Identification of difficulties in Mathematics I:

Sub Title: implication to instruction enrichment and school administration

Author: Garfin,Lucita V.

Accession Number: 432D

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Copyright Year: 1990

Abstract:

This study aimed at ascertaining the difficulties in Mathematics I (Arithmetic) of the high school freshmen of the Polytechnic State College of Antique based on previous records from school 1986-1987 and 1987-1988 and the results of the achievement test in Mathematics I given to the 1988-1989 high school freshmen. The study also ascertained the relationship of association of the levels of difficulty of four Mathematics I areas as experienced by the students during the three-year span. Answer to the following questions were sought: 1.What are the areas of difficulty of the students in Mathematics I as reflected in their previous records and in the results of the achievement test? 2.Are there significant differences in the levels of difficulty of the areas as reflected by the students' scores in Mathematics I (Arithmetic)? The descriptive method of investigation was employed. The data were obtained through the analysis of previous records of the school years from 1986 to 1988 high school freshmen as well as from the results of achievement test given to high school freshmen during the school year 1988-1989. The achievement test constructed by the investigator was submitted to a five-man jury for face and content validity. It was also subjected to item analysis to ascertain its validity and reliability. Reliability was ascertained through test-retest and split-half methods. The data obtained in the study were subjected to certain statistical treatments, such as the mean, the Spearman rho, Friedman's Two-way Analysis of Variance, the One-way Analysis of Variance, a posteriori test using the Neuman Keuls procedure, and the Sign Test. In the decision as to whether to reject or not the null hypothesis, .05 alpha was employed using the two-tailed test. Findings. In general, the high school freshmen of the Polytechnic State College of Antique for the period 1986-1988 (the old group) found Mathematics I difficult. Specifically, the areas which students found difficult were rational numbers, integers, factors and primes. The present group (1988-1989) also found Mathematics I difficult. The students also encountered difficulty in rational numbers,integers, factors and primes. Significant differences were found as to the four areas in Mathematics I. The numeration system and whole numbers differed significantly in level of difficulty as seen in the performance and records of freshmen students. Conclusion. The nature of the areas in Mathematics I is related to its related to its level of difficulty as revealed by students' previous records and the records and the scores in the achievement test. The seemingly higher level of difficulty of the areas on rational numbers and integers, factors and primes might be due to the fact that the lessons in these areas involve more manipulative skills and more complicated operations, which when taught by incompetent teachers and studied by students with poor mathematics foundation might have caused the difficulty among students. The perception of the different areas in Mathematics I is related to the group of students for a specified years. Some groups perceived similar level of difficulty in the four areas. Other groups of students perceived the difficulty of the four areas differently. The significant association in the levels of difficulty of the four areas in Mathematics I reveals the consistency of the difficulties experienced in Mathematics I by high school freshmen of the Polytechnic State College of Antique. The same difficulty seemed to have been met by students in Mathematics I in previous years. Implications. In view of the findings that the students had difficulty in Mathematics I despite the fact that practically the same lessons had been given in the sixth grade in the elementary school, it might be inferred that the school where the students came from did not seem to have given them the necessary foundation in mathematics at the elementary level. However, it might also be possible that the Mathematics I teachers have not done their best in making their students understand their lessons at the high school level. With this observation, the situation calls for the use of indigenous or innovation techniques in teaching mathematics in the high school. The use of the module to enrich or supplement the teaching of mathematics seems to be one good alternative. Recommendations. From the results of the study and the conclusions derived from them, the following recommendations are advanced: 1.The attention of the college president should be called to assess the Mathematics I program in order to find out how instruction in this subject can be improved. In this connection, entering first year students should be given a diagnostic test in mathematics upon enrollment to determine their strengths and weaknesses in Mathematics I. In teaching the Mathematics I students, more emphasis should be given to the areas of weakness as revealed by the diagnostic test in Mathematics I students , more emphasis should be given to the areas of weakness as revealed by the diagnostic test. Mathematics I teachers at PSCA should be given the opportunity to update their teaching especially as to methods, techniques, and approaches to make possible more efficient and effective mathematics instruction. This can be realized by encouraging them to pursue advanced studies or other training programs and by sending them to seminars and workshops in mathematics. More drill, instruction, and time should be given to the lessons on integers, factors and primes since these areas have been pinpointed as difficult for high school freshmen. Teaching materials might be devised to enhance teaching and learning in these areas. 2.Policy-makers in the Department of Education, Culture and Sports through the regional director, schools superintendents, mathematics supervisors and mathematics coordinators must review the mathematics program in the elementary school, focusing attention on instruction and the areas of weakness. By doing this, the DECS can provide elementary pupils a strong foundation in mathematics to prepare them for entrance to higher levels of education. 3.Further research on the identification of specific difficulties should be undertaken to complement the findings of this study and other similar studies to improve mathematics instruction. Corollary to this, tests and other evaluative instruments to measure mathematical skill/capability of students should be constructed to help teachers and students learn the best way to help the latter achieve mastery. The effects of supplementary materials on mathematics teaching and learning should be ascertained. The effects of learning assistance programs like coaching, remedial teaching, tutorial work and guided assignments or homework as well as the provision of more exercises especially on problem solving to students, such as the appended modules to help students gain mastery of mathematics should be considered.


Keywords: Instruction enrichment, school administration, difficulties in Arithmetic, methods of teaching Mathematics

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