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Riverdeep: An Action Research Project

   By Terry Scott and Kathy Briggs

California State University, Sacramento,
...
2


Table of Contents
3


                                       Introduction

       Can increases in student achievement be the result of comp...
4


becomes specific to an individual learner’s needs. Custom-tailored learning

experiences resulted from individualized ...
5


this study could help revise the future implementation of Riverdeep Destination Math at

Cardozo Middle School.

     ...
6


school math students. Therefore, these researchers explored the recent

implementation of Riverdeep Destination Math s...
7


period to analyze a problem and propose solutions (Dick, 1997). Another authority

explained Action Research as a meth...
8


articulated by Dick (1997), “action research intends to introduce change” in an

educational environment by supportive...
9


application of a teaching machine, which would reward a learner for every correct

response. Later, Skinner conceptual...
10


refers to changing the cognitive structure to make sense of the environment in an

adaptive process (Piaget, 1952).

...
11


of computer work to the curriculum all sustain instructional technology effectiveness

(Davis, et al, 1997).

       ...
12


technology for higher order thinking skills previously introduced elsewhere. The

importance of obtaining software fo...
13


prescriptive environments or simulations with active gathering and reconstruction of

multimedia resources. With imme...
14


considered one of the major causes of a dysfunctional and even obsolete educational

system. Through computers the us...
15


       information derived from available human and technological resources.
       (p.98)


       Language differen...
16


While the study focused on higher education, many of this study’s suggested design

activities might be significant f...
17


       Web-based instruction accessibility issues can be concerns. Standardized,

structural web accessibility issues...
18


students to learn materials at their own pace. Students are also able to study subjects

interesting to them, and tea...
19


   5. Clarity of presentation,

   6. Motivational factors (Walker).

   Computer-assisted instruction has many advan...
20


feedback from its diagnosis of individual errors, and assigning remediation” (Rockart,

1973).

         Research sup...
21


necessary to implement the Destination Math program in a classroom, In view of the

significant amount of money inves...
22


       The students in the after-school intervention program utilized the Riverdeep

Destination Math software sectio...
23


      During the study period student subjects spent Wednesday and Thursday

afternoons utilizing Destination Math fo...
24


    number of student subjects. Over half of the students who participated in

    the after-school program dropped o...
25


                                         Findings

                                      Data Collection

       The ...
26


math proficiency. Students were not required to attend this after-school program and

instructors were unable to assi...
27


number of modules they completed. The more time spent on task using the Destination

Math program, the greater the nu...
28


       The researchers also looked at why students did not pass the math proficiency

after spending time in an after...
29


             of the

             school year.
   8647          45               55                10                ...
30


2. I think I am good at math               0         1           7           4    1.75
3. I learned more math this

y...
31


this after-school math program, it seems reasonable that they would see themselves as

spending more time in their pu...
32


7. It was easy to learn

how to use the computer                 4       2           2           4         2.50
8. I ...
33


highest on the initial survey and continued to score highest on the secondary survey.

This may be because the positi...
34


Table 5 - Teacher Survey Results
                                Strongly                            Strongly

      ...
35


 levels this year.
 10. I am better able to

 diagnose and correct individual

 student difficulties this year.      ...
36


       Most notable among the higher scores in the Teacher Survey in Table 5 above

are questions 2 and 11. One could...
37


      According to teacher comments recorded in researcher notes, initially Riverdeep

was not the most of stable of ...
38


                                      Discussion

                                Reflection & Revision

      Studen...
39


   3. Teachers will receive additional training on effective Riverdeep use, as technical

      issues negated previo...
40


learning environment indicates that the Cardozo Middle School is committed to the

continued use of this software pro...
41


district should actively study a larger number of students to judge the software’s

efficacy.

       Riverbank Unifi...
42


                                       Appendix

      The following pages include appendices related to documentatio...
43


                           Appendix #1 – Informed Consent


                  INFORMED CONSENT FORM FOR PARTICIPANTS
...
44


                          Appendix #2 – Student Survey #1

                                    Riverdeep Survey

Stud...
45


                           Appendix #3 – Student Survey #2
                                  Riverdeep Survey

Studen...
46


                           Appendix #4 – Teacher Survey
                                Riverdeep Survey
            ...
47



28. I am better able to deal with my students’ different ability levels this year.
Strongly agree     Agree         ...
48


38. If your students spend more time doing math this year, is this due to an increase
    in the math period time, mo...
49


Appendix #5 – Riverdeep Login screenshot




Appendix #6 – Riverdeep Module screenshot
50


     Appendix #7 – Riverdeep Tutorial screenshot




Appendix #8 – Riverdeep Student Assessment screenshot
51


                                        References

Black, E. (1995). Behaviourism As A Learning Theory . Houston: Un...
52


       Teaching and Learning: Studies in Pre-Service and In-Service Teacher

       Education London and New York: Ro...
53


Jones, C. & Liu, M. (2001). Web-Based Instruction: The Effect of Design Considerations

       on Learner Perceptions...
54


       Organizational Development on Teaching Excellence and Conference

       Administrators, Austin, TX. (ED 377 8...
55


Schacter, J. (2000). The Impact of Education Technology on Student Achievement:

      What the Most Current Research...
56


       Service Network. Retrieved January 19, 2003, from: http://www.ets.org/

       research/pic/dic/preack.html.

...
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Transcript of "Riverdeep: An Action Research Project"

  1. 1. 1 Riverdeep: An Action Research Project By Terry Scott and Kathy Briggs California State University, Sacramento, Spring 2003
  2. 2. 2 Table of Contents
  3. 3. 3 Introduction Can increases in student achievement be the result of computer-assisted modes of delivery? Researchers have found that computer-assisted instruction enhances the learning rate. Research has shown that students using computer-assisted instruction seem to learn faster than students who use conventional instruction. For example, a study conducted by Capper and Copple led to the conclusion that users of computer- assisted instruction learned as much as 40 percent faster than those receiving traditional teacher-directed instruction (Capper & Copple, 1985). Another study found an increase in mathematics achievement using the INVEST system was greater than the gains in those classrooms using traditional teaching approaches, particularly in the areas of mathematical concepts and problem solving (Wilson, 1992; Moore, 1993). “Through computers the use of multimedia has created novel modes of learning and greatly contributed to the restructuring of instructional environments in schools” (Relan & Gillani, 1997). With the presence of multimedia computers in today’s classrooms, educators now face many more challenges. Instructors find themselves with the responsibility of teaching in today’s sophisticated environment. Some researchers, like Lewis (1999), supported the idea that in the 21st century, students learn concepts at a higher level of thinking when they are interwoven with multimedia products Numerous curriculum producers are now making educational software. Their school customers are purchasing their software products to use in classroom instruction. By optimizing an individual learner’s strengths and talents, instruction
  4. 4. 4 becomes specific to an individual learner’s needs. Custom-tailored learning experiences resulted from individualized curriculum (Fraley & Vargas, 1975). “In curriculum design, the instructor simultaneously needs to consider teaching methods, materials, the nature of the subject area, and characteristics of the student audience,” (Weston & Cranton, 1986, p.259). Innovative instructional practices focused on teaching and learning strategies that make a difference in the daily practices in our classrooms. This in turn translated into stronger student performance (McKenzie 2001). The concern for competency in mathematics has led mathematics educators to attempt to clarify the processes underlying the acquisition of various mathematical skills. Within the past twenty years, novel techniques attempted to juxtapose conventional strategies for teaching mathematics. In the forefront of these are computer-based educational programs. (Walker, 1987). The purpose of this Action Research Study is to enliven and enlighten current discussion about educational classroom technologies. This project will explore implementation of Riverdeep Destination Math software in a single eighth-grade math class at Cardozo Middle School. Area of Focus The purpose of this study is to evaluate the use of Riverdeep Destination Math Software in its implementation at Cardozo Middle School in the Riverbank Unified School District. The District made a sizeable investment in Riverdeep Destination Math. This study examines the effectiveness of Riverdeep Destination Math software and its manner of use on math achievement scores. This study also seeks to determine the effect of Riverdeep Destination Math software on student attitudes toward’ 8th grade math at Cardozo Middle School. Results from both achievement and attitudinal data of
  5. 5. 5 this study could help revise the future implementation of Riverdeep Destination Math at Cardozo Middle School. Competency tests created by the school site determine acceptable eighth grade- level math proficiency at Cardozo Middle School. This study utilized pre-and-post test scores from this competency test to measure changes in student achievement. This Action Research also employed student Likert Surveys, small-group interviews, and investigator observations to gather data. This Action Research paper examines the use of Riverdeep Destination Math software with a specific group of 8th grade middle-school students. Students in the study group are those who failed Cardozo Middle School’s math minimum competency test and involved in a math invention program after school. As research by Sivin and Kachala (2002) suggested, the use of similar ILS-type software, such as Plato or Accelerated Math, will enhance both student achievements in math and increase positive student attitudes toward math. Research Questions The use of web-based, multimedia instructional materials has become a noteworthy force in distance learning in upper education. Providing quality, Integrated Learning System (ILS) types of products to K-12 students has only been a recent occurrence. The researchers, Terry Scott, a district technology coordinator, and Kathy Briggs, a classroom computer literacy teacher, were curious about the efficacy of ILS-type programs. The researchers sought to determine the effectiveness of daily corrective and remedial use of Riverdeep Destination Math software on selected 8th grade middle
  6. 6. 6 school math students. Therefore, these researchers explored the recent implementation of Riverdeep Destination Math software at Cardozo Middle School. The investigators focused on two research questions: 1. How will the use of Riverdeep Destination Math, when used as a frequently employed remedial program, affect student achievement on math proficiency scores? 2. How will the use of Riverdeep Destination Math, when used as a frequently employed remedial program, affect student attitudes toward math? Literature Review Several areas of research are relevant to the investigation presented in this Action Research project. Components of this Literature Review provide background information for later perspectives on the effectiveness of Riverdeep’s Destination Math software. This literature review consists of the following sections: 1. Literature Related to Action Research 2. Learning Theories as They Relate to Technology 3. Multimedia 4. Web-based Instruction 5. Computer Assisted Instruction Literature Related to Action Research Several authors have described Action Research in similar ways. One paper described Action Research as “a process by which change and understanding can be pursued at the one time” (Dick, 1997). This dual-purpose process, typically used by educators, suggests repetitive action and reflection sequences over a specific time-
  7. 7. 7 period to analyze a problem and propose solutions (Dick, 1997). Another authority explained Action Research as a method to “gather information about the ways that their particular schools operate, how they teach, and how well their students learn” (Mills, 2000). Calhoun (1993) suggested Action Research “captured the notion of disciplined inquiry (research) in the context of focused efforts to improve the quality of an organization and its performance (action)”. Calhoun (1993) described and differentiated between three Action Research scenarios of individual, collaborative, and school-wide types of research. This Action Action research uses the collaborative or small group type. The central purpose of collaborative research focuses on classroom improvement. Outside support for collaborative Action Researchers frequently comes from higher education and data utilized can be qualitative or quantitative (Calhoun, 1993). The project presented in this paper uses the collaborative type of action research. Mills (2000) described Action Research as a four-step process: 1. Identify an area of focus. 1. Collect data. 2. Analyze and interpret data. 3. Develop an action plan. There are multiple benefits of Action Research. Calhoun (1993) expressed consideration of Action Research as a “progress in professionalism” creating a source of change in classroom practices. Mills (2000) emphasized that Action Research is “largely about developing the professional disposition of teachers, that is, encouraging teachers to be continuous learners – in their classrooms and in their practice.” As
  8. 8. 8 articulated by Dick (1997), “action research intends to introduce change” in an educational environment by supportive documentation. The planning and execution of this Action Research project complies with current educational principles and practices. Learning Theories as They Relate to Technology Support for the effective use of instructional technology by current learning theories is noted. Interestingly, the two most contrasting learning theories of Behaviorism and Constructivism both provide support, in differing contexts, to the use of learning technologies. Underwood argued convincingly that different learning theories apply to different circumstances, depending on the type of knowledge desired: factual, procedural, and conceptual knowledge may be learned better using different learning paradigms. Underwood also emphasized that people sometimes had better memory of self- generated information than information they receive passively. The encouragement of self-generated knowledge, and personal exploration, would include actively sought information, supported in this case, by Information Literacy techniques and strategies used in Internet searching. In other cases, people remember as well, or better, information provided rather than information they initiate (Underwood, 1994). Skinner (1938) introduced the notion that a stimulus and response mechanism can control behaviors, given a suitable sequence of reinforcing repetitions. Modern educational behaviorists described learning as not much more than the acquiring of new behavior by focusing on objectively observable behaviors and discounting mental activities (On Purpose Associates, 1998). Jones (1993) described Skinner’s early
  9. 9. 9 application of a teaching machine, which would reward a learner for every correct response. Later, Skinner conceptualized a teaching machine for classroom use by individual students, which would break learning into small steps, with appropriate reinforcement at each level (Jones, 1993). Today’s computer-assisted instruction software utilizes such small-step reinforcements at varying intensities. Geisert and Futrell acknowledged that Behaviorism does have its place in technology. They also suggested basic drill-and-practice software is suitable for reinforcing skills already introduced and learned in a different context. The development of automatic skills sets in math can benefit from drill-and-practice software assistance. For example, drill-and-practice software can be conducive to the memorization requirements of multiplication tables (Geisert and Futrell, 1990). Black suggested caution regarding excessive dependence upon behaviorist archetypes, in an avoidance of the presumption that humans are android-like. Behaviorism does not account for all kinds of learning, since it simplifies and disregards the activities of the mind in behavior changes (Black, 1995). Jones, et al, (1994) remarked that complex learning behavior is hard to analyze in terms of the simplified stimulus and response circumstances proposed by Behaviorists. In contrast to Behaviorist theory, Piaget fundamentally described learning in stages of cognitive development, as well as the two distinct, but non-exclusive, processes of assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation is a learning condition that is non-contradictory to the learner’s existing knowledge. The learning condition is absorbed into the learner’s framework with little or no resistance. Accommodation
  10. 10. 10 refers to changing the cognitive structure to make sense of the environment in an adaptive process (Piaget, 1952). The Constructivist model aligned with Piaget’s ideas, given that learners “construct” their own understanding of the world they live in, by considering their own experiences (On Purpose Associates, 1998). This alternative depiction of Piaget’s assimilation and accommodation utilizes various rules and mental models engendered by the learner to make sense of life encounters. Jones, et al, (1994) contended the connection to life experiences create “engaged learners” who are able to be responsible for their own learning goals and evaluations. Gardner emphasized the significant role technology will have in future educational environments. Prominence of the computer in education engenders improvement in higher-order thinking skills. Individualization and engaged learning are key Constructivist ideas. He succinctly expressed technology’s role in education. All students may receive a curriculum tailored to their needs, learning style, pace and profile of mastery, and record of success with earlier materials and lessons. Indeed computer technology permits us to realize for the first time, progressive educational ideas of “personalization” and “active, hands-on learning” for students all over the world. (Gardner, 2000, pp.43-44) Jones, et al, (1994) pointed to Project-Based Learning (PBL) with its challenging, authentic, and multidisciplinary approaches. Such learning becomes conducive to the use of open-end software (word processor, spreadsheets, programming, etc). Davis, et al, (1997) reiterated that the authenticity of a Project Based Learning (PBL) task relates to the effectiveness of learning. Integration with non-computer activities and relevance
  11. 11. 11 of computer work to the curriculum all sustain instructional technology effectiveness (Davis, et al, 1997). Papert (1980) claimed an endorsement of both Piaget and Constructivism, by advocating use of LOGO software for the development of mathematical thinking. Students would relate LOGO structures to previously introduced concepts in order to assimilate or accommodate those models. Papert (1980) argued LOGO software becomes a “mathematical world” and “workspace” for authentic math problem solving. Papert’s “ mathematical world” developed into a related computer activity especially for use in Project Based Learning. Does it Compute? The Relationship between Educational Technology and Student Achievement in Mathematics (Wenglinsky, 1998) is a study of middle school students utilizing drill-and-practice computer-assisted instruction (CAI) software. This study provided an interesting assertion that such software, when used inappropriately, may actually degrade a student’s score on the NAEP’s mathematics standardized test. However, this study determined student success is still possible but only with appropriately used mathematics technology, by well-trained teachers, with suitable frequency, and associated with software using higher-order thinking skills. Wenglinsky stated, “…when computers are used properly, they may serve as important tools for improving student proficiency in mathematics, as well as the overall learning environment in the school”. Significant technology implications provided by Wenglinsky (1998) and Christmann (1997) included the importance of properly trained teachers, especially in high-poverty and urban schools. Does it Compute? (1998) stressed the focus to apply
  12. 12. 12 technology for higher order thinking skills previously introduced elsewhere. The importance of obtaining software for higher order thinking skills, such as problem solving becomes critical as well. Some researchers also noted technology use has a much greater effect on the middle school level rather than at younger grades (Wenglinsky, 1998). Others emphasized a need for specific guidelines to teachers where computers can be helpful and where they cannot (Christmann, 1997). Schacter summarized, in The Impact of Education Technology on Student Achievement: What the Most Current Research has to Say, that recent research recapping the initial assertion of this section on Learning Theories. That is, both Behaviorist-directed and Constructivist-directed technology may have a beneficial effect on student achievement. “These studies show that …students with access to computer- assisted instruction, or integrated learning systems technology, or simulations and software that teaches higher order thinking, or collaborative networked technologies, or design and programming technologies, show positive gains in achievement on researcher constructed tests, standardized tests, and national tests” (Schacter, 2000). Multimedia The relationship between teacher and learner continues to change as technology allows them to communicate in a variety of ways and access a wide range of resources. The way the teacher and/or learner delivers, represents, accesses, and manipulates information is unlike that of any other time in the history of education (Hedberg, Brown, & Arrighi, 1997). With interactive multimedia, information communicates in a variety of visual and verbal forms. As a software user, a learner’s actions encompass a full range of activities offered by software designers. It may be passive guided direction in
  13. 13. 13 prescriptive environments or simulations with active gathering and reconstruction of multimedia resources. With immediate feedback from the interactive multimedia program, the learner situates into a rich, real world, problem-solving learning environment (Moursund, 2001). Additionally, the learner’s educational experience using real life situations can be an inhibitor, which is not the instructional designer’s intent (Hedberg, Brown, & Arrighi, 1997). The information in a multimedia world is new and novel. However simple this may sound, it is an important consideration when evaluating the selection of educational products. The viewing of a map, or listening and interacting with speech files on CD are examples of ways in which multimedia can provide an understanding of problems not evident in text-based description of problems and issues. By transforming the computer into an instructional tool in a classroom, the computer will become the most popular tool (Brown, 1998). Multimedia environments allow users to explore and undertake a range of tasks that closely mirror those of the real world. In this way, you do not have to be constrained by verbal descriptions of visual activities. When students are able to convert learning into a world in which the leaning processes naturally unfolds, higher levels of cognition are attained (Hedberg, Brown, & Arrighi, 1997). Because attention tends to lapse some ten to eighteen minutes into a typical classroom lecture, teachers need to find ways to engage students into the classroom lecture. Video and web-resources reengage students. Brief digital sound and video clips can accentuate a point and add an element of surprise to the lecture causing students to pay closer attention (Stone, 1999). “Traditional instruction has been
  14. 14. 14 considered one of the major causes of a dysfunctional and even obsolete educational system. Through computers the use of multimedia has created novel modes of learning and greatly contributed to the restructuring of instructional environments in schools” (Relan & Gilliani, 1997). Students learn at different speeds. Regular, immediate feedback facilitates the learning process. The effective classroom exploits individualized learning techniques. Individualized learning examples include students working with prepared materials at their own pace and receiving information as to their progress in regular intervals. Using the multimedia computer in the classroom fosters individualized learning techniques. Web-based Instruction Considering the browser-based capabilities of Riverdeep Destination Math, a review of literature related to web-based instruction (WBI) can be beneficial. In a survey report of educators throughout the nation, Sivin-Kachala emphasized the potential K-12 audience for web-based instructional systems and the need for significant improvements to the design attributes beyond bland HTML. This nation-wide sampling of district administrators and school principals indicated highest interest in cost- effective, online student preparation for high stakes testing, online class planning resources for teachers, and online professional development (Sivin-Kachala, 2002). The World Wide Web acts as both a repository of knowledge and its distribution mechanism. As ubiquitous Internet access increases, availability of knowledge becomes more widespread. Gardner (2000) concisely described this phenomenon. Knowledge is also now seen as distributed. That it, it does not reside exclusively within the head of an individual; rather it emerges jointly from one’s own perspective, the perspectives of other individuals, and the
  15. 15. 15 information derived from available human and technological resources. (p.98) Language differences are becoming less formidable barriers to the transfer of knowledge on the Internet. With the advent of language translation sites such as Babblefish, dynamic conversion of web-page language is now possible. While linguists criticize the accuracy of such rudimentary translation processes, such capabilities enhance and foster the distribution of knowledge across the Internet. The browser-based Riverdeep Destination Math is effective on the Internet or on an Intranet. Riverbank Unified School District utilizes both methods. The Wide Area Network (WAN) permits all school sites immediate access to Riverdeep Destination Math Software. Internet connectivity allows students and teachers to access the software from outside the boundaries of the district WAN. Researchers subscribed to the careful significance of web-based design: “Venturing into this new dimension will require thoughtful analysis and investigation of how to use the Web's potential in concert with instructional design principles,” (Ritchie and Hoffman, 2000). Directly related to planning and design, effects on subject matter and student motivation could well be profound with an appropriate presentation. Recommendations also included an active student involvement process and efficient response feedback for greater effectiveness in using web-based software (Ritchie and Hoffman, 2000). Jones and Liu identified specific web-based design characteristics without which “…web-based instructional environment have no impact on student achievement…”
  16. 16. 16 While the study focused on higher education, many of this study’s suggested design activities might be significant for K-12 software as well. They claimed the most crucial design activities include a dedication to instructional objectives, recognition of learner needs, and a high degree of visualization. Although less to do with design characteristics and thus less controllable, student goal orientation and student perception skills can be factors for student success (Jones and Liu, 2001). Henke described the importance of sound web-based instruction and effective web design issues. Top structural design mistakes to avoid include: 1. Frames which inhibit book marking, 2. Constantly moving animations causing reader distractibility, 3. Overly complex URLs fostering typing errors, 4. Long scrolling pages confounding readers, 5. Difficult and confusing navigation techniques, 6. Non-standard link colors making link determination difficult, 7. Outdated web site information frustrating users (Henke, 1997). A significant contribution to software design, including WBI design, comes from Jones and Okey in their article, Interface Design for Computer-based Learning Environments. Effectively collating and summarizing instructional software design mechanisms, the study illustrated a detailed inventory of effective components. Using five basic concepts, with significant sub-concepts, the authors provide meaningful guidelines to software designers. These five basic concepts include browsing, media integration, metaphors, information access, and unfamiliar territory (Jones and Okey, 1995).
  17. 17. 17 Web-based instruction accessibility issues can be concerns. Standardized, structural web accessibility issues, especially for people with disabilities, describe basic features and components for useable content on a web page or site. An example of these disability-related issues would be the excessive use of flashing objects, which could trigger seizures (Henke, 1997). There are also issues related to equity of access, providing Information Literacy for all students, not limiting it to certain groups. Also, there is the realistic issue of the number of students having home computers and having Internet access. The World Wide Web Consortium), in their Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, delineated the guiding principles of practical web page components, which conform to ubiquitous access requirements. These principles include 1. Alternatives to auditory and visual content, 2. Issues of color, 3. Appropriate use of tables, 4. Designing for device-independence, 5. Providing contextual information, 6. Navigational charactertistics (World Wide Wed Consortium, 1999). Computer-Assisted Instruction Computer-assisted instruction most often refers to drill-and-practice, tutorial, or simulation activities. Drill-and-practice and tutorial activities are the two most commonly used computer-based instructional strategies employed in K-12 schools. Individualized learning delivered by computer-assisted instruction can increase a student’s productivity in the classroom. Students are also able to achieve “higher quality” learning, allowing
  18. 18. 18 students to learn materials at their own pace. Students are also able to study subjects interesting to them, and teachers are able to individualize the instruction to meet the needs of each student in the classroom (Walker, 1987). By being able to select from various forms of multimedia, including video, animation, audio, text, animation, graphs and equations, students can receive material in the most meaningful form that matches their particular learning style thus facilitating higher levels of comprehension (Lewis, 1999). “The concern for competency in mathematics has led mathematics educators to attempt to clarify the processes underlying the acquisition of various mathematical skills. Within the past 20 years, there have been attempts to juxtapose novel techniques into conventional strategies for teaching mathematics. In the forefront of these are computer-based educational programs,” (Walker). School districts are now adding computer-assisted instruction to help improve achievement in both basic skills, and highly specialized areas of instruction. The trend for adopting computer-assisted instruction is rooted in theoretical as well as pragmatic educational foundations. Much of our theoretical insights into cognitive development of mathematical skills have psychological theory basis. The structuralism of Piaget and Bruner is an example. Additionally, Skinner’s notion of operant conditioning has been instrumental in the buildup of arguments in favor of program of learning and computer-assisted instruction (Walker, 1987, p.562). Schools have found that by including computer-assisted instruction in the instructional environment, students will receive the following benefits: 1. Frequent feedback to learners, 2. Tutorial readings, 3. Individual pacing, 4. Individual programming,
  19. 19. 19 5. Clarity of presentation, 6. Motivational factors (Walker). Computer-assisted instruction has many advantages. It allows educators to teach higher-level, specialized courses and provides additional class time for higher-level instruction. The computer assigns basic skills development and provides opportunities for the creative development of innovative curriculum materials (Walker). Additionally, the tutorial mode of instruction involves the presentation of new materials directly from the computer. Instruction provides the context of solving problems. Students learn new material with monitoring as they progress through a program. Increasingly complex material follows increased proficiency (Walker). After each new concept introduction, the student works a number of problems designed to put that concept to use. The tutorial provides immediate feedback and guidance on incorrect and non-strategic steps. The computerized tutor compares information entered by the student to determine a correct or incorrect response. If the input matches a correct rule, the tutor is silent or complementary and waits for further input. If the input is determined to be an error, the tutor interrupts with advice. Thus, the feedback is immediate and necessary instruction given both in general terms and in context of the current problem. The tutor also provides guidance to the student as they complete the exercise. The student can request clarification of a current part of the problem and ask for the next step in the solution. In addition, if the student has sufficient difficulty including the particular part of the problem, the tutor will intervene. “Given its adaptive instructional capabilities, the computer is viewed as displaying versatility in on-line drill- and-practice, providing individualized instructional prescriptions, giving immediate
  20. 20. 20 feedback from its diagnosis of individual errors, and assigning remediation” (Rockart, 1973). Research supports computer-assisted instruction as a supplement to traditional teacher-directed instruction. Achievement effects are superior to those obtained with traditional instruction alone. These findings hold true for students at different ages and abilities and for learning in different curricular areas. Dalton and Hannifin’s research (1988) indicated that "while both traditional and computer based delivery systems have valuable roles in supporting instruction, they are of greatest value when complementing one another" (Dalton & Hannifin, 1988). Project Description The Riverbank Unified School District made a decision, in July of 2002, to acquire Riverdeep Destination Math software for $35,000. Cardozo Middle School students use Riverdeep to attain math skills needed to pass the required district math proficiency. Installation of the Destination Math program took place on the school server and teachers trained a single day using the math program in a classroom setting. Teachers assigned student modules after the first training. Following initial implementation, the district technology coordinator determined that the program had technical problems. The district technology coordinator corrected these technical issues over time. Technical and practical considerations caused the district technology coordinator to move the entire program to a dedicated server. Because it took four months to correct all of the technical issues, the teachers disregarded Riverdeep and their initial training. Riverdeep provided a second training to staff members to help re-acquire the skills
  21. 21. 21 necessary to implement the Destination Math program in a classroom, In view of the significant amount of money invested in this program, the researchers felt it was important to explore how this program would help the Riverbank Unified School District. The purpose of the study is to evaluate use of Riverdeep Destination Math on 8th grade student achievement in math and on 8th grade student attitudes towards math education. Riverdeep Destination Math is a comprehensive and sequenced software product utilizing multimedia to present mathematical issues related to real life situations. The product teaches basic math skills, math reasoning, conceptual understanding, and problem solving. There is full audio support with visuals. On screen manipulates are employed to help students master math concepts. A web-server dispenses HTML pages exploiting Macromedia Flash, Java Virtual Machine, and QuickTime movies to student and teacher Internet browsers. The software is also available to students with home access through the school district’s web page. The software contains teacher management tools and assessment tools correlated to California State Standards for mathematics. An embedded scope and sequence exists for each module along with student worksheets. In each sequenced lesson, there are several multimedia-based tutorials, followed by an on-screen assessment. If a student makes a predetermined passing score on the assessment, he or she advances to the next lesson in that particular scope and sequence. If a student does not achieve a passing score, tutorials occur again prior to retaking the assessment.
  22. 22. 22 The students in the after-school intervention program utilized the Riverdeep Destination Math software section called Course III, Intermediate Mathematics. This particular module has tutorials and assessments designed with the following learning objectives: 1. Basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of integers, 2. Basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of fractions, 3. Basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of decimals, 4. Basic problem solving techniques related to equations, 5. Basic scientific notation skills. The performance requirements of the Cardozo Middle School’s eighth Grade Math Competency test heavily emphasize these specific objectives. Utilizing the teacher management tool, an instructor can determine assessment scores, time on each task, as well as pre-assign specific levels to individual students. This particular study uses a group of 8th grade students in a math intervention program during after-school hours at Cardozo Middle School. Students are volunteers selected by their inability to pass the school’s math proficiency test. A noticeable limitation is that attendance is strongly encouraged but not mandatory. The program potentially mitigates student retention. Because students were not required to attend this math intervention program during after-school hours, over half of the students dropped out. A recommendation for subsequent years’ implementation includes mandatory attendance. Increased integration of Destination Math into the daily classroom environment would also acknowledge a greater commitment to utilize the program effectively.
  23. 23. 23 During the study period student subjects spent Wednesday and Thursday afternoons utilizing Destination Math for 60 minutes under the supervision of a teacher. Attitudinal surveys were conducted with both students and teachers involved in the study. Researchers and instructors refined initial paper surveys. In an effort to simplify analysis of student survey data, researchers utilized a browser-based survey software product. Students took the online survey immediately prior to the start of the study period, February 27, 2003, and at the end of the study period, April 4, 2003. Teachers took the paper survey during the week of April 7, 2003. Copies of student surveys are in Appendix 2 and Appendix 3. The online versions of the student surveys are located at http://www.riverbank.k12.ca.us/survey/TakeSurvey.asp? DisplayHeader=Yes&SurveyID=107 and http://www.riverbank.k12.ca.us/survey/ TakeSurvey.asp?DisplayHeader=Yes&SurveyID=108. A copy of the teacher survey is in Appendix 4. Results of the student surveys are in Tables 3 and 4. Results of the teacher survey are in Table 5. Maintenance of strict confidentiality occurred with all student participant names, surveys, and assessments. Appendix 1 contains a copy of the Informed Consent form signed by all persons involved in the study. Limitations of the Study The Action Research study was limited in the following aspects. • Student data in this study is limited due to a reduced number of students who consistently attended the after-school math program. The Riverdeep Destination Math after-school intervention class was a volunteer math program. The voluntary nature of the program dramatically reduced the
  24. 24. 24 number of student subjects. Over half of the students who participated in the after-school program dropped out after only two weeks. • The content of the instructional unit required alignment with the Riverbank Unified School District 8th grade math proficiency as opposed to the California Math standards. Teachers and researchers spend unnecessary time manually matching appropriate standards to student assignments. • Staff training for Destination Math occurred when the program was not fully functional on the Riverbank Unified School District server. Despite later correction of these technical issues, staff interest and training momentum waned. • Cardozo Middle School math teachers received insufficient planning time during implementation of Riverdeep Destination Math. Appropriate implementation procedures were never completely developed. In addition to implementation problems in daily classroom use, the after-school program in this study suffered a lack of direction as well.
  25. 25. 25 Findings Data Collection The researchers utilized several methods of data gathering including: 1. Online Destination Math assessment modules and reports (in Table 1), 2. Online Likert scale surveys (in Tables 2 and 3), 3. Group interviews, 4. Researcher observations. Compiled data permitted making limited statements regarding the effectiveness of Destination Math software as well as changes in student attitudes toward math. Research Questions 1. How will the use of Riverdeep Destination Math affect student achievement on math achievement scores? 2. How will the use of Riverdeep Destination Math affect student attitudes toward math? Data Analysis Determinations regarding the effects on student achievement use built-in assessment and reporting mechanisms in Destination Math. These embedded reports permitted achievement growth measurements during the research period from March 3- April 4, 2003. These reporting mechanisms also enabled the researchers to measure time on task. Results in Table1 were findings using these reports. The researchers determined the focus would be on students who had 90% or better attendance (less than 50%) in this voluntary intervention program. Twenty-seven Cardozo Middle School students initially participated in this program to acquire the skills necessary to pass the
  26. 26. 26 math proficiency. Students were not required to attend this after-school program and instructors were unable to assign any meaningful consequences for non-attendance. Implications to students included that non-attendance would place them in jeopardy of not acquiring the skills necessary to pass the math proficiency. Despite reviewing a retention policy based upon passing school proficiencies along with signed student and parent acknowledgements, only limited attendance took place. Table 1 - Student Progression Report from Destination Math Student Time on each Modules Number of times modules were Number module completed taken and failed 8647 < 40 minutes 2 0 8612 > 40 minutes, 2 1 but < 80 8636 <40 minutes 2 0 8690 > 120 minutes 3 1 8634 > 40 minutes, 2 0 but < 80 8623 > 40 minutes, 2 0 but < 80 8698 > 120 minutes 3 0 8693 > 40 minutes, 2 1 but < 80 8610 <40 minutes 2 0 8675 > 40 minutes, 2 1 but < 80 8600 > 40 minutes, 2 1 but < 80 8630 > 120 minutes 3 1 An obvious conclusion from Table 1 above is that there is a noticeable association between the time students actually spent using Destination Math and the
  27. 27. 27 number of modules they completed. The more time spent on task using the Destination Math program, the greater the number of modules students completed. All three students who spent less than 40 minutes on task using this program did not fail any modules and completed two modules. Students who spent more than 40 minutes and less than 80 minutes on task completed two modules but four of the six students failed one module. Students who spent more than 120 minutes on task using the Destination Math program, completed three modules, but two of the three students failed one module. After looking over the data, the researchers felt the reason some students spent more time on task was that they had to retake a module. This potentially would lend itself to the conclusion that if a student had to retake a module they would then spend more time on task. The researchers also looked at how students scores changed on the math proficiency test taken at the beginning of the year and then again in April. Students who spent more than 80 minutes but less than 120 minutes on task using the Destination Math program raised their math proficiency scores between 15 and 25 points. Students who spent more than 40 minutes but less than 80 minutes on task raised their math proficiency scores between 5 and 12 points. Students who spent less than 40 minutes on task using the Destination Math program raised their scores between 8 and 12 points. This leads the researchers to state there is a positive correlation between students using the Destination Math program and passing the math proficiency. The researchers feel it is important to have further studies into the correlation between the Destination Math program and the Riverbank Unified School District’s math proficiency test.
  28. 28. 28 The researchers also looked at why students did not pass the math proficiency after spending time in an after-school tutorial program and using the Destination Math program. Data in Tables 1 and 2 indicate the more time spent using the Destination Math program results in an increased score on the Cardozo Middle School math proficiency test. Sufficient on-task time requirements enabling students to pass the math proficiency are the subject of further research. It was also determined that many of these students had noticeably low scores the first time they took the math proficiency. This problem is another indicator that Destination Math implementation should have occurred earlier in the school year. The researchers were pleased to note that all of the students who participated in this study did increase their math scores on the math proficiency test. Did the students enhance their scores enough to pass the math proficiency? No, but many of them came very close to passing. Given the short use of Destination Math, it is difficult to determine the contribution the software may have contributed to the test improved scores. In the future, teachers will need to start this program earlier in the year and have students working on specific modules to help them to acquire the skills necessary to pass the math proficiency. Table 2 – Student Math Proficiency Test Scores Student Score on Score on Number of points Students who Number the Math the Math the Math passed the Math Proficiency Proficienc Proficiency Proficiency. test taken y test scores have at the taken in risen. beginning April.
  29. 29. 29 of the school year. 8647 45 55 10 Did not pass. 8612 54 59 5 Did not pass. 8636 47 55 8 Did not pass. 8690 35 50 15 Did not pass. 8634 45 52 7 Did not pass. 8623 49 57 8 Did not pass. 8698 36 61 25 Did not pass. 8693 56 68 12 Did not pass. 8610 55 67 12 Did not pass. 8675 47 56 9 Did not pass. 8600 48 60 12 Did not pass. 8630 40 58 18 Did not pass. Online Likert Scale Survey The researchers developed two simple student surveys utilizing Likert Scales to determine any attitudinal changes toward math. A scale of 1 to 4 indicates the following values: 1=strongly disagree; 2=disagree; 3=agree; 4=strongly agree. Using this set of values, the higher score is indicative of a more positive agreement with the statement. Student Survey 1 (see Appendix 2) generated data from the beginning of the study. Student Survey 2 (see Appendix 3) generated data from the end of the study. A teacher survey determined teacher opinions regarding the use of Destination Math at the end of the study. The online location for both student surveys is http://www.riverbank.k12.ca.us/survey/Default.asp, facilitating simplified data analysis. Tables 3, 4, and 5 show findings from those surveys. Table 3 - Student Survey 1-- Responses at beginning of study Strongly Strongly Agree Agree Disagre Disagre Question =4 =3 e=2 e=1 Score 1. I like math. 1 2 4 5 1.92
  30. 30. 30 2. I think I am good at math 0 1 7 4 1.75 3. I learned more math this year than I did last year 2 1 4 5 2.00 4. I spent more time on math this year than I did last year 5 2 2 3 2.75 5. The pace of this math class is just right 1 3 3 5 2.00 Overall Student Survey #1 Average 2.08 Student Survey 1 in Table 3 above showed students had some negativity toward math in general on questions 1 and 2. These two questions also related to a student’s self-esteem toward math. In small group interviews, many of the students made statements consistent with the belief that they were poor in math. Related to this belief was the student conviction that their poor math skills were the primary reason for being in this math intervention program. Scores on questions 3 and 5 indicated in Student Survey 1 in Table 3 above suggests ambivalent responses. As to whether they learned more math this year than last year, overall students were notably uncertain. In addition, students were not sure about the pacing of their current class. The pacing ambivalence was borne out in the small group interviews as well. There were shrugs and blank looks when asked if the class was going too fast for them. The question indicating the most positive score in Student Survey 1 in Table 3 above was number four, regarding how much time they felt they were spending on math this year. Given that they were going beyond their normal classroom work to come to
  31. 31. 31 this after-school math program, it seems reasonable that they would see themselves as spending more time in their pursuit of passing the math proficiency. The overall score (2.08) of Student Survey 1 in Table 2 above is marginally positive. However, as stated previously, these particular respondents are non- proficiency-passing students who achieved a 90% attendance rate. These attendance conditions could be construed to mean that these particular students are already open to the potential usefulness of this math intervention program. Table 4 - Student Survey 2 – Responses at end of study +/- Strongly Strongly from Agree Agree Disagre Disagre Survey Question =4 =3 e=2 e=1 Score #1 1. I like math. 2 3 4 3 2.33 +0.42 2. I think I am good at math 2 2 5 3 2.25 +0.50 3. I learned more math this year than I did last year 2 3 2 5 2.17 +0.17 4. I spent more time on math this year than I did last year 4 3 4 1 2.83 +0.08 5. The pace of this math class is just right 3 2 2 5 2.25 +0.25 Average from questions +0.28 in Student Survey 1 2.37 6. I like math better this year than last year 5 2 3 1 2.75
  32. 32. 32 7. It was easy to learn how to use the computer 4 2 2 4 2.50 8. I learn math better with the computer instead of only with a book 7 3 2 0 3.42 9. I feel confident that I can pass the tests that the computer gives me 4 3 1 4 2.58 Average from questions 6 to 9 2.81 Overall Student Survey #2 Average 2.56 By comparison with the initial survey, questions 1 and 2 in Student Survey 2 in Table 4 above show score increases. While not huge jumps in scores (+.42 and +.50 respectively), this is an indication that student attitudes toward math in general, and their self-confidence toward math, has strengthened. Notably, the scores on these two questions showed the greatest increases of any of the original five questions from the initial survey. Questions 3 and 5 in the initial survey which indicated uncertainty or ambivalence, show small increases (+.17 and +.25 respectively) as well. This could be indicative of a notable progression toward positive feelings about the pacing of the class and their accumulation of math knowledge and skills. Question 4, regarding the amount of time spent on math, indicated the least score increase out of all the questions from the initial survey. This question had scored
  33. 33. 33 highest on the initial survey and continued to score highest on the secondary survey. This may be because the positive nature of this question, from the students’ perspective, was already virtually as high as it could go. The overall average score of questions 1 to 5 in this subsequent Student Survey 2 as shown in Table 4 above, when compared with the initial survey, showed conspicuous growth (+.28). In addition to indicating a more positive appreciation of the math intervention program, the increased score could also be pinpointing students’ outlook on their daily math classes. Remaining questions in Student Survey 2 (6 to 9) are indicative of technology in general, and how Riverdeep Destination Math in specific, might affect their attitudes toward math. In this effort to accommodate the technology differences, the average score in this small group of questions was much higher (2.81) than the original set of five questions. Not surprisingly, question number 8 regarding the use of a computer for math assignments, scored the highest of any survey question. The novelty effect of computer use may influence this question, but responses are largely consistent with student opinions given in the small group interviews. Factoring in questions 6 to 9 of Student Survey 2 may skew a suitable comparison with the initial student survey. However, after embedding these questions into the overall average, there is a sizeable increase in the overall score, as seen in Table 5 below. Even while recognizing that it is statistically inappropriate to that joining of data, the resulting score does reinforce an overall impression of more positive student attitudes during the study period.
  34. 34. 34 Table 5 - Teacher Survey Results Strongly Strongly Agree Agree Disagre Disagre Question =4 =3 e=2 e=1 Score 1. My students are learning basic math skills better this year. 0 2 0 0 3.00 2. My students are learning higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills better this year. 1 1 0 0 3.50 3. My students are progressing through math topics faster this year 0 1 1 0 2.50 4. My students are more confident in math this year 0 1 1 0 2.50 5. My students spend more time doing math this year 1 0 1 0 3.00 6. My students math time is more productive this year 0 2 0 0 3.00 7. My students are helping each other more and working more cooperatively this year. 0 1 1 0 2.50 8. I have fewer discipline problems in math class this year. 0 2 0 0 3.00 9. I am better able to deal with 0 0 2 0 2.00 my students’ different ability
  35. 35. 35 levels this year. 10. I am better able to diagnose and correct individual student difficulties this year. 0 1 1 0 2.50 11. The information provided by Destination Math enables me to teach more effectively than in previous years 1 1 0 0 3.50 12. I spend less time grading papers and keeping records this year 0 0 2 0 2.00 13. I spend more time teaching and helping individual students this year 0 2 0 0 3.00 Average 2.77 While only two teachers took the survey, there are positive score indicators in the Teacher Survey in Table 5 above. As part of the transition to using Riverdeep Destination Math this school year, the school has taken some unique measures to aid successful implementation. For background information, there should be recognition that the school has equipped all math classrooms with five new, networked student computers, a new, networked teacher computer, and a high-speed printer. Each math teacher has had a minimum of three full release days for Destination Math staff development. The two teachers who participated in this particular study have had an additional two days of release time specifically for planning and the hands-on implementation of the plans.
  36. 36. 36 Most notable among the higher scores in the Teacher Survey in Table 5 above are questions 2 and 11. One could correlate the two questions as the primary contribution of the technology, both hardware and software, to an overall belief that students are making progress toward higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills. Group Interviews When queried what they liked best about the use of Destination Math to help them improve their math skills, many student comments focused on the details of the program’s use of sound and animation, rather than specific improvement techniques for learning math. Students said it was “fun” or “cool” indicating that they enjoyed it. It is difficult to say how much of this particular emotion was due to the novelty of using the computer and whether it would wear off as time went along. Although these students were doing this work after-school, they noted that they would much prefer using the computer and Riverdeep during class time instead of doing “bookwork.” Researcher Observations The researchers were able to observe this after-school program on several occasions. In the observation notes, it was determined that students were able to focus for about 20 to 30 minutes at a sitting prior to becoming distracted. The students wore headsets to hear the computer sound better rather than using external speakers. Indicative of active student engagement was the quiet room during Destination Math time. If a student had a problem, he raised his hand to get the teacher’s attention. Most student problems related to technical issues, rather than an understanding of the process needed to properly perform the module. It seemed the students had already learned the software navigation process in previous sessions.
  37. 37. 37 According to teacher comments recorded in researcher notes, initially Riverdeep was not the most of stable of technical environments. Occasionally the software caused a “looping” process remedied only by restarting the computer. The teachers indicated fewer technical issues since software and hardware upgrades in early January. Teachers also noted the high dropout rate of students. When queried about this, the two teachers agreed that a voluntary program would not seem to be effective in getting students to this intervention program.
  38. 38. 38 Discussion Reflection & Revision Student research started in March 2003 and concluded in April 2003. Using the feedback received from students and teachers, the researchers were able to make modifications that would help in the future when using the Destination Math program. Some of the modifications suggested and implemented were as follows: 1. Destination Math software was put on its own server rather than running as an application on the school server used for file and printer sharing. This allowed the program to run much smoother and faster, distributing web contents more efficiently. On the previous server, web content delivery speed was inconsistent due to an overworked processor, resource requirements of SQL, and Riverdeep software problems. Re-installation of Riverdeep on a single server coincided with a software upgrade, eliminating other Riveredeep technical issues. A planned Linux web-proxy server implemented at each school increases Riverdeep web content delivery speed across the WAN by caching web pages locally. Riverdeep performance to both local and distant desktops improved with these changes. 2. School site meetings determined a need to start the math intervention program much earlier in the school year. The after-school intervention program began only after the school year was already two-thirds completed during the 2002-2003 school year. Additional time a student spends in the math after- school program, and using Riverdeep, will better supplement classroom efforts to develop skills needed to pass the math proficiency.
  39. 39. 39 3. Teachers will receive additional training on effective Riverdeep use, as technical issues negated previous training. Ongoing instructional support and planning time provide increased familiarization with the product, processes and procedures. The school has also committed increased release time for a pilot group of teachers to develop a practical classroom model for Riverdeep use prior to school-wide implementation. The pilot group will then act as local mentors to all Cardozo Middle School math teachers. The researchers for this project were conducting research to answer the following questions: 1. How will the use of Destination Math affect student achievement on math achievement scores? The researchers noted student participants took the Riverbank Unified School District math proficiency a second time and still did not pass the proficiency. The students’ scores did increase but were still not sufficient to pass the proficiency. 2. How will the use of the Destination Math program affect student attitudes toward math? Student attitudes towards math have changed as indicated by the conducted research. The researchers found that students describe the learning satisfaction as favorable and agreed that they enjoyed working with the Destination Math program versus learning the same material from a textbook. Action Plan Summary In view of the limited period and rapid snap shot of Destination Math, one of the researcher’s goals is to reuse this Action Research project and process for the next school year, better determining product efficacy. The considerable expense of this
  40. 40. 40 learning environment indicates that the Cardozo Middle School is committed to the continued use of this software product. There have been, and continue to be, additional computer hardware purchases for all math classrooms to make full use of this product. Planning for ongoing staff development to increase staff use of Destination Math is essential. The use of this software as a browser-based, Intranet or Internet accessed, learning tool, is unique for this district. It is the perspective of the researchers that any future large-scale learning environment purchases should be web-based to provide simplified and ubiquitous access to all constituents. LAN-based products, by comparison, are not as effectively suited to service a variety of schools and student grade levels. Implications Completion of the study and examination of the results suggests a positive correlation between students using Destination Math and an increase in their math proficiency test scores. Use of Destination Math also supports a potential for more positive student attitudes toward math. However, the limited quantity and quality of the study data requires further verification by another more rigorous study of Riverdeep Destination Math. Results of this study can be important because of the American public’s high expectations involving technology curriculum integration and the substantive data supporting its effectiveness. The population from which the study sample was drawn was relatively narrow. The participants were all members of an after-school, voluntary math program. The
  41. 41. 41 district should actively study a larger number of students to judge the software’s efficacy. Riverbank Unified School District spent $35,000 to purchase Riverdeep Destination Math software and $40,000 to purchase computers for math classrooms. Students can access this software from all school sites as well as from homes. Initial implementation of this software program provided three days of staff development. However, technical problems negated this initial training. Considering the significant funds spent on software and hardware, the district needs to continue additional staff development assisting teachers to implement Riverdeep into classroom and after- school settings. Interventions mandated by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 require schools to act aggressively to alleviate student failure (Brady, 2003). Riverdeep Destination Math, appropriately implemented, can be an aggressive attempt to mitigate student mathematics failure. The district needs to make a determined effort for an appropriate Riverdeep implementation in coming years. The accumulation of all student data, regardless of source, is essential for “adequate yearly improvement” indicators and as aids to Data Driven Decision Making (Brady, 2003). As full integration of Destination Math at Cardozo Middle School occurs, data derived from the software will be an additional tool in helping determine future curriculum decisions.
  42. 42. 42 Appendix The following pages include appendices related to documentation of student and staff data input, as well as screen shots of student use of Riverdeep Destination Math. As currently implemented by the Riverbank Unified School District, Riverdeep Destination Math software is accessible both locally and by Internet at: http://riverdeep.riverbank.k12.ca.us/riverdeep/lms/login/login1.asp.
  43. 43. 43 Appendix #1 – Informed Consent INFORMED CONSENT FORM FOR PARTICIPANTS You are invited to participate in a study being conducted by Terry Scott and Kathy Briggs, master level students from Sacramento State University and employees of Riverbank Unified School District. The project focuses on using the computer program Accelerated Math to help students learn math concepts. The researchers are particularly interested to discover if technology is helping students to understand and learn the math skills needed to pass the math tests that are required in the math classes. If you decide to participate, you will be asked to take part in an interview and survey. These will be conducted at a convenient time and place for you. The interview and survey should take one hour of your time Participation in the project is completely voluntary. If you do not want to participate in the project, you may withdraw at any time. Your confidentiality will be protected throughout the study. Any audiotapes of interviews and any other data obtained from you will be kept confidential and will not be viewed by anyone but the researchers. All audio or videotapes will be retained in a locked cabinet or other locked storage area. The tapes will be erased at the completion of the project. There are no anticipated benefits or risks to you as a participant, aside from helping us have a better understanding of how technology can help students learn math concepts. If you have any questions about the research project, you can call Terry Scott at 869-2538 or Kathy Briggs at 869-1891. Thank you for your participation! If you do not want your child to participate in this research project please sign this form and return it to Mr. Cox or Ms. Smith. I do not want my child to participate in this research project: ____________________________________________ ________________ Parent Signature Date ____________________________________________ ________________ Student Signature Date
  44. 44. 44 Appendix #2 – Student Survey #1 Riverdeep Survey Student Name__________________________________________________________ Grade_________________ Check One: ____Boy ____Girl Teacher ______________________________________________________________ Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements by circling your response. 1. I like math. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 2. I think I am good at math. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 3. I learned more math this year than I did last year. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 4. I spent more time on math this year than I did last year. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 5. The pace of this math class is just right. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 6. I average the following number of hours on math homework each week. Less than 1 2 3 4 5 More than 5
  45. 45. 45 Appendix #3 – Student Survey #2 Riverdeep Survey Student Name__________________________________________________________ Grade_________________ Check One: ____Boy ____Girl Teacher ______________________________________________________________ Please indicate how much you agree with the following statements by circling your response. 7. I like math. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 8. I think I am good at math. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 9. I learned more math this year than I did last year. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 10. I spent more time on math this year than I did last year. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 11. The pace of this math class is just right. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 12. I average the following number of hours on math homework each week. Less than 1 2 3 4 5 More than 5 13. I like math better this year than last year. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 14. It was easy to learn how to use the computer. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 15. I learn math better with the computer instead of only with a book. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree 16. I feel confident that I can pass the tests that the computer gives me. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree
  46. 46. 46 Appendix #4 – Teacher Survey Riverdeep Survey Teacher Name________________________________________________________________ Date_________________ Grade ___________ Please compare this year’s teaching experience using Accelerated Math with your past math teaching experiences. Feel free to elaborate on your responses by writing comments, using additional paper if necessary. 17. My students are learning basic math skills better this year. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t know 18. My students are learning higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills better this year. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t know 19. My students are progressing through math topics faster this year. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t know 20. My students are more confident in math this year. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t know 21. My students enjoy math more this year. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t know 22. My students are more motivated to work at math this year. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t know 23. My students take more responsibility for their math work this year. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t know 24. My students spend more time doing math this year. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t know 25. My students math time is more productive this year. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t know 26. My students are helping each other more and working more cooperatively this year. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t know 27. I have fewer discipline problems in math class this year. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t know
  47. 47. 47 28. I am better able to deal with my students’ different ability levels this year. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t know 29. I am better able to diagnose and correct individual student difficulties this year. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t know 30. The information provided by Destination Math enables me to teach more effectively than in previous years. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t know 31. I spend less time grading papers and keeping records this year. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t know 32. I spend more time teaching and helping individual students this year. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t know 33. Did you change the way you teach math because of using Accelerated Math? Please explain. 34. Did you keep your whole class together in their work using Accelerated Math, allow students to work at their own rates through the objectives, or have another system? Please explain. 35. Do you thin Accelerated Math had a positive effect on girls’ achievement in math, their attitude towards math, or their confidence? Please explain. 36. How would you describe student interactions in your math class? For example, were students helping each other informally? Were they working in assigned groups? Please explain. 37. Teachers using Accelerated Math have reported that students learn math through various combinations of whole-class lessons, one-on-one explanations, small group instruction, students learning on their own, students working cooperatively, or other means. How do students learn math in your class?
  48. 48. 48 38. If your students spend more time doing math this year, is this due to an increase in the math period time, more efficient use of class time, or some other factor? Please explain. 39. Does Accelerated Math help prepare your students for high-stakes testing? Please explain. (This question may not apply to you.) 40. Please list the Accelerated Math reports that you find most valuable and briefly explain how you use them. Please write any comments you may have:
  49. 49. 49 Appendix #5 – Riverdeep Login screenshot Appendix #6 – Riverdeep Module screenshot
  50. 50. 50 Appendix #7 – Riverdeep Tutorial screenshot Appendix #8 – Riverdeep Student Assessment screenshot
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