Effects of Extrinsic Motivation on the Performance of Students in Mathematics in Senior Secondary School Jos North




      Globally, there has been an increasing concern in the education sector on how to ensure that students learn optimally at school and achieve academic excellence in their academic pursuit. In Nigeria, there has been a nationwide cry on the fallen standard of education and poor performance of students in mathematics due to factors militating against the school system in terms of funding’s, political will staffing, environmental factors, lack of good learning facilities etc. Various factors have been identified for poor academic achievement among students and these include poor study habit, laziness, ineffective classroom instructions, inadequate provision of instructional material and lack of motivation (Akpan, 2000).  Motivating students to learn in school is a topic of great concern for educationist today and motivating students so that they can succeed in school is one of the greatest challenges of this century (Awan, Noureen & Nas, 2011). Getting students to learn and sustaining their interest in what they are learning therefore should be the sole objective of teachers in the classroom. Motivation is a significantly important factor for academic learning and achievement (Elliot & Dweck, 2005). Moula (2010) observes that motivation is one of the factors that contribute to academic success; that parents and educators should strive to understand the importance of promoting and encouraging academic motivation early in life. Feldman (2005) refers to motivation as factors that direct and energize the behaviour of humans and other organisms, while Wood (2002) sees motivation as a process that initiates, directs, and sustains behaviours to satisfy physiological or psychological needs. Motivation is also seen as what gets one going, keeps one going, and determines where one is going (Slarin, 2006). According to Self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2000) there are two types of motivation i.e. extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation. 

          In recent times, there has been much interest in respect of extrinsic motivation as it is generally believed to improve human performance in many spheres of life. Students as humans cannot be left out as to the effects of extrinsic motivation as they are likely to enjoy learning and show interest, value and dedicated effort towards achievement when motivated. This is in consonance with Quinis (2008) who stated that, students could be motivated to learn, almost anything if promised a sufficiently attractive external reward.

          There are many debates over which method should be applied in learning to bring about desirable change in performance of students in secondary school. Thus, some psychologist argued that only reward should be applied and not with punishment while others were of the view that both reward and punishment should be applied as means of motivating students by the classroom teachers (Udoh, 2009).

          However, there is a consensus among many scholars that the problems lie not on the effect of reward but in the administration. According to (Udoh, 2009), reward is defined as a levy word that is nearly synonymous with reinforcement. In other words, it is used to describe the intent of someone providing consequences for behavior rather than the effectiveness of a consequences in influencing the frequency of probability of occurrence of a particular behavior. The implication of this understanding is that reward does not always produce the desired effect of achieving the aim of the person giving it.

          (Awoniji, 2005) presented reward as the process of reinforcing as well as stimulating desirable acts in an individual. It is also seen as a positive reinforcement and a nice motivation technique, (Clifford, 2001). Succinctly, the reward is something given to someone for exhibiting or performing a desirable performance.

          As to what extrinsic motivation implies and its significance, Psychestudy.com 2018, stated that, extrinsic motivation refers to action or behaviour performed in the hopes of receiving an external reward or outcome. According to Psychestudy.com, extrinsic motivation could be used to motivate a whole group, thus increasing productivity in workplace or creating a better learning environment. Psychestudy.com also stated that, extrinsic motivation could lead to personal benefits. It (Psychestudy.com) added that, extrinsic motivation could lead to behaviour which could never have been possible otherwise. Psychestudy.com went further to explain its point by giving an example that, a student might never feel the intrinsic motivation to study, but extrinsic motivations like medals or other forms of prize might motivate the student to study harder. The explanation provided by Psychestudy.com indicates that, from personal academic benefits, extrinsic motivation has economic advantage as it has the potential of stimulating teaching learning process in a secondary school and its increase the performance of students in the class room.

          Today, mathematical methods parade literally every field of human endeavour and play a fundamental role in economic development of a country. In our match towards scientific and technological advancement, we need nothing short of high performance in Mathematics at all levels of schooling. Unfortunately, performance of students in Mathematics at the end of the term and session in schools are declining (Tella, 2013), thin indicates that the poor performance of secondary school student in Mathematics  over the years, point to the fact that the teaching and learning process posed and serious danger to the nation’s dream of joining the league of developed nations.

One of the factors that affect student’ s performance in Mathematics is the level of teachers and students extrinsic motivation. Mallum and Haggai (2004) saw motivation “as the force that energizes, directs, spurs, arouses and sustains a behavior until a goal Is achieved”.

The issue of motivation of student in education and the effect on academic performance are considered as an important aspect of effective learning. However, a learner’s reaction to education determines the extent to which he/she will go in education. The effect on the child’s performance in Mathematics cannot be undermined. Based on the forgoing, research on Mathematics academic performance should be considered a continuous process until there is evidence of improvement in the performance of learners in the subject particularly the secondary school student. Therefore, the current study is an effect of extrinsic motivation on Mathematics performance among secondary school students in Naraguta, Jos.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS                                                                                                                                      

The teaching and learning of Mathematics in most secondary school in Nigeria has not been encouraging. This has cause a loud cry by so many people including parents and guardians concerning the lack of the interest of their wards in Mathematics which leads to poor performance in their secondary schools, this also proceed to the lack of interest in Mathematics at higher institutions.

Mathematics, the language of all sciences and thus fundamental to the scientific and technological development of any society is faced with the unfortunate situation of poor performance of students in mathematics (Mkpanang & Onwioduokit, 2005). This is in spite of the efforts of teachers, the supportive role of the federal and state governments and the facilitating strategies by the Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN). Several factors have been given to be responsible for the aforementioned problem. According to Mkpanang & Onwioduokit (2005) these factors include: lack of student’s motivation (extrinsic), non-mastery of skills, lack of qualified mathematics teachers, insufficient time in teaching and learning of mathematics. All these and other factors culminate to the resulting poor performance of students in mathematics in the Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE).

A lot of questions have been asked by those concerned such as what is the effect of extrinsic motivation on Mathematics performance among secondary school students. Okenwa (2000) professed that in Nigeria students’ poor performance in Mathematics has been attributed to lack of motivation, poor teaching methods unqualified and experienced teachers, poor student attitude towards Mathematics, poor learning environment and gender effect. It is background that the researcher investigates on the effect of extrinsic motivation of students on Mathematics performance in senior secondary schools by making observation, stating a question, formulating a hypotheses, conducting an experiment and analyzing the data and drawing conclusions.

How then can the poor performances be improved? It is in view of this problem that the researcher attempts to investigate the effect of extrinsic motivation on the performance of students in mathematics in senior secondary schools.


The study investigates the effects of extrinsic motivation on the performance of students in Mathematics in senior secondary school. The specific objectives of this research include:

       i.            To determine the types of extrinsic motivation being used by teachers to promote the teaching and learning of mathematics

     ii.            To find out the effect of extrinsic motivation on the learning mathematics.


The researcher ask’s the following questions:

                i.            What are the types of extrinsic motivation used to help senior secondary school students in learning mathematics?

              ii.            Does extrinsic motivation affects the performance of students in mathematics?



The following hypotheses were formulated with a view to testing them in the course of this study.

H0:      There is no significant difference between performance mean score of students taught with extrinsic motivation and those taught without extrinsic motivation.


The findings of this study will be of greater benefits to the teachers, students, parents, curriculum planners, professional bodies and the entire society.

This study has immense promise for improvement of student’s performance in Mathematics since it is directed at finding the appropriate teaching method which could facilitate learning and reflection of concepts, arousing the curiosity and interest of the learners.

The study will help teachers to identify brilliant Mathematics students and those that need special attention on how they can improve. The study will provide useful information to teachers training institutions when publication on the work are made. This study may help curriculum planners to plan programs that will encourage, develop and strengthen interest in students towards solving Mathematics, it would enable teachers to structure students  education to make them more effective in helping to improving the efficiency of their academic performance would be a source of information on how teachers can engage in production means to ensure the meaningful performance in Mathematics.

Parents and guardians are committed to the success of the school. At state level the parent teachers association (P. T .A) encourages hard work and innovation when a school is doing well academically, the PTA will help in building class rooms and provide resource materials and even pay for extra lesson to make the approach successful since the association is a major pressure group influencing  government policies for schools will pressure and rise the government, the government will take necessary steps to make relevant books tailored towards  the innovation and towards improving the performance of students in Mathematics for  teaching at affordable prices, professional bodies like Mathematics  association of Nigeria (MAN) and science teachers association of Nigeria (STAN) will organize and write books on these approaches and be as resource persons at workshops and seminars for teachers so as to positively  support the effort of government.

This study will serve as a source of literature to scholars and education researchers because the result gotten from the experiment will serve as a guide and even as a support for further research.

This will also enable the researcher to build up himself and to become more intelligent. Consumer of educational research it will enable him/her to know the actual effect of motivation on the students in Mathematics that is to find out whether the performances of students rely on extrinsic motivation.

Lastly this study will make suggestions that if effectively employed will improve the performance of students in secondary schools.


The study was delimited to the following scope of the study. The study is to be carried out in a day secondary school in Jos north local government area with data used from five of the nine secondary schools in the local government. The study only analyzed the effect of extrinsic motivation on Mathematics performance among secondary school students.

This study had several delimitations. This study will only use Mathematics instead of other subjects. The research shall also focus on five of the secondary schools in Jos north local government area.



       i.            Effects: these outcomes or results gotten from an action

     ii.            Extrinsic motivation: behavior that is driven by external rewards.

  iii.            Mathematics: this is a subject that involves critical thinking and has lots of application to real life

  iv.            Motivation: this is the energy the learner depends on what moves him/her towards achieving a goal it is goal it is also a source of encouragement that leads   the students to an expected goal

     v.            Performance: this refers to how students and how they accomplish the task given to them. It is also the final outcome the student present at the send of a mathematical exercise.