Date of Award
Dissertation - NSU Access Only
Doctor of Education
Center for the Advancement of Education
At New York City Technical College (City Tech), the high failure ad attribution rate in a course entitled Introduction to Mathematical Analysis (MA 185) is affecting students’ career goals. Most students must successfully complete this basic college level intermediate algebra and trigonometry course to graduate. The purpose of this study is to evaluate whether the implementation of a new computer enhanced instructional design into the graphics portion of the MA 185 curriculum increases students success rate. Prior to implementing computer-enhanced instruction (CEI), workshops were conducted for mathematics faculty members. A call for volunteers determined that twelve instruction were interested in attending. Due to the design of the study, only six were randomly chosen to receive hands-on experiences with three software packages (Algebra, Discovery Learning in Trigonometry, and Pre-Calculus). In the spring of 1990, students registered for MA 185 classes unaware as to which sections would use the CEI procedures. The workshop participants used the computer as an electronic chalkboard during their MA 185 demonstrations. The students attending these classes were designated as the experimental group. The comparison group was taught by the six instructors volunteering but not participating in the workshops. The sample comprised 35 students, 170 in the E-experimental group and 181 in the comparison group. The same MA 185 text and curriculum were in both groups. Instructors of the experimental group used a large screen to introduce topics related to graphing and analyzing quadratic, trigonometric, logarithmic, and exponential functions. Sequences of curves were presented and students made and tested conjectures and generalizations. In the comparison group these topics were taught using arithmetic computations and chalkboard sketches. The effectiveness of the CEI was determined by comparing the final examination results, quiz scores, final letter grades, and withdrawal rates of students in the experimental and comparison groups. A null hypothesis comparing final examination grades was tested at the .01 significance level using an analysis of covariance. The CUNY Mathematics Skills Assessment Test, taken by all students upon entry into the college, was used as a covariate. The null hypothesis was rejected and the research hypothesis accepted. Students exposed to CEI had increase their achievement more than the comparison group. To determine if the effectiveness of CEI methods affected the achievement of MA 185 students in specific curriculum areas, two null hypotheses were tested using multivariate analysis of variance. The first tested for a significant difference between the groups on four quizzes. The null hypothesis was rejected. In hierarchical order, the CEI was most effective in teaching trigonometric graphs, followed by quadratic equations, logarithmic and exponential equations, and trigonometric identities and equations. The performance differences between the experimental and comparison groups on five final examination questions were used to test the second null hypothesis. This hypothesis was rejected for the combined forty point total of these questions·, however, significant differences in favor to the experimental group were noted only in questions pertaining to quadratic equations, trigonometric identities, and trigonometric equations. Two chi-square tests were undertaken to determine if CEI significantly affected the students final course letter grades and if this type of instruction significantly affected the withdrawal rate of students. In both tests, the null hypotheses were rejected favoring the research hypothesis. Instructors of the experimental group filled out a questionnaire relating to their classroom experience, and their attitudes regarding future applications and adoptions of CEI techniques. The majority indicated extremely positive experiences and all agreed to seek more instructional uses for computer demonstrations in mathematics classes. Neutral or negative attitudes were expressed only with regard to the amount of class time necessary for these lessons. It has been recommended that CEI be incorporated into the MA 185 curriculum in an effort to improve the quality of mathematics instruction. Recommendations have also been made for mathematics faculty to receive training in the use of computers for classroom presentations and, additionally, that the department seek to expand computer usage into other course offerings.