Individualised instruction, attitude and achievement in mathematics learning : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Education at Massey University
This investigation reports a quasi experimental study of an individualised approach to mathematics learning which was operated in a New Zealand Primary School at the Standard Three level. The emphasis in the study was on student attitude towards mathematics and achievement in mathematics. The research was based on the following questions:– 1. Does student involvement in an individualised programme in mathematics result in a significant change in their attitude towards mathematics? 2. Does student involvement in an individualised programme in mathematics result in a significant change in their mathematics achievement? 3. What relationship, if any, is shown between student attitudes towards mathematics and student achievement in mathematics? The research design was a 'Non-Equivalent Control Group Design' in which two experimental and two control classes were used. No significant differences were shown between the experimental and control groups on four separate factors and thus they were considered as equivalent matched groups. Teachers were matched on the basis of length of teaching service. To measure student attitude towards mathematics a Likert typescale suitable for the Standard Three level was developed, entitled 'My Feelings About Maths'. Achievement was assessed by a standardised test. Pre treatment tests of attitude and achievement were administered to all subjects. The experimental classes then undertook the individualised programme for a fourteen week period whilst the control classes followed a textbook based programme. At the end of the experimental period, post treatment tests of attitude and achievement were administered to all subjects. The experimental subjects completed a questionnaire to indicate their attitude towards the individualised programme as also did the experimental teachers. Both questionnaires were specially constructed for the study. Analysis of data showed a significant positive change in attitude in the experimental group. There was no significant change in attitude in the control group. Both groups showed a significant gain in achievement. Attitude towards mathematics and achievement in mathematics was found to be correlated positively, at a low level, for both groups at the pre treatment stage. However, at the post treatment stage the correlation was non significant for the experimental group. Some evidence was obtained of the differential effects of the individualised programme on children at different ability levels. There was also evidence of a sex difference interaction. A large majority of the students in the experimental group indicated very positive attitudes towards the individualised programme. Teacher attitude was also positive.