Top 10 Reasons Why Students Fail Mathematics

The relevance of mathematics in problem solving in the society cannot be overemphasized. Irrespective of the relevance of mathematics in our society, it appears a norm for lots students of all ages and at all levels to struggle with comprehending mathematical concepts. Usually, this struggle does not end in the four walls of a classroom. It precedes the classroom into the examination hall and leads to a failure in tests and exams.

For decades, lots of people have tried to put an end to this massive failure in mathematics at all levels but have failed. This failure to put an end to poor performances in math exams can be attributed to a lack of understanding of the causes of these mass failures.

This article contains some reasons why students fail mathematics and it serves as the first step in curbing excessive failure in mathematics at all levels.

Failure to Practice

A lot of students have made it a norm to submit incomplete assignments. While this in itself is very bad, even worse is the fact that a lot of students feel very lazy to even attempt their mathematics assignments. As a result of this, a lot of them resort to copying from their mates. While this might seem harmless as long as the student attends math classes regularly, this usually is not the case.

Now, contrary to what a lot of students are aware of, mathematics is very much unlike most other subjects and cannot be mastered or even learnt by just attending class, sitting down and watching the teacher solve problems on the board. While it might appear that a concept has been grasped, a lot of students discover that they know little or nothing about a certain topic in mathematics when they decide to solve one on their own. Unfortunately, a lot of students never attempt to solve math problems outside the classroom. Those that do so most times do not solve enough problems to help them with mastery. The average student only realizes how little they know a subject when they are on the hot seat.

A Lack of Prior Knowledge

Mathematics can be compared to a house. No one builds a house by placing blocks on the air. Usually, blocks are placed on one another until the house is standing. Just like a building, mathematics is a subject that is dependent on concepts that have already been mastered. This makes it very expedient to have the right and thorough knowledge in one level before moving to the next level. Unfortunately, this is not so. Most students never get efficient at a particular level. Now, not getting efficient at a particular level is nothing but a recipe to failure.

The Failure to Ask Questions in Class

It is almost a norm for students to stay quiet in a class when they are not clear on a topic. This is quite understandable as a lot of them might be laughed at by their mates if they raise their hands to indicate that they do not understand a particular step in a math working. As a student, if you fall into the category of those that feel intimidated to ask questions in class, you can meet your teacher privately.

A Lack of Concentration in Class

Mathematics is a subject that needs a very high level of attention. This is even more needed when the topic being studied has lots of complex steps. This simply implies that if a student gets distracted just momentarily, that student could miss a very important step which could put him in trouble in exam situations.

Failure to Seek Help When the Need Arises

Once in a while, it is quite normal for people to get stuck with mathematics problems. Now, it is the job of the math teacher to identify students and pupils that are struggling and give them the much needed extra attention. Although this is what the case should be, it is not always so. This therefore makes it the duty of the student to seek help.

The Absence of Updated Textbooks

While the absence of recent textbooks is not usually the major reason a lot of people fail mathematics in urban areas, it is usually responsible for failure in mathematics in rural areas. Reason for this being; schools in rural areas are not as equipped as schools in urban areas.

Unconducive Learning Environment

Mathematics is a subject that requires a lot of attention both on the part of the student as well as on the part of the teachers. This implies that if the classroom is situated in a place where people can easily be distracted, in the long run, it will lead to a lack of understanding of the subject. Occurrences such as this which will definitely lead to failure in mathematics exams.

Working in Isolation

Unlike many other subjects, mathematics is a subject that requires more than just reading. It requires an in-depth study and sometimes might require people to work in a group. Now, the truth is this; not everyone really loves studying in a group. However, sometimes, it is one of the best ways to get to understand a subject like mathematics.

A Negative Attitude

It is common knowledge that a negative attitude is a major hindrance to any form of achievement. While this is quite obvious in other areas of life, it also applies to mathematics. A negative attitude could either be towards the mathematics teacher or the subject itself.

Seeing the Subject as Irrelevant

Most students believe that mathematics ends in school and if they can find their ways around it either by hook or crook, then they will be just fine. Contrary to what most students think, in addition to increasing one’s IQ, mathematics can be applied in everyday life. These are therefore two very important reasons to take the study of mathematics seriously. Unfortunately, a larger percentage of students are not aware of this fact.

The list of reasons why students fail mathematics is quite inexhaustible. However, if the factors mentioned above are tackled seriously, then there will definitely be an improvement in the grades of students in mathematics examinations.

2 thoughts on “Top 10 Reasons Why Students Fail Mathematics

  • February 8, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    Can I use this article as a reference for our project.

    • February 8, 2019 at 12:23 pm

      With referencing, yes you can.


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