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Ethiopian upper secondary students’ perceptions of the relevance of mathematics

Andualem Tamiru Gebremichael disputeer for ph.d.-graden fredag 1. mars 2019 med avhandlingen «Students’ perceptions of the relevance of mathematics in an Ethiopian preparatory school».

When it comes to students' motivation, the school's motive of producing students who will qualify to go to university is most vital.

Andualem Tamiru Gebremichael

PhD-candidate

Andualem Tamiru Gebremichael at the University of Agders Faculty for Engineering and Science has submitted his thesis entitled «Students’ perceptions of the relevance of mathematics in an Ethiopian preparatory school» and will defend the thesis for the PhD-degree 1 March 2019.

He has followed the PhD-programme at the Faculty for Engineering and Science, with specialisation in Mathematics Education.

Summary of the thesis by Andualem Tamiru Gebremichael:

Ethiopian upper secondary students’ perceptions of the relevance of mathematics

Gebremichael explored perceptions of mathematics’ relevance from the perspective of cultural-historical activity theory. The research shows that students perceive its relevance to their future in different ways:

  • Mathematics determines whether they can have access to their desired studies.
  • Mathematics is used in their future studies and gives them a sense of identity.

Students also perceive the relevance of mathematics to the other school subjects in different ways.

  • It is useful in the other subjects, and competes with the other subjects for their time and attention.
  • Students' attitudes towards mathematics influence their attitudes towards the subjects or topics that use mathematics.
  • Mathematics and some of the other subjects have features in common such that their performance in these subjects affects their performance in mathematics, but mathematics and some of the other subjects have contrasting features such that students learn mathematics and other subjects in different ways.

The students’ perceptions of relevance to everyday life have three aspects:

  • Mathematics generally is useful in everyday life except upper secondary school mathematics
  • When it comes to upper secondary school mathematics, some students perceive that it gives a fresh perspective on life and contributes to their national identity as Ethiopians.

Participation in school, family, game, church and mosque, etc. and the motives of these activities shape students' perceptions. Other subjects and out-of-school activities are vital in shaping perceptions about usefulness (in future studies, other subjects and everyday life). However, when it comes to students' motivation, the school's motive of producing students who will qualify to go to university is most vital.

Disputation facts:

The Candidate: Andualem Tamiru Gebremichael (Bale Goba, Etiopia, 1970): BSc, MSc, MA from Addis Ababa University, PhD research fellow at the UiA.

The trial lecture and the public defense will take place at Gabriel Scotts auditorium – B1-001, Campus Kristiansand Friday 1 March 2019. Find the Auditorium

Head of the Department of Mathematical Scioences, Associate Professor Ingvald Erfjord, will chair the disputation.

Trial lecture at 10:30 a.m.

Public defense at 12:30 p.m.

Given topic for trial lecture: “Socio-cultural perspectives on beliefs research: problems, methodologies and generalisations

Thesis title«Students’ perceptions of the relevance of mathematics in an Ethiopian preparatory school»

Search for the thesis in AURA - Agder University Research Archive, a digital archive of scientific papers, theses and dissertations from the academic staff and students at the University of Agder. The thesis will also be available at the University Library, and some copies will also be available for loan at the auditorium where the dissertation takes place.

Opponents:

First opponent: Professor Stephen Lerman, London South Bank University, UK

Second opponent: Professor Jeppe Skott, Linnéuniversitetet, Sverige

Professor Emerita Barbro Grevholm, University of Agder is appointed as the administrator for the assessment commitee.

Supervisors were Professor Simon Goodchild, UiA (main supervisor) and Professor Olav Dovland, UiA (supervisor)