Date of Graduation
The standards-based classroom in this study incorporates the use of the computer as an instructional tool for investigations, cooperative learning in a hands-on computer laboratory environment, and communication in the form of journal entries, team written laboratory reports, and group discourse. This research focuses on the effects of the standards-based classroom on critical thinking skills and mathematics achievement scores and employs both quantitative and qualitative data. Twenty-five students enrolled for a college algebra course at a Mid-Atlantic University served as the subjects for this study. This study used the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Skills Assessment. A pretest and posttest of both the critical thinking skills assessment and a mathematics achievement test were administered. The students were asked to keep a journal and respond to specific questions about the use of computers and cooperative learning throughout the semester. A follow-up questionnaire was administered at the end of the summer session. The analysis of the data showed that there was a significant gain from pre to post achievement test scores. There was also a significant gain from pre to post critical thinking scores for those students who were not enrolled in concurrent academics. It is possible that a six-week session may not be long enough for students who are enrolled for college algebra to feel comfortable with the material. This is important if the student is to develop critical thinking skills. It is, therefore, recommended that the study be performed during a regular 15-week semester. It may be concluded that as a group, students felt that working in the Standards-Based College Algebra classroom helped them learn mathematics. The Standards-Based College Algebra course affected many students' attitudes about mathematics in a positive way. A few of the students wrote that they would now consider taking more mathematics courses. This indicates that the Standards-Based College Algebra course is a model which could be used to help keep some at-risk students moving through the mathematics pipeline. The environment in the study provided the synergy necessary to get some students through another piece of the pipeline and empower them to continue through the next section.
Pyzdrowski, Laura Priselac, "Computers, cooperation, communication, and critical thinking skills." (1996). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 9606.