Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A comparative analysis: Two representational models for units of length
by Cullen, Craig J., Ph.D., Illinois State University, 2009, 132; 3388933
Abstract (Summary)

Many students struggle to develop a solid foundation in understanding basic measurement concepts. This study addressed a gap in the research on technological instructional environments by comparing the effects of presenting students with computer and non-computer treatments (Battista, 2007) focused on developing a coordination between the markings on a ruler and the iteration of a unit of length.

This study set out to answer two questions. Is a treatment presented through GSP more effective than a paper and pencil environment in helping students develop a coordination between the markings on a ruler and the iteration of a unit of length? Which of the treatments presentation modes, if either, is effective at increasing students' ability level in measurement as described by a domain specific learning progression?

Students' ability levels were measured using a domain specific developmental progression (Clements & Sarama, 2007b) and change was tracked by following the microgenetic method (Siegler & Svetina, 2006). Thirty-six kindergarten and second grade students were administered a pre-, post-, and delayed post-test. The treatments were administered over six weekly sessions with three trials in each session. The correctness of responses as well as the strategy used for each of the 18 trials was recorded.

The pre-, post-, and delayed post-test scores were compared using paired samples tests to verify if any student growth took place during the study. The correctness and strategy data was compiled to display the changes over trial and session for each of the two treatment groups and the one comparison group. These graphical displays were used to compare the rate at which the different groups changed, the overall growth experienced.

There was no significant difference between the treatment modes of presentation for students' learning or growth. The two treatment groups outperformed the comparison in several ways and specific strategies were identified in the microgenetic analysis that has implications for instruction. Further study of student abstraction of intervals of length, as well as developing GSP displays for teaching measurement, should be explored.

Indexing (document details)
School: Illinois State University
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 71/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mathematics education, Early childhood education, Educational psychology
Keywords: Dynamic geometry environments, Geometer's Sketchpad, Learning trajectories, Length, Measurement, Unit iteration
Publication Number: 3388933
ISBN: 978-1-109-56008-4
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