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Use of Supplemental Learning Materials (SLM’s) in Improving Students’ Achievement

and Attitudes in Pre-Calculus

Samsudin N. Abdullah, PhD

· Volume I Issue IV

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers are challenged on what pedagogical approaches could improve the quality of mathematics instruction since poor performance and negative attitudes of students towards STEM-related courses are evident. To accept the challenge, this study was conducted. Quasi-experimental research design was employed and 70 students served as subjects of experimentation. Mean Percentage Score (MPS), weighted mean and t-test were applied to describe data and make good inferences. Prior to the start of experimentation, control and experimental groups had a comparable achievement in Pre-calculus. Students in both groups displayed negative attitudes towards Pre-calculus. After the exposures of control group with traditional instruction and experimental group with simplified supplemental learning materials (SLM’s) with practical work activities (PWA), MPS of experimental group was significantly higher compared with MPS of control group. Towards the end of experimentation, students in control group still showed negative attitudes while students in experimental group displayed positive attitudes towards Pre-calculus. The use of SLM’s with PWA had a positive effect on the achievement and attitudes of students in Pre-calculus. Thus, STEM teachers should intensify the use of SLM’s with PWA and be creative enough in employing other modern pedagogical approaches in teaching Pre-calculus.

Keywords: Achievement, Attitudes and Supplemental Learning Materials (SLM’s)


Despite all intensive efforts of the Philippine government to uplift the quality of education in the country, problems of basic education are still evident. Various innovations and reform programs of the curriculum have been introduced yet same problem of quality education continues to occur. Poor quality of learning has been a big challenge in the four corners of the classrooms particularly in Mathematics and Science (Torreňa, 2019). This is evident in the results of 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The Philippines scored 353 in Mathematics, 357 in Science, and 340 in Reading; all belong to the bottom three (3) of the participating countries. Due to these very dismal results, the Department of Education (DepEd) is leading the national effort for quality basic education through Sulong EduKalidad by implementing aggressive reforms to improve the quality of instruction and to foster positive attitudes towards Mathematics, Science and Reading (DepEd, 2018).

The senior high school (SHS) curriculum has been implemented in the country since 2016. However, students’ poor performance in the college education apparently happens (Abdullah, 2018). This tends to give a big challenge to improve the quality of education in the secondary level. It calls for the attention of school administrators to encourage teachers to upgrade themselves through professional growth and development such as taking up post-graduate education, engaging into culture of research and developing contextualized instructional materials to impart proper knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA) of real life situation to the students.

Paculanan (2013) stressed that one of the major problems that beset mathematics instruction in the secondary level is the lack of mastery of basic facts in mathematics. Mathematics instruction can be made meaningful by allowing the learners explore their outlooks in life. Varied instructional strategies with practical work activities (PWA) in teaching-learning situations will make the class interactions more enjoyable. Paghubasan (2017) stated that doing such practical exercises in mathematics is more beneficial by finding the way where the students could learn most. Maliga (2018) added that the best teaching strategy is an approach that gives maximum learning opportunities and where the students learn best.

The Pre-calculus course bridges basic Mathematics and Calculus. It completes the foundational knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students in Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry. It provides them with conceptual understanding and computational skills that are crucial for Basic Calculus and future STEM courses such as Chemistry and Physics. It is divided into three major topics such as analytic geometry, mathematical induction and trigonometry (Ascano, et al. 2016). The subject is more challenging compared with Advanced Algebra and Plane Geometry. To let students not being culture-shocked by the advanced topics, contextualized instructional materials in Pre-calculus are deemed very important.

STEM teachers are challenged on what pedagogical approaches could improve the quality of mathematics instruction since students’ poor performance and negative attitudes towards STEM-related courses from both senior high school and college education are evident. To accept the challenge of providing optimum learning opportunities for STEM students, this study was conducted.