The Effect of Class Size to the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics

The Effect of Class Size to the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics

(Case Study of Enugu North LGA of Enugu State)

☛ Chapters = 5 ☛ Pages = 85 ☛ Words = 10,013 ☛ Type = Final Year Project


1.1 Background of the Study

There is still little consensus on whether and how teaching is affected by small and large classes, especially in the case of students in the later primary years. Individual attention in smaller classes, were a more active role for students, and beneficial effects on the quality of teaching. It is suggested that teachers in both large and small classes need to develop strategies for more individual attention but also recognize the benefits of other forms of learning , for example, the group work. We need, therefore, accounts of ways in which classroom processes are altered as a result of class size differences, and in this paper, we examine the connections between class size and teaching. Logically, it seems likely that the number of children in a class will increase the amount of time that teachers spend in procedural matters and, conversely, decrease the amount f time that can be spent on instruction and dealing with individual children. There was consistent evidence that in small classes children were more likely to interact with their teachers, the more one-on-one teaching takes place, children were more often the focus of a teacher’s attention, teaching takes place and teachers more often attended to the children. The trend towards individualization in small classes did not seem to be indicative of a passive role for children, the opposite seemed more likely, that is, children in large classes spend less time actively interacting with the teacher in terms of responding or initiating. These components suggested that class size affected the amount of individual attention, the immediacy and responsiveness of teachers to children, the sustained and purposeful nature of interaction between teachers, knowledge of children in their classes, and sensitivity to individual children’s particular needs. Nigeria Educational Research Council (NERC) published a review of 41 studies of the effects of class, concluding that reducing class size alone would not increase student achievement. In classes of 25-34 pupils at the primary level, the studies show some support for the hypothesis the smaller classes are related to higher achievement reading and mathematics, particularly if the pupils are socially or economically disadvantaged or remain in small classes for at least two year (NERC, 2006). The National Policy on Education (Revised 2004) states that mathematics is one of the core curriculum which every students must take in addition to his/her specialties. Continuing, the policy stated that those core subjects are basic subjects which will enable a student to offer arts or science in Higher Education. The implication of the compulsory nature of the subjects demands much especially from the teacher. Inspite of the importance of Mathematics, there is a general low-level of student performance in Mathematics in examination, therefore the class-size has been identified as the cause of this low performance. As class size increase, achievement decreases students who would score at about the 63 percentile on a math test when taught individually, would score at about 37th percentile (when taught) in a class of 40 students. A follow-up study by the Educational Research Development Council using meta-analysis was published in 2000. Non-achievement effects on class size such as effects on students, effect on teachers, and effects on the instructional environment and processes ever investigated. The results indicated that decreasing class size had a beneficial effect on the classroom environment. In the review, class size was shown to have a more “substantial effect” on teachers than on students or the instructional environment. The effect of class size was more significant for students below the age of twelve (NERDC 2002). Filby and Colleagues published “what happens in smaller classes?” A summary report of a field stud” in 2000 they reported that teacher attitudes improved in smaller classes. Teachers in reduced class size environments were able to reach a child and help him/her when the help was needed, in larger classes the teachers felt that they could not get there to help. These teachers stated that with large class assignment, the workload was heavy and overburdened. When such overloading decreased, as smaller classes because reality, the teachers were able to relax more, feel less frustrated, and were able to create a more positive learning climate that also discourage classroom disruptions. They found that the attention rates for students increased as class size decreased. The range of those paying attention was decreased. The range of those paying attention was from 56 percent in large classes to 72 percent in the smaller classes. Increased attention span meant less time waiting for help or causing disturbances in the classroom. The researchers suggested that the class size reductions alone do not necessarily bring about change. However, teachers experience improved conditions, and this development brings about greater enthusiasm on the part of teachers. Such enthusiasm can lead to changes that benefit everyone. Teachers usually do what they are inclined to do anyway however; smaller classes allow them to do a better job. This was supported by an earlier teacher survey. The Nigeria Research Council Conducted a teacher opinion poll in 2000. It reported that more teachers named lowering class size than any other item as the one improvement that would create better teacher morale and jobs satisfaction. Teachers also saw improvement in the behaviour of students, increased productivity, and more hand-on participation learning. Research has begun to focus upon what actually happens in smaller classes as opposed to larger ones. The ministry of Education in Nigeria as concerned with this question in a two-year study. Students from the fourth grade were assigned, in the first year, to some thirty-four different classes, some with sixteen students, some with twenty-three, some with thirty, and some with thirty-seven. During the second year they were all reassigned to different sized classes. This allowed the researchers to study the same students and the same teachers in different settings and to observe changes in classroom processes. The overall findings indicate that even though class size did not change the degree of individualized instruction, the teacher did spend up to twice as much time per student in the reduced size classes (Klein, 2008). In a 2004 review for Education Research Council they suggested a Related Cluster Analysis approach designed to: 1. Identify and summarize all the research studies available on the effects of class size, and 2. Group the research findings into clusters related to each of several major areas in which problems, issues, and decisions relating to class size are likely to it sorts out from the large body of research findings on class size into those finding that related directly to specific areas and it made the research understandable and useful for application to specific decisions. The most comprehensive review, meticulously conducted for the Nigeria Educational Research Council concluded that: It is now recognized by many that we need to know more about effects of class size on classroom interactions and students behaviour. This extends research in several ways: (a) It compares effects on two main types of behaviours student classroom engagement an teacher to student interaction. (b) It examines if effects vary by student attainment level. (c) It examines effects of class size on classroom process across the whole of the primary and secondary school years. (d) It studies effects across the full range of class size found in Nigeria schools. (e) It uses systematic observation data to capture effects of class size on moment by moment behaviour and employs sophisticated multilevel statistical analyses that controls for possibly confounding factors and deals with that clustered nature of observation data within student and within classroom within schools. Results showed that as class sizes become smaller, there were more times when students were the focus of a teachers attention, and more times when they were engaged in active interaction with teachers. This effect was found for all groups at both primary and secondary levels. It was also found that students classroom engagement decreased in larger classes and this problem was particularly marked for the students who are already attaining at lower levels. This also affects mathematics lesson, students have been found to perform low due to the increased class size. The National Policy on Education revised (2004) stipulates the maximum number of students in each class to be 30-40 students. For effective teaching, teacher/student ratio should conform to this stipulated order. Today class size have bloated due to explosion of population of children of school age. There is a limit to which a teacher can effectively control anything more than their will affects the achievement of school objectives. This spurs the researchers into carrying out this project on the effect of class size to the teaching and learning of mathematics in Enugu North Local Government area of Enugu State.

1.2 Statement of Problem

In view of the geometrical increase in students enrollment in our secondary schools with corresponding arithmetic increase in the staff strength, the research is worried on 1. How teacher can manage and teach a class with many students of about 40-60? 2. Do teachers in large and small classes differ in time spent on teaching or instructional activities overall, time in individual, group, and class contact and individual attention from teacher? 3. Can the teacher cope with proximity ie can the teacher go with the students individually. 4. Do teachers in large and small classes differ in more qualitative dimensions of teaching, concentrating

1.3 Purpose of study

Since the teaching and learning of mathematics is affected by class-size, it then becomes pertinent to; 1. Find out if students learn more when the class size is between 25-30 students or If they learn more when the class size is above the 25-30 students. 2. Find out is teachers do teaching more effectively when the class-size is between 25-30 students or above and Find out if the students receive maximum attention and supervision from the teacher when the class-size is between 25-30 students or above.

This is with a view to identifying the problem of large class-size ie 40-60 students and possible give necessary suggestion for improvement.

1.4 Significance of the Study

The study will be beneficial to this groups:

1. To the students.

2. To the teachers.

1. The research will expose the students to see reason in what they are supposed to be doing and needs to receive maximum attention and supervision at all time. Above all, it will enable them to understand, appreciate science, live meaningfully and effectively especially in this age of science and technology.

2. The research woke will also enable the teachers to know their students problems and help in solving their problems. At the sometime give students the correct assessment as and when the need arises. This will expose the teachers of the needs to follow the stipulated policy of student per teacher ratio (ie students/teacher ratio) as stipulated in the national policy of Education.

1.5 Scope of Study

Four secondary schools in Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State were taught these topics (1) Statistics (2) Probability.

1.6 Research Questions

1. Do students learn more with the class size of 25-30 students and above, using mean achievement scores and standard deviation, of the control group 40-30 students in pre and post mathematics achievement test?

2. Do students receive maximum attention and supervision from teacher when the class size is between 25-30 students and above, using mean achievement scores and standard deviation of control group 40-60 students and experimental group of 25-30 students in pre and post mathematics achievement test due to sex?


1. There is significant difference between mean achievement scores of students in the experimental and control groups in pre mathematics achievement test.

2. There is significant difference between the mean achievement scores of students in experimental and control groups in post mathematics achievement test.

3. There is significant difference between mean achievement scores of students in the experimental and control groups in post mathematics achievement test due to sex.

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