n Journal of Educational Studies - Opportunities to Learn (OTL) Grade-10 Algebra in three South African Catholic secondary schools

Volume 12, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1680-7456



This paper investigates the Opportunities to Learn (OTL) algebra that are afforded to high school learners in South Africa. It explores how differences in the OTL grade-ten algebra at three Catholic secondary schools may account for the differential performance of learners in mathematics. Using a qualitative research approach, we make the case that there is a need to redefine OTL mathematics beyond just the mastery of certain mathematical concepts and algebraic procedures. We argue that learning is enhanced when the learners develop the means to make the conversions within and between the different registers of representation of algebraic concepts. Teaching mathematics and algebra in particular, should therefore be about providing learners with the knowledge and skills to convert within and between different registers of representation of algebraic concepts. We conclude by arguing that OTL grade-ten mathematics will continue to remain uneven across schools largely as a result of the different chances that learners are given to make conversions within and between the registers of representation. We thus recommend that more strategic professional development interventions be offered to assist mathematics teachers with knowledge and skills to enable them to provide for these kinds of conversions in their teaching of mathematics.

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