CCE Theses and Dissertations

The Effects of Using Computer-Facilitated Problem Solving With General Mathematics Students

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

Bruce Normandia


Since the traditional techniques of higher level problem solving may be too cumbersome for a general mathematics class, a method must be devised to enable a general mathematics student to solve higher-level, practical, mathematical (HLPM) problems without requiring the student to provide an intricate algorithm of the solution process. Therefore, the author has developed Computer-Facilitated Problem Solving (CFPS). CFPS allows the general mathematics student to solve HLPM problems successfully by alleviating the tedious algorithms and computations necessary to arrive at a solution. However, the student must possess a clear understanding of the problem to respond to the computer's prompts correctly. The author utilized a sample of two CFPS experimental and two non-CFPS control groups.

One set of experimental and control groups was utilized in a pilot study, while the final study made use of the second set. Both studies were conducted with identical procedures.

All groups were administered an HLPM exam. The control groups completed the exam utilizing a calculator, pencil, paper, and a list of formulas. However, the experimental groups took the exam in a computer laboratory where each student was required to use CFPS. The results of this HLPM testing were processed through an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) to determine if a significant difference in performance existed between the experimental and traditional groups. The author utilized each student's mathematics California Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) score as a covariate to take differences in mathematical ability among students statistically into account. The ANCOVA procedure proved that there was a significant difference in performance between the control and experimental groups of both the pilot and final studies. Students of the experimental groups scored significantly higher on the HLPM exam than those students of the corresponding control groups. Therefore, through the proper utilization of technology, a general mathematics student can be allowed the opportunity to explore interesting fields of practical, mathematical problem solving.

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