- The purpose of this investigation was to determine if either of
two selected commercial games, when used by seventh-grade mathematics
teachers, would significantly improve students' (1) attitudes
toward mathematics, (2) quantitative cognitive abilities, and (3) nonverbal
Equations, a mathematics game, and Tac-Tickle, a strategy
game, were chosen as representatives of commercial games available
to classroom teachers. The instruments used to measure cognitive
abilities and attitudes were the Quantitative and Nonverbal Batteries
of the Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT), Level F and Dutton's Attitude
Scale. The major research hypotheses were as follows:
H₁: Student-participation in games will improve attitudes toward
mathematics as measured by the Dutton Attitude Scale.
H₂: Student-participation in games will increase quantitative
cognitive abilities as measured by the Quantitative CAT.
H₃: Student-participation in games will increase nonverbal cognitive
abilities as measured by the Nonverbal CAT.
In addition, subtests of the Quantitative and Nonverbal CAT Batteries
were used to measure six minor hypotheses.
A three-way analysis of covariance was employed to test the
three major and six minor hypotheses. Pretest scores were used as
the covariate. Seven F-values were calculated for each hypothesis to
compare variations in adjusted posttest gains attributable to (1) sex,
(2) school, (3) treatment, (4) sex-by-school, (5) sex-by-treatment,
(6) school-by-treatment, and (7) sex-by-school-by-treatment.
Subjects for the experiment were 182 students from nine
seventh-grade mathematics classes in three junior high schools. One
experienced mathematics teacher in each of the three schools
assisted in the experiment. Each game was randomly assigned as a
treatment variable to one of three classes taught by each teacher.
Hence, each teacher instructed one control class, one Equations
experimental class, and one Tac-Tickle experimental class.
All nine classes were pretested with the Dutton Attitude Scale
and the two batteries of the CAT. Students in the experimental classes
played games for half the class period approximately every other day
for six weeks. Conventional classroom lessons continued intermittently
with game-instruction. At the conclusion of the experiment,
all classes were posttested with the Dutton Attitude Scale and the two
CAT batteries. Findings
The 21 F-values for the three major hypotheses were not significant
at the .05 level. Three F-values were found to be significant
for the minor hypotheses. Differences in adjusted mean gain scores
on the Equations Building subtest of the Quantitative CAT were significant
for school and for school-by-treatment interaction. Also,
school variability in adjusted mean gain scores on the Figure Synthesis
subtest of the Nonverbal CAT was significant.
As a further analysis not related to the hypotheses,
pretest scores on the Dutton Attitude Scale and the two batteries of
the CAT were used to identify the top 30 and bottom 30 percent of the
students in the control group, in the Equations group, and in the
Tac-Tickle group. F-Tests were used to compare variations in
adjusted attitude and cognitive ability mean gain scores between the
top three groups. The resulting F-values were not significant. The
bottom 30 percent groups were also compared by the same procedure.
Again, no significant differences were found. Finally, t-test score
gain comparisons were made between the top 30 and bottom 30 percent
within each of the three groups. The calculated t-values revealed
no significant differences between top and bottom students on any of the
The salient results of this investigation were as follows:
1. The intermittent use of games by actual classroom teachers was
found to be as effective as conventional instruction in terms of
increasing students' attitude and cognitive ability scores.
2. Game-participation did not produce significant boy-girl differences
in attitude and cognitive ability scores.
3. Treatment comparisons between two types of commercial
games revealed no significant differences in attitude and
cognitive ability mean score gains.
4. The results of the study indicated that teacher variability was a
significant factor in the learning of mathematics-equation
comprehension and spatial relations through the use of games.