Learner metacognition and mathematics achievement during problem-solving in a mathematics classroom
Du Toit, Stephan
Du Toit, Gawie
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In this investigation the level of learner metacognition as well as the level of mathematics achievement during problem-solving in a mathematics classroom was investigated. Learner metacognition plays a pivotal role during the problem-solving process and when the problem-solving is successful it can be viewed as evidence of high achievement in mathematics. Data were collected from one intact Grade 11 class of 25 girls. A word problem was given to the learners to solve individually. The learners recorded their thoughts relating to the problem as well as the calculations that corresponded to their thoughts. The level of achievement of the learners were analysed by noting calculation and conceptual errors in the solving of the problem. The learners’ level of metacognition was determined by analysing the written account of their thoughts and comparing it to the items on an adapted Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI). Strong evidence was obtained from the recorded thoughts of learners that their metacognitive behaviours corresponded to the first three phases of Polya’s problem-solving model, but there was no evidence of metacognitive behaviours that corresponded with Polya’s fourth phase (Looking back) of problem-solving. It was further determined that the learners’ metacognitive awareness during the problem-solving session did not relate to the subscale Evaluation of the MAI. It was thus evident that the learners were not reflecting on the validity and correctness of their own solution. In this study a qualitative onephase approach was used to examine the process of intervention, as well as a two-phase approach on the qualitative data which was also embedded in the quantitative methodology prior to and after the intervention phase (two-phase approach).