The effects of an immersion bilingual mathematics institute on the achievement of seventh grade Mexican-American students Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/7h149r710

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  • The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which an Immersion Bilingual Mathematics Institute (IBMI) can affect the mathematics achievement of entering seventh grade students of Mexican-American heritage. Mathematics achievement was defined as mathematics skills measured by the Mathematics Computation and Mathematics Concepts and Applications tests of the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) battery. A four-week, 80-hour supplementary mathematics institute was designed to increase computation skills in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of fractions, decimals and mixed numbers and in solving word problems requiring these skills. The IBMI curriculum included lessons requiring the use of manipulative materials such as measuring instruments to solve mathematics problems perceived to be relevant to the students. Bilingual mathematics teachers rotated daily among three subgroups of 8 to 12 students classified according to English language ability. Instruction was characterized by teacher direction, high energy instruction, positive reinforcement and rapid drill sessions. A modified Pretest-Posttest Control Group design was used. Incoming Mexican-American seventh grade volunteers from five Orange, California schools were blocked by sex and CTBS reading scores and randomly assigned into 30-student treatment and control groups. A second control consisted of 40 similar seventh grade Anglo-American students. One level of the CTBS battery was administered as a pretest in May, 1981. A higher level of the CTBS served as posttests in late August at the end of the IBMI and again six months later. The Institute was conducted in El Modena High School mathematics classrooms in August, 1981. Significant (p < .05) gains in mathematics achievement were made by the treatment group on tests administered at the end of the IBMI. These gains were positive, but non-significant when compared to the two control groups six months later. Data obtained for the study confirmed a mathematics achievement disparity between Mexican-American and Anglo-American students in Orange schools comparable to data reported for other regions of the Southwest. The researcher concludes that an IBMI designed to meet the linguistic and cultural preferences of Mexican American students has a short-term effect in significantly increasing their mathematics skills and in reducing the mathematics achievement disparity, but that these gains are not significant six months later.
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