Algebraic functions in a graphing technology environment: Student performance after small group work using teacher-generated versus student-generated examples
Roseann P. Allen, State University of New York at Albany, United States
State University of New York at Albany . Awarded
In this study I investigated the effects that two different levels of written guidance had on the performance of college level Precalculus students within the contextual environment of Graphing Calculators merged with Inquiry learning. There were two experimental groups and one control group. The control group took only the pretest and the posttest. The experimental groups were divided between High Structured (HS) guidance, which consisted of teacher-generated examples and Low Structured (LS) guidance, which consisted of student-generated examples. Based on Pretest scores, students were coded as High Prior Knowledge (HPK) or Low Prior Knowledge (LPK). Students were not allowed to have a calculator on either the Pretest or the Posttest; however, they used a calculator during the instructional intervention, which involved students working in small heterogeneous groups using the graphing calculators and examples (theirs or the teacher's) to explore the relationships between graphical and algebraic representations of parabolic functions.
All students significantly and meaningfully improved their scores between the Pretest and the Posttest, but there was no evidence to support one structure over the other. However, on the Retention test the HPK students in the Low Structured groups significantly and meaningfully outperformed the HPK in the High Structured groups. My intervention included a group Quiz. The Quiz took place before any class discussion and before the Posttest. The mean Quiz score for the LS group was meaningfully and significantly higher then the mean Quiz score for the HS groups. There were no results favoring High Structure over Low structure on any measure.
Allen, R.P. Algebraic functions in a graphing technology environment: Student performance after small group work using teacher-generated versus student-generated examples. Ph.D. thesis, State University of New York at Albany.
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