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Title: Investigating problem-based learning in Saudi Arabian mathematics education : a TIMSS-related study
Author: Alreshidi, Nawaf Awadh Khallaf
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 9009
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2016
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The aim of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of problem-based learning (PBL) on students’ mathematical performance. This includes mathematics achievement and students’ attitudes towards mathematics for third and eighth grade students in Saudi Arabia. Mathematics achievement includes, knowing, applying, and reasoning domains, while students’ attitudes towards mathematics covers, ‘Like learning mathematics’, ‘value mathematics’, and ‘a confidence to learn mathematics’. This study goes deeper to examine the interaction of a PBL teaching strategy, with trained face-to-face and self-directed learning teachers, on students’ performance (mathematics achievement and attitudes towards mathematics). It also examines the interaction between different ability levels of students (high and low levels) with a PBL teaching strategy (with trained face-to-face or self-directed learning teachers) on students’ performance. It draws upon findings and techniques of the TIMSS international benchmarking studies. Mixed methods are used to analyse the quasi-experimental study data. One -way ANOVA, Mixed ANOVA, and paired t-tests models are used to analyse quantitative data, while a semi-structured interview with teachers, and author’s observations are used to enrich understanding of PBL and mathematical performance. The findings show that the PBL teaching strategy significantly improves students’ knowledge application, and is better than the traditional teaching methods among third grade students. This improvement, however, occurred only with the trained face-to-face teacher’s group. Furthermore, there is robust evidence that using a PBL teaching strategy could raise significantly students’ liking of learning mathematics, and confidence to learn mathematics, more than traditional teaching methods among third grade students. Howe ver, there was no evidence that PBL could improve students’ performance (mathematics achievement and attitudes towards mathematics), more than traditional teaching methods, among eighth grade students. In 8th grade, the findings for low achieving students show significant improvement compared to high achieving students, whether PBL is applied or not. However, for 3th grade students, no significant difference in mathematical achievement between high and low achieving students was found. The results were not expected for high achieving students and this is also discussed. The implications of these findings for mathematics education in Saudi Arabia are considered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LB Theory and practice of education ; LB1501 Primary Education ; LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools