From coherence in theory to coherence in practice : a stock-take of the written, tested and taught National Curriculum Statement for Mathematics (NCSM) at Further Education and Training (FET) level in South Africa.

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dc.contributor.author Mhlolo, Michael Kainose
dc.date.accessioned 2012-02-10T08:45:47Z
dc.date.available 2012-02-10T08:45:47Z
dc.date.issued 2012-02-10
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/11274
dc.description.abstract Initiatives in many countries to improve learner performances in mathematics in poor communities have been described as largely unsuccessful mainly due to their cursory treatment of curriculum alignment. Empirical evidence has shown that in high achieving countries the notion of coherence was strongly anchored in cognitively demanding mathematics programs. The view that underpins this study is that a cognitively demanding and coherent mathematics curriculum has potential to level the playing field for the poor and less privileged learners. In South Africa beyond 1994, little has been done to understand the potential of such coherent curriculum in the context of the NCSM. This study examined the levels of cognitive demand and alignment between the written, tested and taught NCSM. The study adopted Critical Theory as its underlying paradigm and used a multiple case study approach. Wilson and Bertenthal’s (2005) dimensions of curriculum coherence provided the theoretical framework while Webb’s (2002) categorical coherence criterion together with Porter’s (2004) Cognitive Demand tools were used to analyse curriculum and assessment documents. Classroom observations of lesson sequences were analysed following Businskas’ (2008) model of forms of mathematical connections since connections of different types form the bases for high cognitive demand (Porter, 2002). The results indicated that higher order cognitive skills and processes are emphasized consistently in the new curriculum documents. However, in the 2008 examination papers the first examinations of the new FET curriculum, lower order cognitive skills and processes appeared to be emphasized, a finding supported by Umalusi (2009) and Edwards (2010). Classroom observations pointed to teachers focusing more on rote learning of both concepts and procedures and less on procedural and conceptual understanding. Given the widespread evidence of the tested curriculum impacting on the taught curriculum, this study suggests that this lack of alignment between the advocated curriculum on one hand, the tested and the taught curricula on the other, needs to be investigated further for it endangers the teaching and learning of higher order cognitive skills and processes in the FET mathematics classrooms for the poor and less privileged. Broader evidence suggests that this would work against efforts towards supporting the upward mobility of poor children in the labour market. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Curriculum coherence en_US
dc.subject Alignment index en_US
dc.subject Mathematical connections en_US
dc.subject Critical theory en_US
dc.subject Cognitive demand en_US
dc.title From coherence in theory to coherence in practice : a stock-take of the written, tested and taught National Curriculum Statement for Mathematics (NCSM) at Further Education and Training (FET) level in South Africa. en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US


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