Date of Graduation
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of using a computer algebra system in College Algebra. This study had a pretest-posttest design where improvement in instruction was measured through increased (1) student achievement, (2) conceptual understanding and (3) attitude score toward mathematics. One instructor taught two control classes (86 students) using the usual classroom instruction with the chalkboard as the only instructional aid. The other instructor taught two experimental classes (89 students) using a computer algebra system (CAS) as a demonstration tool in the lectures. The CAS was also used in a computer laboratory during eight regularly scheduled class periods. Differences in achievement, conceptual understanding, and attitude between the experimental and control groups were analyzed by an analysis of covariance with the pretest in each area as the covariate. Results showed significantly higher achievement and conceptual understanding scores in the experimental group. The adjusted mean of attitude scores in the control group was significantly greater than the experimental group mean. To examine reasons for the differences of the total group means for these three types of tests, each test was divided into various subtopics. The achievement test was divided into twelve subtopics and the conceptual understanding and attitude tests were divided into seven subtopics each. Eleven of the twelve mathematics achievement subcategories and all seven conceptual understanding subcategories were significantly higher for the experimental group. In attitude scores, only the total and the computer environment and learning subcategory were significant, favoring the control group for positive attitudes. It was concluded that the use of the CAS DERIVE together with carefully designed experiences and tasks can enhance effective College Algebra instruction by improving significantly the students' achievement and conceptual understanding. Even though it was found that the CAS treatment had a negative impact on attitude, this impact was believed to be the result of the students' knowing that additional time had to be spent learning how to operate a CAS. It was recommended that further research on the CAS effects on attitude should be conducted so that the lab time constraints would not have to be given within the standard three semester hour classroom.
Campbell, Clyde Preston, "A study of the effects of using a computer algebra system in college algebra." (1994). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8567.