Thesis

A comparative analysis of instructional methods used in remedial mathematics courses

Thesis (M.A., Education (Curriculum and Instruction))--California State University, Sacramento, 2016.

A significant number of high school graduates who apply for higher education are not prepared for a college-level mathematics course. At the start of their college careers, students who are not sufficiently prepared to complete entry-level courses are often encouraged or required to take remedial courses (U.S. Department of Education, 2013). College and universities are trying alternative instructional approaches to improve the teaching of remedial mathematics with the goal of increasing the number of students who have the skills and knowledge required for college-level math course. With the recent growth of the internet, new methods of delivering instruction are now possible thanks to the use of computers, so student will have choices of when, where and how they learn math. The purpose of this study is to compare academic performance of freshmen students attending California State University, Sacramento, (CSUS) who are enrolled in Elementary Algebra with Geometry remedial courses using traditional instructions and web based format (ALEKS). Students’ performance based on their gender and ethnicity will be explored as well. This study is based on freshmen enrolled in two Elementary Algebra with Geometry classes, during the fall 2012, 2013, and 2014 semesters. A total of 458 students were enrolled in both classes, 31% were males and 69% were females. In term of students’ ethnicity 25% were Asian, 11% African American, 32% Hispanic and 21% Whites. The classes were offered in two different format; traditional instructions and web-based online format. All the students completed the course and took the Intermediate Algebra Diagnostic (IAD) exam. Data was collected by two departments at California State University, Sacramento; The Math Learning Skill and Mathematics and Statistics Department. The three exam scores analyzed in the study were provided by the Learning Skill Assistant Professor and Math Coordinator. The Intermediate Algebra Diagnostic exam scores were provided by the Math Lab Coordinator. The results of this study showed that students in the ALEKS classes outperformed traditional lecture students in the Elementary Algebra with Geometry exam scores. In the Intermediate Algebra Diagnostic test students in traditional lecture outperformed ALEKS students. In terms of the Elementary Algebra with Geometry exam results, the study found that there is a significant gender difference in all semesters and in both classes, with females scoring higher than males. Additionally, females enrolled in ALEKS classes scored higher than females in lecture classes. In the IAD results the study showed that females also outperformed males in both classes.
 The results revealed that there was not a significant difference between the average test scores based on students’ ethnicity. All ethnic groups except African Americans had similar scores in both classes. African American students enrolled in lecture class scored higher than other ALEKS students. In terms of the IAD test, African American scored lower in both classes than Asian, Hispanic and Whites. Regarding class type the traditional lecture sections obtained the high passing rates. Based on the literature review and the results of this research the writer concluded ALEKS has a better impact on students learning. However the difference in lecture courses were slightly lower. More research need to be done to find out which teaching method has better impact on math remediation

A significant number of high school graduates who apply for higher education are not prepared for a college-level mathematics course. At the start of their college careers, students who are not sufficiently prepared to complete entry-level courses are often encouraged or required to take remedial courses (U.S. Department of Education, 2013). College and universities are trying alternative instructional approaches to improve the teaching of remedial mathematics with the goal of increasing the number of students who have the skills and knowledge required for college-level math course. With the recent growth of the internet, new methods of delivering instruction are now possible thanks to the use of computers, so student will have choices of when, where and how they learn math. The purpose of this study is to compare academic performance of freshmen students attending California State University, Sacramento, (CSUS) who are enrolled in Elementary Algebra with Geometry remedial courses using traditional instructions and web based format (ALEKS). Students’ performance based on their gender and ethnicity will be explored as well. This study is based on freshmen enrolled in two Elementary Algebra with Geometry classes, during the fall 2012, 2013, and 2014 semesters. A total of 458 students were enrolled in both classes, 31% were males and 69% were females. In term of students’ ethnicity 25% were Asian, 11% African American, 32% Hispanic and 21% Whites. The classes were offered in two different format; traditional instructions and web-based online format. All the students completed the course and took the Intermediate Algebra Diagnostic (IAD) exam. Data was collected by two departments at California State University, Sacramento; The Math Learning Skill and Mathematics and Statistics Department. The three exam scores analyzed in the study were provided by the Learning Skill Assistant Professor and Math Coordinator. The Intermediate Algebra Diagnostic exam scores were provided by the Math Lab Coordinator. The results of this study showed that students in the ALEKS classes outperformed traditional lecture students in the Elementary Algebra with Geometry exam scores. In the Intermediate Algebra Diagnostic test students in traditional lecture outperformed ALEKS students. In terms of the Elementary Algebra with Geometry exam results, the study found that there is a significant gender difference in all semesters and in both classes, with females scoring higher than males. Additionally, females enrolled in ALEKS classes scored higher than females in lecture classes. In the IAD results the study showed that females also outperformed males in both classes. The results revealed that there was not a significant difference between the average test scores based on students’ ethnicity. All ethnic groups except African Americans had similar scores in both classes. African American students enrolled in lecture class scored higher than other ALEKS students. In terms of the IAD test, African American scored lower in both classes than Asian, Hispanic and Whites. Regarding class type the traditional lecture sections obtained the high passing rates. Based on the literature review and the results of this research the writer concluded ALEKS has a better impact on students learning. However the difference in lecture courses were slightly lower. More research need to be done to find out which teaching method has better impact on math remediation

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