Document Sample

STUDENTS’ ATTiTUDE TOWARDS THE USE OF SCIENTIFIC CALCULATORS IN MATHEMATICS EXAMINATION BY SANI SAIDU DEPARTMENT OF MATHEMATICS FEDERAL COLLEGE OF EDUCATION ZARIA BEING PAPER PRESENTED AT A WORKSHOP ORGANISED BY NATIONAL MATHEMATICAL CENTRE ABUJA NIGERIA FROM 20 TH -25 TH JUNE, 2010 Abstract Literatures have shown that calculators and computers have been integrated into the mathematics curriculum of many countries in the world, but in Nigeria the story is different. The aim of this paper was to find the students views on the usage of scientific calculators in public examination such as UTME, NECO SSCE. Sixty candidates were randomly sample in four different examination centers during 2010 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination. Data was collected using questionnaires. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the result. The findings of the study include the following: The candidates’ posses’ scientific calculators; they can also use scientific calculators well. However the findings showed that candidates always device other means of checking how reasonable the answer given by calculators is, before they use it. Finally some recommendations were given. 2 Introduction The invention of Logarith m tables, slide rule, calculators and computers is meant to make computations easier. However, the introduction of calculators in teaching and learning of mathematics in many countries generated a lot of debates and controversies. Despite these debates and controversies there are evidences which show that calculators and computers are used in teaching and learning as well as examinations in many education systems in the world, Kiano& Salani (2004). In addition to this, Waits & and Bert (1994) reported that the use of hand held calculators has forever changed the way students are taught and forever changed the way students learn mathematics. Computing quickly and accurately is very essential in solving mathetimatical problems. The method may be mental mathematics, paper and pencil, calculator or computer but this is just one part of problem solving process. Students must also know what kind of operation to perform and be able to identify the appropriate numb er to use. In other words Hembree and Dessart (1986) assert “real mathematics means knowing a variety of strate gies for problem solving and having the ability to apply them appropriately . 3 Professional Mandates for Using Calculators (NCTM, 2000) declared that calculators should be used in school at all levels. NCTM expected that the tool would aid algorithmic instruction, support concept development, reduce demand for memorization, enlarge the scop e of problem solving, provide motivation and encourage d iscovery, exploration and creativity. Similarly, the Australian Association of Mathematical Teachers has a policy on students’ use of calculators. It suggests that scientific calculators should be used in the early secondary schooling both as instructional aids and as a learning tool. (R eys, & Senuma, 1996) reported that current course of study in Japan permits the use of calculators after grade 3. That is from Grade 4 up-ward. The situation is different in Nigeria where the use of scientific calculators is no t allowed in most public examinations. In examination such IJMBE, NECO SSCE, WASSCE and UTME students are not allowed to use scientific calculators. Why is our policy different from that of the developed countries? This paper is aimed at finding the students reaction to this development in 4 Nigeria and consequently to find out their general attitude towards the use of calculators in public examinations. Research Questions The following questions were asked in o rder to tackle the problem at hand. What are the students views on:- i. The accessibility of scientific calculators by th e students ii. The usage of scientific calculators by the students iii. The level of dependence on calculators by the student s Hypotheses The following hypotheses were formulated based on the above research questions: (i) Students do not have access to scientific calculators (ii) Students do not enjoy the use of scientific calculators in examinations. (iii) Students do not depend completely on the answers produce by scientific calculators during examinations . 5 Literature Review Due to the debates on the use of calculato rs in schools, there exist a lot of literatures on the topic. One of the most famous researches is that of Hembree and Dessarts (1986) who conducted a Meta-analysis of the effects of pre-college calculators’ use. They analyzed the results of seventy-nine research reports on student’s achievement and attitude towards mathematics. Each study involved on group of students using calculators and another group having no access to calculators. Hambree and Dessart (1986) concluded that the calculator “did not delay student acquisition of conceptual skill and that it significantly improved their attitude and self concept. Also Mc Cauliff (1994) quoted Hembree and Dessart (1986) saying that in general, research found that students using calculators possessed a better attitude towards mathematics than the students who are not using calculators. Similarly Mccauliff (2002), cited Smith (1997) who analyzed twenty four research studies conducted from 1984 to 1995, asking questions about attitude and achievement due to use of 6 calculators, Smith compared students using calculators with students not using calculators. Smith study showed that calculators had positive effects on increasing conceptual knowledge and positive attitude toward mathe matics. In an article on choosing the proper calculator for classroom, Denama and Osborne (1988) argue that classrooms should use scientific calculator which will perform operation in the correct order, rather than commercial calculator, which will perform operations as they are entered. For example, a scientific calculator will correctly evaluate 3x4+5x2 as 2 2, while most commercial calculators will display 34. More so, Bert & Denama (1998) stated that the use of calculators provide an unparalleled opportunity to deliver better mathematics education than we have ever thought possible. And it can be delivered to all students because of the rapid expansion of inexpensive powerful calculator and computer technology all over the world. Infact with less than N 200 a student can purchase a scientific calculator. 7 Methodology The target of the study was the candidates of Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME 2010 ). The study was carried out in four examination centers at Federal College of Education, Zaria. Data was collected using a questionnaire. The questionnaire was validated by a chief lecturer in the above named college. The data was analyzed using the statistical package for social science (SPSS). The questionnaire consisted of 4-point Likert scale. I.e. Strongly Agreed (S.A), Agreed (A) Disagree (D) strongly Disagree (S.A) . The Quantitative variables in the study are as follows: Accessibility to scientific calculator (i) I can afford to buy a scientific calculator (ii) I have a scientific calculator Usage of Scientific Calculator (iii) I can use scientific calculator well (iv) I enjoy using calculators in learning and during examination (v) I use only calculators in the classroom 8 (vi) I use both four figure table & calculators in the classroom Dependence on Calculators (vii) Anything that calculator can be use for; I can do it using four figure tables. (viii) I feel handicapped in examination without a calculator (ix) I accept any answer that appears on the screen of my calculator without checking (x) I always find other means of checking how reasonable an answer given by a calculator is, before I use it. Findings As presented earlier, the variable s in the questionnaires are grouped as follows; V 1 and V 2 are tie together under accessibility; while calculator usage comprised of V 3 , V 4 , V 5 and V 6 , lastly V 7 , V 8 , V 9 and V 1 0 are put together under dependence on calculators. The result were summarize in the table below. 9 Summary of‘t’ test students attitude towards the usage of calculators Source N df t-value Decision Accessibility 60 59 12.236 Rejected to calculators Usage of 60 59 4.649 Rejected calculators Dependence 60 59 2.579 Retained on calculator Accessibility to calculator: Results from the descriptive statistics on V 1 and V 2 shows that the means are 3.77 and 3.27 respectively. Which implies th at majority of the candidates can afford to buy scientific calculators and they also posses’ scientific calculator. Furthermore, the hypothesis which says students do not have access to calculators is rejected as it ca n be seen above. Usage of calculators: The results obtained from the descriptive statistics on V 3 , V 4 , V 5 , and V 6 are as follows: First, majority of the students indicated that they can use scientific calculators very well, with mean 3.33; they also said 10 that they enjoy using scientific calcul ators with mean 3.03. However, the candidates answered that they don’t use only calculators in the classroom and also during examination with mean of 2.47, which means they can use both calculators and four figures tables with mean of 3.10. The t-test result for the hypothesis which says students do not enjoy the use scientific calculators in examination is also rejected. Dependence on calculators: Results from descriptive statistics on V 7 showed that candidates can use other means such as four figures tables in the absence of calculators yet the out come of V 8 indicated that majority feel handicap in examination in the absence of scientific calculators. V 8 and V 9 results showed that students do not solely depend on answers produce by their scientific calculators they always find other means of verifying the answer. Finally the hypothesis which says students do not solely depend on calculators is retained. 11 Conclusion Problem solving in mathematics is not only performing calculations rather calculations are only part of problem solving. Since scientific calculators are cheap and affordable by student; and they are use in teaching and learning in different countries. There is need for our policy makers to reexamine the policies on the usage of scientific calculators in senior secondary schools and public examinations. Recommendations (1) Government should redesign the senior se condary school curriculum to incorporate the use of scientific calculators (2) Examination bodies such as JAMB , NECO and WAEC should allow students to use scientific calculators in examinations. 12 References Bert, K.W, & Demana F. (1998). The Role of Hand -Held computer symbolic Algebra in Mathematics Education in the Twenty-First century: A call for Action.Retrievedfrom:httR/www.collegebo ard.org/ Q/math/htm/indica Danama, R.& Obsborne, F (1986). The Role of Hand - Held Calculators in Mathematics Education: A meta - Analysis. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education,17(2)83-89 Hembree, R. & Dessarts, D. (1986). Effects of Hand held calculators in Pre-college mathematic education: A meta Analysis. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education. 17 (2), 83-89. McCauliff, R. (2002). The Calculator in the Elementary Classroom. Making a Useful tool out of ineffective crutch Retrieved from http/www.cm.cnn.cak./html. National Council of Teachers Mathematics, NCTM (2000): Principles and standard for school mathematics, April 2000 Kiano L.M and Salani E.B. (2004), Gender a ttitude in the use of calculators in junior secondary in Botswana. Proceeding of the 28 t h Conference of the International Group for the Psychology in Mathematic Education. Reys,B & Senuma,F (1996).The Development of Computation In Three Japanese School. The Elementary School Journal,98 -24 13

DOCUMENT INFO

Shared By:

Categories:

Tags:
positive attitude, Students Attitude, negative attitude, high school students, positive attitudes, student attitudes, negative attitudes, self-efficacy beliefs, educational system, technology and teaching

Stats:

views: | 114 |

posted: | 12/27/2010 |

language: | English |

pages: | 13 |

OTHER DOCS BY suchenfz

How are you planning on using Docstoc?
BUSINESS
PERSONAL

Feel free to Contact Us with any questions you might have.