BLOG by Ntombikhona Ngozo MST Trainer
As a mathematics high school teacher, I have observed low academic performance, high failure rate, low scores, etc. in mathematics. I currently work at a Non-Profit Organization (NPO), where we identify cumulative gaps and methodological gaps in mathematics, physical sciences, and technology.
Mathematics is the most challenging subject and the content gaps are more in mathematics compared to the other subjects. Mathematics is a complex subject that involves critical thinking and problem solving skills. It is therefore, important that teachers get enough time to use different instructional methods that will address the student’s specific academic need in mathematics.
After the apartheid era in South Africa, there was a paradigm shift in the education system (from Bantu education to out-come based education and curriculum 2005). The high dropout rate and the poor performance in essential areas (subjects) such as mathematics and literacy (2013) attribute to factors such as poor work ethics, poor support for teachers, low levels of accountability, etc.
This has a direct bearing on the high failure rate in the South African Schools. According to studies, South African students score poorly in literacy and mathematics tests when compared with students from other African countries, despite the large sums of money invested in education each year. The studies also indicate that the majority of South African students cannot read or count at an appropriate level. All these factors have bearing on how the students perform in their final examinations, because final examinations determine whether a university or college will accept the student. The universities in South Africa use admission point scores (APS) for admitting students to different faculties. For instance, in order to do mechanical engineering at the university the student must have 40 APS, with level five (60%-69.9%) in both English and mathematics.
The use of tutoring programme is not new, many schools established these programs way before 1985. Teaching mathematics in both the townships and rural areas for over twenty years, and seeing students struggling in mathematics triggered this interest in investigating some ways of helping students improve their exam scores.
I am currently busy analyzing the South African systems of education, instructional models of mathematics, and effectiveness of tutoring sessions. This study will provide me with the research-based knowledge that I will draw from previous work on the topic and our local setting.
Follow me on the next blog to find out what the study reveals about effectiveness of Math Tutoring in final examination scores……..