Preliminary Research

By: Sallie Ralston

Sallie Ralston prepared a pre and post test evaluation for the lab activity.

The average pre-test score on the material covered in the program Definitions was 82%. The post-test average was 91%. This lab activity produced a nine point improvement on the average. After this study Sallie decided to try to conduct a controlled study. She planned to take one of her two geometry classes to the lab for each of the new activities and use the other class for a control. She alternated which class was the control throughout the term. Each time she made a test she identified the questions that pertained to the lab activities. When she graded the tests she recorded the number of correct responses to these questions for each group. Over the semester her second period class proved to be by far the stronger math class so from a scientific point of view the control and study groups were not evenly matched. In some ways this made the study even more interesting. She tracked the results of these activities.

There is an ‘S’ in parentheses by the “stronger” class and a ‘W’ by the weaker class.
   		 	        % correct 	% correct
                	        by group 	by group 
		        	not using	using
	   Program     		the program     the program
	 Angle Problems		 87%(S)	 	 88%(W)  								      than the stronger class!)
	 Logic 			 68%(W)		 90%(S) 
	 Name the Parallels	 81%(S)		 87%(W)  		
	 Purloined Parts  	 69%(W)		 77%(S)	

The weaker class and did better than the stronger class in both Angle Problems and Name the Parallels.

In every case the group using the lab activity outperformed the group not using the lab activity.
Sallie chose to use the older programs with both groups. She had used them before and found them to be helpful to all students. The survey given to Sallie’s students revealed the following: 1. Forty-one out of fifty one students stated that they would like more activities. 2. In response to the free response question (with no prompted list) “Which program helped you the most?” twenty-two stated specific programs and fourteen responded “All of them” 3. Fifty out of fifty-one students stated that they preferred to practice concepts using the computer to using text book activities. Sallie was consistent in her commitment to track the effectiveness of the computer activities using a control group for comparison. Her feedback is invaluable.

A Focused Assessment of Geometry and the Math Lab
Evaluating the effectiveness of technology
Summary by Leslie Howe
Farragut High School
Knoxville, Tennessee