One of the aims of teaching and learning mathematics is to encourage and enable learners to become confident in using mathematics to analyze and solve practical problems in real-life situations. However, while a few students prosper in learning of mathematics, many students find it difficult and ultimately fail the subject. This study analyses students’ mathematics performance data and examines the perception of teachers on the causes of poor academic performance in mathematics among students in Tanzania. The study also probes on teachers’ emotions when teaching mathematics. The study utilizes the primary, secondary and tertiary students’ performance data during the period 2008 to 2016. The data were obtained from the National Examination Council of Tanzania and the College of Business Education records as well as 28 semi-structured interviews with purposively selected teachers and lecturers. Data are analyzed through content analysis and descriptive statistics. Findings reveal higher failure rates in primary and secondary schools particularly lower secondary school. Gender differences exist at all levels of education with girls underperforming in primary, lower secondary, and college examinations due to cultural factors impacting female students’ learning. Factors associated with student’s poor performance in mathematics are in line with Walberg’s productivity model but for Tanzania, policy environment and culture also play an important role. The findings reveal that majority of mathematics teachers and lecturers possess mixed emotions towards student’s ability and the teaching-learning environment. Measures to improve the situation suggested include; enhancement in teaching-learning environments, classroom instructions, teaching skills, students learning skills, teacher training programs, attitude of the community, and accountability. The results provide information about the trends of mathematics achievement and associated factors for educators and other stakeholders to consider the implication in curriculum and instructional practices of mathematics at all levels of education.
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