Learners poor performance in mathematics is a critical topic of discussion for South Africa. Shortcomings in the macro-system have prevented the effective implementation of a theoretically sound intended curriculum. Only certain extrinsic barriers have been addressed through educational research and many fundamental problems remain at the Foundation Phase, which has been largely neglected in studies addressing performance in mathematics. The necessity for a supportive intervention emerged as an important theme throughout the literature. The purpose of the research reported here was to design a supportive intervention aimed at improving Grade 1 learners mathematics results.
Two methodological approaches which are rooted in pragmatism were employed in this study, mixed methods (methodology) and design research (method). The sample included in the study ranged from expert appraisers (one foundational mathematics specialist and one remedial specialist), two schools (high performance and low performance), Grade 1 class teachers and Grade 1 learners. Qualitative data was attained by means of semi-structured interviews and quantitative data through a designed assessment instrument.
Quantitative analysis revealed that learners subjected to the intervention (experimental group) showed a more significant overall improvement than those not subjected to the intervention (control group). The qualitative assessment of the intervention revealed teacher satisfaction in implementation of the intervention. While this dissertation provides a practical framework for intervention design, additional research should be conducted on a national scale in order to account for the complete range of mathematical difficulties encountered by South African learners as well as the extrinsic barriers that potentially influence them.