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The relationship between field-independence and instructional strategy on performance on elementary mathematics algorithms. O'Brien, Margaret Anne

Abstract

A study was conducted to determine the interaction effect, if any, between the field-independence construct and two instructional strategies, a pattern strategy which used diagrams extensively and an algebraic strategy which used algebraic field properties familiar to the child and was devoid of diagrams. Two algorithms classified as simple and two algorithms classified as complex formed the content of the instructional materials. One half the children in each of twelve grade five classes, which were participating in a study conducted by a doctoral student, were randomly selected to form the sample of the study. The Children's Embedded Figures Test was individually administered to the sample. Three null hypotheses were tested each at < = .05. These were: (1) There is no significant difference in mean post-test scores between students taught by a pattern instructional strategy and students taught by an algebraic instructional strategy; (2) There is no significant difference in mean post-test scores between groups of students differing in degree of field independence; (3) There is no significant interaction between students' degree of field independence and instructional strategy. Multiple linear regression techniques were used to analyse the data. The results of the study indicated that extreme field independent children did respond differently to the two instructional strategies, although for the sample as a whole the two strategies did not produce significantly different results. For extreme field independent students, the algebraic strategy was superior to the pattern strategy.

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