Investigating the impact of an intervention programme in a Grade 11 mathematics class : a case study
The general performance of learners in mathematics in most secondary schools in South Africa is not encouraging. Statistics reveal that there is a general poor performance in mathematics and related science subjects especially in those schools located in previously disadvantaged communities. There is just a need for appropriate interventions of the significance of mathematics in present society which is now characterised by high information and technology thrust. The objective of the study was to investigate the impact of the tutorial intervention programme on the performance of a grade eleven mathematics class with a view to improving the mathematics performance of these grade 11 learners. The selection of the action research based method was premised on the idea that it would help the researcher to improve his tutoring practice as well as contributing to better learner performance. Data was collected through the use of qualitative research methods. These involved observation, the utilisation of focus group discussions of learners, and in-depth interviews with randomly selected learners and other mathematics colleagues. A careful mix of learners of different learning abilities was made so that high performers would assist those whose performance was lower. In each group of five at least two high performers were included. Findings of the study point to the effectiveness of the tutorial process, justifying its adoption on a long term basis. In general, it can be concluded that the tutoring strategies used by the researcher had a positive effect on the knowledge retention of the learners. This conclusion was arrived at from an observation of improved test results over time, the learners‟ views in the questionnaires as well as those of peer observers.