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The effects of online tutorials and age on achievement and attitude in remedial mathematics: A mixed methods investigation

, Mercer University, United States

Mercer University . Awarded


Currently 38% of U.S. college students are age 25 or older. The majority of these are required to take remedial courses, with twice as many taking remedial mathematics as reading or writing courses. Mathematics instructors often use online tutorial programs to deliver homework assignments and course assessments. Web-based programs offer support and convenience for professors and for students, and have been extensively studied, although with mixed results. Yet, almost all of the studies with online tutorials or other web-based homework systems have employed samples of P-12 students or traditional aged college students, or had no information to distinguish these effects on students of nontraditional age. Very few studies have investigated these effects with older adults in remedial mathematics, despite the research in andragogy highlighting the distinguishing characteristics of adult learners.

For older adults in remedial mathematics, the purpose of this research was to determine (a) whether use of an online tutorial for homework and quiz delivery would significantly affect student achievement and attitude towards mathematics, when compared with traditional means, (b) whether there exists an age*treatment group interaction in terms of student achievement or attitude towards mathematics, and (c) the nature of the experience of using an online tutorial in remedial college mathematics for these students.

Using data from nine algebra classes assigned to use traditional means for homework and quiz completion or the use of an online tutorial, no significant effects for student achievement were found. There was, however, a statistically significant effect of the tutorial on student attitude towards mathematics. Students that used traditional means for homework and quiz completion significantly improved in attitude, while those that used the online tutorial experienced no change in student attitude towards mathematics. An age*treatment group interaction was not identified, but a gender*treatment group interaction was present. The study includes analysis of interview data from participants who used the tutorial during the class. Adults who most struggled with mathematics preferred use of the program, although students appreciated various benefits of the online tutorial. Why the program did not improve achievement or attitude is discussed and suggestions for further research are offered.


Baugher, G.A. The effects of online tutorials and age on achievement and attitude in remedial mathematics: A mixed methods investigation. Ph.D. thesis, Mercer University. Retrieved March 27, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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