The Effects of "Mathematics Their Way" and Chicago Math Project on Mathematical Applications and Story Problem Strategies of Second Graders
McKernan, Margaret McCabe
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The problem. The purpose of this study was to address two d1fferent manipulative approaches in the second grade mathematics curriculum by comparing them to a traditional delivery using a textbook. Story problem/application achievement scores were compared to see if one of the new manipulative approaches would better meet the needs of students in compliance with the "Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics" written by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (1989). Procedures. A sample of 250 second graders were taught one of three mathematics treatments. The three treatments included Treatment T, using the traditional paper-and-pencil computation method; Treatment M, "Mathematics Their Way" and teacher-designed worksheets for specific outcomes; and Treatment C, University of Chicago Mathematics Project. Before and after 27 weeks of instruction students were given a test on problem solving and application. An ANCOVA was applied in order to adjust any differences in groups. The students' pretest score, I.Q., and age were used as covariates in order to find any statistically significant differences in anyone of the three mathematical treatments. A Delta formula was applied for any differences in effect size. Findings. There was no statistically significant difference in anyone of the three mathematical treatments when pretest and age were controlled, when pretest and I.Q. were controlled, or when pretest, age, and I.Q. were controlled. A Delta formula indicated a 16% gain made by treatment M students over Treatment T students. The researcher would caution the reader, however, that the pretest, age, and I.Q. were not controlled in the Delta results. Conclusions. The methodology for instruction seemed unimportant when all teachers taught to the same outcomes, supporting the philosophy of Outcome Based Education. Teaching to specific outcomes is probably as effective, if not more effective, than teaching with a "set" textbook curriculum in the second grade. The researcher found that the teacher has more to do with achievement than specific curricula. Increased structure and direction had a positive effect on all treatments. Recommendations. Due to the support of Outcome Based Education, the study has implications for a K-4 curriculum. Teachers need to facilitate learning mathematics by using a variety of instructional resources including manipulatives. The researcher would recommend staff development training in using manipulatives and teaching to outcomes in lieu of expensive textbooks/workbooks for primary grade levels. Further research is recommended in intermediate grade levels with a mixture of experienced and non-experienced teachers. Further research is also needed using a dependent variable other than a standardized test.
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