Managing the Transition from Primary School Mathematics to Secondary School Mathematics: Teachers’ and Learners’ Perspectives

Mutodi Paul


The transition into high school is a critical point in the educational pipeline, and eighth grade can be characterised as one of its leakiest junctures. The study investigated the challenges experienced by students in mathematics during the transition from primary school (Grade 7) to secondary school (Grade 8).The sample for the study consists of 60 learners randomly selected from four secondary schools in Sekhukhune district, Limpopo Province, South Africa. Fifteen (15) students were randomly selected from each of the participating schools. Purposive sampling was used to select 10 grade 8 mathematics teachers at the selected schools. Data was collected from the participants using questionnaires. The research focused on classroom practices and curriculum continuity, students’ preparedness for the transition, and the kinds of support provided for the students by receiving schools. The research also investigated students’ experiences such as levels of challenge of mathematical concepts, performance, pace, time pressures, new environment and the discontinuities they experienced in their learning contexts. T-tests and Anova were used to test for gender and backgrounds differences in terms of students’ experiences. The results show that the most significant changes affecting the students during the transition to secondary school were: differences in pedagogy from primary to secondary; changes in mathematics curriculum content; and a decrease in student performance. The insights about the various transition challenges in a student’s education should inform teachers and other stakeholders to make necessary precautions to ensure a smooth transaction that support students’ academic performance.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n25p205

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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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