- The effects of computer-assisted instruction on attitudes and achievement in mathematics of preservice primary school teachers

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# The effects of computer-assisted instruction on attitudes and achievement in mathematics of preservice primary school teachers

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Type

Thesis

Author

Lee-Leck, Mui Kiah

Supervisor

Ong, Sit Tui

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI) on the attitudes towards and achievement in mathematics of preservices primary school teachers.

This study took the form of a quasi-experimental Nonequivalent Control Group Design. Two groups each of 36 preservice primary school teachers enrolled in the Certificant-in-Education programme in July, 1985 at the Singapore Institute of Education, participated in this study. The 'experimental group' was taught graphical representations and interpretations of linear and quadratic equations through the Computer-Assisted Instructional (CAI) method. The 'control group' followed a similar course through the Normal Lecture (NL) method. These treatments were conducted over a period of four weeks with a total of eight lessons, each lasting 45 minutes.

Before and after the treatments, three attitudinal scales and one achievement test were administered to determine the extent of the effects of CAI on attitudes and achievement respectively. The Suydam-Trueblood Attitude toward Mathematics Scale, the Modified Attitude Mathematics Inventory and the Algebra Attitude Scale were completed by the experimental and control group subjects to assess the effects of the treatments on attitudes towards mathematics. The Algebra Achievement Test was completed by both groups to determine these student teachers' understanding and knowledge of the concepts covered in the eight lessons.

Complete data were obtained for 63 student teachers (experimental N = 32 ; control N = 31). The empirical data obtained from the evaluation phase of this study provided the basis for answering the two fundamental research questions :

(1) Do the preservice primary school teachers of the two groups (experimental and control) differ initially in terms of their mathematical background and attitudes towards mathematics?

(2) Do the preservice primary school teachers of the two groups (experimental and control) differ in attitudes towards and achievement in mathematics after the treatment?

To test the hypotheses derived from the research questions, univariate t-tests and multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) were used to determine the differences between the means of the test scores of the two groups using a 0.05 level of significance.

Multivariate analysis of the 'O' Level Mathematics Grade and the Algebra Achievement Test pretest showed that the two groups were comparable with respect to student teachers' mathematical background. Univariate analysis of the Suydam-Trueblood Attitude toward Mathematics Scale pretest and multivariate analyses of the Modified Mathematics Attitude Inventory and the Algebra Attitude Scale pretests showed no initial difference in attitudes towards mathematics between the two groups. Qualitative analysis of the classroom observations confirmed satisfactory implementation of CAI and NL methods. Univariate and multivariate analyses of the posttests showed that (1) the CAI group out-performed the NL group in achievement in linear and quadratic equations, (2) the CAI group showed improvement in attitudes towards linear and quadratic equations, and (3) the CAI and NL groups did not differ in attitudes towards mathematics. Within group differences showed that after the treatments (1) both groups attained a higher level of achievement in linear and quadratic equations, (2) the CAI group improved in general attitude towards mathematics, (3) the CAI group seemed to improve in Self-concept in linear and quadratic equations, and (4) the CAI group enjoyed drawing and interpreting linear and quadratic equations.

The major conclusion of the study is that through an appropriate approach, an instructional method for improving student teachers' attitudes towards mathematics and enhancing their mathematical learning could be developed and successfully implemented in a significant content domain of the teacher training programme. The results also demonstrate that innovative teaching can accomplish what conventional teaching is supposed to achieve i.e. the learning of specific mathematical content. Furthermore, this innovative method can better enhance and facilitate this learning.

If positive attitudes towards and achievement in mathematics are desirable outcomes of teacher training and school mathematics curriculum, the study has shown that this end can be effectively attained using a certain strategy. The sequential approach adopted in developing the various phases of the CAI method of teaching provides, it is suggested, a valid and meaningful basis for future attempts to formulate a theory of Computer-Assisted Instruction.

This study took the form of a quasi-experimental Nonequivalent Control Group Design. Two groups each of 36 preservice primary school teachers enrolled in the Certificant-in-Education programme in July, 1985 at the Singapore Institute of Education, participated in this study. The 'experimental group' was taught graphical representations and interpretations of linear and quadratic equations through the Computer-Assisted Instructional (CAI) method. The 'control group' followed a similar course through the Normal Lecture (NL) method. These treatments were conducted over a period of four weeks with a total of eight lessons, each lasting 45 minutes.

Before and after the treatments, three attitudinal scales and one achievement test were administered to determine the extent of the effects of CAI on attitudes and achievement respectively. The Suydam-Trueblood Attitude toward Mathematics Scale, the Modified Attitude Mathematics Inventory and the Algebra Attitude Scale were completed by the experimental and control group subjects to assess the effects of the treatments on attitudes towards mathematics. The Algebra Achievement Test was completed by both groups to determine these student teachers' understanding and knowledge of the concepts covered in the eight lessons.

Complete data were obtained for 63 student teachers (experimental N = 32 ; control N = 31). The empirical data obtained from the evaluation phase of this study provided the basis for answering the two fundamental research questions :

(1) Do the preservice primary school teachers of the two groups (experimental and control) differ initially in terms of their mathematical background and attitudes towards mathematics?

(2) Do the preservice primary school teachers of the two groups (experimental and control) differ in attitudes towards and achievement in mathematics after the treatment?

To test the hypotheses derived from the research questions, univariate t-tests and multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) were used to determine the differences between the means of the test scores of the two groups using a 0.05 level of significance.

Multivariate analysis of the 'O' Level Mathematics Grade and the Algebra Achievement Test pretest showed that the two groups were comparable with respect to student teachers' mathematical background. Univariate analysis of the Suydam-Trueblood Attitude toward Mathematics Scale pretest and multivariate analyses of the Modified Mathematics Attitude Inventory and the Algebra Attitude Scale pretests showed no initial difference in attitudes towards mathematics between the two groups. Qualitative analysis of the classroom observations confirmed satisfactory implementation of CAI and NL methods. Univariate and multivariate analyses of the posttests showed that (1) the CAI group out-performed the NL group in achievement in linear and quadratic equations, (2) the CAI group showed improvement in attitudes towards linear and quadratic equations, and (3) the CAI and NL groups did not differ in attitudes towards mathematics. Within group differences showed that after the treatments (1) both groups attained a higher level of achievement in linear and quadratic equations, (2) the CAI group improved in general attitude towards mathematics, (3) the CAI group seemed to improve in Self-concept in linear and quadratic equations, and (4) the CAI group enjoyed drawing and interpreting linear and quadratic equations.

The major conclusion of the study is that through an appropriate approach, an instructional method for improving student teachers' attitudes towards mathematics and enhancing their mathematical learning could be developed and successfully implemented in a significant content domain of the teacher training programme. The results also demonstrate that innovative teaching can accomplish what conventional teaching is supposed to achieve i.e. the learning of specific mathematical content. Furthermore, this innovative method can better enhance and facilitate this learning.

If positive attitudes towards and achievement in mathematics are desirable outcomes of teacher training and school mathematics curriculum, the study has shown that this end can be effectively attained using a certain strategy. The sequential approach adopted in developing the various phases of the CAI method of teaching provides, it is suggested, a valid and meaningful basis for future attempts to formulate a theory of Computer-Assisted Instruction.

Date Issued

1985

Call Number

LB1028.5 Lee

Date Submitted

1985