Student Performance in Mathematical Tasks on IEA Literacy Study
This study was carried out in 1991 as part of the International Reading Literacy Study. A stratified random sample of 2749pupils in 143 schools in Form II during 1991 were administered the tests and questionnaires. Their teachers(143) and the heads of their schools also completed background questionnaires. A number of the items in the tests were concerned with the reading of tables, including timetables and graphs, which is a specifically mathematical reading skill. These items were analyzed to gain an overview of the reading skills in mathematics possessed by Zimbabwean pupils. On the whole less than half the pupils and in some cases less than one-third of the pupils were able to perform these tasks. Thus Zimbabwean pupils are not acquiring mathematical reading skills in spite of these skills being specifically provided for in the primary and lower secondary school mathematics syllabuses. Further it was found that better resourced, particularly in terms of textbooks and library books, schools performed better than poorly resourced schools. Additionally, schools with more experienced heads showed better levels of performance.