Effects of using manipulative materials to teach remedial algebra to community college students on achievement and attitudes towards mathematics

Diana I Martelly, Florida International University

Abstract

This dissertation derived hypotheses from the theories of Piaget, Bruner and Dienes regarding the effects of using Algebra Tiles and other manipulative materials to teach remedial algebra to community college students. The dependent variables measured were achievement and attitude towards mathematics. The Piagetian cognitive level of the students in the study was measured and used as a concomitant factor in the study.^ The population for the study was comprised of remedial algebra students at a large urban community college. The sample for the study consisted of 253 students enrolled in 10 sections of remedial algebra at three of the six campuses of the college. Pretests included administration of an achievement pre-measure, Aiken's Mathematics Attitude Inventory (MAI), and the Group Assessment of Logical Thinking (GALT). Posttest measures included a course final exam and a second administration of the MAI.^ The results of the GALT test revealed that 161 students (63.6%) were concrete operational, 65 (25.7%) were transitional, and 27 (10.7%) were formal operational. For the purpose of analyzing the data, the transitional and formal operational students were grouped together.^ Univariate factorial analyses of covariance ($\alpha$ =.05) were performed on the posttest of achievement (covariate = achievement pretest) and the MAI posttest (covariate = MAI pretest). The factors used in the analysis were method of teaching (manipulative vs. traditional) and cognitive level (concrete operational vs. transitional/formal operational).^ The analyses for achievement revealed a significant difference in favor of the manipulatives groups in the computations by campus. Significant differences were not noted in the analysis by individual instructors.^ The results for attitude towards mathematics showed a significant difference in favor of the manipulatives groups for the college-wide analysis and for one campus. The analysis by individual instructor was not significant. In addition, the college-wide analysis was significant in favor of the transitional/formal operational stage of cognitive development. However, support for this conclusion was not obtained in the analyses by campus or individual instructor. ^

Subject Area

Education, Community College|Education, Mathematics|Education, Adult and Continuing

Recommended Citation

Diana I Martelly, "Effects of using manipulative materials to teach remedial algebra to community college students on achievement and attitudes towards mathematics" (January 1, 1998). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. Paper AAI9826062.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI9826062

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