Mathematics, as a subject, is used in various scientific careers as a selection tool. It is regarded as the cornerstone of scientific literacy. However, since learners in South Africa do not perform optimally in mathematics they do not enjoy international recognition. Education renewal is ongoing, and South Africa currently follows an outcomes-based (OBE) approach. The teaching of mathematics cannot be renewed successfully if assessment methods are not regularly adapted to meet new developments in the field. The incorporation of an OBE approach at school level made it necessary to facilitate assessment renewal in tertiary mathematics at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). TUT is engaged in a merger of three institutions, which has made the development of new curricula and teaching material essential. Hence this a perfect time to introduce assessment renewal. The primary purpose of this thesis is to report on the research study and its results, and to make recommendations for improving the practice. The overarching research hypothesis in this study is that a suitable assessment would probably enhance the effectiveness of a student’s learning. The research focused on the following questions: -- To what extent are outcomes-based strategies effectively and regularly introduced in the teaching of mathematics at TUT? -- Will tertiary mathematics facilitators be prepared to implement outcomes-based strategies at TUT? -- To what extent are outcomes-based strategies strategies in subjects supported by mathematics implemented at TUT? -- How does the ecology of TUT affect the implementation of outcomes-based strategies? -- What other factors could influence the level of implementation of OBS at TUT? -- Have any of the mathematics facilitators at TUT received suitable and adequate training in the implementation of outcomes-based strategies? -- What are the possible implications of the study for TUT’s assessment policy? Action research was chosen as the research design because it is ideally suited to improving practice. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected through questionnaires, personal interviews, interviews with focus groups, observations, documentation and a reflective diary. The main findings are as follows:– -- OBE strategies are not being introduced throughout TUT in the teaching of mathematics. -- Group work and peer assessments are rare occurences. -- Some lecturers are convinced that new assessment methods would lower the standard of their teaching. -- Uncertainty about the merger and the varying teaching conditions at the different campuses tend to inhibit lecturers, making them less willing to undertake assessment renewals. -- TUT should review its admission criteria. -- The lecturers cited large class groups, a lack of marking assistance and ignorance about OBE as reasons for failing to undertake assessment renewal. The study prepared respondents for assessment renewal. In the interim, however, TUT has introduced a Policy on Teaching, Learning and Technology, whereby OBE has been selected as the teaching model for TUT. In future, respondents will receive training and guidance in the implementation of OBE. This study has hopefully made a significant contribution to this positive development.
Thesis (PhD (Curriculum Studies))--University of Pretoria, 2007.
Ramothlale, Elizabeth Faith(University of Pretoria, 2010-04-07)
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