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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mathematics achievement in the Dominican Republic : grade 12 Crespo Luna, Sandra M.


The general goal of the present study was to assess mathematics achievement at the end of Grade 12 in the Dominican Republic, with particular attention to school and regional differences, as well as gender differences. Also, gains in achievement were examined by comparing the achievement of students in Grade 12 to that of students finishing Grade 11. In addition, the performance of Grade 12 students was compared to that of Grade 8 students as assessed in the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics in the Dominican Republic (TLMDR) study and to that of students from other countries in the Second International Mathematics Study (SIMS). The sample included 1271 students in Grade 12 and 1413 in Grade 11, distributed over 49 schools. Three types of schools were sampled, public schools, and two kinds of private schools. They were urban schools located in the twelve largest cities of the country. These cities were grouped into three regions of similar size. The mathematics test consisted of 70 multiple-choice items distributed over two test forms. Students' scores were analyzed to assess how much mathematics students in Grade 12 know. Grade 11 data were used as a surrogate for pre-test scores to estimate gains in achievement. School means were used in an analysis of variance designed to examine the effect of school type and region on mathematics achievement. Males' and females' scores were used to analyze gender differences in achievement at the item level, and within each of the school types and regions in the sample. Grade 12 students' responses to 14 items were compared to those of Grade 8 students. Finally, Grade 12 students' responses to 10 items were compared to those of students from other countries in SIMS. Among the findings of this study were: 1. Students in Grade 12 scored poorly on the mathematics test. Grade 11 and Grade 12 students obtained similar achievement levels which indicated that the achievement gains between the two grades were very small. 2. School type and region were found to significantly affect mathematics achievement, but no interaction effect was found. 3. The comparison of school type means showed that only one type of private school significantly outperformed public schools. This type of school also outperformed the other type of private school. 4. The comparison of region means did not produce the predicted outcome. The pairwise comparisons showed that none of the regions was significantly different from the other, despite the fact that the region factor was significant. 5. The analysis of gender differences in mathematics achievement showed that males performed significantly better than females. At the item level, males outperformed females on only 19 items. Most of these items dealt with geometry, or were at the application level. 6. Gender differences favoring males were found to be independent of school type and region. 7. Comparison between Dominican Grade 12 and Grade 8 students revealed that mathematics achievement improved between the grades for most items. 8. Dominican performance was very poor on the SIMS items and it was far behind that of other countries.

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