ERIC Number: ED429657
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999
Reference Count: N/A
Is Arithmetic Really Necessary for Algebra? A Case for an Integrated Curriculum.
Palow, William P.
By measuring the performance of 62 students enrolled in a community college introductory algebra course, this study challenges the generally accepted assumption among mathematics instructors that mastery of arithmetic is necessary for the learning of algebra. Study subjects were 35% male, 74% Hispanic, 16% Black, 8% white, and 2% other. A pretest, consisting of 10 items designed to indicate minimum competency in computational arithmetic, was administered at the beginning of the semester, and the final exam was used as a posttest. Using analysis of variance, analysis of covariance, and a Pearson r calculation, no significant differences were found between three groups that received different types of instruction: (1) computer-managed instruction combined with individualized instruction in a math lab; (2) computer-managed instruction used in the classroom; and (3) a traditional class, used as a control group. The study concludes that the ability to perform well in computational arithmetic has little, if anything, to do with the ability to perform well in beginning algebra. As a result of this finding, it is suggested that community colleges combine the topics of arithmetic and beginning algebra into one integrated course that uses a "spiral approach." Contains 3 tables and 11 references. (CAK)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Miami-Dade Community Coll., FL.