An evaluation of the new mathematics curriculum and its implementation in the Sultanate of Oman
The aim of this research was to evaluate the new mathematics curriculum in Oman since its
introduction in 1998. The study presented is both qualitative and quantitative in approach.
Comparisons are made between the 'old and new' mathematics curricular in terms of
students' attainment. The impact of the new curriculum on teachers and other education
professionals is explored in interviews with teachers, inspectors and the Ministry staff
involved in its implementation. The outcome of the evaluation provides some pointers for
action as the new curriculum is progressively introduced in all Omani schools.
The development of education in Oman since 1970 is described to set out the context of the
study. The development of the education system and particularly the development of
mathematics education are described. Chapter one outlines the aim of the study and its
importance. Theories of learning such as how children develop their thinking skills and
how they learn and remember are discussed including the new ideas on teaching and
learning mathematics. These ideas include collaborative learning, learning through problem
solving and learning by discovery. New methods of assessment such as performance
assessment and portfolio assessment are also presented. The differences between the old
and the new curricula are then examined in terms of content, teaching and learning
materials, teaching methods, and assessment and evaluation. Chapter four describes and
explains the design and methodology of this study. Qualitative and quantitative approaches
are used to produce valid information about the implementation of the new curriculum.
The instrument used in the quantitative approach was an attainment test and the qualitative
approach based on groups of interviews with teachers, inspectors and other educational
professionals. The results from the attainment tests show that, overall, pupils in grade four (age 10) following the new curriculum performed not as well as in the achievement tests
than those were taught through the old curriculum. The quantitative results also show girls
performed better than boys in both curriculum groups.
Evidence from the interviews shows that all the participants, (teachers, inspectors, the
Ministry staff) were positive and very committed to the new mathematics programme.
Teachers did, however, face many difficulties in implementing the new curriculum
including teaching the content in grades three and [our, how to put into practice the
cooperative learning methods, problems in using an integrated approach, and in applying
the new assessment instruments.
In conclusion the main findings arising from the qualitative and quantitative evidence are
discussed in detail. The results of this study have several implications for teaching the new
curriculum, the types and kinds of teaching materials to use, and the training programmes
which would best meet the needs of teachers. On the basis of this evidence,
recommendations are made to improve teaching and learning mathematics in Omani
schools, It is suggested that the curriculum content and the learning objectives should be
redrafted as well as revisions to the teachers guide and activity guide. There is a need to
encouraged teachers to use and integrate technologies in their teaching. Effective in-service
training in order to understand the new assessment and evaluation strategies is urgently
needed. Particular attention should be given to new teachers. Professional trainers from the
Ministry should be actively involved in in-service training in the regions. A longitudinal
evaluation study should be carried out to determine the effectiveness of different learning
methods on the social and affective skills of children. It would be valuable to replicate this present study nationally focused on the transition from first cycle of basic education grades
(1 104) through second cycle of the Easic Education grades (5 to l O) as the results of this
study do not correspond with the findings of a number of other studies in the field of
teaching and learning mathematics.