The Effect of Rusbult’s Problem Solving Strategy on Senior High School Students’ Achievement in Geometry Classroom
Objective of the study
The objective of the study is to investigate the effect of Rusbult’s problem solving strategy on senior high school students’ achievement in geometry classroom. The specific objectives are;
- To find out Mean achievement scores and standard deviations of senior high school students in geometry when taught through Rusbult’s problem solving strategy.
- To find out Mean achievement scores and standard deviations of male and female students in geometry when taught through Rusbult’s problem solving strategy.
- Interaction effects between strategy and gender of the mean achievement scores as measured by Geometry Achievement Test (GAT).
Theoretical Basis for the Study
Three forms of constructivist theories are considered very relevant to the present study. They are the social constructivist theory, the Bandura’s learning theory and that of Vigotsky. The social constructivist theory is a learning approach which argues that individuals learn best when they actively construct knowledge and understanding through interacting with others (Santrock, 2004). Emphasis is therefore given to interactions rather than actions of individuals. One of the strongest proponents of this theory is Piaget. This theory emphasises social context of learning and that knowledge is mutually built and constructed (Bearing & Dorvan, 2002 as cited in Santrock, 2004). Involvement with others creates opportunities for students to evaluate and refine their understanding as they are exposed to the thinking of others. Experience is therefore found to provide important mechanism for developing the students’ thinking since they are exposed to a variety of opportunities to pick and drop whatever knowledge comes their way (Johnson & Johnson, 2003). Another strong proponent of social constructivist theory is Vygotsky. Vigotsky (1978) acknowledges the conceptual shift from individual to collaboration and social interaction which could be found in team teaching (Rogoff, 1998 cited in Santrock, 2004). This theory is seen to be strongly linked to the present study on the grounds that students will learn best as they actively construct knowledge through their interactions with different mathematics teachers which team teaching readily provides. Albert Bandura is considered a leading proponent of the social learning theory which again focuses on the learning that occurs within social context(Bandura, 1977, 1986). He personally observed that people learn from one another through concepts as observation learning, imitation learning and modeling. Bandura (1977) established attention, retention, reproduction and motivation as necessary components of modeling process. According Bandura, if one is going to learn anything the person has to pay attention. Thus anything that puts a damper on attention decreases learning. Secondly, one must be able to retain, that is, remembering what one has paid attention to and translate it into actual behaviour. He equally postulated that one can not do anything unless such a person is motivated by an interest. The fact that the learner has choice makes the entire idea interesting and learner oriented. A close examination of Bandura’s propositions suggests that they are traditionally considered to be necessary ingredients required for team teaching also. For instance, team teaching provides the learner with a couple of models to choose who to learn from and makes learning more active as more than one teacher is involved at a time.
Mathematics is one of the formal disciplines that help man lay a solid foundation for future survival. Scientific and technological developments are dependent on mathematics. Ginsburg, (2002), defines mathematics as a fundamental human activity-a way of making sense of the world. Fapohunda, (2002), sees mathematics as essential tool in the formation of the educated man. Because of its importance, Kenya has made mathematics compulsory in both primary and secondary School curriculum (Mutunga and Breakel, 1992; Republic of Kenya 1992) in order to give a sound basis for scientific and reflective thinking, and prepare students for the next level of education. Its application in other disciplines, mostly in sciences, is appreciative and without it, knowledge of the sciences remains superficial. However a considerable number of students have inadequate understanding of mathematics and mathematical concepts and skills (KNEC, 2000, MOEST, 2001. According to data released by the Ministry Of Education Science and Technology on December 31st , 2014of the 839,759 of standard eight pupils took the 2013 KCPE, which serves as the form one entrance examination, 467,353 scored below the average, receiving scores 250 out of possible 500 marks. Uwezo Kenya‟s report findings of 2012 showed little progress on children‟s learning capabilities. Mathematics is used as a basic entry requirement into any of the prestigious courses such as medicine, architecture and engineering among other degree programs. Despite the important role that mathematics plays in the society, there has been poor performance in Mathematics in Kenyan national examinations (Aduda 2003). Several factors have been attributed to poor performance in mathematics among which are poor methods of teaching (Harbour-peters, 2001), poor interest in mathematics (Badimus, 2002&Bodo, 2004), Lack of appropriate instructional materials for teaching mathematics at all levels of education (Gambari, 2010). Several studies have shown other indices that could affect pupils‟ mathematics achievement. Stringfield and Teddie(1991). In their study of rural education in the U.S showed that classes and Schools differ in terms of their learning environment and School resources. Okoyeocha (2005) in a comparative study of public and private Schools were better equipped than their private counterparts. TIMSS report of 2011 on mathematics result analysis showed that Mathematics achievement is improving over the years in some member Countries, Kenya is not one though. The percentage of high level and low level students increased in both 4th and 8 thgrades. The Governments of many countries are struggling in considering how to provide best mathematics education for their students. According to the report, students‟ ability in mathematics is deteriorating over their school years, as a student grows older, math competencies decrease. A country such as Chinese Taipei showed bimodal distribution on mathematic achievement with 2 peaks of high performance and high peak of low performance. This signifies that educational opportunities or resources are not equally distributed to all students (Ker W.2013) The current education system in Kenya consists of early Childhood education (ECE), Primary and secondary education. At the end of primary education, pupils sit for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) prepared by Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC). Performance in KCPE determines who is admitted to secondary schools. A candidate is required to sit for five subjects-English, Mathematics, Kiswahili, Social Studies and Science. Identifying difficulties at an early age can prevent children from developing inappropriate strategies and misconceptions that can become long term obstacles to learning, (Williams, 2008). Early intervention can also combat the development of anxiety which can become a significant factor among older students,( Dowker,2004).It can be assumed in most cases that if intervention start early and specific weaknesses are concentrated upon, they might not need to be very long or intensive,(Dowker,2009). Zan & Maartino, 2007), reported in TIMSS that 4th grade students have much more positive attitude towards mathematics and this plays a crucial role in learning the subject, hence high achievement. Gathier et al. (2004) in their report assert that junior years are an important time of transition and growth in student‟s mathematical thinking. According to the report, during this time, the curriculum is changing in its content, sophistication, abstraction and expectations of student proficiency. There is also move to abstract reasoning. Junior students begin to investigate increasingly complex ideas, building on their capacity to deal with more formal concepts.
In this chapter, we described the research procedure for this study. A research methodology is a research process adopted or employed to systematically and scientifically present the results of a study to the research audience viz. a vis, the study beneficiaries.
Design of the Study
The design of the study is the nonequivalent control group design. It is the quasi-experimental, non-randomized pre-test, post-test design. Shaughnessy, Zechmeister and Zechmeister (2003) declared that in the nonequivalent control group design:
- The treatment group and the comparison group are compared using pretest and posttest measures.
- If all the groups are similar in their pretest scores prior to treatment but differ in their posttest scores following treatment, researchers can more confidently make a claim about the effect of treatment.
- Threats to internal validity due to history, maturation, testing, instrumentation, and regression can be eliminated.
Results and Discussion
- What are the mean achievement scores and standard deviations of form four students taught geometry through Rusbult’s problem solving strategy?
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
The findings of this study served as the bases for concluding that RUPSS enhance students’ achievement in geometry in Kanton senior high school, Tumu, Sissala East Municipality, Upper Wet Region. Since RUPSS narrows the gender gap in mathematics performance, problem solving strategies are good instructional strategies for mathematics and the mathematical sciences and should be used to teach both male and female students in all institutions at all levels and beyond. Mathematics and the mathematical sciences should therefore be well taught by enthusiastic and qualified teachers via problem-solving strategies. These findings are in line with Gagné’s theory of learning which proposes a method of learning mathematics known as “programmed learning” and emphasizes guided learning. The eighth category of this theory stated that problem solving is a type of learning that calls for the internal process of thinking.
The following recommendations have been made based on the findings and conclusion of the study:
- The findings of the study revealed that Rusbult’s problem solving strategies enhance male and female secondary school students’ achievement; arouse and sustain their interest and bridges the gender gap in geometry in Kanton senior high school, Tumu, Sissala East Municipality, Upper Wet Region. The study thus recommends the teaching/learning of geometry through Rusbult’s problem-solving strategies.
- Teachers and students should learn to apply the psychological view of Rusbult’s models in problem-solving because it consists of finding the right steps to apply at the right time or the creation/invention of new ways to convert one state of a task into another. In other words, geometry problem-solving involve the representation of the problem situation and the application of geometry principles in order to generate a solution. The study thus recommends the cyclic and the scientific approaches to problem-solving because they motivate the learners and develop the spirit of exploration and discovery.
- Problem-solving should be incorporated into the curriculum in all institutions including teacher-training secondary school of education in all in Nigeria. Authors and textbook writers should apply and provide proper illustration of Rusbult’s problem-solving strategies in different areas of geometry. This may enable the students to be able to generate their own algorithm and generalize it into specific set of applications in geometry.
- Seminars and in-service programs should be organized by all mathematics associations, examination boards, and delegations of education and the pedagogic offices for teachers in the field to be acquainted with the teaching of trigonometry through Rusbult’s problem-solving strategies.
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