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Paper Details: Analysis Of Mathematics Tests In Public Teacher Training Colleges In Malawi With Respect To Higher Order Thinking Skills

Volume 3 - Issue 8, August 2019 Edition
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Author(s)
Lusungu Makwakwa Jere, Athanasius Lunjebe
Keywords
Higher Order Thinking Skills, Public Teacher Training College, Tests.
Abstract
Bloom’s taxonomy has been around since 1956 and was later revised by Anderson (2001). Since Bloom’s is widely used in Malawian teaching curricula especially in testing and evaluating students’ performance, it is important to critically analyze lecturers’ set test using Blooms taxonomy.The objectives of the study were to evaluate mathematics question papers set by lecturers in public teacher training colleges with respect to higher order thinking skill as proposed by Bloom’s taxonomy and to explore mathematics lecturers’ awareness of Bloom’s taxonomy.A study was conducted in three public teacher training colleges in Malawi. Two colleges are in the central region of the country and one is found in the southern region. Colleges were selected using simple random sampling method. Nineteen (19) lecturers who teach mathematics from the department of science and mathematics were asked to complete a self-administered questionnaire. Excel was used to draw graphs and pie charts during analysis of responses from the questionnaire .The second part of data was collected by analyzing term 2 mathematics question papers from three TTCs. Each question was analyzed and categorized according to Bloom’s taxonomy. A total of 231 questions were examined, sourced from 5 papers. These questions were independently reviewed. Data analysis was performed using IBM SPSS version 21.0. The chi square was used to compare the proportion of HOTS against LOTS.The findings revealed that all lectures (n=19) have knowledge on Bloom’s taxonomy of cognitive. They all agreed that they also follow it when setting tests. The findings on the analysis of question papers showed that all levels of Bloom’s taxonomy were used in the three colleges. There were significant differences (p < 0.05) in the proportional of exam questions at lower, medium and higher level of Bloom’s taxonomy. Thirty eight percent (38%) of the questions aimed at lower level; medium level questions dominated at 49% and few questions were at higher level (13%), which shows that most of the questions were at medium level of Bloom’s taxonomy. Questions were fairly distributed across the six levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, although the distribution was not equal. All levels were covered. Majority of questions were set at medium and higher level which constituted 62%.Lectures should be encouraged to also ask more questions on higher level especially synthesis and evaluation.Principals should intensify CPD on the table of specification (also known as a test blueprint). This can help to come up with proportional questions across the six levels. A test blueprint defines and precisely outlines the number (or proportion) of test questions to be allocated to each major and minor content area and how many (what proportion) of these questions will be designed to assess specific cognitive knowledge level [9].A similar study should be done in all public Teacher Training Colleges. This study concentrated on mathematics question papers only. It can be extended to other subjects at these public TTCs.
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