A study of four mathematical operations among standard eight pupils in Kericho District, Kenya.
Arap-Koske, James Kibii
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This study sought to find out whether there was a difference in performance in the four basic Mathematical operations namely addition, substraction, multiplication and division as used by standard eight pupils to solve science problems. It also sought to find out whether the observed differences, if any, were related to mathematical abilities among the sampled pupils. The sample of the study consisted of children from standard eight in selected primary schools from Belgut Division in Kericho District. Twelve schools were randomly selected and yielded a total population of 576 pupils (263 girls and 313 boys) with an average age of thirteen years. Although part of the analysis involved the use of the results from all the sampled schools, a further sample of 209 pupils was randomly selected from eleven of the schools. One school was not used in this further analysis because all its pupils except one got classified in the high mathematical ability group when the Mathematics Ability Test was administered to them. The data was collected using two instruments constructed by the researcher. One instrument, refered to as Mathematics Ability Test, was administered to the whole sample and the results of the performance were used to classify the pupils into High and Low Mathematics Ability groups. The second instrument, refered to as Science Achievement Test, was also administered to the whole sample. The results of the performance were used to analyse pupil ability in each of the four basic mathematical operations. The two tests were administered one after the other starting with the Mathematics Ability Test. Each test had a separate answer sheet. The instruments were scored manually awarding points for correct responses and zero for incorrect ones. Pupils scoring 15 points out of a total of 20 points in the Mathematics Ability Test were placed as High Mathematics Ability group. Those who scored below 15 points in the test were placed as Low Mathematics Ability group. Scores per operation (+, -, x and 7) from the Science Achievement Test were separately recorded for each pupil. The scores from the Science Achievement Test were analysed by application of statistical techniques. One-way analysis of variance and two-way analysis of variance were carried out and results used to accept or reject the appropriate null hypotheses. To find out which operations significantly contributed to the performance in the Science Achievement Test, Honestly significant Difference (HSD) Test was carried out using the means from group performance in the four operations. From the results, the researcher made the conclusions-hat pupils perform differently among the mathematical operations appearing in the Science problems. The difference in performance is not affected by the mathematical ability of the child. More precisely, pupils classified as high or low mathematical achievers showed that they perform differently in the basic operations. It was also concluded that pupil ability in multiplication was better than the ability in either division or subtraction for the sample of pupils. Therefore, when teaching mathematics and science, there is need for teachers to treat performance in separate operations as separate mathematical abilities. This will make it easier to provide adequate groundwork and constant remedial teaching on these operations.