ERIC Number: ED387166
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-May-18
College Algebra and Writing: A Pilot Project, Spring Semester 1994. Final Report for the Title III Literacy across the Curriculum Team.
Ross, Jeff; Faucette, Dixon
A study was undertaken at Central Arizona College to determine the effect of writing activities on student performance in College Algebra. An experimental group of eight students was established and given lists of math-related vocabulary words and problems which required written explanations. Quizzes were constructed requiring the group to respond in writing, while eight students in a control group took standard quizzes. A standard final college algebra examination served as the post-test for both groups, while the experimental group also completed a survey on their perceptions of the writing activities. The mean test score on the final examination was 84 for the experimental group and 74.3 for the control group. Conclusions drawn from the scores and from responses to the survey included the following: (1) the small sample size did not make the difference in mean test scores significant; (2) students who excel in mathematics may not benefit from writing assignments but lesser prepared students may benefit a great deal; (3) experimental group responses indicated that students were generally positive about writing activities, with five of the students agreeing that the assignments helped them to understand algebra, two expressing no opinion, and two disagreeing; and (4) in general, students did not understand that the writing assignments were meant to help them learn algorithms rather than show the teacher that they could communicate math concepts in writing. (Appendixes include test scores, the survey instrument, student and teacher comments, and writing samples.) (KP)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Central Arizona Coll., Gilbert. Superstition Mountain Campus.