The study investigated the level of competences (or mastery) possessed by primary school teachers in primary school Mathematics. The population of the study included all primary school teachers in the South-South geo-political zone of Nigeria. Purposive sampling technique was employed to select 252 primary school teachers from the zone who are involved in the National Teacher’s Institute (NTI) workshops at two centres in Rivers and Bayelsa States in 2009. A 60-item Primary School Mathematics Content Mastery Test (PSMCMT) was developed, validated and administered to the study sample. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistic (means, percentages, ranking) and inferential statistics (z-test and analysis of variance). Among others, it was found that about 77% of the sampled teachers have low level of mastery of primary Mathematics while only 3.97% exhibit high competences in the content of the subject. The aspects of the content that most teachers have mastery of are basic operations, numbers and numeration and everyday statistics. Most of the teachers have least competences in Algebraic processes. There were no significant differences in the level of mastery of the content by male and female teachers. Differences in the mean Mathematics competence by the more experienced and the less experienced teachers are not statistically significant. Academic qualifications of teachers do not influence their level of mastery of primary Mathematics. No significant difference among the mean mastery scores by B.Ed, NCE and TC II certificate holders. It was recommended that rigorous in-service training and periodic refresher courses in primary school Mathematics be planned and implemented for all primary school teachers- irrespective of their gender, years of job experience or academic qualification.
Keys words: Competence, curriculum, educators, Mathematics, mastery, primary, teacher.
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