An Evaluative Study on the Usability of Statistical Procedures For Supplementing Research Findings In the Areas of Mathematical Sciences |
Trends in algebra education research, as in other areasof mathematics education, are influenced by factors external and internal tothe field. A group of external factors have led to the “massification” ofsecondary school education, whereby it is now the norm in many countries, thatmost students complete secondary education, and this education includesalgebra. Algebra is seen as a “gateway” to higher mathematics, because itprovides the language in which generalizations are expressed. Consequently,having students learn algebra is important for the production of “knowledgeworkers” as well as being important for social equity. But algebra is difficult,and instead of being a gateway, it can easily be a wall that blocks students’paths. Mass education thus highlights two challenges: to provide education thatis relevant to students, and to provide teaching that is equitable, giving allstudents an opportunity to advance. We need an algebra with mathematicalintegrity that is more interesting and meaningful, more related to students’lives (and related to their lives in ways which students themselves recognise)and which is also more learnable. Traditionally, algebra had been mainly seenas symbol manipulation, but most graduates of such curricula have noappreciation of why this knowledge is important.