Using the van Hiele theory to analyse geometrical conceptualisation in grade 12 students : a Namibian perspective

Mateya, M. (2009) Using the van Hiele theory to analyse geometrical conceptualisation in grade 12 students : a Namibian perspective. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




The study reported here utilised a theory of levels of geometric thinking. This theory was proposed and developed by two Dutch mathematics educators, Pierre van Hiele and his wife, Dina van Hiele-Geldof. The van Hiele theory enables investigations into why many students experience difficulties in learning geometry. In many nations, such as the UK, the USA, Netherlands, the USSR and to a certain extent, Nigeria and South Africa, research evidence has indicated that the overall students’ mathematical competencies are linked to their geometric thinking levels. This study is the first of its kind to apply the van Hiele theory of geometric thinking in the Namibian context to analyse geometrical conceptualisation in Grade 12 mathematics students. In all, 50 Grade 12 students (20 from School A and 30 from School B) were involved in this study. These students wrote a van Hiele Geometry Test adapted from the Cognitive Development and Achievement in Secondary School Geometry test items. Thereafter, a clinical interview with the aid of manipulatives was conducted. The results from this study indicated that many of the School A and School B students who participated in the research have a weak conceptual understanding of geometric concepts: 35% of the School A and 40% of the School B subsamples were at the prerecognition level. 25% and 30% of the School A, and 20% and 23.3% of the School B students were at van Hiele levels 1 and 2 respectively. An equal number of students but different in percentages, 2 (10%) in School A and 2 (6.7%) in School B, were at van Hiele level 3. Only one student from School B attained van Hiele level 4. These results were found to be consistent with those of previous similar studies in UK, USA, Nigeria and South Africa. The findings of this study also highlight issues of how the Namibian Grade 12 geometry syllabus should be aligned with the van Hiele levels of geometric thinking as well as the use of appropriate and correct language in geometrical thinking and problem solving.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Geometrical conceptualisation; Van Hiele theory
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
Supervisors:Schafer, M. (Prof.)
ID Code:1639
Deposited By: Nicolene Mvinjelwa
Deposited On:29 Apr 2010 14:01
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:21
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