AMA International University Bahrain (BAHRAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 3294-3301
ISBN: 978-84-695-3491-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
This study investigated the effects of personalized instruction on the attitude and performance of Bahraini students towards algebraic word problem solving. A total of 49 students in College Algebra enrolled in the first trimester, SY 2010 – 2012 was used as subjects of the study. A pre-test was administered and scored as the basis of determining the high and low ability levels of students in Mathematics. The examination used as pre-test was formulated by the author and was field tested by the Algebra professors before it was conducted for this purpose. Personalization in instruction was introduced through a personalized modular instruction (in terms of content and procedure translated with translation in Arabic) followed by exercises/drills (also written in English and translated in Arabic). Students were engaged in active learning through direct instruction using the Mayer’s model from the teacher, small group discussion, peer mentoring and follow-up session/s by the teacher. Analysis of transcripts was done to determine the remediation to be utilized. After the execution of the lessons for 6 sessions, the students were given a post-test and student attitude survey. It was found out that the students who were exposed to the constructive learning environment through personalized instruction performed better and developed better attitude towards algebraic word problem solving tasks: a highly significant effect on the academic performance of the student towards problem solving and a moderately high impact model of variability (90.8 %) in their academic performance.
The articulation of the above mentioned findings were based on the two theory-based explanations for the effectiveness of personalized instruction in studies offered by various researchers where it has yielded better results than nonpersonalization. One is that students’ greater familiarity with personalized problem situations and content enable them to solve problems more easily by reducing their cognitive load (Cobb, Stephan, McClain, & Gravemeijer, 2001; Lerman, 2001; Lopez & Sullivan, 1991, 1992; Miller & Kulhavy, 1991; Ku & Sulivan, 2002). This position is supported by d’Ailly, Simpson, and MacKinnon’s (1997) in Ku & Sulivan (2002) statement that “self-referencing facilitates general encoding processes and decreases the load on working memory during problem solving”
The second explanation is based on interest theory (Mayer, 1998) as cited in Ku & Sulivan (2002). Mayer notes that students exert more effort and are more successful solving problems that interest them than problems that do not. Several researchers have cited greater student interest and motivation as reasons for better performance under personalized instruction (Cobb, Stephan, McClain, & Gravemeijer, 2001; Lerman, 2001; Cordova & Lepper, 1996; Lopez & Sullivan, 1992; Ross & Anand, 1987; Ku & Sulivan, 2002). The reduced-cognitive-load and increased-interest explanations appear to be compatible with one another rather than being alternative or competing explanations.
The crux is: The success in working out word problems depends largely on one’s ability to translate it into a mathematical model; although no standard technique for solving a word problem is prescribed.
Personalized Instruction, Academic Performance, Student Attitude, Constructive learning environment, Cooperative Learning, Direct Instruction, Active Learning.