Date of Graduation
The use of computer hardware and software technology in schools is on the rise while there are increasing demands for success in mathematics by all students, despite diverse backgrounds. The problem is to determine the characteristics of students who most benefit from the use of spreadsheet software as a cognitive tool to assist them as they learn to organize and analyze data. For a period of six weeks, 114 seventh grade students received standard instruction in their mathematics classes in basic statistics/data analysis content. Concurrently, in a separate computer class, the students received instruction which focused on the use of computer spreadsheet software as a tool to enable them to organize and analyze data. Sixth grade standardized test scores and math grades plus a content pretest provided indications of prior achievement. The pretest and parallel posttest focused on statistics/data analysis content and on attitude. Kolb's Learning Style Inventory was administered to all students, providing indications of learning strengths and learning styles. Results of this inventory rated students according to two scales of learning strength: Concrete-Abstract and Active-Reflective. From pretest to posttest, students overall demonstrated statistically significant gains in content. No statistically significant differences in content gain were found between students of different genders or races. No statistically significant differences were found in attitude, either for the students overall or in any subgroup. Of primary interest were results indicating that traditional instruction, as evidenced by prior achievement, appeared to favor students with learning strengths toward the Abstract end of the Concrete-Abstract scale and students in upper socioeconomic groups while instruction rich in the use of computer spreadsheets appeared to favor students with learning strengths toward the Active end of the Active-Reflective scale and seemed to equalize socioeconomic factors. These results, following a technology-rich supplement to regular math instruction, suggest that spreadsheets can serve as a valuable cognitive tool for all seventh grade math students in general and for those who have an Active learning strength and those with lower socioeconomic status in particular.
Gasiorowski, Jeanne Heindel, "The relationship between student characteristics and math achievement when using computer spreadsheets." (1998). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8897.