The failure rate in mathematics at school is high, not only in South Africa, but also
internationally. Furthermore, learners with an apparently high general ability or
aptitude for mathematics sometimes underachieve in the subject, while some
learners with an apparently low general intellectual ability or aptitude for mathematics
sometimes achieve well in the subject. Little attention is nonetheless given to
learners' study orientation in mathematics, in spite of the fact that research has
indicated that school mathematics is one of the best predictors of success in tertiary
An investigation into some epistemological approaches to the learning process in
mathematics confirms that learners' achievement in mathematics is significantly
affected by their study orientation in mathematics.
The primary aim of this thesis was the development and evaluation of a study orientation
questionnaire (SOM) in mathematics. Data processing procedures especially
referred to the following two primary aims with the study:
(a) Standardisation of the questionnaire.
Steps carried out to evaluate the questionnaire psychometrically, include factor and
item analysis. In the case of Grade 8 and 9, three fields (Study habits in mathematics,
Mathematics anxiety and Study attitudes in mathematics) were identified. A fourth field, Locus of control regarding mathematics, was identified only in the case of
learners in Grade 1 0 and ll. It was established that the SOM apparently has criterion
related validity, as well as content and construct validity for the three language
groups as a whole. Reliability coefficients for the SOM can in most cases be
regarded as satisfactory.
(b) Comparative studies to determine the applicability of the SOM.
Analysis of variance techniques were used to determine where significant differences
between groups (including grade-, mother tongue and sex groups) lay.
Where MANOV AS showed significant differences, further investigation was carried
out to determine in respect of which individual fields (single variables) groups
differed significantly. By means of LSM it was determined which groups differed
significantly in regard of the separate fields. Some of the findings include:
* It seems that African language speakers in both grade groups are really trying
to achieve in mathematics, but that their best efforts are not successful.
* It would appear that girfs' level of Mathematics anxiety drops in Grade l 0 and
* Learners in Grade l 0 and ll show lower levels of Mathematics anxiety and
more sufficient Study habits in mathematics than their counterparts in Grade 8
* Perhaps the most significant finding is the phenomenon that African language
learners in Grade l 0 and l l achieved much worse in regard of Locus of control
than Afrikaans and English-speaking learners. A number of factors probably
contribute towards this state of affairs, including language problems, teachers
who are underqualified, African language learners' less than optimal socioeconomic
status (SES) in general, a lack of facilities and text books and
disruption which is still being experienced in rnnny traditionally black schools. It
is recommended that these matters ·are attended to in an effort to create
circumstances for more sufficient achievement in mathematics by learners
from all language groups.
Maree, J.G. (Kobus); Olivier, E.C.; Swanepoel, A.C.(Suid Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap & Kuns, 2004)
South African learners’ insufficient achievement in mathematics is of concern to everyone involved in learning facilitation in mathematics. Interested parties constantly seek ways in which learners’ insight into and ...
Jita, Loyiso C.; Vandeyar, Saloshna(Perspectives in Education, 2006-03)
Based on life history accounts of two elementary school teachers in South Africa, this article examines the construction of two teachers' mathematics identities. In the article we juxtapose these identities with the identity ...
Verwey, Johanna Cornelia (Hanlie)(University of Pretoria, 2011-05-19)
This study investigated the interaction of mathematics teachers with learners’ mathematical errors. The teachers’ verbal interaction with learners’ errors during learning periods and their written interaction in assessment ...