Original Research

The effect of a group approach on the performance of high school mathematics learners

Joseph Dhlamini, David Mogari
Pythagoras | Vol 34, No 2 | a198 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v34i2.198 | © 2013 Joseph Dhlamini, David Mogari | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 October 2012 | Published: 22 October 2013

About the author(s)

Joseph Dhlamini, Department of Mathematics Education, University of South Africa, South Africa
David Mogari, Department of Mathematics Education, University of South Africa, South Africa


In this study, we investigated the effects of a group approach versus a non-group approach on the mathematics performance of learners. A group approach refers to an arrangement in which learners sit together to discuss and solve mathematics tasks. We studied a convenience sample of low-performing Grade 10 mathematics learners using a quasi-experimental design with a non-equivalent control group. The experimental group was taught using a group approach and the control group using non-group approach instruction. To measure the effects of teaching approaches, we administered a Financial Mathematics Achievement Test (FMAT) before and after the experiment. Using a one-way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) the study found that learners in a group approach learning environment performed significantly better than learners taught through a non-group teaching mode (p < 0.05). The theory of cognitive load was used to interpret the results. The results suggest that a group approach may be effective when teaching certain mathematics topics in Grade 10 classrooms.


Group approach; Didactic teaching approach; Cognitive load theory


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