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Deepening the Analysis: Longitudinal Assessment of a Problem-Centered

Terry Wood, Patricia Sellers 

March 1997, Volume 28, Issue 2, Page 163

Longitudinal analyses of the mathematical achievement and beliefs of 3 groups of elementary pupils are presented. The groups consist of those students who had received 2 years of problem-centered mathematics instruction, those who had received 1 year, and those who had received textbook instruction. Comparisons are made for the groups using a standardized norm-referenced achievement test from first through fourth grade. Next, student comparisons are made using instruments developed to measure conceptual understanding of arithmetic and beliefs and motivation for learning mathematics. The results of the analyses indicate that after 2 years in problem-centered classes, students have significantly higher achievement on standardized achievement measures, better conceptual understanding, and more task-oriented beliefs for learning mathematics than do those in textbook instruction. In addition, these differences remain after problem-centered students return to classes using textbook instruction. Comparisons of pupils in problem-centered classes for only 1 year reveal that after returning to textbook instruction, these students' mathematical achievement and beliefs are more similar to the textbook group. Also included are exploratory analyses of the pedagogical beliefs held by teachers before and after teaching in problem-centered classes, and those held by teachers in textbook classes. The results of the student and teacher analyses are interpreted in light of research on children's construction of nonstandard algorithms and the nature of classroom environments.

Curriculum Developer
Grades 3-5
Conceptual Development
Higher Education
Large Scale Studies
Skill and Fluency
Problem Solving / Problem Posing