Investigating the use of Destination Math in an urban school district
William David Telford, Texas A&M University, United States
Texas A&M University . Awarded
Destination Math was a program utilized by Xcellence ISD. A determination was needed to see if the usage of the software had a significant positive effect on math performance. In this study, the researcher created a student database that included the usage data from the comprehensive mathematics software program, Destination Math, and the math residual value, an added value statistic that was derived from the math scores of the 2006 Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. An analysis was performed to determine if time spent using the Destination Math software resulted in differences among student usage level groups in regard to the math residual value (MRV). The researcher also looked at the usage levels of teachers and campuses to determine if there were differences in the MRV for different classifications of usage.
Certain student classifications were added as independent variables. Since Destination Math was offered in Spanish, it was theorized that the program might be beneficial to students who were designated as Limited English Proficient (LEP). Therefore, this student classification was included as an independent variable. Because iv research existed that provided evidence that some software contained a gender bias, the student classification of gender was also included as an independent variable.
The population for this study included every student in Xcellence ISD in grades 3–11 who took the math portion of the TAKS test during the week of April 18–21, 2006. Altogether, 3177 students were included in the data analysis for this study. This represented 53% of the tested population. Students with no usage data reported by Destination Math were eliminated from the study.
While there are a number of cited studies that document score gains with Destination Math, this researcher did not find that residual math scores were significantly different among teacher or campus usage groups. While there was a significant difference among the student usage groups, High users exhibited negative MRVs. The results of this study are consistent with another large quantitative study that involved Destination Math. This researcher feels that there is an ample number of studies that provide evidence that Destination Math can have a positive effect on student math performance. However, the program should not be purchased with the intent to improve significantly the residual math scores.
Telford, W.D. Investigating the use of Destination Math in an urban school district. Ph.D. thesis, Texas A&M University.
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