ERIC Number: ED366383
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993
Reference Count: N/A
Using Linguistics in the Teaching of Developmental and Remedial Algebra.
Lesnak, Richard J.
Basic algebra at Robert Morris College (RMC) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a remedial course for students with virtually no algebra background, and for students whose previous experiences with algebra have created math blocks and math anxiety. A study was conducted in an effort to measure quantitatively the benefits of using linguistic methods in the teaching of basic algebra. A control group of 52 students were taught with the same methods and techniques that the instructor had been using for more than 25 years, while an experimental group of 52 students were taught with a course design that incorporated writing-to-learn and speaking strategies. Students in the experimental group were instructed that for any problem involving more than one step, an order of operations had to be followed. Students were required to write and talk about this step-by-step precedure. Before each test, students had to submit step-by-step written procedures for each kind of problem they were to encounter on the test. The instructor separated students' pre-test writing into two groups: those steps written perfectly or nearly so, and all others. Test scores showed marked parallels to the clarity of pre-test writing. When students were informed of the correlation between their pre-test writing and test performance, they grew increasingly enthusiastic about writing throughout the remainder of the course. The control group completed the course with a mean average of 74.5%, while the experimental group averaged 77.7%. In written course evaluations, all 52 experimental subjects were positive about the usefulness of the writing assignments, including the 8 students who did not pass the course. (PAA)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Robert Morris College PA