CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

Mathematics Software and Achievement on the Ohio Ninth Grade Proficiency Test

Date of Award

2000

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Getrude W. Abramson

Committee Member

Maxine S. Cohen

Committee Member

Marlyn Kemper Littman

Abstract

Mathematics has been the most difficult part of the Ohio Ninth Grade Proficiency Test (ONGPT) for students to pass. Although the current test measures achievement of basic skills that should have been acquired during the K-8 experience, students, for the most part, have not mastered objectives tested on the exam to the degree needed to pass. At the present time there is no general consensus or recommendations among schools within the Ohio Department of Education's Urban Schools Initiative about the use and effectiveness of software to help students pass that test. This dissertation examined that issue. Grade 8 mathematics, special education, and proficiency intervention teachers (N =113) in 35 middle schools across 13 mid-sized districts in the Urban Schools Initiative were surveyed. The survey addressed teacher beliefs on individual and organizational factors related to class time software use, what software was used, how it was used, and software's instructional and technical merit for proficiency test preparation. Research on standardized exams and the ONGPT, mathematics achievement and educational technology, learning from software, and factors relating to teacher technology beliefs and use supported the design of the survey instrument and shed light on expected outcomes of the study.

Results indicated that administrative support, teacher instructional style, their perceived priority of learning about computers and software, computer availability and access, technical assistance, and software quality were significant factors affecting teachers' decisions to use technology in their instruction. The occasional use of software during class time had a significant negative impact on students passing the test. Software's impact on passing the test was positively significant for students who had not used software during c1asstime, but had used it in a proficiency intervention class that met in addition to their regular math class.

The study includes information for over 50 mathematics software titles and determined guidelines for valuable software. Implications of results are discussed.

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