Concept paper sample
EFFECTS OF PUPIL’S HOME ENVIRONMENT ON LEARNING OF ALGEBRA CONCEPTS.CASE OF PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN LAIKIPIA WEST DISTRICT, KENYA
A RESEARCH CONCEPT PAPER IN EDUCATION IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT FOR THE REQUIREMENT OF THE AWARD OF THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF EDUCATION
1.0 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Mathematics concepts have all along been considered by educators as the most difficult to instill in learners of all the other subjects at all levels.Kaygensen(2006) notes that academic achievement is a factor of many variables and while some individuals excel mathematically regardless of their surroundings, others seem limited to performing well under certain conditions. Still others seem mathematically challenged in all their endeavours, feeling alone in their feelings of anxiety toward math.Dawkins (1982) suggests that the effect of environment on the pupil’s learning of mathematics is no less significant than the genetic effects. Research has established that Parental involvement in a child’s schooling in the early years has a significant impact on children’s cognitive development and literacy in numbers. Ginsburg & Russell (1982) suggest that what accounts for differentials in math learning ability among pupils has to do with the amount of informal mathematics simulation at home. Educational failure is caused by lack of parental interest in the child’s school work.Muola(2010) conducted a research on the relationship between academic achievement in Kenyan schools and found that, the home environment factors such as parental encouragement, family size, parent’s occupation, and education are critical for a child’s academic success in school.
1.1 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Most pupils came to school carrying influences from their home environment. These influences end up affecting and influencing the way they see their academic lives. The home environment influence could either be a positive factor in regard to how they perform academically or a negative factor in the sense that it inhibits the pupil’s capacity to grasp concepts of subjects such as algebra in math. Home environment has been conceptualized as the quality of human interactions, from the point of view of the child. It includes those aspects which foster growth and development such as family trust and confidence, sharing of ideas, parents support, approval, parental encouragement, care and affection. A classroom study done by the African Population and Health Research centre (APHRC) in 2010 indicated that mathematics is the most poorly done subject at primary level. A 2011 study by Uwezo, in Kenya found out that one out of ten pupils in standard eight lack mathematics skill to even tackle class two works. Consequently; the government has been trying to study the root cause of this repeated poor performance.
Understanding some of the home environment factors that have a bearing on performance in mathematics through looking at one concept could be one way to get at the bottom of the problem. Despite this realization, there is hardly any research focusing on a single mathematics aspect such as algebra, to analyze the home environment’s impact on the pupils studying it. Algebra is of importance because it is a gateway to higher learning and crucial to success in math and science careers. Therefore, the determination of effects of home environment on learning of algebra in primary schools is crucial. Although there are studies on effects of family background on mathematics performance, there is hardly any focusing on a single area in mathematics hence the need for this study.
1.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of the study is to establish the effect of pupil’s home environment on the learning of algebra concepts.
The specific objectives will be:To investigate the effects of child games and activities at home on the pupil’s learning of algebra concepts To establish the effect of the parents’ occupation on the learning of algebra concepts. To establish the effect if the parents’ levels of education affect the learning of algebra concept. To establish if siblings affect pupil’s perception about algebra and learning.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The research questions will be:How do various child games and routine activities enhance the pupil’s learning of algebra concepts? What parents are likely to positively enhance pupil’s understanding of algebra concepts? Does the level of the parent’s education affect the learning of algebra concepts? How do pupil’s siblings affect their perception about algebra and algebra learning?
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study is significant in the sense that it will put into perspective the effects of home environment on the pupil’s ability to grasp and learn algebra concepts and this could help parents create or model the ideal home environment for faster and easier learning of algebra concepts by the pupil. The study is of particular significance to parents, teachers and basic education researchers. Teachers will particularly know how to guide parents on the conducive home environment that will facilitate the pupil’s faster grasp of algebra concepts. The basic education scholars will have reference point with regard to the right conditions at home that help foster easier mastery of algebra concepts among pupils. The research will also embellish the existing discourse on the effect of home environment on learning and especially masterly of mathematics branch of algebra.
1.5 THE SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study will only be carried out within all the primary schools in Laikipia West District. The researcher will only confine himself to establishing the effects of home environment on the pupil capacity to learn algebra.
The researcher envisages a number of limitations such as the inability of the respondents to adequately fill the questionnaires as required, the inadequacy of the research instrument to capture all the required information, and failure of some respondents to fill the questionnaire, and the inherent weakness in the research design.
The researcher will basically proceed with several assumptions mainly: the respondents will give correct information, the information given will be correct at the time.
2.0 Conceptual framework
Independent variables Dependent variable
3.1 Research design
Research design refers to the blue print for collection, measurement and analysis of data. It is the plan and structure of investigating so conceived as to obtain answers to research questions (Kothari, 2004).Descriptive design will be used in this study since the researcher intends to look at the problem at hand thoroughly to define it, clarify it, and obtain pertinent information that could be of use to policy makers in basic education. Several researchers have recommended it as the best for this kind of research (see Orodho, 2004; Dane, 2000).
3.2 Data collection Procedures
The procedure for data collection will entail using questionnaires to be administered through drop and pick method to the units of analysis who will be class teachers and pupils. Two sets of questionnaires tailored for the two categories of respondents shall be administered. In addition, face to face interviews will be used. The two methods shall be used to collect primary data. The data will be collected by the researcher with the aid of a research assistant in all the sampled primary schools in Laikipia West District. This exercise will span one month period.
3.3 Size and Sampling Procedures
The target population of the study will be eighty primary schools located in Laikipia West District. Out of these, a sample size of fifty schools will be sampled in a stratified manner with regard to location and population size. Researchers such as Mugenda & Mugenda (1999) suggest that one may use a sample size of at least 10 per cent, but for better, more representative results, a higher percentage is better.
3.4 Pilot Study
A pilot study shall be conducted in three schools to test the instrument, if the questions are ambiguous or not. The instrument will be refined before being administered.
Validity refers to the accuracy or truthfulness of the measurement. It concerns if the questionnaire is measuring what it’s expected to. The researcher intends to submit the instrument to two experts for opinions with regard to content validity. For construct validity, the researcher will use a confirmatory factor analysis to see if the various single items contribute to the overall construct measurement.
Reliability refers to the aspect of stability or repeatability. It concerns if the measurement can give consistent results over time. The researcher intends to use test retest method. The other way is to submit the instrument to a senior faculty member of Kenyatta University for expert advice.
3.7 Data analysis
The researcher will examine all the questionnaires for completeness and consistency, and then categorize all the items before coding. The collected data will be analyzed using SPSS (statistical package for social sciences).It will be presented in pie charts, bar charts and graphs. Descriptive statistics such as mean, mode, median will be used to present the characteristics of data.
3.8 TARGET POPULATION
The target population will be 80 primary schools in Laikipia West District. The researcher will target the class teachers of mathematics, and individual pupils in class seven as unit of analysis.
3.9 EXPECTED OUTCOMES
The researcher expects that the study will adduce the existence of sufficient effects of home environment on the pupil‘s ability to learn algebra. The various factors that bring positive outcomes will also be established by the study.
Ginsburg, H.R., & Russell, R.L. (1981).Social class and racial influences on early mathematical thinking. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 46(6), 1-69
Kothari, C.R. (2004).Research Methodology: Methods and Techniques (2nd Ed.).New Delhi, India: New Age International Publishers.
Mugenda O.M. & Mugenda, A.G. (1999).Research methods: quantitative and qualitative approaches. Nairobi: ACTS Press.
Muola, J.M. (2010).A study of the relationship between academic achievement motivation and home environment among standard eight pupils. Educational Research Reviews, 5,213-217.available at: http://www.academicjournals.org/ERR2