How the Use of Subjectivist Instructional Strategies in Teaching Multiple Sections of an Eighth Grade Algebra Class in Guyana Relates to Algebra Achievement and Attitude Changes Toward Mathematics
In Guyana, South America, the Ministry of Education seeks to provide universal, inclusive education that prepares its citizens to take their productive places in society and to creatively solve complex, real-world problems. However, with frequent national assessments that are used to place students in high school, college or into jobs, teachers resort to using familiar strategies such as lecture, recitation and test drilling. Despite their efforts, over 56% of students are failing the Grade 6 assessments, 43% failing 10 th grade Mathematics and over 60% failing college algebra courses. Such performance has been linked to students’ lower academic self-concept and their negative attitudes toward mathematics aggravated by an autocratic culture that continues to view the teacher as sole authority. Subjectivist instructional strategies integrate constructivism and affect by providing a learning experience that gives children more autonomy as they solve contextually relevant algebraic problems. In a quasi-experimental study involving a treatment and control group of eighth grade students at a high school in Guyana, a modified version of the Mathematics Value Inventory was used to measure students’ attitudes towards mathematics before and after the 10-week treatment. Scores on the final examination were used to determine achievement in algebra. Forty seven students in the treatment group were guided in exploring and discovering concepts for themselves. Formal definitions were delayed until after the students experimented with relatable scenarios. Forty two students in the control group were taught using multiple opportunities to practice. Analysis was done using General Linear Models to determine the variance in achievement and attitude scores accounted for by the instructional strategies while controlling for sex, challenge index, and, pretreatment scores for attitude and achievement. The challenge index was developed to identify outside influences on students’ performance such as: travel time; whether living at home; number in household; sleepiness; noisiness; and, resource availability. Results were not all as expected but some interesting relationships surfaced between the challenges, attitudes towards mathematics and achievement scores. Ultimately it was determined that the environment in which students had to study and the challenges they faced outweighed the small gains in attitude changes for the treatment group.
Middle School education|Secondary education
Hoyte, Jennifer, "How the Use of Subjectivist Instructional Strategies in Teaching Multiple Sections of an Eighth Grade Algebra Class in Guyana Relates to Algebra Achievement and Attitude Changes Toward Mathematics" (2017). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI10747837.