CCE Theses and Dissertations

Computer Pre-Analysis Of Aggregate Data In High School Science Laboratories

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

Roberta Mignerey


High school students have had difficulty analyzing data collected in laboratory experiments. This problem has been well-documented in the body of literature, and many suggested remedies have been proposed regarding the use of computers. The author attempted to demonstrate that an increase occurs in student data analysis skills when using computers. The hypothesis offered in this dissertation declared that students exposed to the computerized pre-analysis system will increase their abilities to analyze laboratory data into a conclusion better than students who are not exposed to the system. The system suggested placing three micro-computers in the physics, chemistry, and general science laboratories and equip the devices with simple spreadsheets and graphing software.

The author devised spreadsheets for 15 experiments commonly used in high school science. The spreadsheet screens and equations are displayed in the appendices of the dissertation. Quizzes were also devised that place data on graphs or in problems similar to those found in each experiment three class meetings following the laboratory experience, each student took the quiz. Following completion of the project the students again took the Arlin Test of Formal Reasoning (ATFR). The study was conducted during a 12 week period of the 1991-1992 school year.

The author used student produced laboratory reports, quiz scores, and the pre and post application of the Arlin Test of Formal Reasoning as analysis tools. A t test of significance was performed on these tools. The results determined that students in the classes using the computer were affected by the project. Specific reasoning skills were improved according to the test data.

The program developed in this dissertation could serve as a seed in science education. The program contained a study of five experiments in each of three disciplines of science. The expansion to a complete set of experiments used in those courses could increase the benefit to the students involved. The expansion of this concept to other realms of science such as Earth Science, Astronomy, and Life Science could also enhance student skills.

The concepts put forward in this dissertation could be expanded to other disciplines. Use of this project could be expanded to social studies or other subjects. The examination of population data, production, economics, and any data of a statistical nature could be studied by students in a laboratory setting such as described in this program.

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