An investigation of selected intellective and non-intellective variables and their use in predicting success in two instructional formats of a college algebra course



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Purposes. This research was designed for the purpose of determining whether a set of variables could account for a significant amount of variance in algebra achievement and also show an interaction with instructional format. In particular, the variables used were the Verbal Reasoning and Numerical Ability scores of the Differential Aptitude Tests, the Study Habits and Study Attitude scores of the Survey of Study Habits and Attitudes, and a Mathematics Enjoyment and a Mathematics Anxiety score from a revision of the Aiken-Dreger Mathematics Attitude Scale. The dependent variable algebra achievement was measured by an achievement test written for the study. The instructional formats were a traditional lecture-demonstration format and a self-paced, computer-assisted format. The presence of an interaction between the continuous variables and instructional format would enable placement decisions to be made to optimize student learning. Procedures and Conclusions. The sample consisted of 165 students enrolled in a Basic Technical Mathematics course at the University of Houston. Scores from 88 students in seven lecture sections and 72 students in six self-paced sections were used in the study. Multiple regression analysis was used to determine whether a significant amount of variance was accounted for by the variables, whether there was a significant interaction with instructional format, whether the predictor variables contributed anything in the way of explanation, and whether there were significant differences between the groups. The findings were that a significant amount of variance was accounted for (R2 = .371). There was no significant interaction with instructional format, which indicated that the predictor variables would not be useful in placement decisions. The self-paced group scored significantly higher than the lecture group on the achievement test, although this was not an indication of the efficacy of the self-paced instructional format for all students.