Thesis

The effects of student-centered activities on student math fact automaticity

Thesis (M.A., Education (Curriculum and Instruction)) -- California State University, Sacramento, 2010.

California’s accelerated math standards state that first graders know their addition math facts and corresponding subtraction facts to 20. Research shows that many students do not meet this standard. The demands of NCLB’s accountability and high stakes testing make for a fast paced math program that neglects the needs of students who do not have strong math intelligence or have math disabilities. Learning stages involving hand-on activities are being given short shrift in lieu of rote memorization. With a review of literature highlighting the importance of learning modalities, multiple intelligences and brain-based learning, could student-centered activities that combine all these elements produce gains in math fact fluency leading to math fact automaticity? 
 
 Sources of Data
 Information was obtained through research on the topics of high stakes accountability, learning theories, modalities of learning, multiple intelligences, and brain-based learning. Data was collected from informal observations of students involved in the study and from assessments and tests administered to the researcher’s second grade students and students in another second grade class that acted as a control. Students attended a suburban school in Sacramento’s San Juan Unified School District.
 Conclusions Reached
 Students in the experimental group continued to improve their math fact fluency even after the study ended. The mean difference between the pretest and the post-posttest was significant. Males in the experimental group also had a mean difference between the posttest and the post-posttest that was significant. Since improved performance in math fact fluency leads to math fact automaticity, the effects of student-centered activities on student math fact automaticity were shown to be positive. An additional benefit of student-centered activities was a more positive, relaxed attitude by students toward learning math facts.

California’s accelerated math standards state that first graders know their addition math facts and corresponding subtraction facts to 20. Research shows that many students do not meet this standard. The demands of NCLB’s accountability and high stakes testing make for a fast paced math program that neglects the needs of students who do not have strong math intelligence or have math disabilities. Learning stages involving hand-on activities are being given short shrift in lieu of rote memorization. With a review of literature highlighting the importance of learning modalities, multiple intelligences and brain-based learning, could student-centered activities that combine all these elements produce gains in math fact fluency leading to math fact automaticity? Sources of Data Information was obtained through research on the topics of high stakes accountability, learning theories, modalities of learning, multiple intelligences, and brain-based learning. Data was collected from informal observations of students involved in the study and from assessments and tests administered to the researcher’s second grade students and students in another second grade class that acted as a control. Students attended a suburban school in Sacramento’s San Juan Unified School District. Conclusions Reached Students in the experimental group continued to improve their math fact fluency even after the study ended. The mean difference between the pretest and the post-posttest was significant. Males in the experimental group also had a mean difference between the posttest and the post-posttest that was significant. Since improved performance in math fact fluency leads to math fact automaticity, the effects of student-centered activities on student math fact automaticity were shown to be positive. An additional benefit of student-centered activities was a more positive, relaxed attitude by students toward learning math facts.

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