A description of mathematical proficiency in number skills of grade ten learners in both the mathematics and mathematics literacy cohorts at a north Durban school.
Moodley, Vivendren Govindarajaloo.
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The main objective of this study was to determine the progress made in the development of mathematical proficiency, in the domain of number skills, by learners in the two cohorts (namely: Mathematics and Mathematical Literacy) during Grade ten. The research was conducted at Temple Valley Secondary School, which is situated at Verulam, north of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal. Furthermore, this research study was questionnaire-based employing basic descriptive statistics as well as qualitative analyses. Data was collected through numeracy (number) skill tests, a questionnaire and focus group interview responses of grade ten mathematics learners. A total of two skill tests were administered and 3 focused group interviews were conducted with six grade ten learners each. The first test and first attitudinal questionnaire was administered in May 2006 when learners had branched off into the two paths of mathematics. Thereafter, a second test and second attitudinal questionnaire was administered, during October 2006; when learners had completed most of the school year. The October-test was followed by the focus group interviews. A convenient sample was used in selecting the learners for this research study and a purposeful sampling technique was used for the focus group interviews. All grade ten learners at Temple Valley Secondary School were selected as the sample. The results showed that the mathematics learners slightly outperformed the mathematical literacy learners in the development of mathematical proficiency for number skills. The findings from this research could inform: Teachers of grade ten learners with an interest in improving the mathematical proficiency, in number skills, of learners and; curriculum developers and materials development specialists who prepare mathematical material for grade ten classrooms. The results showed that none of the grade ten learners, from either cohort, were mathematically proficient in May or October. From the study, it was noted that the female grade ten learners generally outperformed their male counterparts. The focus group interviews revealed that learners had a positive attitude to the learning of the subject mathematics, despite the poor test results of this study.