students learning outcomes in secondary school physics in Ogun State (Unpublished M.Ed. Project). University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

Adeyemo, S. A. (2010). Students’ ability level and their competence in problem-solving task in Physics. International Journal of Educational Research and Technology, 1(2), 35–47.

Abdullaha, Ni. I., Tarmizia, R. A., & Abub, R. (2010). The effects of Problem Based Learning on Mathematics performance and affective attributes in learning Statistics at Form Four Secondary level. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 8, 370–376.

Aliyu, M. M. (2017). Problem-based learning on metacognition and writing performance of Nigerian undergraduates (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University Putra Malaysia, Malaysia.

Anazia, I. U. (2019). Quantitative and verbal aptitudes as predictors of senior secondary school students’ performance in Economics. IAFOR Journal of Education, 7 (1), 11-12

Ates, O., & Eryilmaz, A. (2011). Effectiveness of hands-on and minds-on activities on students’ achievement and attitudes towards physics. Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, 12 (1), 1-22.

Bell, S. (2010). Project-based learning for the 21st century: Skills for the future. Clearing House, 83(2), 39-43.

Bouwma-Gearhart, J., Stewart, J., & Brown, K. (2009). Student misapplication of a Gas-like Model to explain particle movement in Heated Solids: Implications for curriculum and instruction towards students’ creation and revision of accurate explanatory models. International Journal of Science Education, 31 (9), 1157- 1174.

Capraro, R. M., & Slough, S. (2013). Why PBL? Why STEM? Why now? An introduction to STEM project-based learning: An integrated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) approach. In R. M. Capraro, M. M. Capraro, and J. Morgan (Eds.). Project-based learning: An integrated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) approach, 1–6.

Cooper, C., & Carver, N. (2012). Problem based learning in mental health nursing: The students’ experience. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 21(2), 175– 183. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1447-0349.2011.00788.x

Eleje, L. I., & Esomonu, N. P. M. (2018). Test of achievement in quantitative economics for secondary schools: Constructing and validation using item response theory. Asian Journal of Education and Training, 4(1), 18–28. https://doi.org/10.20448/journal.522.2018.41.18.28

Etiubon, R. U., & Ugwu, A. N. (2016). Problem-Based Learning and students' academic achievement on Thermodynamics (A case study of University of Uyo, Akwa - Ibom State, Nigeria). IOSR Journal of Research & Method in Education (IOSR-JRME), 6 (5), 36-41.

Fatade, A. O., Mogari, D., and Arigbabu, A. A. (2013). Effect of Problem-based Learning on senior secondary school students’ achievements in Further Mathematics. Acta Didactica Napocensia, 6(3), 27–44.

Feynman, R. (2011). Some definitions of science. American Scientist, 87, 462.

Hackenberg, A.J. & Lee, M.Y. (2016). Students’ distributive reasoning with fractions and unknowns. Educ. Stud. Math, 93, 245–263.

Hsieh, C. & Knight, L. (2008). Problem-based learning for engineering students: An evidence-based comparative study. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 34(1), 25-30.

Johnson, H.L., McClintock, E. & Hornbein, P. (2017). Ferris wheels and filling bottles: A case of a student’s transfer of covariational reasoning across tasks with different backgrounds and features. ZDM, 49, 851– 864.

Ke, F. & Grabowski, B. (2007). Game playing for math learning: Cooperative or not? British Journal of Educational Technology, 38 (2), 249-259.

Kuruganti, U., Needham, T., & P. Zundel. (2012). Patterns and rates of learning in two Problem- based learning courses using outcome based assessment and elaboration theory. Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 3(1), 1-14.

Lee, Y. M., Mann, K. V., & Frank, B. W. (2010). What drives students’ self-directed learning in a hybrid PBL curriculum. Adv. in Health Sci Educ., 15 (3), 425-437.

Lee, K.Y., & Kwan, C. Y. (2014). PBL: What is it? “The Use of problem-based learning in medical education”. Retrieved November 27, 2017, from http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/mdprog/pbl_whatis.html

Miller, R. L., Streveler, R. A., Yang, D., & Santiago, R.A.Y. (2009). Identifying and repairing students misconceptions in Thermal and Transport Science. Paper Presented at the AIChE Annual Meeting, 1-8.

Nunes, T., Bryant, P., Evans, D., Bell, D. & Barros, R. (2012). Teaching children how to include the inversion principle in their reasoning about quantitative relations. Educ. Stud. Math., 79, 371–388.

Omosewo, E. O. (2012). Physics teachers' education and National Education reforms. Proceedings of the 41st annual conference of Science Teachers Association, University of Lagos, Nigeria. 34-35.

Sahin, M. (2010). The impact of problem-based learning on engineering students' beliefs about physics and conceptual understanding of energy and momentum. European Journal of Engineering Education, 35 (5), 519-537.

Schmidt, H. G. (2012). Chapter 2: A brief history of problem-based learning. In G. O’Grady, G. Yew, & H. G. Schmidt (Eds.), One-day, one-problem: An approach to problem-based learning (pp. 21-40). Singapore: Thomson Learning Asia. doi: 10.1007/978-981-4021-75-3_2

Shin, L. K., & Azman, N. (2014). Problem-based learning in English for a second language classroom: Students’ perspectives. International Journal of Learning, 18(6), 109-126.

Tarmizia, B., Ahmad, R., & Bayat, S. (2017). Effects of Problem-based Learning Approach in learning of Statistics among university students. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 8, 384–392.

Unodiaku, S.S. (2014). Effect of Game-Based Instructional Model on the pupils achievement in Arithmetic at upper Primary Schools level in Igbo- Etiti Local Government Area, Enugu State, Nigeria. Research on Humanities and Social Science, 4 (22), 34-39.

Usman, I. A. (2010). Effect of school location on students’ academic achievement in science and mathematics. Asaba: White and White. 45.

Zakaria, E., & Iksan, Z. (2007). Promoting cooperative learning in science and mathematics education: A Malaysian perspective. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 3(1), 35–39.

How to Cite
Ogunsola, O. A., Adelana, O. P., & Adewale, K. A. (2021). Effect of Problem-Based Learning Approach on Students’ Academic Performance in Senior Secondary Mathematics. Journal of Science and Mathematics Letters, 9(2), 75-85. https://doi.org/10.37134/jsml.vol9.2.8.2021