Effects of cooperative learning approach on academic achievement of secondary school students in mathematics in Kangema District, Murang' a County, Kenya
Mwangi, Patrick Kamau
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This study was aimed at finding out the effects of cooperative learning approach on student's achievement in mathematics. It sought to investigate whether the use of cooperative learning groups changed students individual achievement and students attitude towards cooperative learning in mathematics. The study was guided by the following objectives: To investigate whether cooperative learning method is more effective than the Regular methods of teaching (RMT)with respect to students academic achievement in mathematics; and to establish the attitudinal change towards cooperative learningas a method of learning mathematics. This study employed a Quasi-experiment and Solomon's four non-equivalent control group research design. The target population comprised of secondary school students in Kangema sub-county of muranga county. The unit of sampling was the secondary school rather than the students since schools authority do not allow classes to be dismantled for research purposes. Purposive sampling was used to obtain a sample of four co-educational schools. Each school provided one form two class for the study which was considered as a group. Each of the form two classes was randomly assigned to each of the four groups. The groups were :Group 1(experimental)-34 students, Group 2(control),-3Istudents,Group 3(experimental)-33 students and Group 4(control)-30 students. A total of 128 students were involved. The researcher trained the teachers of the experimental groups on the techniques of cooperative learning using a pre-prepared manual for a period of one week. The instuments used in the study were: a semi-standardized instrument measuring the attitudes on a three point Likert scale. this was to assess how the attitude towards cooperative learning changed during the course of the experiment. A mathematics Achievement Test (MAT) was used as pre-test and a post-test to measure the achievement. The instruments were pilot tested using a different school in the sub-county but with similar characteristics as the sample schools. The reliability coefficient of the MAT and the attitude instrument were 0.86 and 0.81 respectively. Mathematics K.C.S.E senior examiners ascertained the content validity of the instruments. Prior to the experiment and after the experiment, students in the experimental groups filled the attitude questionnaire. Students in group 1 and group 2 received the pre-test while groups 3 and 4 did not. All the students were taught the topic on evaluation of numerical expressions using logarithms. In the experimental groups, cooperative learning approach was used while Regular Teaching Methods (RTM) was used in the control groups for a period of three weeks, after which all the groups received a post-test. Data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Test hypothesis was accepted or rejected at a significance level of 0.05. Findings of this study show that learners taught .using cooperative learning technique performed better than those taught using Regular teaching methods. The attitudes towards cooperatively learning mathematics together in small groups also improved. The study recommends that the teacher should use cooperative learning approach side by side with other individual learning approaches because cooperative learning approach does not replace direct instructions but supplements other teaching approaches. The study also recommends that cooperative learning strategy be incorporated in the teacher education programs and in the in-service courses for mathematics teachers.