Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the New Primary School Mathematics Curriculum in Practice

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the New Primary School Mathematics Curriculum in Practice

Article excerpt

Abstract

The aim of this study is to determine and compare the views of primary school teachers on the implementation and effectiveness of the new primary school mathematics curriculum. For that aim, a 32-item Likert-type Mathematics Curriculum Scale was developed. The reliability of the scale was tested through Cronbach Alpha (.98), Spearman-Brown (.93) and Guttman split half (.93) and the scale was found to be reliable. The scale includes four sub-scales. The population includes 792 classroom teachers working in 64 pilot schools where the new primary school mathematics curriculum was in trail in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Kocaeli, Van, Hatay, Samsun, and Bolu. The data were analyzed in terms of city, classroom, gender, teaching experience, education level, and student number variables. Independent samples t-test, Kruskal Wallis H test, variance analysis, Mann Whitney U, Scheffe, and LSD tests were used to analyze the data. Statistically significant differences were found between the views of the teachers in terms of city, classroom, gender and student number variables. It was determined that the learning attainments, content and teaching learning activities in the new mathematics curriculum were found to be effective by the teachers. But the evaluation part of the new curriculum was not found to be effective in practice. Teachers are advised to have systematic and effective in-service seminars to learn and use the evaluation techniques aimed at the new primary school mathematics curriculum.

Key Words

Primary School, New Primary School Mathematics Curriculum, Student-Centered Instruction, Constructivism

Primary school education, that includes an eight year continuous process, is both compulsory and a right for individuals in Turkey. Students gain the basic skills in primary school education. This is the reason that it has a great impact in determining the future of a child (Gürkan & Gökçe, 2002). Training qualified individuals depends on having qualified curriculum (Gözütok, 2001). The developments in the field of technology, democracy, and human rights make it necessary for the curricula to be changed (Güleryüz, 2001) and the new developments should be reflected upon curriculum development activities (Gözütok, Akgün & Karacaoglu, 2005). Schools that can foresee the future tendencies lead changes (Özden, 1999a). Curriculum-centered instruction is replaced by student centered instruction and the information society is built on human intelligence and creativity (Özden, 1999b).

As the result of fundamental changes needed in the field of education in the process of European Union in Turkey, a new primary school curriculum was prepared and implemented in 120 pilot schools in nine cities as a pilot application in the 2004-2005 academic year. The new curriculum is based on constructivist approach and the principles of activity, student- centeredness, and thematic curriculum. It also aims to use the principles of multiple intelligence based on individual differences. Gözütok, Akgün, and Karacaoglu (2005) report that the curriculum based on such a theoretical basis can be effective in teaching-learning process.

Fosnot, Brooks, and Brooks express that constructivism is a more of a learning theory rather than a teaching (Cannon, 1997; Hosgörür, 2002; Duman, 2004; Akar & Yildirim, 2004). It is also claimed to be a learning philosophy (Yesildere & Türnüklü 2004). It is necessary for student to be active both in and out of the classroom in constructivist approach and the individual constructs the new knowledge upon his/her past experiences. So, acquiring new knowledge is not a result, it is a source to produce new knowledge (Akar & Yildi rim, 2004). Cooperstein and Kocevar-Weidinger (2004) and Altun (2004) express that the learner makes a connection between new knowledge and the old one. In this process, the learner compares, investigates the new knowledge, and either accepts it or refuses the old knowledge (Cooperstein & Kocevar-Weidinger, 2004). …

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