Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Opportunity to Learn (OTL) and the Alignment of Upper Division Mathematics Learning Outcomes, Textbooks, and the National Assessment in Belize
by Cal, Gabriel, Ph.D., University of South Florida, 2011, 219; 3481563
Abstract (Summary)

In this study I investigate the degree of alignment among the learning outcomes, textbooks, and the national assessment in Belize. To establish the degree of alignment, Webb's Four Cognitive Levels of Depth of Knowledge was used to analyze the levels of cognitive demand for each curriculum. The degree of alignment of the learning outcomes with the test items and textbooks was used to determine the extent to which the textbooks provide students with the opportunity to study the learning outcomes assessed by the national assessment. The opportunity to learn (OTL) measures addressed were the curricular content coverage and types of instructional segments in the context of the four upper division mathematics textbooks (Let's Pass Mathematics, Caribbean Primary Mathematics, Active Mathematics – A Student's Workbook, and PSE Mathematics – Practice Problems and Test) currently used in Belize.

Findings from the study indicate that the relationship among the three types of curriculum varied in the degree of alignment. A strong relationship was noted between the test items of the national assessment and the instructional segments of the textbooks. With respect to the instructional segments from the textbooks and the learning outcomes, only the Standard 5 textbook had strong alignment while the Standard 6 textbooks exhibited lower cognitive levels than the learning outcomes. A similar case was observed between the cognitive levels of the learning outcomes and the test items. The learning outcomes were at a higher level than the test items, resulting in limited alignment. It is to be noted that the cognitive demand level of the learning outcome set high expectations which fell short of a strong alignment as a result of the high proportions of low cognitive demand levels of the other curricula in the study.

In light of these findings, I recommend that special attention be given to the textbooks, an important component in the curricular link, that play a significant role in providing support for students to study the learning outcomes and in turn the opportunity to do well in the national assessment.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Thompson, Denisse R.
Commitee: Austin, Richard, Dedrick, Robert, Kersait, Gladis
School: University of South Florida
Department: Secondary Education
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 73/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mathematics education, Secondary education, Curriculum development
Keywords: Belize, Cognitive levels, Content coverage, Instructional segments, Mathematics, National assessment, Opportunity to learn, Written curriculum
Publication Number: 3481563
ISBN: 978-1-267-00973-9
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