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Prior knowledge, attitude and strategy use in an introduction to statistics course


Authors: 
Schutz, P. A., Drogosz, L. M., White, V. E., & Distefano, C.
Type: 
Category: 
Year: 
1997
Publisher: 
University of Georgia: University of Akron
Place: 
Athens, Georgia: Akron, Ohio
Abstract: 

The present study used both quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate the learning and motivational strategies used by students in a beginning-level statistics course. The research questions that guided the investigation are: (1) Do motivational variables account for unique variance in the academic performance of statistics students?, (2) Do deeper-level processing strategies account for unique variance in the academic performance of statistics students?, and (3) Do successful students report using different motivation and learning strategies than unsuccessful students in a beginning-level statistics course? Ninety-four students enrolled in six sections of the same course over a two-year period completed measures designed to assess attitudes about statistics, motivation and learning strategies use as well as previous math and statistics knowledge. In addition, randomly selected participants were interviewed about how they prepared for their midterm exam. The results of the study show that both motivation and learning strategies variables influenced performance in the introduction to statistics class. These results help to expand our understanding of what is involved in the process of learning statistics. Also, suggestions for teaching statistics are explored.

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