Readiness of learners to study space, shape and measurement in mathematical literacy : case studies at two Durban schools.
Pillay, Krubagaran Subramoney.
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This dissertation reports case studies conducted at two secondary schools in Durban. With the introduction of the Further Education and Training (FET) curriculum in 2006, learners who terminate their study of Mathematics at the end of grade nine will have to study Mathematical Literacy, an applications-based mathematics course. In South Africa the Mathematics results at the grade twelve exit examination are generally poor and learners are known to underachieve in the field of geometry. This study was aimed at determining the readiness of learners in studying geometry under the Learning Outcome, Space, Shape and Measurement in the Mathematical Literacy curriculum. Questionnaires were administered to grade nine learners who had elected not to study, or were excluded from studying, Mathematics from grade ten onwards. Data was sought to determine what factors influence the decision to discontinue mathematics, and to gauge attitudes to the study of mathematics. Learners were given a test to measure geometry skills and knowledge that they ought to have acquired by the end of the senior phase in geometry. Data was also obtained from focus group interviews with both of learners and educators. This study indicates that learners do not continue mathematics because of the difficulties they experience. Furthermore they do not have the requisite skills and knowledge in Space, Shape and Measurement to cope with the Mathematical Literacy curriculum. Nevertheless, the attitudes of learners to the study of this new subject are positive. It is suggested that educators need to conduct baseline assessments to determine learners' abilities so as to plan appropriate revision measures before continuing with the teaching of Mathematical Literacy.