Date of Award

1987

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether there was a significant difference in understanding the concept of variable and in attitudes toward mathematics among sixth-grade students who programmed LOGO graphics, students who used textbook-based activities, and students who received no instruction on the concept of variable. The subjects were 89 sixth-grade students (47 female, 42 male) from two middle schools in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System. The Test of Logical Thinking (TOLT), Robustness Semantic Differential (RSD), and Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) were administered as pre-treatment tests. The study was conducted in two phases, pre-treatment and treatment. The pre-treatment phase consisted of five fifty-minute lessons designed to teach all students the LOGO basic primitive commands. After there lessons were completed, the students were randomly assigned to either the computer, textbook, or control group. The treatment phase consisted of two approaches for teaching the concept of variable: computer programming and textbook-based. The computer programming approach consisted of five fifty-minute lessons in which students used variables in their graphic procedures (programs). The textbook-based approach consisted of five fifty-minute lessons on the use of variables. The control group worked on mathematics activities during the treatment time but did not receive instruction on the concept of variable. The data were analyzed using univariate analysis of variance procedures. The results indicated that there were no significant differences between computer and textbook groups' posttest scores, textbook and control groups' posttest scores and control and textbook groups' retention test (given three weeks after treatment) scores. Also, no significant difference was found among students' attitudes toward mathematics at the end of treatment. There were significant differences between computer and control groups' posttest scores, computer and textbook groups' retention test scores and computer and control groups' retention test scores. The significant differences favored the computer group. Also, there was a significant positive correlation between students' posttest and retention test scores and their CTBS, TOLT and computer-related RSD scores. The results are discussed with respect to the effect of computer programming instruction on sixth-grade students' understanding of the concept of variable.

Pages

303

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