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Title: Primary mathematics teaching reform in a small island developing state : the case of the Mathematics Lesson Structure in the Seychelles
Author: Valentin, Justin
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis investigates the impact of a mandatory primary mathematics teaching reform on teaching and achievement in the context of Seychelles. The reform was implemented in 2006 as a strategy initially to improve mathematics teaching and ultimately the pupils’ achievements. The Mathematics Lesson Structure (MLS) reform aimed to encourage a more coherent structure to mathematics lessons, provide variations in pupils’ learning experiences, and facilitate school-based teacher learning. The thesis focuses on the outcomes of the reform. Taking this reform as a case study, the thesis explores systemic policy reform in a small developing state. The research employed a mixed methods design for data collection. A questionnaire was administered to a group of teachers involved in the teaching of mathematics in primary schools (n = 219). Four schools were selected for in-depth fieldwork. In each of the four schools, a six-teacher focus group interview was carried out, and samples of lessons, amounting to 22 lessons, were observed. A focus group interview was held with a group of 8 mathematics subject leaders. Additional interviews were conducted with 2 education officers who worked with teachers in schools. Secondary data were drawn from two projects: Improving Pupils’ Achievements in Mathematics or DPAM, and Southern African Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality or SACMEQ. Pupils sample size for the SACMEQ II, III and IP AM data files were n = 1484, n = 1480, and n = 1080 respectively. The IP AM data also consisted of teacher questionnaires and interview responses. The results indicate that the reform was beneficial to the teachers and the subject leaders in a number of ways. The teachers overwhelmingly liked the reform but lesson observation data show that they were not necessarily complying as they reported. The teachers overwhelmingly liked the reform but lesson observation data show that they were not necessarily complying as they reported. Observation data also show that the lessons deviated from the contemporary vision of what mathematics lessons should look like. Teachers’ accounts of their experiences suggest that the primary schools were challenging sites for pedagogical reform. Data about the pupils’ achievements show no progress in performance from 2006 to 2007 but an improvement in 2009. The use of MLS reduces variability in pupils’ performances. These results have implications for in-service teacher education, pedagogical reform, and policy implementation in small developing states.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available