Handheld Computer Algebra Systems in the Pre-Algebra Classroom




Gantz, Linda Ann Galoforo

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This mixed method analysis sought to investigate several aspects of student learning in pre-algebra through the use of computer algebra systems (CAS) as opposed to non-CAS learning. This research was broken into two main parts, one which compared results from both the experimental group (instruction using CAS, N = 18) and the control group (traditional instruction without CAS, N =14), and another which looked more in-depth at eight students‘ ability to answer questions following instruction using CAS. The first purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of using CAS on student learning and the second was to explore students‘ attitudes towards mathematics and whether certain aspects of a student‘s attitude could be linked to their achievement. This research did show significant difference in gain scores for the experimental group over the control group, F(1, 32) = 12.368, p = 0.003. However, triangulation between the different 2 measures used to support increased procedural and conceptual understanding proved inconclusive. The current results do not predict future trends on the effectiveness of CAS; however, these findings suggest that CAS could play a role in student retention and understanding of procedures as well as improved attitudes towards mathematics. Future studies on CAS should look to disaggregate student performance by Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) subgroups.



Computer Algebra Systems (CAS), Pre-algebra, Procedural