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Effects of graphing calculators on eighth grade students' achievement in graphs of linear equations and concept of slope

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2008
Önür, Yurdagül
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of graphing calculators on eight grade students’ achievement in graphing linear equations and concept of slope. Pretest-posttest experimental-control group design was utilized in the study. While the students in experimental group (EG) received instruction about graphs of linear equations and concept of slope with graphing calculators, the students in control group (CG) was taught the same topics without using graphing calculators. There were 27 students (13 girls and 14 boys) in each group. Students in both EG and CG was administered an achievement test (i.e., MAT) consisting of questions related to graphing linear equations and slope concept before and after the instruction. Additionally, the teacher and six students from the EG were interviewed. The data obtained from students’ post test scores of MAT were analyzed by Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). A statistically significant difference was found between the achievements of students in experimental and control groups. However, gender had no statistically significant effect on students’ post test scores of MAT. Additionally, students’ pre-test scores of MAT and their mathematics grades of the second semester of the seventh grade (MGS) were analysed by independent samples t-test. The results showed no statistically significant difference. On the other hand, the analysis of interview data revealed that graphing calculators affected students’ attitudes towards mathematics in a positive way. Students had no considerable difficulty while using graphing calculators and they found studying with graphing calculators enjoyable. In summary, the results of the study showed that when graphing calculators used at elementary school level, they had positive effects on students’ achievement and in some respects to their attitude. Consequently, integration of graphing calculators to elementary mathematics curriculum may be beneficial for students and teachers.