The impact of inquiry-based approach on achievement in mathematics among pre-school children in Ngong division, Kajiado County, Kenya.
The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of inquiry-based approach on preschool children’s achievement in mathematics in Ngong Division, Kajiado County, Kenya. In essence, the study sought to establish whether inquiry-based approach affect pre-school children’s acquisition of mathematics process skills, the effect of manipulative materials on mastery of number value; the effect of inquiry-based approach on preschoolers’ ability to count on; and the impact of learning environment on classification of objects. Literature reviewed established that inquiry-based approach enables children to actively participate in the learning process which enhances retention of content. The study adopted a quasi-experimental research design in seeking to establish the differences in performance between control and experimental groups, where 13 pre-school teachers and 269 pre-school children from 13 pre-schools were involved. The population was systematically and randomly sampled. Data collecting instruments included questionnaires and interview schedule for pre-school teachers, tests for pre-schoolers and observation check list to determine the availability of facilities and materials for the purpose of teaching and learning Mathematics and the acquisition of mathematics process skills. The collected data was categorized, coded and analyzed using frequencies, percentages, means, standard deviation and t-tests. A two sample t-test was done to establish whether there was any statistical significant difference in children’s achievement in mathematics between experimental and control groups. The findings from the post- test showed that the experimental group had a mean of 98.0000 (n=6) and a standard deviation of 1.69823, while the control group had a mean of 83.6667 (n=6) and a standard deviation of 4.44687. The difference between the means of the two groups was statistically significant because the t calculated at 5 degrees of freedom both at 95% confidence interval of the difference = 6.912 and since p=.001 (less than 0.05 at 95% level of confidence). The findings revealed that mathematics activities involving inquiry-based approach enhance children’s achievement in mathematics. The findings also revealed that most pre-school centers lacked vital resources such as sand corner, mathematics corner and that both learning and play resources were inadequate which basically contributes to poor performance in the subject. From the study, it was recommended that the government through the Ministry of Education should organize for workshops and refresher courses for pre-school teachers and ECDE officers. This will enhance exchange of ideas on relevant methods of teaching mathematics. Based on the advantages of Inquiry-based approach, it may be confidently applied in the teaching of mathematics and other related activity areas in pre-school, and science subjects in successive levels of education. Finally, a similar study need to be extended to a wider geographical area with a larger sample since this study only targeted Ngong Division.
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