A study of teachers' emphasis of the objectives of the grade six mathematics program

Fewer, Dennis (1983) A study of teachers' emphasis of the objectives of the grade six mathematics program. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The primary purpose of the study was to determine which mathematics objectives teachers emphasized at the grade six level in Newfoundland and Labrador elementary schools and to analyse the results in terms of basic skill areas defined by leading professional mathematics groups. A secondary purpose was to determine on which of the emphasized objectives teachers spent the most amount of instructional time and which areas of the curriculum were emphasized most. Also examined were the primary methods used by teachers to plan their mathematics program, the difference in emphasis between high and low cognitive level objectives, and the effect years of teaching experience had on the nature of objectives emphasized. -- Twenty school districts in Newfoundland and Labrador were selected at random and from these districts 120 grade six teachers were selected at random. The teachers were sent a questionnaire to collect data on the experience of the teacher and the primary method they used to plan their classroom program. The teachers were also requested to complete a 78 card sort in order to obtain data on the objectives that were emphasized during the 1981-82 school year. Each of the 78 cards contained a test item which represented an objective included in a grade six mathematics program. Complete sets of data were returned by 56 teachers. -- The four objectives most emphasized by grade six teachers in the sample dealt with skills used in computing with fractions. Other objectives involving fractions also were ranked highly by the teachers in the study. Computational types of objectives generally received high rankings, with division of whole numbers being ranked fifth. When the data were analyzed in terms of instructional time spent it was found that the most amount of instructional time was spent on operations with fractions, specifically subtraction, multiplication and division. Division of whole numbers was ranked fifth. -- With respect to high and low cognitive level items, a significantly higher degree of emphasis was given to low cognitive level items than high cognitive level items. -- The data collected on method of program planning were insufficient to allow analysis. However, from the respondents only six indicated they used the Newfoundland K-6- Mathematics Bulletin as their primary means to plan their program. -- With respect to the content area being emphasized, number concepts, operations, and problem solving were rated much higher, and therefore received higher ranks than the geometry and measurement content areas. There was no significant difference in the rankings between teachers with different amounts of teaching experience. -- Some suggestions for further study were given at the conclusion of the report. These related to determining if there were sufficient instructional time allocated to mathematics, the effects a decrease in emphasis on computation would have on overall mathematics programming, and a question related to the need to emphasize fractions as much as indicated by the report.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10487
Item ID: 10487
Additional Information: Bibliography : leaves 65-67.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1983
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Mathematics--Study and teaching (Elementary)

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