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Access to Mathematics in the FET

Investigating access to Mathematics in the FET:A quantitative case study

By Dr VG Govender (ACM: Advisory Committeefor Mathematics)

Introduction

Mathematics is regarded as a difficult subject to learn and to teach in South Africa and other countries. Much of this difficulty stems from the Mathematics content which has to be taught in the various grades (Tambychika,T &Meerahb,T.S.M, 2010).   At democracy in 1994, Mathematics was a compulsory school subject until grade 9 (formerly standard 7). In grade 10, learners selected a minimum of 6 subjects, which may have included Mathematics as a subject. There was further separation within Mathematics, where learners could do Mathematics at either the standard or higher grade. This situation continued until 2007, when the last group of learners wrote Mathematicsat either the higher or standard grade at Grade 12.

 

Curriculum changes in South Africa since 1994

 

Since democracy was achieved in 1994, there have been a number of revisions or changes to the South African school curriculum and these have had an impact on the teaching and learning of Mathematics and other subjects in South African schools.

 

In this regard, it is important to examine how various curriculum changes in the years from 1994 till 2014 affected or influenced Mathematics teaching and learning. Those teaching Mathematics in South African schools in this period would have no problem in identifying the effects listed:

 

  • Curriculum 2005 was introduced early in South Africa’s democracy and had a major impact on the teaching and learning of Mathematics in the GET(grades 1-9). The curriculum document was large and cumbersome.  It was also vague in terms of what had to be taught in the various grades.  This went against much of the classroom and curriculum research in South Africa which pointed out the need for curriculum documents to describe much more clearly the sequence and progression on knowledge within a subject (Bertram, 2011).
  • Curriculum 2005 advocated an “outcomes-based” approach to teaching and learning. There was an emphasis on terminology such as programme organiser, phase organiser, performance indicators, critical and specific outcomes.  The teacher became a “facilitator”of learning and there was a nemphasis on children working in groups.
  • When outcomes-based education was introduced to high school learners in 2001 (grade8) and 2002 (grade9), the assessment of learners also changed with the introduction of the Common Task for Assessment (CTA) for grade9 learners. The CTA was regarded as an“external examination”and comprised 25% of the promotion mark (DoE, 2002). There were serious challenges in the implementation of the CTA. The CTA for Mathematics did not effectively assess what learners needed to know for the FET. After much deliberation, the CTA was discontinued.
  • In Curriculum 2005 there were also name changes to Mathematics. In the General Education and Training phase (GET), Mathematics was not a“subject” but a “learning area” and given the rather unfashionably long name“Mathematical Literacy, Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences” which become commonly known by its acronym “MLMMS”. One would think that this “learning area” would have demanded a lot from those teaching and learning Mathematics. The vagueness of the curriculum document in terms of what should be taught in the various grades prevented this from happening.
  • Curriculum change over years in South Arica has also affected the Mathematics content to be taughtin the various grades. Some of these changes involved moving content from one grade to another; removing some content and introducing new content. In Curriculum 2005, the teaching and memorisation of tables in the primary school was discouraged by curriculum trainers. However,with CAPS, computations without a calculator have been introduced into the Senior Phase and the use of geometric instruments when doing constructions have also been emphasised in this phase(DBE, 2011a).
  • In the FET phase, some content in the NCS was optional and was, for a time, included in an optional Grade12 examination paper (Mathematics paper 3).Few schools in South Africa did Mathematics P3 sections. One of the optional sections was Euclidean Geometry. So for a period of time in South Africa, a large number of learners passed Grade12 Mathematics without having done Euclidean Geometry. Some of these learners went on to become Mathematics teachers. Govender (2010:1) outlines reasons for the low percentage of learners who did Mathematics paper 3 topics:

 

“Teachers at the schools did not have the required capacity to teach paper 3 topics such as Probability and Euclidean Geometry; learners did not take up Mathematics P3 because of its optional status and added workload; learners did not want to spend time on content they thought would have no benefit to them”.

 

It took complaints from a number of universities and other stakeholders to change this situation. They complained about learners leaving school without having done Euclidean Geometry and its negative impact on their studies in Engineering, Architecture and other technical fields (Serrao, 2010). As aresult, this optional paper was done away with the introduction of the CAPS curriculum and its components such as Euclidean Geometry, Probability and Statistics were reassigned to the other two Mathematics papers(DBE, 2011b).

 

One of the key decisions in South Africa in the past decade has been the introduction of Mathematical Literacy as an alternative to Mathematics in the FET phase. This was a major breakthrough for learners in South Africa as, prior to 2008, a large number of learners (up to 80% in some schools) left school at the end of grade 12 without having done any form of Mathematics. This clearly put these learners at a disadvantage when accessing careers where some basic mathematical skills were needed. However, the introduction of Mathematical Literacyhas resulted in some other unintended consequences which will be dealt with later in this report.

 

While it is educationally sound for school curricula not to be static and that changes should occur to get a better curriculum for the citizens of a country, there have been too many changes to the South African curriculumin a short space of time. The introduction of Technical Mathematics and Technical Science in technical high schools in grade10 from 2016 show that the process of curriculum change in South Africa is far from over.

 

Literature survey

 

A lot has been written about access and redress in South African Education since 1994 with various initiatives promoted and conducted by both governmental and non-governmental organisations. Mathematics is compulsory up to grade9, meaning that all learners have access to Mathematics until this grade. However, there seems to be issues with regard to this access.Campbell (2014) states that several international studies and the Annual National Assessment (ANA) results in South Africa indicate that problems associated with learner performance in Mathematics has its roots in primary school, where many learners fail to gain basic mathematical skills. The 2013 ANA results saw only 39% of grade six learners and 2% of grade nine learners scoring more than 50% in Mathematics. In 2014, the average grade 9 ANA mark was 10,8%.(DBE, 2014a).

 

Brodie (2015) refers to analyses compiled by Mark Chetty (Chief Education Specialist at the Department of BasicEducation) which reveal that learners difficulties are with algebra, higher order spatial relationships and that learners have weak problem solving skills and show weak logical reasoning. This means that learners leave the GET with serious learning deficits in Mathematics. If these deficits are not addressed at the beginning of grade10, there is a likelihood of learners performing poorly in FET Mathematics and dropping the subject (in favourof Mathematical Literacy) or leaving school altogether.

 

Campbell (2014) asserts that the dramatic drop in performance in grade 9 is a “direct consequence of compounding back logs and in creasingly inventive ways learners use to beat the system and dodge detection, with dire consequences for individual learners and the system”. Brodie(2015) locates the problem with the teaching and learning of Mathematics when she states that “one reason pupils are not learning more complex mathematical thinking could be that they are either not being taught this kind of thinking, or are struggling to learn it”. A study by Govender (2013) on the 2012 ANA results found that teachers’ qualifications in Mathematics tend to impact on learner performance. Teachers who are unqualified or under-qualified in Mathematics (or have old“out-dated”qualifications) have difficulties with teaching Mathematics in ways in which children can understand.

 

Despite challenges with regard to learner performance in Mathematics in the GET,there has been a noticeable change with regard to access to Mathematics at FET level.The change of curriculum to the NCS in 2006 and CAPS in 2012 was to increase the numbers of learners doing Mathematics. This was evidently successful as the numbers of learners doing Mathematics in South Africa has increased.In table1 below, the numbers of learners who wrote grade 12 Mathematics in the years 2011 to 2014 are given.

 

Table 1 Number of learners doing Mathematics in South Africa (2011– 2014)

 

Year

Number who wrote Mathematics

2011

224635

2012

225874

2013

241509

2014

225456

NSC diagnostic report (2014)

 

The numbers have been fairly consistent with only 2013 showing a spike in numbers. Columns have been added to table1 to show the numbers (and percentage) of learners passing Mathematics at the 30% and 40% level. This is shown in table 2 below.

 

Table 2 Mathematics numbers and performance (2011– 2014)

 

Year

Number who

wrote Mathematics

Number

achieved at

30% or above

Percentage

achieved at

30% or above

Number

achieved at

40% or above

Percentage

achieved at

40% or above

2011

224635

104033

46,3%

61592

30.1%

2012

225874

121970

54,0%

80716

35,7%

2013

241509

142666

59,1%

97790

40,5%

2014

225456

120523

53,5%

79050

31,5%

NSC diagnostic report (2014)

 

The grade 12 Mathematics performances show that, prior to the writing of the first examination under the CAPS in 2014, there was a steady increase in learner performance at both the 30% level and 40% level. 2014 showed a decline in the results. This is possibly due to the changes in the assessment of grade12 Mathematics. One major change was the inclusion of Geometry as a compulsory part of the examinations for the first time since 2007. However, one should not find fault with the 2014 Mathematics results as these results were still far better than the 2011 results and marginally less than the 2013 results.

 

It would appear that the number of learners writing the Grade12 Mathematics papers in South Africahas stabilised over the years (2011–2015). But this represents a drop in the numbers when compared to the year 2009 when 290400 learners sat for the grade12 Mathematics examinations.This drop is significant and one may ask whether the situation in 2009 was once off and that the trends in the years 2011 to 2015 give at true reflection ofthe numbers of learners writing grade12 Mathematics examinations in South Africa.

 

Problem statement

 

It would appear that access and redress, in terms of Mathematics in theFET, as the numbers in table 2 suggest, has been successful at a national level. But what has been the case in individual schools? This report examines the trends with respect to numbers at selected schools in a diverse district in one of the South African provinces by comparing number of learners who completed grade9 Mathematics (in 2011) with those who complete grade12 Mathematics three years later (2014). It,further,compares the 2014 numbers with those of 2004.

 

Research questionand sub-question

 

The following research question was devised to shed some light on problem statement above:

 What are some of the contextual factors which impact on the numbers of learners writing Grade12 Mathematics examinations?”

 The following sub questions were formulated in an attempt to answer the research question.

 

  • How do the numbers of grade 9 Mathematics learners (in 2011) at selected schools compare with the numbers who wrote the grade12 Mathematics papers, at the same schools, in 2014 (three years later)?
  • How do the 2014 Mathematics learner numbers at these schools compare with the 2004 Mathematics learner numbers?
  • To what extent do contextual factors play a role in accessibility to Mathematics in the FET phase?
  • What other factors influence the choice of Mathematics in the FET?

 

Research strategy

 

This report involved the collection of quantitative data which was provided by the district in question, with the proviso that both the district and the names of schools be anonymous. Other quantitative data was gleaned from the literature, government and newspaper reports. There were 19 high schools in this study.

 

The schools in this study were divided into three groups.

 

Group A: This group consisted of only ex-model C schools, located in the more affluent areas of the district. These schools are largely non-racial and all are fee-paying. The majority o fthe staff and learner populations at these schools would be classified “white”. In many instances, learners travel daily from other areas to these schools.There were 6 group A schools in this study.For purposes of identification in this research, group A schools are assigned the codes A1; A2; …

 

Group B: This group consisted of schools which reflect a non-racial profile. The majority of the staff and learners in all the schools, bar one, belong to the “coloured”population group. Most schools in this group are“non-feepaying” schools. Only schools B5 and B6 are fee- paying (see later). There is a diverse range of neighbourhoods in areas serviced by group B schools with some being affluent and others being less affluent. Learners from th emore affluent areas are more likely to attend ex-model C schools, in other parts of the school district. Some of the less affluent neighbourhoods in group Bare plagued by poverty, unemployment and in some cases,by gangsters. There has been a steady increase of learners from the “black” townships to some of these schools. There were 7 group B schools in this study and areassigned the codes B1; B2;B3; …

 

Group C: Schools in this group are located in the “black” African townships. For purposes of description, these schools are exclusively “black”. The majority of staff at these schools would be classified as “black”. However, there are teachers from other South African population groups who also teach at these schools. Group C schools are from diverse neighbourhoods, including learners from informal settlements. There were 6 group C schools in this study. Group C schools are given the codes C1; C2; C3;…

 

Conceptual framework

 

This study is located within the “access and redress” framework in education, with special focus on Mathematics. Issues of access and redress have featured in all of the curricula in democratic South Africa, including the latest curriculum, the Curriculumand Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS).This has been reflected in the purpose and principles of this curriculum. While these purposes and principles are applicable to all subjects, its relevance to this research cannot be overstated.

 

Two of the purposes of this curriculum are:

 

Equipping learners, irrespectiveof their socio-economic background, race, gender, physical ability or intellectual ability, with knowledge, skills and values necessary for self-fulfilment, and meaningful participationin society as citizens of a free country”

 

and

 

Providing access to higher education”                    (DBE, 2011:4)            

 

Further, this curriculum is based on seven of principles, one of which is:

Social transformation:ensuring that the educational imbalances of the past are redressed, and that equal educational opportunities are provided for all sections of the population”      (DBE, 2011:4)

 

One of the specific aims of Mathematics (in CAPS) focuses on access. This aim is stated as:

 

“To promote accessibility of Mathematical content to all learners. It could be achieved by catering for learners with different needs.”       (DBE, 2011:8)

 

One may summarise the above purposes and principles of CAPS and the specific aim of Mathematics (in terms of access) as follows:

 

All learners should be equipped with the knowledge, skills and values to make them better citizens and to participate meaningfully in society. This is important in a subject such as Mathematics as it will give learners access to some of the important higher education programmes in Science and Engineering. This should be provided to all learners, irrespective of socio-economic status, race, gender, physical or intellectual ability. This means that equal educational opportunities should be provided for all learners,with teachers also ensuring that the Mathematical content is accessible.

 

Case study

 

The schools in this research have been classified into groups using mainly the criteria of geographical location. This geographical location has “Apartheid” connotations as all schools in this research were built before 1994. Prior to 1994, each of the three groups of schools served communities of a specific racial classification. Since democracy in 1994, most of the grou pA and B schools (described earlier) have become non-racial, while group C schools have remained largely the same. While there are similarities within each group of schools, there are differences when schools across the different group classifications are compared.

 

As a result of the similarities within each group of schools, each group of schools could be regarded as a case study.Case study research allows the researcher to explore individuals or organizations, simply through complex interventions, relationships, communities, or programmes (Yin, 2003) and supports the deconstruction and the subsequent reconstruction of various phenomena.

 

Since this research only involved working with numbers of learners in the different groups of schools, the research could be classified as quantitative case study research.

 

The data

 

The district in question gave permission for the data to be used in this research. It provided details (from its EMIS section) of the numbers of learners from a school group who did Mathematics in grade 9 in 2011 and the numbers (from the same school group)who did Mathematics and Mathematical Literacy (ML) in grade 12 three years later. The total number of Mathematics and Mathematical Literacy learners gives the total number of learners in grade 12 at each school. Included in the table is the possible percentage of learners of the 2011 grade 9 classes who ended up doing Mathematics in grade12 in 2014 as well as numbers of learners who did not make it to grade 12 at the particular school.

 

The details for each school group are shown in the next three tables. Please note the following in respect of tables 3, 4 and 5:

 

 

Table 3:Group A schools

 

School

2011

Grade 9

Maths

2014

Grade 12

Maths

      

(as a percentage)

2014

Grade 12

ML

2014

Total Maths and ML

Number of

grade learners in 2011 who did not complete grade12 at the school

A1

223

108

48,4%

99

197

25

A2

146

95

65,0%

45

140

6

A3

200

94

47,0%

98

192

8

A4

166

120

72,3%

40

160

6

A5

157

124

79,0%

45

169

-12

A6

222

85

38,3%

134

219

3

TOTAL

1114

626

56,2%

461

1087

27

 

 

Table 4:Group B schools

 

School

2011

Grade 9

Maths

2014

Grade 12

Maths

    

(as a percentage)

2014

Grade 12

ML

2014

Total Maths and ML

Number of

grade learners in 2011 who did not complete grade 12 at the school

B1

315

3

1,0%

95

98

217

B2

305

8

2,6%

65

73

232

B3

236

3

1,3%

79

82

154

B4

303

5

1,7%

53

58

250

B5

208

12

5,8%

97

109

111

B6

235

19

8,0

141

160

75

B7

308

43

13,9%

169

212

139

TOTAL

1910

93

4,9%

699

792

1118

 

 

Table 5: Group C schools

 

School

2011

Grade 9

Maths

2014

Grade 12

Maths

      

(as a percentage)

2014

Grade

12 ML

2014

Total Maths and ML

Number of

grade learners in 2011 who did not

complete grade

12 at the school

C1

275

35

12,7%

99

134

141

C2

315

80

25,4%

130

210

105

C3

228

56

24,6%

92

148

80

C4

309

58

18,8%

101

159

150

C5

308

51

16,6%

99

150

158

C6

170

27

15,9%

100

127

43

TOTAL

1605

307

19,1%

621

928

677

 

The data in the preceding three tables have been included in the next table (table 6) to show the percentage of learners who wrote Mathematics and Mathematical Literacy in the grade 12 examinations of 2014.

 

Table 6: Mathematics and Mathematical Literacy:GroupA, B and C schools

 

Groups ofschools

Grade 12

Mathematics

Grade12

ML

Group A

58,6%

41,4%

Group B

10,5%

89,5%

Group C

24,9%

75,1%

  

Trends emerging from tables 3 -6

 

  • Group A schools are have significantly more learners who did grade9 Mathematics in 2011 and grade12 Mathematics in 2014, than group B or C schools. The percentage of learners who completed grade12 Mathematics, when compared to grade9, three years earlier (56,2%) is high compared to the group B schools (4,9%) and group C schools (19,7%).
  • The percentage of learners who did Mathematics in grade 12 when compared to Mathematical Literacy (58,6%) is also high in group A schools. This is significantly more than group B schools (10,5%) and Group C schools (24,9%).
  • Large numbers of learners in group B and C schools (1795 in all) did not make it to grade 12 in their schools compared to only 27 from group A schools.

 

To put the above trends into perspective, it may be necessary to compare the numbers of learners who did Mathematics at these schools in 2014 with the numbers who did Mathematics in the same schools in 2004 (10 yearsearlier). These records were also available from the district. In 2004 Mathematics was offered at both the higher grade (HG) and standard grade (SG). For purposes of comparison an assumption is made in the calculations that all learners who did HG Mathematics and 40% of those who did SG Mathematics (in 2004) would have been able to do the new NCS/CAPSMathematics.Thus, the choice of 40% is arbitrary.

 

Table 7:Group A Schools (2004 to2014 comparison)

 

School

2004

Maths

HG

2004

Maths

SG

Weighted 2004

Maths

HG+ 0.4 × SG

2014 Grade

12

Maths

A1

99

58

122

108

A2

56

43

73

95

A3

39

91

75

94

A4

54

79

86

120

A5

27

43

44

124

A6

35

98

64

85

TOTAL

310

412

464

626

 

Table 8 GroupB Schools (2004 to 2014 comparison)

 

School

2004

Maths

HG

2004

Maths

SG

Weighted 2004

Maths

HG+ 0.4 ×SG

2014 Grade

12

Maths

B1

 

55

22

3

B2

1

18

8

8

B3

 

32

13

3

B4

1

45

19

5

B5

 

29

12

12

B6

5

41

21

19

B7

7

48

26

43

TOTAL

14

268

121

93

 

 

Table 9 Group C Schools (2004 to 2014 comparison)

 

School

2004

Maths

HG

2004

Maths

SG

Weighted 2004

Maths

HG+ 0.4 × SG

2014 Grade

12

Maths

C1

 

28

11

35

C2

12

47

31

80

C3

1

154

63

56

C4

 

130

52

58

C5

28

121

76

51

C6

6

35

20

27

TOTAL

47

515

253

307

 

 

Trends emerging from the 2004 to 2014 comparison (tables 7 – 9)

 

  • Most of the group A schools show a significant increase in Mathematics numbers in 2014 when compared to2004. The only exception here is school A1. However, the difference here is marginal.Interestingly school A5 has gone up by 80 learners!Overall group A numbers increased from 464 to 626.This is not surprising as a substantial number of learners in group A schools took Mathematics at the higher grade in 2004. In this regard, one may say that despite various curriculum changes over the years, group A schools realise the importance of Mathematics as a subject in the FET and continue to ensure that their numbers of learners doing Mathematics in this phase remain at an optimal level.
  • Only one group B school showed an increasein numbers doing Mathematics when compared to 2004. Four of the other schools show a drop in numbers while two remained the same. Overall group B schools dropped from 121 to 93. As the table shows, there were only 14 learners who took Mathematics at higher gradein 2004. One would have thought that with the new dispensation of NCS/CAPSMathematics, that there will be more learners doing Mathematics at these schools. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case.
  • Four group C schools show an increasein numbers with school C2 showing an increase of 49 learners. There is a small drop in numbers with school C3 and a bigger drop with school C5. Overall group C schools increased from 253 to 307.  It would seem that Group C schools have benefited from the new dispensation of NCS/CAPS Mathematics. Their numbers tend to be better than the group B schools but fall far short when compared to group A schools.

 

 

Findings

 

The findings of this research are given in the context of the research questions.

 

  • In all schools, there is a drop in numbers of learners who did Mathematics as a subject in 2014, when compared to grade 9 in 2011. Group A schools have the highest percentageof learners who made it to grade 12 Mathematics in 2014 (58,6%), followed by group C schools. Only 10.5% of the learners from group B schools made it. This means that the majority of learners at these schools completed Grade12 in 2014, with MathematicalLiteracy rather than Mathematics. What is disconcerting is the large numbers of learners who did not make it to Grade12 at all.  It is possible that some of these learners may have repeated a grade or went to a TVETcollege. However, there is also a strong possibility that the many of these learners left school altogether. Fleisch et al (2010:7) noted that poverty alone did not explain why children were not in school and identified other factors (such as disability, family structure, that is, not living with biological parents or grandparents, orphan-hood, being eligible for, but not accessing social welfare and living in isolated communities) which, combined with poverty, make children more vulnerable to dropping out of schools.
  • When compared to the numbers in 2004, group A schools show an increase of 162 learners, followed by group C schools with an increase of 54 learners. However, group B schools show a drop of 8 learners. This is unfortunate as the NCS/CAPS dispensation was to ensure that more learners do “high-level” Mathematics in the FET, which would be in line with what was expected in the National Development Plan of South Africa.
  • There are contextual factors that play a role in access to Mathematics in the FET.  As stated earlier, Group A schools are doing well. They are located in the more affluent areas and attract learners whose parents are prepared to pay for the educational experience at these schools. Group C schools are located in the “townships” and are doing well under the circumstances. These schools tend to do slightly better in Mathematics than group B schools.  It is worrying that Mathematics numbers at group B schools have not increased. Although both group B and group C schools are, to some extent, affected by poverty and unemployment, it would seem that there maybe other factors which impact on Mathematics choice in the FET among group B learners.
  • Group B schools have not done well in both comparisons (2011 to 2014 and 2004 to 2014). By taking both sets of data into account, it would seem that there are major challenges with regard to access to Mathematics at group B schools and this has probably deteriorated over the ten year period from 2004 to 2014.

 

In the light of the findings, one may ask the question:Who should be responsible for ensuring that schools prepare their learners well for FET Mathematics and that these learners take the subject up to grade12?  Surely, it is the school and parent community that should take the lead in this process. The Department of Education should also play its role by monitoring, supporting and intervening.

 

Discussion

 

It is now important to discuss the findings from the previous section further in an effort to highlight challenges faced by some schools in ensuring that learners have access to Mathematics in the FET.

 

  • Despite the successes of government attempts to make Mathematics accessible to more learners in South Africa, it would appear that not all communities have benefitted. As indicated in this study of 19 schools, only the ex-model C schools in the sample (group A schools) have the highest numbers of Mathematics in grade12.
  • Learners from group B schools appear to have been the hardest affected.Few learners from these schools did Mathematics at grade12 in 2014. This means that only a few learners from group B schools would have the opportunity of, for example, accessing Science and Engineering careers.  For these learners, Mathematics maybe regarded as a“filter” as it “filters” them out of some of the top careers.  In this regard, there needs to be a further interrogation of Mathematics teaching and learning at both group B, and to a lesser extent, group C schools.
  • The introduction o fMathematical Literacy as a new subject and alternative to Mathematics in the FET has created new problems with regarding to access and redress in Mathematics.  It would appear that the focus on overall school pass rates has resulted in schools noting that more learners will pass grade 12 if learners do Mathematical Literacy rather than Mathematics.  Mathematics is a well-established school subject and has always beena cognitively demanding subject. Mathematical Literacy is a fairly new subject in South Africa and is designed for learners who would not usually do Mathematics and is not as cognitively demanding as Mathematics.  Learners who struggle with Mathematics and perform poorly in the subject tend to be redirected to Mathematical Literacy (as allowed by the policy).  If these learners are given the necessary support, then they may remain with Mathematics and take the subject up to grade 12.

 

Conclusion

 

Although this research was confined to one school district, it has highlighted the need to interrogate the teaching and learning of Mathematics at all schools in our country.  Of crucial importance is the work done in Mathematics in the Senior Phase, especially in grades 8 and 9. This research has shown that within one school district that there are major differences between schools when it comes to access to Mathematics in the FET. Access to Mathematics in the FET is crucial, but once learners are doing FET Mathematics, there should be measures in place to ensure that the majority of these learners should remain in Mathematics until Grade12.  Only in exceptional cases should learners be allowed to change to Mathematical Literacy.

 

Despite all that has been achieved in South Africa since democracy, there are still some sections of society that languish behind in terms of access to Mathematics in the FET.  There has to be a concerted effort from all stakeholders to address this issue as a matter of national priority.

 

References

 

Bertram, C. (2011, 9 June ). Rushing curriculum reform again.Mailand Guardian, p 39.

 

Brodie, K. (2015, 11 October ). Solving SA’s maths crisis is more complex than we think.  SundayTimes, p 17.

 

Campbell, G. (2014). Behind the matric results. The story of maths and science. Retrieved 15 October2015 from mg.co.za/article/2014-01-07-behind-the-matric-results-the-story-of- maths-and-science.

 

Chisholm, L. (2003). The State of Curriculum Reform in South Africa: The Issue of CurriculumC2005 in RSouthall, A Habib and JDaniel (eds) State of the Nation (HSRC, Pretoria, 2003).

 

Department of Basic Education (DBE). (2011a). National Curriculum Statement(NCS). Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement(CAPS).Senior Phase. Grades7 – 9. Mathematics. Government Printing Works. Pretoria

 

Department of Basic Education (DBE). (2011b). National Curriculum Statement(NCS). Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement(CAPS).FET. Grades10 – 12. Mathematics. Government Printing Works. Pretoria

 

Department of Basic Education (DBE). (2014). National Senior Certificate Examination: National Diagnostic Report. Government Printing Works. Pretoria.

 

Department of Basic Education (DBE). (2014a).Report on the Annual National Assessments of 2014. Government Printing Works. Pretoria

 

Department of Education(DoE). (2002). A draft framework for the development of common tasks for assessment(CTA). Pretoria: National Department of Education.

 

District data (2015). Supplied by the District.

 

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