Effects of Interactive Computer-Based Instruction in Elementary Algebra on Community College Achievement in Intermediate Algebra

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Sandruck, Bernadette
Campbell, Patricia F
ABSTRACT Title of dissertation: EFFECTS OF INTERACTIVE COMPUTER-BASED INSTRUCTION IN ELEMENTARY ALGEBRA ON COMMUNITY COLLEGE ACHIEVEMENT IN INTERMEDIATE ALGEBRA Bernadette Anne Beyer Sandruck, Doctor of Education, 2003 Dissertation directed by: Patricia F. Campbell, Associate Professor Department of Curriculum and Instruction This study assessed an existing developmental mathematics program from a mid-sized suburban community college to compare the achievement levels, success rates and retention in intermediate algebra of 50 students who were taught elementary algebra in a traditional classroom setting with 62 students who completed elementary algebra in an interactive computer-based environment. Differences in performance were assessed in five ways: (a) final grade in intermediate algebra, (b) number correct on Part 1 of the Maryland Bridge Goals Assessment (BGA), (c) percent scores on with-in course unit examinations, (d) pass rates for intermediate algebra, and (e) retention rates and completion rates in intermediate algebra. Students were categorized as passing intermediate algebra if they earned a grade of C or better, all other students including withdraws were categorized as did-not-pass. Retention rates were based on the number of students who officially withdrew from the course whereas completion rates were based on the number of students who completed the first three unit examinations. The mathematics program for both elementary algebra and intermediate algebra was highly structured with department-specified lesson plans and examinations. The results of the study supported the null hypotheses that there were no statistical differences in performance in intermediate algebra between the two instructional groups from elementary algebra. In preparation for the regression analysis, the two groups were evaluated for similarities in age, gender, ethnicity, high school mathematics background, credits attempted, study hours per credit, work hours, absentee level, time-of-day of instruction, and achievement in elementary algebra. The two instructional groups were demographically similar across all of these variables except time-of-day with evening classes populated predominantly by students who had computer-based instruction in elementary algebra. Interviews with 24 students from three focus groups indicated that students appreciated the flexibility of computer-based instruction and that returning to the traditional format of teacher-led instruction required no adjustments.