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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Engagement time and persistent deficits in mathematics: Understanding the relationship between intelligent tutoring systems and the ability to learn
by Savoy, Kareem L., Ed.D., California State University, Fullerton, 2014, 132; 3582092
Abstract (Summary)

The acquisition of mathematical competencies presents unique learning hurdles to subpopulations of varied ability levels. Several pedagogically designed computer-based mediums attempt to address these issues. Research suggests computer-based mediums, such as intelligent tutoring systems (ITS), show an attrition of benefit with every year of academic growth. Outside of advanced course work, these mediums offer little to no instructional benefit for students at the secondary level. The derived condition places secondary-level students with persistent deficits in mathematics (PDM) in a detrimental learning condition.

Students with PDM mimic the learning difficulties seen in students' with mathematical learning disabilities (MLD) and their low-achieving (LA) peers. They present some of the mathematical difficulties seen with MLD, the inconsistent performance seen in their LA peers, along with poor performance over multiple years and outcome measures. The ubiquitous presentation of PDM inhibits the identification and remediation necessary to improve instructional outcomes. There is a significant gap in the literature on effective strategies and approaches to mathematical difficulties for secondary students and on the instructional variables influencing outcomes for these students. In consequence, the instructional demands of secondary education for students' with PDM leverages their future against their ability to learn.

This study sought to assess the efficacy of engagement time for students' with PDM as it pertains to the development of algebraic competency, while using Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS), an ITS, as the medium of instruction. With this in mind, a cross-sectional analysis was done using 138 ninth-grade students, performing in the lowest quartile of performance, across three high schools using ALEKS as a part of their supplemental instruction to characterize the instructional effect of engagement time. This study controlled for gender, socioeconomic level, prior reading achievement, prior math achievement, and attendance. Measures of central tendency were used to identify correlations and make predictions about future performance. Results revealed that engagement showed no significant relationship with any curriculum-based measurement. However, they also revealed that students' with PDM showed incremental growth toward closing the achievement gap and that the number of skills mastered per hour was a greater predictor of future outcomes.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Tran, Natalie
School: California State University, Fullerton
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 76/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mathematics education
Keywords: Algebra, Intelligent Tutoring System, Low Preforming Students, Mathematical Difficulties, Mathematics Remediation, Persistent Deficits In Mathematics
Publication Number: 3582092
ISBN: 978-1-321-59548-2
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