Results of Study undertaken by DIET

In the year 2003, a pilot study was conducted by the Planning and Management Branch of the DIET Thadlaskein, covering five blocks of Jaintia Hills. One of the mian objectives of the study was to diagnose the most common learning problems in specific areas at the early primary grades. A total of 1183 learners were selected from a hundred Primary schools and specially designed tests were administered to find out learning difficulties of early primary school-going children in specific areas like language and arithmetic. No attempt was made to interpret the results of the tests as only the mastery and non-mastery aspects of specific skills in the two subject areas were recorded.
The following are some of the areas in which the learners experienced difficulties:

Common Language Problems at the Lower Primary Level:

  • Handwriting development

It was observed from the worksheets that a large number of pupils had illegible handwriting that could be best described as ‘unreadable’. There were many who had not developed even basic ‘letter’ writing. Even in classes three and four there were students who did not know ‘cursive writing’.

  • Spelling

A lot of children especially in class one, had trouble spelling short and simple words made up of say, two to three letters. Even though learners had no problems identifying shapes, persons, animals and objects, they however faced numerous problems spelling them.

  • Pronunciation

In every case of spelling mistakes it was observed that most pupils spelt the words exactly as they pronounced them. For example some spelt ‘cow’ as ‘caw’ etc.

  • Use of Capital and small letters when writing

Many students did not know when to use capital and small letters while writing. For instance a word would be written and would contain both capital and small letters: mAsI; lEt; bAJe etc.  Another common problem for many pupils especially in classes 3 and 4 was writing all letters in capital: LET; BAJE etc.

  • Making sentences

Even learners, who had no problems with spellings, could not construct the most simple of sentences in almost every case.

  • Parts of speech

This is another area in which a lot of students faced difficulties. Many could not identify proper nouns, adjectives etc. There were many occasions where the learners could not even distinguish proper nouns from common nouns.

Common Learning Problems in Arithmetic at the Lower Primary Level:

  • Number writing

In many worksheets apart from illegible handwriting, even number writing was indecipherable. As a result of this, many pupils themselves made countless errors that could have easily been avoided.

  • Place value

Apart from teachers who described it as a problem area, it was found that the concept was not clear in many classes. This was also one of the most common carry-over problems in the area of mathematics.

  • Addition

Though there were not many students who had problems in this area, it was found that in some cases, because of their inability to grasp the concept of place value, some pupils found it difficult to compute carry-over exercises. Most children found it difficult to compute when problems were arranged horizontally.

  • Subtraction

The major problem was in the area of take-away exercises. Some learners could not compute borrowing sums especially when they were arranged in a horizontal manner.

  • Multiplication

Many pupils did not understand the concept of multiplication as a short method of addition. Problems arose whenever a pupil’s knowledge of the different tables was not thorough. There were also a number of problems that arose when multiplying two digit numbers by two digit numbers.

  • Others:
  1. Properties of division
  2. Rupees and Paise conversion
  3. Measures of Length, Weight and Capacity
  4. Practical Geometry
  5. Fraction
  6. Multiples

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