Learning style preferences and Mathematics achievement of secondary school learners

  • Anne Bosman
  • Salomé Schulze
Keywords: Dunn and Dunn model, learning style, Mathematics achievement, Mathematics teaching, secondary school, VARK model


Mathematics is a key subject necessary to the promotion of economic development, particularly in developing countries; however, South  African learners perform poorly in Mathematics when benchmarked against their counterparts in other countries. One way to address this issue is by taking cognisance of the learners’ learning styles when  teaching. Using the Dunn and Dunn model and the VARK model, the study on which this article is based explored the inter-relationships of Mathematics achievement and seven learning styles, as well as the  learning styles of high and low achievers. To this end, the investigation employed a mainly quantitative research design involving 240 learners from one secondary school in the North-West Province. The learners completed a structured questionnaire. Among others, the results revealed that an individual learning style correlated the highest with Mathematics performance. Through follow-up interviews with 10 high achievers, the study also found that context influenced learning style preferences: in addition to individual learning at home, high performers preferred  reading/writing and group learning in the classroom. The study  recommends that teachers should create a positive learning environment at school, and use teaching methods that accommodate a variety of learning styles. Further research is needed to determine the impact of demographic variables on learning style preferences in Mathematics.

Keywords: Dunn and Dunn model; learning style; Mathematics achievement; Mathematics teaching; secondary school; VARK model


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2076-3433
print ISSN: 0256-0100