Proposal Title

A Quantitative and Qualitative Comparison of Homework Structures in Undergraduate Mathematics

Proposal Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relative effectiveness of an online homework assessment structure in a multivariable calculus class and a precalculus class. Historically, the multivariable calculus course utilized a traditional textbook homework assignment system, with occasional problems collected and graded by the professor. While this traditional structure was effective in providing students with feedback in preparation for exams, it was believed to be less effective in terms of enforcing regular daily practice of calculus skills. In Fall 2010, students completed homework problems using an online program that required them to continue to solve problems until they reached a specified level of mastery. We measured outcomes both quantitatively (pre- and post-semester surveys of student behaviors, motivations and attitudes; grade comparisons between the group currently enrolled in the course and a group enrolled in a previous semester) and qualitatively (focus groups with a semi-structured interview protocol and multiple coders). The results of this study (completed in December 2010) were used to inform future decisions regarding homework structures in an introductory-level precalculus course in Fall 2012.

Location

Room 113

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Mar 27th, 4:00 PM Mar 27th, 5:30 PM

A Quantitative and Qualitative Comparison of Homework Structures in Undergraduate Mathematics

Room 113

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relative effectiveness of an online homework assessment structure in a multivariable calculus class and a precalculus class. Historically, the multivariable calculus course utilized a traditional textbook homework assignment system, with occasional problems collected and graded by the professor. While this traditional structure was effective in providing students with feedback in preparation for exams, it was believed to be less effective in terms of enforcing regular daily practice of calculus skills. In Fall 2010, students completed homework problems using an online program that required them to continue to solve problems until they reached a specified level of mastery. We measured outcomes both quantitatively (pre- and post-semester surveys of student behaviors, motivations and attitudes; grade comparisons between the group currently enrolled in the course and a group enrolled in a previous semester) and qualitatively (focus groups with a semi-structured interview protocol and multiple coders). The results of this study (completed in December 2010) were used to inform future decisions regarding homework structures in an introductory-level precalculus course in Fall 2012.