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Identifying mathematical literacy of the fifth graders

Miha Okorn (2018) Identifying mathematical literacy of the fifth graders. MSc thesis.

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    Abstract

    This master's thesis, titled Identifying Mathematical Literacy of the Fifth Graders consists of two parts. The first, theoretical part discusses literacy from the point of view of definitions and its development. Most attention is devoted to mathematical literacy, which is the focal point of this research. Mathematical literacy is not only analysed in connection with the Maths curriculum, but also in relation to international and national research which study and measure it. The theoretical part precisely analyses results of the latest measurements of the aforementioned studies, relevant for this master's thesis. Solving mathematical problems, one of the main competences when it comes to developing mathematical literacy, as well as the Gagné taxonomy, the basis of most relevant research, are also presented in detail. In the concluding section of the theoretical part are presented individual tasks, included in one Maths test, also part of this research. The tasks are classified in terms of content and taxonomy, and they are also connected with the aims of the mathematics curriculum. The second, empirical part is focused on finding out how developed mathematical literacy is in fifth-graders in Slovenia. For the purposes of this research, our own Maths test was created, testing mathematical literacy with twelve tasks. 246 pupils and 17 class teachers participated in the research. The aim was to find out how well the participants would do in this test, and how the results differ in relation to pupils’ gender and type of school where they come from. We also wanted to know the relation between the levels of the Gagné taxonomy and how proficient the pupils are in different content areas of mathematical literacy. This research has shown that the average result of our test is similar to results of related international and national studies. There are no differences between the two genders, additionally, there are also no differences between schools in urban and rural areas. Further statistical analysis has shown that the result of the test is connected to the pupil’s Maths grade. By this it is meant that pupils who performed better in our test also have a higher grade in Maths. The Maths teacher’s occupational record did not affect test results at all. The fifth graders are most successful when solving tasks that check their conceptual knowledge and when solving tasks involving data processing. This research confirms the assumption that mathematical literacy is a specific part of mathematics, consisting of the use of mathematical knowledge in contexts that are not structured in the same way as usual school contexts. Problem-orientation, the breadth of the knowledge needed and a realistic environment are the fundamental properties of tasks designed for checking mathematical literacy, which course book tasks often lack. At the same time, we need to be conscious that being proficient in basic mathematical skills and having basic knowledge of mathematical concepts are two conditions for mathematical literacy, and therefore these two areas of mathematics are interrelated. The results that were gathered with this study represent a high-quality feedback for teachers and pupils, who participated in this research. They represent an important contribution to the professionals, who deal with mathematical literacy in Slovenia, and the test that was developed for this research allows the fifth-grade teachers to improve their existing practice of developing mathematical literacy.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: mathematics, literacy, mathematical literacy, fifth-grader, test
    Number of Pages: 93
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    prof. dr. Tatjana Hodnik ČadežMentor
    Link to COBISS: https://plus.si.cobiss.net/opac7/bib/peflj/12280393
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 5556
    Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2019 11:14
    Last Modified: 10 Jan 2019 11:14
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/5556

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