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Analysing the citizenship agenda in Mathematical Literacy school exit assessments

Graven, Mellony orcid logoORCID: 0000-0002-8021-3959, Venkat, Hamsa orcid logoORCID: 0000-0002-6453-1623 and Bowie, Lynn orcid logoORCID: 0000-0002-0054-373X (2022) Analysing the citizenship agenda in Mathematical Literacy school exit assessments. ZDM Mathematics Education, 55 . pp. 1021-1036. ISSN 1863-9690

Assessments, in particular high stakes assessments, impact the nature of teaching and learning. Given this, the goal of citizenship if seen as important needs to feature within high stakes school exit assessments rather than only as part of curriculum and assessment policy rhetoric. South Africa’s Mathematical Literacy (ML) curriculum foregrounds critical democratic citizenship. We analyse the ML Grade 12 exit assessments from their start in 2008 to 2020 to understand the emphasis placed on critical citizenship and how this emphasis has shifted over time. The literature base links critical citizenship orientations with reasoning and reflecting questions, so we focused on examination questions in this category. Our findings show shifts away from critical citizenship related agendas towards foregrounding a life preparation orientation for the self-managing person. Linked with this shift, we note a move away from general societal contexts towards more personal/individual contexts and moves from almost entirely national contexts to inclusion of global contexts. We noted movement from more open-phrased questions towards closed ‘check figure calculated is valid’-type questions. Assessment memoranda suggest assessors view these questions as reasoning items, eroding the critical citizenship agenda. While increasing numbers of students are taking ML rather than Mathematics, average performance stands at around 40%. This points to limited and diminishing access to mathematical reasoning and reflecting for critical democratic citizenship. The paper highlights ways in which analysis of examinations over time can provide a window into the presence or absence of the citizenship agenda in mathematics education.
Item Type:Article (Published)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Mathematical Literacy; Assessment; Democratic citizenship; Critical citizenship; South Africa
Subjects:Social Sciences > Education
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Institute of Education > School of STEM Education, Innovation, & Global Studies
Research Institutes and Centres > Center for the Advancement of Science Teaching and Learning (CASTeL)
Official URL:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11858-022-01448-1
Copyright Information:© 2022 The Authors.
ID Code:29735
Deposited On:22 Mar 2024 09:23 by Melissa Lynch . Last Modified 22 Mar 2024 11:30

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