Effects of problem-solving approach on mathematics achievement of diploma in basic education distance learners at University of Cape Coast, Ghana
Eduafo, Arthur Benjamin
MetadataShow full item record
The mathematics achievement of students pursuing Diploma in Basic Education (DBE) degree in Ghana‟s University of Cape-Coast (UCC) distance education programme from 2001 to present has been consistently low. This study sought to determine the effects of a problem-solving approach intervention on the mathematics achievement of DBE UCC distance learners (DLs) in Ghana. The study employed a mixed research design, using a sample of 506 DBE UCC first year DLs and eight facilitators. Study instruments included before intervention and after intervention test items, questionnaires and interview schedules. The study was guided by four objectives: (1) to determine the difference a problem-solving approach made on UCC DBE DLs achievement scores in mathematics, (2) to establish the change in DBE UCC DLs‟ perception about mathematics teaching and learning before and after learning mathematics through a problem-solving approach, (3) to establish the effects of a problem-solving approach on DBE UCC DLs mathematics facilitators perceptions about mathematics teaching and learning and (4) to determine the challenges faced by facilitators in adoption of a problem-solving approach in teaching mathematics. Results for the first objective were analyzed using mean, standard deviation and t-test statistics. It was found in general that the experimental group performed slightly significantly above the control group. Specifically the experimental group performed better in knowledge and application than the control group. However, there was no significant difference in the performance of the two groups in comprehension and analysis. ANOVA result was used to analyze objective two. The study found that a problem-solving approach significantly changed majority of the pre-service prospective elementary mathematics teachers‟ instrumentalist driven views of mathematics teaching and learning to a problem solving driven views or perceptions. A descriptive analysis conducted on facilitators perceptions after learning through a problem-solving approach depicted a multidimensional views about mathematics teaching and learning before a three days training workshop and a problem-driven view after the training workshop. The study discovered through descriptive analysis that the facilitators could not fully put their developed problem solving driven view of mathematics teaching and learning into practice as a result of several mitigating factors including non-availability of non-routine problem solving activity textbooks and limited teaching time. The study therefore recommends among others a complete overhauling of Ghana‟s UCC-CCE mathematics curriculum for pre-service prospective elementary teachers to include the use of a problem-solving approach to teach mathematics, intensive retraining of mathematics teacher trainers in UCC-CCE on the use of a problem-solving approach in teaching mathematics and the need for a robust change of Ghana‟s first and second cycle schools mathematics syllabi and textbooks to promote and sustain the use of a problem-solving approach in teaching mathematics.