- Singapore's junior college students' literacy and competency in mathematics

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# Singapore's junior college students' literacy and competency in mathematics

Author

Loong, Jenny Choo Juan

Supervisor

Kaur, Berinderjeet

Abstract

The main purpose of the study is to investigate the level of achievement in six selected content areas among Singapore's local junior college students. These content areas are

● Mathematics Literacy;

● Calculus;

● Probability and Statistics;

● Validation and Structure;

● Geometry; and

● Numbers, Equations and Functions.

A Literacy and Competency in Mathematics (LCIM) test was administered to a group of 223 students from two junior colleges. 90 of these students also took part in a survey, which was administered several days after the test. The LCIM test questions are adapted from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) Released Item Set for the Final Year of Secondary School (1995-1996).

The four specific aims of the study are :

● To compare the level of performance of Singapore's local junior college students in the mathematics literacy questions with students from Population 3 in the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (the school leavers) conducted in 1995;

● To study the relationship between students' performance in the LCIM test and their 'O' Level mathematics grades;

● To compare the level of performance among three distinct groups of students in the LCIM test, namely Science Faculty students taking both Mathematics and Further Mathematics, Science Faculty students taking only Mathematics and Arts Faculty students taking only Mathematics;

● To uncover students' perceptions of mathematics learnt at school and its relevance in the real world.

The results of the study showed that Singapore's local junior college students appeared to perform better in the Mathematics Literacy Component of the LCIM test, when compared with students from Population 3 in the Third International Mathematics and Science Study conducted in 1995. It was also observed that students with better 'O' level mathematics grades tend to perform better in the LCIM test and in the Mathematics Literacy Component of the LCIM test.

The study also showed that students taking both Further Mathematics and Mathematics performed better than Science Faculty Mathematics students in the LCIM test and in the Mathematics Literacy, Calculus, Geometry and Numbers, Equations and Functions components of the LCIM test. The Science Faculty Mathematics students in turn performed better than the Arts Faculty Mathematics students in the LCIM test and in the four content components mentioned earlier.

The survey conducted showed that 84.4% of the students found mathematics taught at the primary and secondary level to be relevant, but only 51.5% of them see the relevance of mathematics taught at the junior college level. This is particularly true for more difficult mathematics topics like the Summation of Series and the Sigma notation and Calculus.

The study concluded with a discussion of the limitations of the study, some implications for classroom instruction and recommendations for future research.

● Mathematics Literacy;

● Calculus;

● Probability and Statistics;

● Validation and Structure;

● Geometry; and

● Numbers, Equations and Functions.

A Literacy and Competency in Mathematics (LCIM) test was administered to a group of 223 students from two junior colleges. 90 of these students also took part in a survey, which was administered several days after the test. The LCIM test questions are adapted from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) Released Item Set for the Final Year of Secondary School (1995-1996).

The four specific aims of the study are :

● To compare the level of performance of Singapore's local junior college students in the mathematics literacy questions with students from Population 3 in the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (the school leavers) conducted in 1995;

● To study the relationship between students' performance in the LCIM test and their 'O' Level mathematics grades;

● To compare the level of performance among three distinct groups of students in the LCIM test, namely Science Faculty students taking both Mathematics and Further Mathematics, Science Faculty students taking only Mathematics and Arts Faculty students taking only Mathematics;

● To uncover students' perceptions of mathematics learnt at school and its relevance in the real world.

The results of the study showed that Singapore's local junior college students appeared to perform better in the Mathematics Literacy Component of the LCIM test, when compared with students from Population 3 in the Third International Mathematics and Science Study conducted in 1995. It was also observed that students with better 'O' level mathematics grades tend to perform better in the LCIM test and in the Mathematics Literacy Component of the LCIM test.

The study also showed that students taking both Further Mathematics and Mathematics performed better than Science Faculty Mathematics students in the LCIM test and in the Mathematics Literacy, Calculus, Geometry and Numbers, Equations and Functions components of the LCIM test. The Science Faculty Mathematics students in turn performed better than the Arts Faculty Mathematics students in the LCIM test and in the four content components mentioned earlier.

The survey conducted showed that 84.4% of the students found mathematics taught at the primary and secondary level to be relevant, but only 51.5% of them see the relevance of mathematics taught at the junior college level. This is particularly true for more difficult mathematics topics like the Summation of Series and the Sigma notation and Calculus.

The study concluded with a discussion of the limitations of the study, some implications for classroom instruction and recommendations for future research.

Date Issued

2004

Call Number

QA14.S55 Loo

Date Submitted

2004