Exploring Cognitive Opportunities to Learn Provided to Students by Grade 11 Malawian Mathematics Textbooks.
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This study explores the cognitive opportunities to learn mathematics provided by grade 11 Malawian mathematics textbooks through the topic of quadratic equations. Four textbooks which were approved by the Ministry of Education Science and Technology as core textbooks for grade 11 mathematics were analyzed using the two frameworks: Mathematics Discourse in Instruction analytical tool for textbook analysis (MDITx) (Ronda & Adler, 2017) and Mathematics Task analysis (Stein & Smith, 1998). A total of 98 examples and 532 tasks were analyzed in this study from the four textbooks. Findings show that the four textbooks contain examples and tasks of all levels of cognitive demand in the topic of quadratic equations. However, the tasks which dominate in all the four textbooks are those of low level of cognitive demand. Tasks requiring high cognitive demand, are poorly represented in all the textbooks, for instance 6% in Textbook A, 11% in Textbook B, 9% in Textbook C and 7% in Textbook D. These findings reveal that the textbooks are providing very little opportunity to engage learners with high cognitive demand tasks. This illuminates textbooks’ potential in limiting opportunities to engage learners in high cognitive demand mathematics. Although this study explored one topic, this may suggest that grade 11 Malawi textbooks limit the opportunity of learners to learn cognitive demanding mathematics. It is necessary to find out more about the opportunities to learn cognitive demanding mathematics in the other topics in these textbooks to make the generalized conclusion. It could also be interesting to investigate how the teachers use the textbooks in their classrooms to establish if the cognitive level is maintained, upgraded or downgraded.
Master's thesis in Mathematics Education for international students