Susan Kedroski

CECS 5610

Assignment #1


Enyedy, N., Gifford, B. & Vahey, P.( 2000). Learning Probablity Through the Use of a Collaborative, Inquiry-Based Simulation Experiment. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 11(1), 51-84.


Principle:  This article attempts to assess whether a computer simulation aids in the instruction of a probability unit.


Design:  The sample for this experiment consisted of two seventh grade classes that implemented the PIE (Probability Inquiry Environment) curriculum (computer simulation) and two sections of seventh graders taught in a traditional manner.  Each class was administered a pre and posttest.


Independent Variable:  The use of a computer simulation in addition to the traditional curriculum.


Dependant Variable:  Student achievement in the mathematics domain of probability.


Procedures:  The pre and posttests were constructed from standardized tests and suggestions from the NCTM (National Council of Teachers in Mathematics).  The research focused on the posttest and even gave examples of actual test questions.  The research did not mention the pretest, other than it was easier than the posttest.  The test was multiple choice and short answer.  A blind scoring process was used so that the researcher did not know to which groups the students belonged.


Results:  A three way analyses of variance was carried out on three factors:  condition, gender, and test score.  Both the condition and the test score had a significant main effect.  The gender factor was found to have no main effect.  In addition, t-tests were done on the pre and posttests.  There were no significant differences between the two groups on the pretest, but a significant difference on the posttest.


Comments:  As a math teacher, probability continues to be a topic that students struggle to learn.  It is important to have students conduct probability experiments, but I can see how a computer simulation could make things more efficient and time could be better spent on discussion.