Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice

Document Type



The purpose of this study is to determine if the Sharpening Math Skills Lab technology-mediated mathematics instructional practices for math-delayed middle school students have positive effects on their mathematics achievement and spatial visualization ability and to gauge student engagement in learning, implementation of the principles of instructional design, and attitudes toward mathematics instruction. The results of a recent meta-analysis report a range of significantly positive to significantly negative effect sizes which establish a need for further evaluation of academic achievement utilizing technology-mediated mathematics programs at the middle school level (Slavin, Lake, & Groff, 2007). The literature (Moreno & Mayer, 2000) also suggests examining the principles of multimedia instructional design as they relate to programs such as those utilized in the Sharpening Math Skills Lab. The need for testing for relationships between student spatial visualization and problem solving ability (Wheatley, 1991), student attitudes and motivation toward mathematics (Tapia & Marsh, 2004), and students’ behavior while engaged in multimedia learning activities has also been established in the literature. This quasi-experimental study compares academic achievement of 109 southwest Louisiana 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students in one school who participated in a treatment program of technology-mediated remedial math instruction with 162 - 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students from two other schools in the same district who received traditional classroom mathematics instruction. The experimental group attended the Sharpening Math Skills Lab 45 minutes per day utilizing FASTTMath software and iSucceed software with individual assistance provided by the lab facilitator and math teacher. Measurement instruments include Scantron Performance and Achievement Series tests, Wheatley Spatial Ability Test (WSAT) (1996), and Attitudes Toward Math Survey (ATMI) (Tapia, 1996). Qualitative data about the experimental group including levels of engagement and the effectiveness of instructional design of the software utilized were also gathered. Positive outcomes of the study include making “best practices” recommendations for remedial mathematics instruction of math-delayed middle school students. Data accumulated in the study contributes to the body of evidence on the usefulness of technology-based remediation practices and provides important information to school officials in the development of curricular and budgetary decisions.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Janice Hinson

Included in

Education Commons