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Exploring the factors influencing Grade 11 learner performance in Geometry in two high schools in the Umlazi District.

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Performance of learners in geometry has persistently been poor compared to other sections of mathematics. Learning geometry has been identified as an area of mathematics that poses various problems for many secondary school learners. Many learners fail to develop an adequate understanding of geometrical concepts and demonstrate good reasoning and problem-solving skills. This has a negative impact on he overall mathematics results of learners. My study was aimed at exploring factors that influence learner performance in geometry and establish the strategies that can be adopted to improve performance in geometry by learners in public secondary schools of Umlazi District. The study explored(school-based, home-based, Department of Education based and learner-based) contributory factors that influence learners’ performance in geometry in secondary schools. The theory guiding the study, was social constructivism which was derived from the work of Vygotsky. Vygotsky’s social constructivism was used as a theoretical framework to understand the ways that learners acquire knowledge about groups.His theoretical framework states that social constructivist teaching, knowledge construction is achieved through learners' collective social interaction.The study used a qualitative methodology to provide rich data and compare and incorporate findings and get a holistic view of the phenomenon. The sample size constituted of16 participants.The study used focus group discussions with grade 11learnersandface-to-face semi-structured interviews with educators, Heads of Department and Principals of the two secondary schools under the Umlazi District.The qualitative data were collected by means of interviews with the participants. Thematic analysis was used to analyse qualitative data. The findings of the study led to the conclusion that the significant factors contributing to poor performance included lack of prior knowledge by learners,negative attitude toward geometry, lack of motivation,anxiety and fear of geometry,parental educational background, parental involvement, poor teaching strategies, geometry educators’ knowledge, lack of professional development of educators, class size,lack of resources and facilities.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.