Tracking learners’ performances in high-stakes Grade 10 mathematics examinations
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One of the educational ideas used in mathematics education to improve mathematics achievement in schools is examination-driven teaching. Its effects have sparked intense debates in different didactic circles regarding its usefulness as a teaching technique. More specifically, researchers have consistently debated whether examination-driven teaching is a good or a bad approach that can be used beneficially for learners’ achievement. In South Africa, the urgent need to uplift the low performances of high school learners in Mathematics has led to a development of a project which is a partnership with the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) and the University of the Western Cape (UWC). This project used examination-driven teaching in the context of a continuous professional development to improve learners’ mathematics scores. Five secondary schools that were opportunistically sampled in the province of the Western Cape were exposed to examination-driven teaching. For evaluation, the project yearly developed and implemented high-stakes Grade 10 end-ofyear mathematics examinations, and the data subjected to analysis were learners’ mathematics scores for 2012, 2013 and 2014. A quantitative approach employing Rasch procedures and some statistical procedures were used to analyse the data. The study intended to answer the following questions: 1) Do learners’ achievement scores in a high-stakes Grade 10 mathematics examinations improve over time when an examination-driven teaching approach is being used as intervention? 2) Does socio-economic status of schools influence mathematics performances in the case of using examination-driven teaching ? 3) Are there differences over time in the achievement of learners in the two different papers comprising the examination?