School effectiveness and effective Mathematics teaching: towards a model of improved learner outcomes
Pule, Kereng Gilbert
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the possible determinants of quality mathematics teaching which could mark those schools and teachers effective in mathematics teaching among selected Mahikeng secondary schools of the North-West Province. Moreover, the intention was to develop a model towards improved learner outcomes in mathematics which can possibly be a diagnostic tool for better performance. The literature study was carried out on relevant theories, outcomes of previous studies involving similar issues and empirical inquiry tailed. The researcher used a sequential explanatory strategy i.e. mixed-methods, starting with quantitative method followed by qualitative method in a case-study paradigm. A structured questionnaire was used in the quantitative phase, in which 12 and 360 survey instruments were issued to mathematics teachers and learners respectively, of which 12 and 321 responses were received SPSS 23 was used to analyse quantitative responses. Descriptive statistics such as the mean, standard deviation, variance and frequency distributions were used to describe the demographic characteristics of the study respondents. These statistics were also used to describe and identify ‘the possible determinants of quality mathematics teaching which could mark schools and teachers effective in mathematics teaching in secondary schools’. A Pearson’s moment correlation coefficient was conducted to measure the relationship between the factors identified and were presented as a correlation matrix. The Pearson coefficient revealed a mixture of negative and positive insignificant relationships among constructs identified i.e. teacher attributes and learner conditions, with school conditions within them. It is evident that there are high correlations (in excess of 0.3), looking at the correlation matrix. It is also evident that the correlation matrix is not unitary providing a strong relation between the teacher, learner and school attributes. The performance of one attribute in one way or another has a certain influence on the other attribute. The p-value of most of the attributes is less than 0.01 and 0.05 levels of significance, confirming the interrelations between the attributes. Consequently, it shows that there is an association among the attributes. This further endorses the viability of the multiple relationships between these attributes. The second part, the qualitative phase, used semi-structured interviews with 12 mathematics teachers and 12 mathematics learners in focus groups, who also took part in the quantitative phase. The observations were made in grade 12 mathematics classes. Furthermore, the documents analysis was done to confirm all other data collection instruments. The qualitative data were analysed descriptively. The process involved clustering the responses into categories, coding the responses through application of in vivo coding allowing the themes to emerge. The findings supported the quantitative findings. It was revealed that teachers generally have a variety of challenges in different schools that affect effective mathematics teaching. These factors included, amongst others, unresponsive professional teacher development, lack of support by stakeholders, learner indiscipline, challenges in learner assessments and promotions, learner age cohort, underachieving learners, lack of safety and security, school location, congested work schedules, overcrowding and overload as well as poor leadership styles. The findings further indicated that a lack of effectiveness in mathematics teaching results in demoralisation of both teachers and learners, which affects the learner outcomes in mathematics, suggesting a relationship between effective mathematics teaching and learner outcomes in mathematics. The study concludes that effectiveness may usher in improved learner outcomes in mathematics and performance may show the way to effectiveness. The study developed a model towards improved learner outcomes in mathematics (tiLOM); which may be used as a diagnostic tool for effective mathematics teaching and improved learner performance. The identified attributes/conditions in the model supplement each other for the success of this intervention model.
- Education