Educational stakeholders’ perceptions on differentiated curriculum content for certificate of secondary education mathematics

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University of Dar es Salaam
The study explored the perceptions of mathematics teachers and students on the need of introducing or adopting differentiated curriculum content in the Certificate of Secondary Education mathematics in Tanzanian schools. The study was guided by the following questions: How do mathematics teachers and students perceive the curriculum content in CSE basic mathematics? How has the curriculum content affected the teaching and learning practices in mathematics? How should mathematics be taught in differentiated curriculum content for the CSE? The study surveyed five secondary schools in Mbeya city district. A total of 278 respondents (13 mathematics teachers and 265 form four students) were involved. Purposive, systematic and simple random sampling techniques were used to select the sample. The data were collected through a Likert scale type of questionnaire (with few open-ended items) to both teachers and students, focus group discussions to students and documentary review. The findings showed that; the syllabus incorporated a large amount of content for mathematics subject. The content was said not to be suitable to some students’ future learning and career expectations. Therefore, the mathematics teachers and students perceived positively the adoption of differentiated curriculum content that could consider the learners’ needs, ability and expectations and expect to improve students’ performance in mathematics. Moreover, the huge content was found to encourage non-participatory ways of teaching rather than participatory. In the surveyed schools, it showed that the teaching favoured the completion of content with the focus on students passing final examinations and not for conceptual understanding. The study concluded that, stakeholders (teachers and students) showed that, the basic mathematics content is huge that stress teacher to teach in limited time for content coverage. The content does not suit students learning ability and future expectation. The teachers and students perceived positively the idea of adopting differentiated curriculum content with the reason that, the content will be narrowed and could put into consideration on the learning abilities, interest, future learning and career expectations of students and thus enhance positive achievement. Also, the teachers and students showed that, there is a mismatch between curriculum advocacy and practices in the classroom. The curriculum emphasizes learner-centred learning while the practice is teacher-centred approach. Thus, study recommends that there is a need of adopting differentiated curriculum that will consider the needs of the students. This will motivate students to learn and therefore positive achievements in mathematics. Furthermore, the participatory methods of teaching need to be enforced so that learning processes comply with the curriculum advocacy.
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Mathematics, Curricula, Certificate of secondary education, Education, Secondary
Sangu, M. A (2012) Educational stakeholders’ perceptions on differentiated curriculum content for certificate of secondary education mathematics, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam (Available at