Does Students’ Demography Cause Heterogeneity of Students’ Mathematical Critical Thinking Abilities through Problem-Based Learning? A Meta-Analysis

Trisna Nugraha, Suparman


Some reports related to the problem-based learning (PBL) implementation in the mathematics classroom to improve mathematical critical thinking abilities (MCTA) of Indonesian elementary school students revealed that the PBL effect on the MCTA of students is heterogeneous. However, the study investigating the causative factors of the heterogeneity of students’ MCTA has not been conducted. Therefore, this study aims to investigate and examine students’ demography predicted as a potential factor causing the heterogeneity of MCTA of Indonesian elementary school students through PBL. To conduct this study, a meta-analysis by selecting the random effect model was employed. All of the data was analyzed by using the application of Comprehensive Meta-Analysis (CMA) version 3.0. The use of search engines such as Google Scholar and Semantic Scholar found ten primary studies: journal or proceeding articles published in 2015 – 2020 and indexed by Scopus, Google Scholar, Sinta, and Web of Science. Heterogeneity analysis of these primary studies showed that the p-value of the Q Cochrane statistic was 0,008. It indicates that the p-value is less than 0,05. It means that students’ demography is one of the significant factors causing the heterogeneity of MCTA of Indonesian elementary school students.  Furthermore, the PBL effect sizes on the MCTA based on students’ demography were g = 1,032* (Bali & East Nusa), g = 2,690* (Java), g = 0,738 (Kalimantan), g = 0,584 (Maluku & Papua), g = 1,261* (Sulawesi), and g = 1,594* (Sumatera). These findings interpret that the PBL implementation in Bali & East Nusa, Java, Sumatera, and Sulawesi has positive effect significantly on the students’ MCTA. Meanwhile, the PBL implementation in Kalimantan and Maluku & Papua significantly does not affect the MCTA of students. It means that mathematics teachers of an elementary school in Kalimantan and Maluku & Papua should enhance their effort to improve their students’ MCTA through PBL.



Keywords: heterogeneity, mathematical critical thinking abilities, meta-analysis, problem-based learning, students’ demography.



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