A problem of the effects of hand-held calculators and a specially designed curriculum on attitude toward mathematics, achievement in mathematics, and retention of mathematical skills



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Purposes. The study was designed for the purpose of evaluating the effectiveness of hand-held calculators when used in conjunction with a curriculum specially designed to integrate them into a ninth grade fundamental of mathematics program. Measures of achievement, attitude toward mathematics, and retention of mathematical skills from the experimental group and the comparison group were analyzed to determine if significant differences between the groups did exist with respect to the dependent variables. Procedures. The study occurred in two adjoining school districts south of Houston, Texas. The sample, which accounted for all of the students in the eight ninth grade Fundamentals of Mathematics classes, had a total of 101. The classes were taught by eight different teachers which were randomly placed in either the experimental group or the comparison group. The placement of teachers automatically placed their students in the same group. The experimental group consisted of 55 students while the comparison group had a total of 46. Prior to the treatment period, all of the students were given pretests in attitude and achievement. During the treatment period both groups studied decimals and per cent. The experimental group used the hand-held calculators and a specially designed curriculum while the control group received traditional classroom instruction which featured lectures and the textbook adopted for ninth grade Fundamentals of Mathematics classes. At the conclusion of the treatment period, which was eight weeks, all students were administered a posttest in attitude and achievement. After a period of two weeks in which decimals and per cent were not taught, an achievement test was administered to all students to measure the retention of mathematical skills. Multiple Regression Analysis was used to analyze the data from the pre- and posttest to determine if the dependent variables, attitude and achievement, significantly differentiated between the experimental and comparison group. The same method of analysis was used to determine if the groups were significantly different with respect to retention. [...]



Mathematics--Study and teaching, Calculators