An investigation of the effects of required drill homework versus no homework on attitudes toward and achievement in mathematics
Purposes of the Study The purposes of this study were to examine the effects of two types of homework on achievement and attitudes toward mathematics of ninth grade Fundamentals of Mathematics students. Specifically, the study was designed to answer the following questions: Is there a significant difference in the achievement of students who have drill homework and those who have no homework during the study of the percentage concept? Is there a significant difference between attitudes toward mathematics of students who have drill homework and those who have no homework during the study of the percentage concept? Procedures In this study two teachers each had four classes of Fundamentals of Mathematics. Two classes from each teacher were randomly selected for the drill homework groups and two classes from each teacher for the no-homework groups. The consistency of the lecture method was attempted through the use of a teachers' manual containing the same set of examples, classroom problem sets, and homework assignments. Homework assignments were given on the day of completion of each of the components of the percentage concept--the meaning of percent, percents as decimals, decimals as percents, percents as fractions, finding percents, finding the number, and percent of a number. Post test data was collected for a sample size of 234 ninth grade students. The analysis of the data was on a random sample of 15 sets of scores from each of the eight classes for a total of 120 sets of scores. Treatment of the data involved the testing of the hypotheses employing a two-way analysis of variance for a nested design with teachers nested within methods and classes nested within both teachers and methods. Major Findings Analysis of the data led to the following null hypothesis not being rejected at the .05 level of significance: 1. There is no difference in attitudes toward mathematics of students who have drill homework and those who have no homework during the study of percentage. Testing of hypothesis 1 was done on three factors of attitudes toward mathematics: enjoyment of mathematics, apprehension of ability, and security with mathematics. Analysis of the data led to the rejection of the following hypothesis: 2. There is no difference in the achievement of students who have drill homework and those who have no homework during the study of percentage. In general, the data indicated that drill homework produced significant changes for students and that teacher effects nor class effects were the cause of the change. Also, the attitudes toward mathematics of students do not change significantly as a result of having drill homework. Recommendations Further investigations are recommended on the types of homework rather than on the research of a global hypothesis testing homework versus no homework. Replications of this study are recommended on the testing of hypotheses which include a single type of homework and a single concept. Conclusions drawn from this study should take into account the nature of the population, the concept of percentage, the grade level, the implied ability levels, and the fact that only drill type homework was studied. It is recommended that drill type homework be continued as one means of improving achievement. Future studies on homework should consider the use of only one of the many types of homework and one of the many concepts in mathematics.