Effects of graphing calculators on students' confidence and performance in college algebra: Race and gender related differences
Thelma Cuttino Lawton, University of Central Florida, United States
University of Central Florida . Awarded
This study examined relationships between confidence and performance in a college algebra course which utilized the graphing calculator. Correlations between mathematical confidence and mathematical performance before and after graphing calculator instruction were examined for differences related to gender and race. Calculator attitudes of subjects were examined for gender and race related differences.
Subjects for the study were 313 students enrolled in college algebra at a community college in Central Florida. The investigation was conducted during the fall term of 1998.
A revised Fennema-Sherman Mathematics Attitudes Scale was used to measure students' mathematical confidence. The survey was administered to the subjects during the first and last week of class to collect pretest and posttest confidence scores. Calculator attitude measures were collected from a calculator attitude survey instrument, which was administered during the last week of class.
Data analysis procedures included descriptive means, multiple regression analysis, Pearson product-moment correlation, analysis of variance (ANOVA) and cell means. Results from the data analysis showed no significant correlation between mathematical confidence and mathematical performance for males and females or for whites and minorities. There was a significant gender-related difference in mathematics confidence but no significant race-related difference. The researcher concluded that overall the mathematics performance for college algebra students improved with use of the graphing calculator, but no significant gender-specific or race-specific differences in mathematics performance were determined.
Future research should address technology training of instructors, effects of calculator attitudes on mathematics performance, calculator experience and mathematics performance, and student retention rate and the graphing calculator.
Lawton, T.C. Effects of graphing calculators on students' confidence and performance in college algebra: Race and gender related differences. Ph.D. thesis, University of Central Florida.
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