Investigations into learners' progression in algebra from grade 9 to grade 11

Leung, King Wun Vincent
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This study investigates learners’ progression in algebra from grade 9 to 11, in terms of the levels developed in the ICCAMS (Increasing Students’ Competence and Confidence in Algebra and Multiplicative Structures) diagnostic test. Three key questions are posed with regard to learners’ progression: Do learners progress to higher ICCAMS levels from grade 9 to grade 10? For those who do not progress from grade 9 to grade 10, do they progress to higher ICCAMS levels from grade 10 to grade 11? For those who make no progress on ICCAMS levels from grade 9 to 11, what errors hinder their progression? Two sets of test scripts of 34 learners from a secondary school in Gauteng were analysed to determine their levels in grades 9 and 10. Approximately half the sample progressed to a higher level from grade 9 to grade 10. However, almost the same number of learners improved in the number of correct responses, but failed to progress to a higher level. Individual interviews were conducted with five learners from this group, in their grade 11 year. The results show that four of these learner had progressed to a higher ICCAMS level in grade 11. However, one learners did not achieve a higher level. Typical errors that impact their progress include negative numbers and conjoining.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Humanities, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Education University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Johannesburg, 5th September 2014