CEC Theses and Dissertations


A Study To Examine The Effects Of Computers And Traditional Teaching Methods On 9-11 Year Old Students Learning To Add And Subtract Fractions

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Computer Education


Center for Computer and Information Sciences


John Kingsburry

Committee Member

Gerorge K. Fornshell

Committee Member

Marlyn Kemper Littman


The mathematics scores of primary school students in Virgin Gorda, as indicated by national tests, have shown that their basic mathematics skills are poor. The purpose of this study was to identify teaching strategies that could help improve mathematics scores. This study was designed to examine the effects of three teaching strategies on the scores and self-concept of 9-11 year-old students learning to add and subtract fractions. These strategies were the use of traditional methods, the use of the computer as a tutor, and the use of a combination of computers and traditional methods to teach addition and subtraction of fractions. Forty students participated in the study. They were divided into three treatment groups and one control group.

Each treatment group was taught addition and subtraction of fractions using one of the teaching strategies for ten weeks. Students were tested before treatment, immediately after the treatment, and two months after treatment. The test instruments were teacher-made tests on fractions and the Self-Perception Profile for Children. The results showed no significant difference in mean scores between the treatment groups on the fraction test immediately after treatment. However, when gender was considered, there was a significant difference between means of the boys and girls within the group taught by traditional methods. There was also a significant difference between the means of boys and girls within the group taught by computers. The boys in the combined traditional and computer group had a mean that was higher than boys in the other two groups. All the treatment groups had significantly higher mean scores than they had before treatment. The control group however showed no significant change.

The use of computers resulted in improved self-concept. Students who were taught using computer tutorials or tutorials in combination with traditional methods had higher self-concept mean scores than students who were taught only by traditional methods.

Two months after the treatment, students' mean scores on the fraction test were significantly lower for the traditional and computer groups than they had been immediately after treatment. There was no significant difference in mean scores for students in the combined group.

These findings suggested that the use of computers (CAl) was as effective as traditional teaching methods and helped students to be more positive about themselves. In addition, computers, when used together with traditional methods appear to be useful in improving the scores of boys.

Further, the combined use of computers and traditional methods was effective in helping students retain material. The study indicates that if the use of computers in the classroom is carefully planned, then CAl can help to improve the mathematics scores of students in the British Virgin Islands. However, the computers should be used by teachers trained in their use and the classes should be evaluated regularly.

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