Applied mathematics in selected 1993 Mississippi Tech Prep sites

Thomas K. Johnson


The general purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between achievement for underserved students and instructional method. For the purpose of this study, underserved students were defined as those students who made less than a grade of B in their previous mathematics course. The instructional methods were a traditional teaching style and a teaching style which incorporated modules of Applied Mathematics developed by the Center for Occupational Research and Development. Relationships among gender, race, and mathematics achievement of underserved students taught using the two instructional methods were also examined. Data from the school year 1993-94 was used for the study. The 29 students in the experimental group had been enrolled in Algebra I classes identified as utilizing the CORD Applied Mathematics materials. Student demographics, economic data, district size, and test scores were used to match school districts used for the control group with the experimental group. Seventy students were selected for the control group. Statistical analysis included one way and two way ANOVAs. There was a significant difference in achievement for underserved students due to instructional method. The control group scored higher on the state Algebra I test. There was no significant difference found for either gender or race and no interaction between those variables and group. Several factors may have contributed to the outcome of the study. The study had no means for assessing teacher attitudes toward the Applied Mathematics materials or the use of contextual methodology. Also, there was no method used to determine the number of Applied Mathematics modules that were actually used in the classes from which the experimental group was drawn. Data for the study was from the first year the Applied Mathematics materials were used in the schools and there may have been a lack of familiarity with their usage.