ERIC Number: ED327261
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Jan-25
Factors Affecting Achievement in Algebra at a Community College.
Greenberg, Redge L.
To better understand the effect of student background, work load, and attitudes on performance in intermediate algebra, a study was conducted in summer 1990 among students at a central Texas community college using pre- and post-course questionnaires completed by 124 of 157 students in 8 sections of intermediate algebra. Respondents were classified as either successful (receiving a course grade of A, B, or C) or unsuccessful (receiving a course grade of D, F, or withdrawing from the course). Variables examined included; mathematics enjoyment, amount of outside help needed to understand course material, and the attribution of failure or difficulty to course structure or quality of instruction. Correlations examined included the extent to which a student's belief in the efficacy of effort predicts effort, and the extent to which the belief that one has high ability and does not have to work hard predicts less effort. Study findings included the following: (1) 92% of successful students and only 56% of unsuccessful students correctly predicted what their course grade would be; (2) 91% of unsuccessful students believed that their achievement was higher than their grades would reflect; (3) for unsuccessful students, a strong correlation was observed between not working hard and the belief that hard work was not necessary because of high ability; and (4) unsuccessful students took a larger course load than successful students. A literature review of the research on behavioral and attitudinal correlates of mathematics achievement, and the study survey instrument are included. (GFW)
Descriptors: Academic Failure, Algebra, Cognitive Style, Community Colleges, Learning Theories, Mathematics Achievement, Personality Measures, Predictor Variables, Pretests Posttests, Questionnaires, Student Attitudes, Student Behavior, Student Characteristics, Student Motivation, Two Year College Students, Two Year Colleges
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Information Analyses; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southwest Educational Research Association (14th, San Antonio, TX, January 24-26, 1991).