Globally mathematics is seen to be one of the
most crucial subjects of the school curriculum. As it is
known to help improve students’ cognitive skills. Even
though it is an important subject that cannot be
separated from human life, most students worldwide
find it challenging. This situation is not different in Sub-
Sahara Africa and in Ghana, where there is a reflection
in an increasing rate of student failure in Mathematics.
The teaching method used in teaching and learning
mathematics is predominantly teacher-centred rather
than student-centred. However, research had proved
that using the problem-solving approach in teaching and
learning mathematics would help improve student
performance. This study, therefore, sought to determine
the extent of use of the problem-solving approach and its
effectiveness in teaching and learning mathematics in
Sefwi Wiawso Municipality.
Method: The study employed a cross-sectional
quantitative survey design with the use of a
questionnaire, checklist and achievement test as a
multiple data collection instrument. A total of 380 first-
year students and 13 teachers from 4 selected schools in
the municipality were sampled to participate in the
study. To select the participant for the study a multi-
stage sampling design was used. Four schools from the
municipality were purposively selected. Secondly,
random sampling was used to select three classes from
each school except St Joseph Senior High School where
four classes were used. Finally, 13 classes with their
respective teachers were used for the study. The data
collected were entered into SPSS and analyzed using
Result: The result shows that the use of the problem-
solving approach in teaching and learning mathematics
was observed to be significant in student performance
and it was also observed that other factors contribute to
the performance of students in mathematics
Conclusion: In regard to these findings, the extent of the
use of a problem-solving strategy for teaching and
studying mathematics was effective. There was a positive
correlation between the usage of problem-solving
strategies and their effectiveness in students'
achievement and this correlation is statistically
significant at a p-value of less than 0.05%.
Students' use of problem solving approaches and
mathematics performance does not depend on their age.
Even though it had a positive effect on problem solving
approach it was insignificant. With respect to the
findings, it can be concluded that if both genders receive
the necessary training and had the same chances, gender
will not have any effect on problem-solving and
The researcher also concluded that even though the
problem-solving approach is very effective in students'
performance, other factors also contribute to their
performance in mathematics.
Keywords : A problem solving approach; mathematics; students; teachers.