Kuncoro Kohar

Comparative study of students’ perceptions in Maths classroom with multiple research methods

Kuncoro Kohar

Faculty of Science and Engineering School of Science and Mathematics Education Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia 2012

Kuncoro Kohar

Comparative study of students’ perceptions in Maths classroom with multiple research methods

ABSTRACT This study compared students’ perception in maths classroom between grade 10, 11 and 12. This study utilised the WIHIC (What Is Happening In this Class) questionnaire to examine factors that influence maths student perception of their learning environment. Data were collected from approximately 1000 students from 30 classes in one private high school in Indonesia. Several background variables were included to support this study to investigate their effects on students’ perceptions, such as student gender, socio-economic status, and student age. Data analyses supported the internal consistency reliability and discriminant validity of the WIHIC questionnaire to differentiate between each grade. Overall, the learning environment instrument (WIHIC) was found to be valid and reliable when used with high school students in Indonesia. All seven WIHIC scales were statistically significantly correlated with attitudes to maths. The analyses were undertaken to investigate the unique and common contributions of the WIHIC to the variance in students’ perception. By providing validation data for the WIHIC, this study has provided the high school teachers with instrument that can be easily be used to assess students’ perception in maths classroom. Keywords : WIHIC, questionnaires, mathematics, multiple methods, Indonesia

BACKGROUND Learning is something that all students should be excited to do. As Fraser (1986) defined that learning process is the way to share basic cognitive process and knowledge of both students and teachers in some environment. Many students feel that they are not ‘driving’ their education, believing that most of what they are taught will never be of use to them in their future careers. It seems that current methods of teaching do not always encourage students’ learning process. Yair (2000) confirmed that students take part in their education as little as possible and unfortunately, curriculum and assessment often encourage this. Students are the ones that decide what information they need and are responsible for finding it. Therefore, teachers and students need to evaluate what happens in the classroom, so they could try to fit the gap on that situation.

Kuncoro Kohar The research that has been conducted over the past 30 years has shown that the quality of the classroom environment is a significant determinant of student learning (Fraser, 2007). Students can perform better and have more positive attitudes toward maths when they perceive the classroom environment positively. I believe there are some variables of interest (teaching methods and student attitudes) that occurs in different grade. Students’ perception about the teaching methods and attitudes in one grade might be different from another grade and it depends on several factors (ages, number of subject taken, student activities, and so forth). Thus, I have not seen any studies that compare the classroom learning environment within each grade in the same school in my state. Moreover, there are only a few comparative studies research of classroom learning environments in Indonesia. The classroom environment researches have been done mostly with students in western countries (Aldridge, Fraser & Huang, 1999). However, there are several numbers of important studies that have been done in non-Western countries. Therefore, there is a great desire to use multiple research methods in order to approach a new finding. Furthermore, by drawing on a range of paradigms, I could extend the previous research that has been done in learning environment to gain more in-depth understanding of students’ attitudes and perceptions on the different classroom environment created in each grade. Moreover, in order to stimulate and optimise student learning and the environment in which they learn, knowledge of students’ perception of this environment and the factors that influence these perceptions is crucial for both teachers and educational researchers. The investigation of learning environments has increased rapidly, with an array of validated instruments and research in several domains, for example evaluation of educational innovations, comparison of actual and preferred environments, and changes in classroom environment) (Fraser, 1998b). This research proposal investigates students’ perceptions of the learning environment using one particular classroom environment instrument, the WIHIC (What Is Happening In this Class?). There are many researches that have been done using WIHIC; however, this study not only intend to renew, replicate and revise previous research about WIHIC questionnaire but also to explore causal factors associated with students’ perception of their learning environment in different grade.

LITERATURE REVIEW Learning environment shows impressive development in last three decade (Fraser, 2007). In this context, learning environment also called as classroom climate or classroom

Kuncoro Kohar environment. The history of learning environment originally from western countries uses a different range of questionnaire to assess students’ experience in the classroom (Fraser, 1998a). This learning environment research questionnaire adopted by non-Western countries (for example Asian Countries) using a standardised form as the original pattern (Fraser, 2007). Learning environment try to discover interactions which are held together between teacher, students and behaviours (Marrow, 1969). The behaviours happening is appeared due to some stimuli from the environment itself. At first, Lewin created a theory and formula (B = f (P,E)) that assumed behaviour was a controlled variable resulted from personal interpretation and environment. Therefore, those three strongly related each other. In the other words, Lewin’s theory stated that behaviour is the function of person and environment (Marrow, 1969). Murray (as cited by Stern, 1970) argued Lewin’s theory that something was missing from his theory and stated that there are two kinds of things that related in behaviour, such as, needs and press. He defined ‘needs’ as a power or strength in mind and brain that organise perception, apperception, conation, intellection and connection as a way to transform in a certain situation and direction (Murray, 1938). Furthermore, ‘press’ defined as categorisation of characteristics behaviours demonstrated by individuals in their personal performance. In the other word, those can be simplified that in personal interaction between two people or things which are animate or inanimate, one perception might be relevant to know well another situation and thus perfect reflection can be shown. Stern (1970) very passionate about this theory and then he develops theory which relates the needs from students and press from environment to fulfil students’ needs by fitting toward environmental press that forces them to the capacity that they need. Furthermore, learning environment divided into formal (classrooms, laboratory, libraries, and so forth) and informal environment (home, museums, study trips, social media, and so forth). There are also lot ranges of questionnaire (Fraser, 2002) such as:       Learning Environment Inventory (LEI) Classroom Environment Scales (CES) Individualised Classroom Environment Questionnaire (ICEQ) Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction (QTI) Constructivist Learning Environment Survey (QLES) What Is Happening In This Class? (WIHIC)

Kuncoro Kohar   Distance Education Learning Environments Survey (DELES) And so forth

Walberg and Anderson (1968) used the first questionnaire, LEI related to Harvard University’s project physics. Nearly ten years later, Moos (1979) measured classroom climate using CES (Classroom Environment Scale) questionnaire. CES intended to measure perceptual clarification related to the interaction with environment such as prisons, university residences, hospital, and so forth. Moreover, Moos (1979) identified three aspects in human interaction including system maintenance change dimensions, personal development dimensions, and relationship dimensions which contributed to reform human perception.

Range of Questionnaire There are several questionnaire that already used worldwide, however in my experience I found that these four questionnaire have been used in my country, which are: QTI (Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction), SLEI (Science Laboratory Environment Inventory), CLES (Constructivist Learning Environment Survey), and WIHIC (What Is Happening In This Class?) (Fraser, 2002). In this part, each of those four questionnaires will describe in little detail to gain a bit understanding and CLES will be explained in more detail. a. QTI (Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction) QTI was developed in Netherlands and concentrates on the characteristics and social interaction between students and teachers during classroom learning (Wubbels & Brekelmans, 1998). Futhermore, students need to know about several behavioural aspects, such as: leadership, helpful/friendly, understanding, student responsibility/freedom, uncertain, dissatisfied, admonishing and strict (Fraser, 2007). These aspects also help students and teachers to notice what kind of interaction happened during classroom. The QTI used five responses from ‘never’ to ‘always’ which indicate the intention of what happening in the classroom (Fraser, 2007) b. SLEI (Science Laboratory Environment Inventory) SLEI was developed because teachers would like to know and assess the condition of student activities in science laboratory at high school level or higher education (Fraser & McRobbie, 1995). SLEI divided to five scales such as: student cohesiveness, open-endedness, integration, rule clarity, and material

Kuncoro Kohar environment along with five alternative responses ranging from almost never, seldom, sometimes, often and very often (Fraser, 2007). SLEI already been used worldwide, including USA, Canada, England, Israel, Australia, Nigeria, Asia (Singapore and Korean) (Fraser, 2007). c. CLES (Constructivist Learning Environment Survey) CLES is related to the students’ perception as individual who had role and function in some time and particularly that might engaged the relationship of the whole class perceptions. CLES questionnaire also has crucial function to develop teaching practice within which constructivist learning trying to be held in classroom. Furthermore, it benefits to help teacher and researcher to implement their assessment toward constructivist classroom learning and reform teacher thinking in which this context is applied (Taylor, Fraser & Fisher, 1997). CLES consists of five scales including personal relevance, uncertainty, critical voice, shared control, and student negotiation (Fraser, 2007). Moreover, these scales include five alternative responses ranging from ‘almost never’ to ‘very often’. d. WIHIC (What Is Happening In This Class?) WIHIC questionnaire developed by Fraser, Fisher, and McRobbie (1996), the WIHIC measures high school students’ perceptions of their classroom environment. WIHIC become modified versions of ‘salient features’ with additional scales that cover up all variable (for example equity and constructivism) (Fraser, 2007). In the other word, the WIHIC includes relevant dimensions from past questionnaires and combines these with dimensions that measure particular aspects of constructivism and other relevant factors operating in classroom. It also used to identify complex variables within classroom, so the learning could be predicted towards such a questionnaire. Moreover, Khine (2001) stated that WIHIC might also measuring current issue about equity. WIHIC contains seven scales, such as: student cohesiveness, teacher support, involvement, investigation, task orientation, cooperation, and equity. Furthermore, each scale also includes five alternative responses ranging from ‘almost never’ to ‘very often’ (Fraser, 2007). The original version of the WIHIC contained 90 items and nine scales, but was revised by Fraser, Fisher, and McRobbie (1996) and only 56 items in seven scales chosen.

Kuncoro Kohar RESEARCH QUESTION This will be the first study in my school using the WIHIC with maths students in grade 10, 11 and 12. The purpose of this study is to compare students’ actual perception in mathematics classroom in different grade and gain understanding about their perception in different teaching methods. Fraser (2007) has established that students’ perceptions of their classroom environment can affect student achievement and attitude to class. Therefore, it is important to determine if the WIHIC can be used to discriminate between those factors and associations that may influence these perceptions. The following questions will help me to focus the research: 1. What are the difference and similarity of students’ perceptions in maths classroom between grade 10, 11 and 12? To what extent do students’ perceptions of the learning environment differentiate between each grade? 2. What are the factors that influence students’ perception in different grade? In what way are students’ perceptions of their learning environment determined by their socio economic background, age, gender?

METHODOLOGY This study will be using a multiple research methods from different approach in order to draw any conclusion on the students’ perception and have a good overall picture. This research will include multiple methods of collecting data, quantitative and qualitative, so that there are multiple chances for the researchers to seel multiple sides of the issue. The data acquired from quantitative and qualitative methods (observation, interview, questionnaire, and narrative stories) were used to gain a comparison of the classroom environment happened in each grade. Educational researchers interested in educational evaluation have advocated the merits of combining qualitative and quantitative methods within the same study (Cook & Reichardt, 1979). The approaches can be interwoven to provide more depth than using only one of the methods (Fraser & Tobin, 1998). This triangulation of qualitative and quantitative classroom environment data can enhance the validity of the findings using a range of methods, each with its strengths and weaknesses (Spinner & Fraser, 2005). Moreover, I have decided to include quantitative data collection (questionnaires) as the major method used and qualitative methods (interviews) as the minor method of data collection. The main purpose of using qualitative methods of this study was to support the validity of the WIHIC by checking

Kuncoro Kohar the consistency of questionnaire and interview data. Thus, I could obtain students’ comments about any difficulties that they might have experienced in interpreting or understanding the items in the questionnaire.

DATA DESIGN The research will be carried out in a private high school in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia. The school, students, and teachers’ participation have already arranged. This study collects the data from approximately 1000 students in one High School (3 different grades and 30 classes). To assess students’ perceptions of their learning environment, the WIHIC was administered to all students of maths classes in all grades (10, 11, and 12). The WIHIC contains 56 items and 7 scales. Since this study will be the first to use the WIHIC on a private high school, several analyses will be conducted to investigate the quality of the outcomes. I would use a Cronbach’s Alpha reliability coefficient at the student and class level/grade to examine the scales whether it had been measured reliably or not. Thus, the consistency of each of the WIHIC scales was determined using Multilevel Lambda (Snijders & Bosker, 1999). Lambda is based on both the reliability and intra-class correlation coefficients and represents the degree to which the instrument in capable of measuring consistently across classes. The data provides a big picture of the learning environment in each grade and a starting point from which comparison can be withdrawn. Therefore, I am using WIHIC questionnaires to investigate students’ perception. There are several reasons why I am using and focusing on this particular instrument: 1. The WIHIC combines relevant dimensions from learning environment instruments, such as investigation and relationships between teacher and students (Dorman, 2003). 2. The WIHIC is one of the most widely-used instruments in the domain of the learning environments research and has been validated in number of countries (Fraser, 2007). 3. The WIHIC is capable of reliably measuring students’ perceptions of important elements of their learning environment and has demonstrated predictive validity on both cognitive and affective student outcomes (Fraser, 2002). 4. The WIHIC is easy to use in the classroom and only takes small amounts of time from participating students and teachers because of the limited number of items (56 in total) and scales (7 in total).

Kuncoro Kohar 5. The WIHIC helps to map differences in students’ perceptions and focuses on investigating the effects of students’ gender and age. The WIHIC (see appendix) that developed by Fraser, Fisher and McRobbie (1996) combined the most salient features from existing questionnaires with new dimensions of contemporary relevance to assess the following seven dimensions of the classroom environment : 1. Student cohesiveness This dimension extent to which students know, help and supportive to one another. 2. Teacher support This dimension extent to which the teacher helps, befriends, trusts, and show interest in students. 3. Involvement This dimension extent to which students have attentive interest, participate in discussions, perform additional work, and enjoy the class. 4. Investigation This dimension emphasis on the skills and processes of inquiry and their use in problem solving and investigation. 5. Task orientation This dimension extent to which it is important to complete activities planned and to stay on the subject matter. 6. Cooperation This dimension extent to which students cooperate rather than compete with one another on learning tasks. 7. Equity This dimension extent to which students are treated equally by teacher. The data collected using the WIHIC questionnaires then analyse to provide information regarding the reliability and validity of the questionnaires in each grade and to inform about the similarities and differences between students’ perception in each grade. I will use multilevel analysis of variance (which has been the case in many previous studies using the WIHIC) to adjust the fact that data have not been sampled randomly and allows effects of multiple levels of the learning environment to exert an influence on the outcomes of any study (Hox, 1995). Then qualitative data will be collected from classroom

Kuncoro Kohar observations, interview with student and maths teacher, and the narrative stories will be written by me as the researcher. Observation data will help to identify student view about the classroom environment when they are conducting the mathematics subject. Thus, observation also become source of the interview questions (Creswell, 2012). Interview method will help to identify the reason of various actions and to learn the influence factors from different mathematics teachers in classroom. For quantitative results, I will conduct hierarchical analysis of variance (multilevel analyses) using SPSS. Students’ responses to the WIHIC were used. In order to examine the validity of the WIHIC, factor analyses, internal consistency reliability and discriminant validity were conducted. A one-way ANOVA might use for WIHIC to ascertain each scales ability to differentiate between the perceptions of students in different classrooms. Analyses will be conducted separately for each of the WIHIC scales. Variables that will be analysed were:    At the student level: gender and age. At the class level: teacher gender and class size. At the school level: socio economic background.

For qualitative results, I will use interpretive study to draw on multiple research methods and compare mathematics classroom learning environments from different perspectives. Thus, interpretive study will help me to explain the data qualitatively and give a depth understanding. The interpretive inquiry data will show more questions than answers. The data collected then use for further data collection using different research methods including interviews with participants, observation and narrative stories. Tobin & Fraser (1998) stated that the combination of both quantitative and qualitative methods has been a feature of recent and current research. Furthermore, by drawing on a range of paradigms, this study will gain a more in depth understanding of the classroom environments in each grade.

QUALITY STANDARDS This section addresses the quality standards that I will use to generate and represent my data. In order to bring together the different pieces of the research, the reliability of each method will be important. This will be done by using WIHIC questionnaires that have been shown to have this quality through previous rigorous testing and quality in the repetition (Guba & Lincoln, 1989). Once the reliability has been established, the case for internal and

Kuncoro Kohar external validity will be able to be addressed. To establish the validity of the research, triangulation as well as transferability and member checking will be used. Triangulation was used to secure an in-depth understanding of the learning environment and to provide richness to the whole (Aldridge et al., 1999). Therefore, this will allow the results to be reviewed and compared at multiple levels and therefore make the conclusion much stronger (Guba & Lincoln, 1989).

LIMITATIONS The procedures will be provided for collecting the data, however some of the teachers may not follow all of the requested procedures. Some of the teachers may not totally commit to cooperating in this study. The limitation of time and the nature of my study also restricted the scope and sample size. The research will be better and more desirable with a larger and more representative sample from different schools so that my findings would have had better generalizability. Another limitation may occur, such as blank questionnaires, students have had difficulties reading the questionnaires, small scope of the qualitative component (interview) due to time limitation.

SIGNIFICANCE The purpose of this research proposal is to investigate on students’ perception in different grade using WIHIC questionnaire. A majority of research on this topic has been at a tertiary or primary level and the focus has been ascertaining the overall gain and quality of knowledge (Hmello-Silver, 2004). Instead this research proposal will look at the difference and similarity about students’ actual perception about what happening in the classroom between grade 10, 11 and 12. The data collected will hopefully give teachers and educators a better idea of how students’ perception can affect their own learning and understanding about mathematics topics. In the other word, this study is important for me as a mathematics teacher to find out about students’ perception and attitudes in mathematics subject. Finally, this research will give teachers an awareness of past, present, and future teaching and improving teachers’ educative practices in the classroom practices. To my school, my findings about students’ perception in mathematics classroom could help teacher to plan and develop a more positive learning environment, in order to maximise student learning outcomes. Therefore, teachers might consider strategies or design

Kuncoro Kohar activities in a classroom that could enhance outcomes such as achievement and attitudes. Thus, this study is likely to provide further validation information for the WIHIC when used specifically in mathematics classroom in Indonesia. Hopefully, educators will be able to use these questionnaires with confidence in mathematics and other science areas in the future.

REFERENCES Aldridge, J. M., Fraser, B. J., & Huang, I. T. C. (1999). Investigating classroom environments in Taiwan and Australia with multiple research methods. Journal of Educational Research, 93, 48-62. Cook, T. D. & Reichardt, C. (Eds.). (1979). Qualitative and quantitative methods in evaluation research. Beverly Hills, CA:Sage. Creswell, J. W. (2012). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Person. Dorman, J. P. (2003). Cross-national validation of the What Is Happening In this Class? Questionnaire using confirmatory factor analysis. Learning Environments Research, 6, 231-245. Fraser, B. J. (1998a). Science learning environments: Assessment, effects and determinants. In B.J. Fraser & K.G. Tobin (Eds.), International handbook of science education (pp. 527-564). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer. Fraser, B. J. (1998b). Classroom environment instruments: Development, validity and applications. Learning Environments Research, 1, 7-33. Fraser, B. J. (2002). Learning environment research: Yesterday, today and tomorrow. In S.C. Goh and M.S. Khine (Eds.), Studies in educational learning environments: An international perspective (pp. 1-25). Singapore: World Scientific Publishing. Fraser, B. J. (2007). Classroom Learning Environments. In S.K. Abell & N.G. Lederman (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Science Education (pp. 103-124). London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Fraser, B. J., Fisher, D. L., & McRobbie, C. J. (1996). Development, validation and use of personal and class forms of a new classroom environment instrument. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York, USA.

Kuncoro Kohar Fraser, B. J., & McRobbie, C. J. (1995). Science laboratory classroom environments at schools and universities: A cross-national study, Educational Research and Evaluation, 1, 289-317. Guba, E. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1989). Judging the quality of fourth generation evaluation. Fourth Generation Evaluation (pp. 271-292). London:Pergamon. Hmelo-Silver, C. E. (2004). Problem-based learning: What and how do students learn. Educational Psychology Review, 16(3), 235-266. Hox, J. J. (1995). Applied multilevel analysis. Amsterdam: TT Publicaties. Khine, M. S. (2001). Associations between teacher interpersonal behaviour and aspects of classroom environment in an Asian context. Unpublished doctoral thesis, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia. Marrow, A. J. (1969). The practical theorist: The life and work of Kurt Lewin. New York: Basic Book Inc. Moos, R. H. (1979). Evaluating Educational Environment: Procedures, Measures, Findings, and Policy Implications. San Fransisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Murray, H. A. (1938). Explorations in Personality. London: Oxford University Press. Spinner, H., & Fraser, B. J. (2005). Evaluation of an innovative mathematics program in terms of classroom environment, student attitudes, and conceptual development. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 3, 267-293. Stern, G. G. (1970). People in context: Measuring person-environment congruence in education and industry. USA: John Willey and Sons Inc. Taylor, P. C., Fraser, B. J. & Fisher, D. L. (1997). Monitoring constructivist classroom learning environments. International Journal of Educational Research, 27, 293-302. Tobin, K., & Fraser, B. J. (1998). Qualitative and quantitative landscapes of classroom learning environments. In B. J. Fraser & K. G. Tobin (Eds.), International handbook of science education (pp. 623-640). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer. Walberg, H. J. & Anderson, G. J. (1968). Classroom climate and individual learning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 59, 414-419. Yair, G. (2000). Reforming motivation: How the structure of instruction affects students’ learning experience. British Educational Research Journal, 26(2), 191-210.

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