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A comparative study of a computer programming and a textbook approach in teaching the concept of variable

Ortiz, E., & MacGregor, S. K.
Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, April
New Orleans

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether there were significant differences in understanding the concept of variable and in attitudes toward mathematics among sixth-grade students (n=89) who use a Logo graphics approach, students who used a textbook-based approach, and students who received no instruction on the concept of variable. The Test of Logical Thinking (TOLT), Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS), and Robustness Semantic Differential (RSD) were administered as pretreatment measures. The Understanding of the Concept of Variable Instrument (UCVI) was administered immediately and three weeks after the experiment ceased. Although the results indicated there was no significant difference between computer and textbook-based groups with respect to understanding the concept of variable immediately after treatment, there was a significant difference (p < .01) between the two groups with respect to long-term retention (three weeks after treatment ceased). There were significant positive correlations between CTBS and TOLT scores and UCVI scores.