Tshegofatso P Makgakga
Joseph J Dhlamini
Department of Mathematics Education, University of South Africa
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This paper reports on students’ mathematical experiences in Tshwane West district when solving probability problems. There were 380 grade 11 mathematics students and their teachers who were studied. A purposive sampling process that prioritized the critical case sampling technique was used. The study targeted schools in the Tshwane West District in South Africa, with poor mathematical performance in grade 12 in the last three years before the study. The study was a combination research using a sequential explanatory design. Students’ experiences in analysing, solving and communicating probability problems were studied. A diagnostic test was administered to gauge students’ mathematical problem-solving performance, while subsequent semi-structured interviews and lesson observations sourced qualitative data. The findings show that students lacked procedural and conceptual knowledge to solve probability problems. Analysis of qualitative data highlighted instances of students’ low interest towards the probability topic. These findings may carry important implications for educational stakeholders to develop effective instructional strategies to boost student problem-solving abilities.