The construction and use of an evaluation instrument to measure attainment of objectives in mathematics learning at senior secondary level.
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This research aimed at measuring the extent to which a group of senior secondary pupils were attaining desirable cognitive objectives in mathematics. The summary of the design and procedures adopted in this study and the major findings which emerged is presented here. A scheme of objectives for mathematics learning at the senior secondary level was suggested in accordance with Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives and recent research relating to the Taxonomy and other classifications used in mathematics education. Multiple choice-type test items were constructed with reference to the above scheme of objectives and to content areas selected from the standard grade senior secondary mathematics syllabus. A pilot test was administered and analysed. The selection of items for the final form of the test was based on a consideration of item analysis data, distractors, reliability, validity, rating of items according to objectives and length of test. The final forms of the test and questionnaire were administered to a selected sample of 769 standard nine pupils from 14 Indian high schools in the Durban and District Area. The test was manually scored and the scores were subjected to statistical analyses by computerization. The findings suggest that: (i) it is possible to devise a reasonably reliable and valid test instrument to test at least two different levels of objectives in mathematics learning at senior secondary school level; (ii) the lower level objectives in mathematics are significantly easier to attain than the higher level objectives, which tends to support - in at least two levels - the assumption of hierarchical structure of a taxonomic classification of objectives; (iii) the performance in mathematics of the higher grade pupils tends to be adversely affected by being taught mathematics in mixed higher and standard grade classes.