EFFECTS OF PERFORMANCE RANKING ON STUDENTS' VOICE AND AGENCY IN THE MATHEMATICS CLASSROOM

Samson Murithi NJIRU, Simon KARUKU

Abstract


The modalities of performance ranking in high stakes testing to a greater extent affect Mathematics teaching and learning. While performance ranking has the potential of being a critical catalyst in the process of making Mathematics classrooms a place of positive competition, it fails to balance the most crucial aspects in Mathematics discourses-the voice and agency of teachers and students. The proactive engagement of all students and teachers equitably with the process of Mathematics teaching and learning is a necessary condition for ensuring excellent students Mathematics learning outcomes. The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of performance ranking on voice and agency in Mathematics teaching and learning in secondary schools in Embu, Kenya. The study employed a qualitative research approach. Six teachers and eight students were randomly sampled for interviews, while three teachers and eighteen students were engaged in focus group discussions. The data analyzed demonstrated that top ranked students become powerful independent learners who are capable of critiquing work presented to them by their teachers while low ranked students are guided as to whom to seek help from by the performance ranking data. This paper recommends that performance ranking should be used as a tool to give students voice and agency by ranking students on the basis of marks scored on con­ti­nuo­us as­ses­sment tests, students’ en­try mark and va­lue ad­dition.

Keywords: Performance ranking, mathematics, teaching, learning, voice, agency.

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