Date of Award

2006

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Second Advisor

Shirley A. Freed

Third Advisor

Larry Burton

Abstract

Problem

The purpose of this study was to describe the academic performance of a group of Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) students in a College Algebra Extended Program (CAEP) at the University of New York, New Paltz. Generally, EOP students are admitted with low mathematics placement scores. In the past, they would have been required to do remedial math. However, since college remedial math is no longer available, the CAEP was implemented to remedy this problem. This study was conducted to examine how a small group of EOP students performed in this course.

Method

A descriptive research design was used to examine the performance of the EOP students in the CAEP class. Twelve students completed the course. Data collected included attitudes towards the course using both surveys and personal interviews, pretest and posttest algebra performance, homework, quizzes, midterm and final examinations, learning styles, and concept model application test. Parametric and non-parametric statistics were used to analyze quantitative data while content-analysis was used for the interview data.

Results

Students showed significant improvement between pretest and posttest scores (36% increase). There was no significant relationship between math performance and gender or race. Math Placement Level (MPL) was significant related with performance on workshop assignments while learning style was related significantly with performance on homework assignments. The workshop index score (measure of concepts mastery) and performance in quizzes, workshop, and midterm exam were significantly correlated with their performances on the final exam. Students preferred classroom and workshop learning environments to online pedagogy; however, they found online resources to be most helpful when rich in problem-solving examples.

Conclusions

Although a College Algebra Extended program can provide success in helping students pass college algebra, students may need more time to assimilate the large amounts of information covered. Knowledge of students’ MPL and mastery of math concepts may be used to better place EOP students in College Algebra course as well as indicate helpful pedagogical approaches to math instructions and learning. Pedagogical approaches that allowed active learning and opportunity for group instruction and learning were major contributors to students’ success in learning college algebra.

Subject Area

Algebra--Study and teaching (Higher), College students--Evaluation.

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