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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A comparison of the inductive and the deductive methods in teaching two units of sequential mathematics in heterogeneous classes of the senior high school Holyoke, Frederick Vernon


Problem: Does the inductive method offer advantages over the deductive for heterogeneous classes in Senior High School mathematics? A proposal is made that all students in such classes start together with practical applications and that each proceed as far into theory as he is able. There is some question, however, as to whether the inductive order and style of presentation would result in loss of learning, especially in the theoretical aspects, as compared with the deductive method. To help answer this question a controlled experiment was conducted in which two classes, equated by mean and standard deviation on the bases of I.Q. and previous mathematics marks, worked during eight 40 minute periods on elementary trigonometry and during seven similar periods on chords in a circle. This subject matter, the same for both classes, formed part of their regular course in Grade XI mathematics. The inductive group began with practical applications and proceeded to theory while the deductive group followed the reverse order; both classes were held to the same length of time for each type of work, however. Mimeographed sheets were provided to pupils for each lesson. The groups were reversed as to method for the second unit. Teacher-made tests were employed for measuring learning gain. The first unit of the experiment was later carried on with sample classes in two other schools. Results showed no statistically significant differences in general learning gain between the two methods. Results in the first unit by the original sample indicated no loss in the theoretical aspects under the inductive method. Information concerning this feature was not available from the other groups or from the second unit. In general, the evidence favoured the null hypothesis.

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