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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Evaluation of a computer-administered challenging teaching strategy. Floyd, Ann Rosalind

Abstract

This study was motivated by the belief that teaching a student in a challenging way would increase his ability to apply what he had learned to new, though related, problems. A specific challenging teaching strategy was chosen, which attempted to challenge all students appropriately, and to give the minimum amount of help. It was administered by the computer, which considerably facilitated the use of such an individualised strategy. The evaluation was done by comparing the effects of the challenging teaching strategy with those of a linear program, also computer-administered. A linear program was considered to exemplify an unchallenging approach. Both programs taught elementary base five arithmetic to Grade Six students, the students being assigned to the programs at random. The effects of the two strategies were then measured by means of a post-test. This aimed at evaluating both the grasp of the basic material and the ability to extrapolate from it to solve new problems in the same general subject area. The results of the post-test showed that both strategies succeeded in teaching the basic material equally well, so that neither strategy gave the student an advantage in this respect. However, the challenged group of students showed far greater ability to extrapolate from the material than did the linear program group, with an average, score over 45% better. This was significant at the .007 level. These results suggest that further investigation of the merits and application of a challenging teaching strategy should be eminently worthwhile.

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