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Prisvinnere 2021 - Yusuf Feyisara Zakariya

Agder Academy of Sciences and Letters prize for young researchers for 2021 is awarded to dr. Yusuf Feyisara Zakariya

Dr. Yusuf Feyisara Zakariya is currently post-doctoral research fellow in the Department of Mathematical Sciences.

Zakariya earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics education (BSc.Ed. mathematics) and graduated with first-class honors at Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria.  He then completed a master’s degree in mathematics at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, in Saudi Arabia.  Zakariya joined the Department of Mathematical Sciences at UiA to take up a PhD fellowship in Mathematics Education (matematikkdidaktikk). Remarkably, he submitted his dissertation 22 months later and successfully defended it in April 2021, just 28 months after beginning his fellowship.

Zakariya’s PhD research focused on first semester engineering students’ learning of mathematics and on three issues that prior research, internationally, had been suggested to predict students’ learning, i.e. i) their prior knowledge, ii) their self-efficacy and iii) their approaches to learning. The PhD work included the use of validated instruments, adoption of the test from the Mathematics Council of Norway (NMR) to assess intake students’ mathematical competence, the translation and validation of an English instrument to Norwegian and the construction of an instrument measuring students’ self-efficacy. A conclusion from his PhD committee leader reads this: “The fact that Zakariya has been able to publish five papers from his work here is really rather impressive.”

The cutting-edge feature of Zakariya’s work was his use of complex statistical measurement models. The surprising outcome from his research is that a “deep approach” to learning did not appear to have an effect on students’ performance.

The international impact of Zakariya’s work is evident from the numerous journal publications being produced concurrently with his PhD fellowship. From 2019 to 2021 Zakariya has 16 journal publications, 12 as first author + 2 conference proceedings. In Google Scholar Zakariya has 30 published works, and 38 “published items” in Research Gate, where his publications have been read nearly 47,000 times, which shows an impressive interest around his research for a young scholar just getting started.

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