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Title:Using the Hand-Held Calculator as a Computing Aid for Instruction in Word-Problem Solving With Elementary Grade Students
Author(s):Stewart, James Thomson, Jr.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Mathematics
Abstract:The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the effectiveness of a hand-held calculator when used as a computing aid during instruction in worded problem-solving and to evaluate the effectiveness of instructional materials which were specifically designed to be used with a calculator.
The 146 subjects participating in this study were fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students in a moderate size community in Illinois. The subjects were distributed among eight classrooms in four separate schools. A two by two design was used resulting in four treatment groups: (1) calculator/special materials; (2) non-calculator/special materials; (3) calculator/standard materials; (4) non-calculator/standard materials.
A pretest of worded problem-solving ability was administered to all participants. The test was designed to provide two subscores: (1) a measure of ability to write a number sentence which could be used to solve a worded problem; (2) a measure of ability to achieve a correct answer to a worded problem based upon the number sentence. Students received daily instruction consisting of ten problems to solve. Students in the calculator treatment groups used the calculator to perform all computations for the problems. Students in the non-calculator treatment groups performed all computations with pencil and paper. Twenty sets of problem-solving activities were used. The amount of time necessary to complete an activity was recorded by each student. This time measure was used to compare treatment groups in order to determine the efficiency of each type of instruction and used as a covariate when evaluating posttest results. After completing the twenty instructional activities, a posttest was administered which consisted of an alternate form of the pretest.
A multivariate analysis of the subscores on the pretest resulted in a significant difference (P < 0.01) being found in favor of the calculator/special materials treatment group. This group of students scored significantly lower than students in the other treatment groups. This difference necessitated using the pretest scores as covariates in analysis of posttest data.
A one-way ANOVA of time measurements resulted in a significant difference (P < 0.01) being found in favor of the calculator/special materials group. This group performed the instructional materials in a significantly shorter average time than the other groups.
A two-way ANOVA of time measurements revealed a significant (P < 0.01) interaction effect among calculator use and type of materials.
A multivariate analysis of the posttest scores resulted in a significant difference (P < 0.01) being found in favor of the non-calculator/special materials group. Analysis of the differences between pretest and posttest scores using a T test for dependent samples (alpha = 0.05) resulted in a significant improvement being found for groups using calculators.
Results of this study sggest that using a calculator during instruction in worded problem-solving can produce significant improvement in problem-solving ability in significantly less time than with pencil and paper computations. Further, use of specially designed instructional materials along with a calculator appears to be the most efficient of instructional methods.
Issue Date:1980
Description:286 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1980.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8108676
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-12
Date Deposited:1980

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