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An analysis of student achievement and attitudes by gender in computer -integrated and non-computer-integrated first year college mainstream calculus courses

Mary Ann Corbo Connors, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This study investigates relationships between gender and achievement as well as gender and attitudes in a computer-integrated first year college mainstream calculus course in comparison with a similar non-computer-integrated course. The investigator analyzed data from pilot and experimental studies conducted at the University of Connecticut at Storrs in 1989-1993 and 1993-1994, respectively, in order to compare the calculus courses with respect to student achievement and attitudes with a focus on gender. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were employed. Quantitative research instruments included common final examination scores and an attitude questionnaire; data were analyzed by ANOVA/ANCOVA and Chi-Square. Students were also interviewed to gain insights into their attitudes about their calculus course experience. The samples sizes of the experimental and control groups, respectively, were as follows for each analysis: common final examination score, Fall 1989 (25, 19), Spring 1990 (30, 26), Fall 1993 (102, 107), Spring 1994 (46, 84); the 1989-1993 study of number of subsequent courses (for which calculus is a prerequisite) and achievement in those courses, (54, 42); the 1993-1994 attitude survey, (93, 70); and interviews, (21, 19).^ Results of the achievement study indicated that students in the computer-integrated course performed significantly better on the common final exam in Fall 1993 and suggested that female students in the computer-integrated calculus course benefited more than any other subgroup. In the 1989-1993 pilot study, there was a significantly higher mean number of subsequent courses taken by male students than by female students; however, female students' mean average grades in subsequent courses were significantly higher than mean average grades of male students. The results of the attitude survey and interviews indicated that the students in the experimental group tended to use calculators and computers more often for solving problems. Furthermore, the study revealed that the majority of respondents enjoy solving mathematics problems and believe that: calculus is useful and can be applied to real world problems; there is more than one way to solve a problem; and gender does not affect a person's potential to be a scientist or an engineer. Overall, results of the investigation suggest that a computer-integrated calculus course is effective in the teaching of calculus. Recommendations and suggestions for future research are offered. ^

Subject Area

Mathematics education|Educational technology|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Connors, Mary Ann Corbo, "An analysis of student achievement and attitudes by gender in computer -integrated and non-computer-integrated first year college mainstream calculus courses" (1995). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9524690.