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Effects of computer-assisted instruction on the learning of quadratic curves by secondary two students

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Date
1995
Authors
Yeo, Joseph Kai Kow
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This study sets out to investigate the effects of two modes of instruction on the learning of quadratic curves among the secondary two students. The two modes of instruction are Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI) and Traditional Approach (TA). These two approaches were examined in terms of their effects on achievement and attitudes, both toward the topic and the subject. A total of 192 students from the Express stream of an independent school in Singapore participated in the study. Six intact classes were chosen. Two high, two medium and two low ability classes were selected. One of each of the ability group was randomly assigned as experimental group (CAI) and the other as the control group (TA). All the six groups were taught by the same teacher and used the same amount of time to learn the same concepts, with similar assignments set as homework. The experiment was conducted over a period of two weeks with a total of 10 periods each for the six groups. The duration of each period was 35 minutes.<br><br>In the CAI group, a specially designed program on Quadratic Curves was written to meet the specific instructional objectives of the topics. Worksheets were constructed to supplement the software.<br><br>Before the main study was conducted, a Quadratic Curves Achievement Test (QC1) was administrated to the six groups of students at the end of April 1993. This was to determine if the students in each ability group differed in terms of their achievement in Mathematics. Similarly, the Attitudes toward Mathematics Questionnaire (MA1) was also given to the students to respond. This was to find out if the six groups differed in their attitudes toward Mathematics prior to the treatments.<br><br>At the end of the experiment, a 40-item objective type Quadratic Curves Achievement Test (QC) was given to six groups to confirm the effects of both modes of instruction. The Attitudes toward Mathematics Questionnaire (MA2) was also administered as a posttest to determine if there were any changes in attitudes toward Mathematics for the six groups. In addition, a specially designed Attitudes toward Quadratic Curves Questionnaire was also given to the six groups to determine if the different groups differed in their attitudes toward the content topic covered.<br><br>The independent t-test was used to compare the means of pretest, QC scores, QCA scores, mean gain scores of QC1 and QC2 for the different ability group and mean gain scores of MA1 and MA2. An one way analysis of variance was also used to compare the means of gain scores of QC1 and QC2 and gain scores of MA1 and MA2 for the three different groups.<br><br>The main findings of the study were:<br><br>The analysis of Quadratic Curves Achievement pretest indicated that there were no significant differences in mathematical background before treatment between students in the CAI and TA groups. Analysis of posttest data on achievement (QC) test showed that medium ability CAI group seemed to perform significantly better than the medium ability TA group. However, The high and low ability CAI group did not differed significantly from the high and low ability TA group. When the results were further examined between the three CAI groups, the mean gain scores indicated that the three CAI groups differed in their quadratic curves achievement after the treatment. Similarly, the three TA groups mean gain scores also showed that the three TA groups differed in their quadratic curves achievement.<br><br>In terms of attitudes toward Mathematics as measured by the MA, the analysis of the pretest indicated that there were no significant difference in their attitudes toward Mathematics before treatment between students in the CAI and TA groups. On the other hand, analysis of mean gain scores showed that the high, medium and low ability students in the CAI group had more positive attitudes than the high, medium and low ability TA groups after the treatment.<br><br>In the attitudes toward the particular topic, the three CAI groups had significantly more positive attitudes than the three TA groups.
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