Masebo, Agrey
(2008)
Mastery of Basic
Mathematical Concepts Among Secondary School Teachers and Students in Mbeya
Region, Tanzania.
Masters thesis, The Open University of Tanzania.
Abstract
Mastery of mathematics concepts is indispensable in the process of learning mathematics
and application in daily life. The teachers’ and students’ mastery of basic mathematical
concepts becomes questionable if there are reports on the perpetuation of poor and pathetic
mathematics performance in Tanzania. This study was conducted with the main objective
of identifying the mastery of basic mathematical concepts of integers, algebra, fractions,
and decimals among secondary school teachers and students in Mbeya region of Tanzania.
The study employed quantitative research approach and evaluative research design. A
special designed test for testing the mastery of basic mathematical concepts from the four
topics namely fraction, integers, algebra and ratios was administered to both category of
respondents. The test was moderated and tested for its validity and reliability by expert
mathematics teachers. Twenty four (24) teachers and 120 students from the three
secondary schools in Mbeya region participated in the study and the questionnaires were
also used to collect data from teachers and students. The main findings of this study
showed that: teachers mastered well the basic concept contrary to their students who
showed poor mastery of the basic mathematical concepts. Also the findings of this study
indicated that teachers and students differed most in the mastery of algebraic concepts
followed by integers. The results revealed further that, teachers perceived algebra as most
difficult mathematical concepts to teach followed by integers. Lastly, it was found that
students perceived integers as most difficult mathematical area to learn followed by
algebraic concepts. This study then recommends that teachers still needed support in the
pedagogical knowledge rather than in the content knowledge. Mathematics syllabus should
emphasize mastery of mathematical concepts as part of the content to be learned as well as
locating adequate time for coverage of topics.
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