ERIC Number: ED416822
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994
Detailed Evaluation of a Novel Approach to Curricular Software.
Tufts Univ., Medford, MA.
This report describes a detailed, multi-site evaluation of ConStatS, a curricular software package for helping students conceptualize introductory statistics. ConStatS employs a novel approach for forcing students into an active, experimental style of learning. This evaluation allowed an assessment of the degree to which curricular software helps a much wider range of students to adopt an experimental style of learning and whether their doing so brings them closer in performance to superior students. In the process, the research was designed to be a paradigm for evaluating curricular software in general with a large sample of courses and studies, and with state-of-the-art assessment procedures. The project was conducted during the period September 1, 1991-December 31, 1994. Overall, 20 introductory statistics courses at five colleges and universities participated in the evaluation. Sixteen of the classes used the software and four did not. Students in all classes were given a test of statistical concepts contained both in the software and taught in the classes that did not use the software. With 103 concepts tested, students using the software did better on 94 of the 103 questions. Though the software benefited all students who used it, students with remedial problems in basic mathematics showed the smallest overall gain. Results of the project offer university statistics teachers an estimate of gains they can expect from a curricular reform offered by ConStatS. The methods developed to evaluate ConStatS are appropriate for other technology-based learning programs. The evaluation was also useful for learning how to diagnose which students will benefit from software by the way they use it. (SWC)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Tufts Univ., Medford, MA.