# Two instructional strategies and the hand-held calculator as variables in teaching the solution of verbal problems in algebra

Troke, John Sidney (1980) Two instructional strategies and the hand-held calculator as variables in teaching the solution of verbal problems in algebra. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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## Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relative effectiveness of three procedures, Initial Variable (IV), Guess and Test (GT), and Guess and Test with Hand-Held Calculator (GTC), for translating word problems into equations and then solving the problems. -- The investigator chose 78 grade-seven students from a rural high school. They were first divided equally into high- and low-ability groups on the basis of their IQ scores. Then, within each ability level, equal numbers of students were randomly assigned to one of the treatment groups. In the IV procedure, the student initially introduced a variable for the unknown. Then, he wrote an appropriate equation which he solved. In the GT procedure, the student first guessed the solution to the problem and then checked it. If the solution was incorrect, the procedure was repeated at least twice so that the student hopefully saw a pattern that suggested an appropriate equation for the problem. In the GTC procedure, the student followed the same steps as in the GT procedure but used the hand-held calculator to aid in the computation. -- Ten 40-minute class periods were used for instruction in each procedure and two 40-minute class periods for administration of a posttest and retention test to each group. Each GTC student had a calculator for the two tests. On both tests students were to find an equation for each verbal problem and then solve it. This produced two different, scores, an equation score and a solution score for each test. A five-point Likert-type attitude test was also administered at the beginning of the last instruction period. Instruction in all three treatment groups was by the investigator. -- The data was analysed by use of a 3 x 2 ANOVA. This analysis was performed separately for each of the posttest equation criterion, posttest solution criterion, retention test equation criterion, retention test solution criterion, and attitude test. -- The investigator concluded that none of the three treatment procedures was superior to another in terms of initial learning and retention. However, students’ ability, as measured by IQ, was a significant factor in determining students' problem-solving ability. None of the three treatment procedures significantly improved students’ attitude toward mathematics. No significant interactions occurred with respect to achievement or attitude between the treatment groups and ability levels.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters) http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/4440 4440 Bibliography: leaves 58-60. Education, Faculty of 1980 Submission Algebra--Study and teaching; Calculators