The impact of a student response system on academic performance
Victoria K. Dunham, South Carolina State University, United States
South Carolina State University . Awarded
Today, the importance of learning mathematics and reading by students in our schools has been underscored by the introduction of various high-stakes testing regimens in all states across the country. The requirements mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act (2002) necessitated a response to intervention that introduced many difficult challenges for school administrators. These requirements also are challenging the very organization of our nation's schools. These are especially important issues with regard to students who might be at risk of dropping out of school or falling behind their peers to the point where success becomes virtually impossible. They are the first generation immersed in technology since before they could walk; it is a fundamental part of their lives. These students crave the instant gratification that technology provides (Guthrie & Carlin, 2004). Fortunately, a number of tools such as electronic student response systems (SRS) have been developed in recent years that can help educators evaluate their students more efficiently in order to provide individualized instruction.
The purpose of the study was to determine whether, in a regular 7th grade math class, there was a significant difference in the academic performance of students who used electronic response systems and those who did not. To achieve this purpose, the teacher selected two classes to use the student response systems and two classes that did not and compared their academic performance as well as Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) results. SRS provide students with the opportunity to actively participate in their learning environment. Student response systems are known variously as "clickers," audience response systems, and personal response systems. They were described by Skiba (2006) as being a new tool used by corporate America, Hollywood game shows, and many faculty that teach in large lecture halls. Simply put, these systems permit the instructor to use a computer with a projector to interact with students. The students use their clickers to make selections (Skiba, 2006). A growing body of research confirmed that the use of student response systems created an atmosphere of student interaction which enhanced critical thinking and the ability to utilize knowledge in the safety of the classroom environment. This form of technology helps the teacher direct or re-direct lessons depending on responses submitted by students (Caldwell, 2007).
The participants in this study consisted of 97 regular 7th grade students who were enrolled in four different mathematics classes in the Columbia County School System in Evans, Georgia. The study determined whether there was a significant statistical difference in the academic performance of students who used electronic response systems compared to those who did not in these 7th grade mathematics classrooms. For this purpose, the teacher selected two classes that used student response systems and two classes that did not and compared academic performance and Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) results. Published CRCT results for the four 7 th grade classes for 2009 and 2010 were obtained and included in the data analysis. Four units were recorded for the four mathematics classes tested: (a) integers, (b) rational numbers, (c) linear equations, and (d) constructions. All four units have pre- and post- test scores.
Two research questions were addressed in this study: 1. Did students perform better on mathematics assessments such as end-of-unit tests to a significant degree when they used student response systems? 2. Did the scores of the mathematics portion of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) increase significantly for those students who were assessed in their regular mathematics instruction using student response systems?
Data were amassed on 97 7th grade students as they were evaluated on teacher- made assessments, 4 units, and the mathematics portion of their Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT). A two-factorial repeated measures analysis of variance procedure was used to determine the difference of performance on the teacher and unit assessments. There was a significant difference in the pre- and post-unit test scores of students who used the student response systems when compared to those who did not. A one-factor analysis of variance procedure was used to determine if there was a significant difference in the CRCT scores of students who used the student response systems and those who did not. In addition, a simple t-test was used to analyze the difference of the CRCT scores of students who used the SRS and those who did not. There was a significant difference in the scores.
The findings have implications for further research, particularly in the area of unit tests and the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test. It would be of interest to evaluate the benefits of the student response systems considering gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic status.
Dunham, V.K. The impact of a student response system on academic performance. Ph.D. thesis, South Carolina State University.
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