A Comparative Study of Three Teaching Methods Used In Adult Basic Education and General Educational Development Mathematics Programs

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

W. Lee Pierce

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research


The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to discover whether or not there were significant differences in achievement among three different methods of teaching mathematics to adult basic education (ABE) and General Educational Development (GED) students. The three methods analyzed were (1) Computer-assisted instruction using PLATO software, (2) the Tutorial method utilizing Laubach materials, and (3) the Traditional teaching method. Three existing ABE/GED groups from different locations in Louisiana and Mississippi were utilized in the study. A Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) pretest was given to forty-five subjects followed by eight weeks of treatment administered by the regular facilitators in each group. A TABE posttest was then given to the thirty students remaining in the program. The data were analyzed statistically by analysis of covariance within a multiple linear regression approach while controlling for the variables of age, gender, race, grade level at entry, and pretest scores. The pretest instrument was TABE M, medium level (3.0 to 10.0), to establish a low floor and the posttest was TABE D, difficult level (5.0 to 12.9), to provide a high ceiling. At the .05 level of significance, it was concluded that there were no significant differences in mathematical achievement among the three groups while holding constant the pretest scores. The Traditional group showed a 1.1 grade level gain, the Tutorial group gain was a 1.2 grade level, and the Computer-assisted group showed a gain of 1.9 grade level improvement in the eight week treatment period. The results of the study also indicated that pretest scores, grade level at entry, and gender are good predictors of mathematics achievement. Pretest scores had a .89 level of correlation to posttest scores. Age and race showed no significant independent relationship to mathematics achievement while controlling for pretest scores.