1. LITERATURE REVIEW: GRADE 10 LEARNERS DO NOT HAVE THE BASIC MATHEMATICAL KNOWLEDGE ON WHICH TO BUILD IN ORDER TO BECOME MATHEMATICALLY LITERATE. 2.1. INTRODUCTION
This research project will concentrate on the claim that grade 10 learners do not have the mathematical knowledge on which to build in order to become mathematically literate. The research will be based on the philosophy of qualitative research. According to J. Mouton (1988), indicates that the term “qualitative” research is an indication that this approach concentrates on qualities of human behaviour, i.e. on the qualitative measurable aspects of human behaviour. Mouton (1988) further explains that “interpretative” refers to the fact that the aim of such a research is not to explain human behaviour in terms of universally valid laws or generalizations, but rather, to understand and interpret the meanings and intentions that underlie everyday human action. I, therefore fully agree with Mouton because even the research topic for the assignment is based on “generalization” that people claim grade 10 learners do not have the mathematical knowledge on which to build in order to become mathematically literate. In this assignment, we shall look on what the literature says about this claim from different authors. 2.2. SOME METHODOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS
The above-mentioned generalization that most people claim on grade 10 learners will be the basis of our discussion. Learners in grade 10 were given the test to write on the percentages as the main topic. Learners were not told that they were going to write a test on percentages. This topic was chosen because Quantitative Literacy deals with aspects of everyday life. This will be discussed fully on the next topic where different authors will have different or common views on the role played by Quantitative Literacy in human life. 2.3. THE AUTHORS’ UNDERSTANDING OF THE QUANTITATIVE LITERACY. Steen (2009) defines mathematical literacy as the capacity to identify and understand the role that mathematics plays in the world, to make well-founded mathematical judgment and to engage in mathematics in ways that meet the needs of an individual’s current and future life as a constructive, concerned, and reflective citizen. The percentage was very appropriate when we look on the above explanation of mathematical literacy by Steen. Steen understands that mathematical literacy is the capacity to identify and understand the role that mathematics plays in the world hence the researcher has on percentages because percentages are used in various aspects of economy. Geoffrey (1996) distinguishes between quantitative literacy and mathematical literacy. According to Geoffrey (1996) quantitative literacy, which stresses the use of those mathematical and logical tools needed to solve common problems e.g. percentages. On the other hand he says that mathematical literacy emphasizes the traditional tools and vocabulary of mathematics e.g. formal algebra and calculus. Geoffrey (1996) and Steen (2009) only differ when it comes to the distinguishing of quantitative literacy and mathematical literacy because Steen takes both mathematical literacy and quantitative literacy as one and the same thing. On the other hand, Geoffrey finds the two different as it has been stated above. Packer (2000) distinguishes quantitative literacy as the “Mathematization of society”. He says these symbolic models simulate real-world processes and systems used to allocate resources, design technology and improve system performance. He says “Mathematization” increases the significance of higher level skills for most citizens. Successful workers and citizens need to know how to solve problems, analyze data and make written and oral presentations of quantitative results. If learners are taught percentages and understand them very well, Packer agrees that this will be “mathematization of society”. 2.4. QUANTITIATIVE LITERACY: GOALS AND OBJECTIVES...
References: Arnold Packer. 2000. What Mathematics should “Everyone” Know and Be Able to Do? Institute for Policy Studies. Johns Hopkins University. [ONLINE]. Available: http://www.maa.org/ql/pgs33-42.pdf (last visited at 9:30 on the 07/08/2012).
Geoffrey, H. 1996. What mathematics for all? [ONLINE]. Available: www.maa.org/ql/pgs225-228.pdf visited at 10:40 on the 07/08/2012.
Mouton, J. 1988. The Philosophy of Qualitative Research. Centre For Research Methodology, HSRC.
Steen, Lynn Arthur (Ed.). 2001. Mathematics and Democracy: The Case for
Quantitative Literacy. Princeton, NJ: The National Council on Education and the Disciplines. [ONLINE]. http://www.maa.org/ql/mathanddemocracy.html (last accessed on the 07/08/2012).
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