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A cross-cultural comparison and modeling of information and communication technologies aspects affecting mathematical and problem solving literacy and perceptions of policy makers

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2008
Şahinkayası, Yunis
The purpose of this study was to compare Turkey and the European Union (EU) regarding aspects (use, self-confidence and attitude) of students’ information and communication technologies (ICT), the relationships between ICT aspects and mathematical and problem solving literacy performances, and to understand education policy makers’ perceptions on ICT in Turkey. A multimethod (quantitative and qualitative) research design was used in this study. Country groups an EU member group, a new EU member group and Turkey- were formed on the basis of the status of a country in the EU, and that of having ICT data in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2003. This study has three focuses. The first focus of the present study was to examine similarities and differences in ICT use, self-confidence in ICT and attitudes toward computers in students from Turkey and the EU. The sample of this focus was those students from the EU member group (N=56,610), the new EU member group (N=24,834) and Turkey (N=3,231) who participated in the PISA 2003. Multivariate analysis of covariance - controlling students’ economic, social and cultural status (ESCS) and attitudes toward computers- and univariate analysis of covariance -controlling ESCS- were conducted to see whether students’ ICT aspects differ across country groups. The first focus of the present study indicated that Turkish students have lower self-confidence in using computer and the Internet and they use the Internet less frequently than students in the EU. Contrary to this, the findings of this focus revealed that Turkish students have relatively more positive attitudes toward computers and they use program/software more frequently than do students in the EU. The second focus of the present study was to model the relationships among ICT factors and mathematical and problem solving literacy performances of Turkish and the EU students. The sample of this focus was those students from the EU member group (N=57,787), the new EU member group (N=25,359) and Turkey (N=3,590) who participated in the PISA 2003. The proposed path analytic models were separately tested for each country group. The second focus revealed that students’ socioeconomic and cultural status and selfconfidence in routine computer tasks have positive and medium level relationships with their mathematical and problem solving literacy performances, for all country groups. Furthermore, students’ self-confidence in Internet tasks had a positive and low level relationship with these performances for all country groups. On the other hand, it was found that students’ frequency of computer and Internet use and their self-confidence in high-level computer tasks have generally negative and small relationships with these literacy performances in all country groups. The third focus aimed to investigate education policy makers’ perceptions of the ICT policy making and implementation process in Turkey, and their evaluations of the findings of the quantitative phase of this study. The participants of this focus consisted of seven education policy makers from the Ministry of National Education and universities in Turkey. The data, collected with interviews, were content-analyzed by coding data, identifying, and relating the categories and sub-categories, that is, open, axial and selective coding were conducted respectively. In the third focus of the present study, participants specified the primary issues of ICT policy making and the implementing process in Turkey and made suggestions on these issues. Participants frequently related the findings of the quantitative phase of this study to the economic, social and cultural status of students.