Raising motivation in secondary school students: can contextualising mathematical concepts in real world situations improve learning? A preliminary study

Blain, Martin (2016) Raising motivation in secondary school students: can contextualising mathematical concepts in real world situations improve learning? A preliminary study. Masters thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

This study is a preliminary investigation into whether secondary school students can be motivated by the introduction of material into their maths curriculum which contains skills which are specifically needed for future life and work.

The research takes place in a secondary school where motivation is very mixed. The students are divided into a target and a control group, giving one an adapted curriculum where skills for future life and work are specifically included while the other studies a more traditional academic curriculum. The groups study for three weeks and are then reversed so that the target becomes the control for the next topic. Both groups are given a common assessment task and an open-ended task for homework for each topic.

The class is evaluated on: attendance, completion of the open-ended tasks, attitude to learning (questionnaires about the learning in the specific topics) and their topic assessment. Each student also completes an attitude questionnaire and is interviewed at the end of each topic. The teachers are also interviewed and the classes observed by an impartial observer on two occasions.

The results indicate some evidence of improved performance in the class with the adapted curriculum in: attendance, assessment (number of questions attempted and number of correct answers), attitude to learning (only slight evidence), quality and independence of classwork and quality and quantity of homework. There was, however, no long-term benefit across the subject as a whole in terms of academic achievement. The students were able to identify the value of some of the maths skills for future life and work but the identifying of such skills did necessarily lead to better
performance in these topics. There were no student groups which were specifically identified as being influenced to a greater or lesser extent by the change in curriculum.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education
Item ID: 21307
Depositing User: Jennifer Basford
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2017 15:57
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2019 18:05
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/21307

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