Omissions in the foundation and intermediate phases

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Omissions: In the Foundation and Intermediate Phases, we felt that an important component of Range Statement 1.1 (‘Identifying situations for data collection’) had been omitted, namely a performance indicator which specifies that learners should be able to identify relevant variables and ask appropriate questions which can be addressed by the collection and analysis of data’ . We also felt that Assessment Criterion 8 should include the “idea of chance” as an overall concept in addition to “evidence of knowledge of ways of counting”. Content errors: For example, in Assessment Criterion 2, sampling is given as a method of data collection. In fact it is a process which takes place before the data can be gathered or collected. Inappropriate content: In some cases, we felt that the content specified was not appropriate for the given phase, for example the application of statistical tools such as average in the Foundation Phase. Furthermore, as noted below, our trialling experiences have revealed the complexity of learning certain aspects of statistics, and have caused us to reconsider the nature of the Range Statements for this Specific Outcome. We are concerned that the nature of the curriculum document will confound teachers’ attempts to come to grips with a new content area. In attempting to increase the accessibility of this particular Specific Outcome for ourselves and for teachers, we have rewritten the document compensating for the above-mentioned errors and omissions. Furthermore, we have found that the freedom given to teachers and curriculum developers to identify their own Performance Indicators has enabled us to design a statistics curriculum which, based on our reading and experience in schools, we consider as conceptually appropriate for learners. Given the nature of the topic and its relative newness in the school curriculum, it is however questionable whether teachers will be able to do this. It is in this area, therefore, that we believe that materials developers and curriculum development initiatives such as MALATI and the partnership between the Gauteng Education Department and the Gauteng Institute for
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4 Curriculum Development (GICD) have an important role to play in designing and providing frameworks in this regard. The Nature of the Topic Itself: The design of MALATI materials is research based – the process takes place after review of the literature and discussion with mathematics educators. Probability is regarded as being a particularly difficult concept to teach for (a) it deals with uncertainty, and (b) the intuitions and experiences that the learner (and teacher) bring to the study of the topic at school can conflict with formal probability (Carpenter, Corbitt, Kepner, Lindquist & Reys, 1981). The point is that, as Ahlgren (quoted in Hawkins & Kapadia, 1992) pointed out in 1989, “It is important to acknowledge that we do not yet know the best (or even a very good) way to teach students probability…”.
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  • Fall '08
  • Staff
  • Malati

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