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Computer-paced versus self-paced arithmetic drill-and-practice Dyck, Anthony Carey


An analysis of the literature showed that there is very little agreement on when and how a computer program should branch a student through a CAI program. This, together with the fact that research in the field of arithmetic has shown that drill should follow effective teaching of concepts, led the author to investigate whether students working on arithmetic drill-and-practice would do better on a COMPUTER-PACED program or a SELF-PACED program. COMPUTER-PACED was defined to be where the computer program determined when the students should be branched to more or lass difficult questions. SELF-PACED was defined to be where the students determined when they were presented more or less difficult questions by pushing one of the two marked keys on the computer terminal. The evaluation was done by comparing the achievement of the COMPUTER-PACED and the SELF-PACED groups. For the length of the study the two groups of grade six students had a daily arithmetic lesson followed by a session at a computer terminal to work on arithmetic drill-and-practice programs. The results of the post-test (adjusted by using a pre-test as a covariate) showed that there was no significant difference between the two selection mechanisms. Further analysis showed that there was no significant difference between the males and females performance and that there was no significant interaction (sex X groups) effect. The results of the study indicate that when working with arithmetic drill-and-practice, students will do as well if the computer program controls when to branch as they would if the students control when to branch to a different level of difficulty.

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