Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Concurrent remediation for inadequate preparation for the calculus Public Deposited

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  • This investigation was designed to determine whether a remediation program concurrent to enrollment in the Calculus could be used to reveal and remedy student deficiencies involving pre-calculus topics, promoting a greater degree of success in the Calculus. The instructional model for the program that was investigated consisted of pretesting the Calculus student to reveal deficiencies in pre-calculus topics and, on the basis of these results, prescribing learning modules to remedy any inadequacies found. A student would be advised to complete modules covering those topics for which he showed a weakness while fulfilling the regular course requirements. One pre-calculus topic, algebraic fractions, was selected to test this model. A pretest was constructed to test for weaknesses in algebraic fractions, and a self-study learning module was constructed to remedy these weaknesses. Evaluation was accomplished through a posttest covering the selected topic and a comprehensive final examination sampling all the topics in the Calculus. Students were exposed to one of three treatments, according to the section of Mth 111 (Calculus) at Oregon State University in which they were enrolled. Students who received treatment T ₁ received no remediation, regardless of their scores on the pretest. Students who received treatment T ₂ were given a non-specific recommendation to do remedial work if their scores were below a certain criterion level. Students who received treatment T ₃ were given access to the learning module if their scores on the pretest were below the level set for treatment T₂. The null hypotheses that were tested stated that there would be no differences among the treatment groups with respect to pretest-posttest gains and final examination scores. Treatments were assigned to whole sections rather than to individual students. The experimental design employed to test the hypotheses was a nonequivalent control group design. And since each treatment was assigned to two sections, the statistical analysis, which consisted of analysis of variance and Student t tests, had to accommodate subsampling. Findings It was concluded that the concurrent remediation program was able to remedy deficiencies in pre-calculus, and that diagnosing inadequacies and providing remediation materials will significantly improve a student's performance on a posttest. Moreover, revealing to the student his pre-calculus deficiencies and providing him with the materials to remove them promotes better results than revealing the deficiencies and merely advising self-remediation. The null hypotheses relating to the final examination scores all failed to be rejected. Statistical analysis of the data indicated that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the remediation program was of value in promoting greater success in the Calculus as measured by the final examination. However, this may have been due to the restriction of the experiment to remediation in only one precalculus topic. Because the model proposed in this study was based on voluntary rather than mandatory remediation the number of students taking part in the remediation component of the program out of all those determined to need it was considered to be an important determinant of the viability of the instructional model. A confidence interval for the proportion of students who would participate of their own volition in a similar program under similar conditions was computed to be (0.23, 0.59).
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