The Attitudes and Opinions of the Students towards Mathematics Course: The Comparison of TIMSS 1999 and TIMSS 2007

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the attitudes of the students who participated in the application within the context of TIMSS 1999 and 2007 projects towards the "Maths course" and their opinions about "teaching activities in Maths course" had changed according to the mentioned years or not. The sample of TIMSS 1999 was comprised of 7834 students from the 8th grade and the sample of TIMSS 2007 was comprised of 4498 students from the 8th grade. The students were selected by means of stratified sampling method within the ratio of seven geographical regions and schools. The responses of students to the choices of common items in the questionnaires were summarized as percentages and they were illustrated with comparative graphics according to the years. The results of the study showed that the students have more positive attitudes towards the Maths course in TIMSS 2007 than they had in TIMSS 1999. In addition, the students more frequently reported to establish relationship with daily life and their learning in math; cooperative learning activities were increased by the time. In addition, essay exams and multiple choice test and quizzes were used more frequently. In terms of using maths course materials and devices there was no change in using calculator; however, an increase was observed in the use of computer.

Key Words

TIMSS, TIMSS Student Questionnaire, Attitudes towards Mathematics Course.

In today's world, the technology that develops rapidly and the increase in knowledge has led to the change in the expectations of the communities from the individuals. In this respect, the role of the educational systems is to educate individuals that construct the information in globalized world, think critically, and establish to connect phenomena and incidents. In this context, the importance of assessment studies has increased over times which present empirical data about a country. Such empirical findings in field of education present a ranking of a country among the other countries and also give an opportunity to evaluate national educational policies for that country. The projects, such as TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Studies), PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) and PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), which were applied for this purpose and organized by OECD and aiming at determining the students' achievements and in school and out-of-school factors that affect their achievements are the main case studies in the field of education (Wu, 2010). Among these applications, TIMSS is an international project that collects information about the settings and factors that affect the learning and teaching processes like student, teacher and school principals besides testing the students' achievements in Science and Maths. TIMSS participants come from different countries around the world. TIMSS was firstly held in 1995 and then it is carried out respectively in 1999, 2003 and 2007 with four-year intervals. Turkey participated into TIMSS application in 1999 and 2007 at the level of 8th grades. TIMSS Maths assessment framework is in a structure in which the students' skills that requires them to apply their knowledge in the subjects like fraction and numbers, measurement, data presentation, analysis and probability, algebra and geometry into simple situations, in routine Maths problem solving and in non-routine math problem solving which the solution requires multi stages are tested (Mullis et al., 2008). TIMSS of the Maths achievement results test are interpreted within four different proficiency levels which are defined as the international levels. In each of the proficiency level, it explained skills that students could perform depend on the performance in TIMSS Maths test.

In terms of general Maths achievement mean, Turkey was in the 32nd row among the 38 countries in TIMSS 1999 and in the 37th row among the 59 countries in 2007. …