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Date of Award

1976

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Juanita G. Castro

First Committee Member

Carolyn M. Fowle

Second Committee Member

Douglas B. Smith

Third Committee Member

William G. Theimer, Jr.

Fourth Committee Member

Lee Fennell

Abstract

PROBLEM: The problem of this study is to determine the extent to which eighth grade students understand quantitative concepts expressed in United States History textbooks.

PURPOSE: This investigation was conducted to explore the types of quantitative concepts found in eighth grade United States History textbooks, the students' understanding of these concepts, and the relationship between their understanding of these concepts and the variables of math achievement, reading achievement, and grade point average.

PROCEDURES: Two hundred sixty-three students from twelve eighth grade classes in three neighboring school districts were given a Test on Quantitative Concepts designed by the investigator. The students were divided into three groups: t hose using a United States History textbook heavily laden with quantitative terms; those using a United States History textbook with considerably fewer quantitative terms; and those using both of these textbooks . Their Quantitative Concepts Test scores were analyzed to determine whether their understanding of quantitative concepts was affected by the type of textbook used, or by sex, and whether there was a positive correlation between the understanding of quantitative concepts and reading and between quantitative concepts and math.

FINDINGS: By use of the analysis of covariance to adjust for differences in grade point averages, reading, vocabulary, and math scores , no significant differences were found in the understanding of the quantitative terms among the students using either or both of the United States History textbooks. However, boys were found to understand quantitative terms significantly better than did girls. The results also indicated that there were marked relationships between both math and reading ability and the understanding of quantitative concepts. Another finding was that there is no relationship between what students may think their teachers are teaching about quantitative concepts, and the students own understanding of these concepts.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this investigation suggest that as children mature their understanding of quantitative concepts increases. Yet even by the eighth grade, students understand only about two-thirds cf those types of concepts encountered in their texts . Once this fact is accepted, teachers must make conscious efforts to devise strategies to teach these concepts. One such strategy would be to give students. the opportunity to engage in activities that will provide them actual experiences with numbers in the social setting. The major implication of this study is that students, girls perhaps more so than boys, have not had sufficient opportunities to apply logical thought to concrete problems involving quantitative terms.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH: These further investigations are recommended:- (1) An experimental study involving the teaching of quantitative concepts through manipulative mate rials versus the lecture-discussion approach. (2) Teaching quantitative concepts in a math class, integrating them into a social studies course,and measuring gain through pre- and post-tests. (3) A longitudinal study following a specific group of students for two or three yea.rs to study their growth of understanding of these concepts. (4) A study where teachers are told that pre- and post-tests on quantitative terms would be given in the fall and the spring and the teachers dichotomized in terms of heavy emphasis versus little emphasis on quantitative concepts teaching.

Pages

161

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