Sample And Demographic Background Of Students Education Essay

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Introduction

This chapter will explain how the study will be conducted to generate the data needed to address each research question stated in Chapter 1. Also included in this chapter will be the study design, specification of the chosen sample, outlines of study procedures, the instruments used, and the data collection tools and techniques used to analyze the data collected.

Study Design

This research study will require a combination of both Quantitative and Qualitative research methods in order to gather the necessary required data to answer the four research questions as stated in the first chapter. The Quantitative data will be gathered using the students' achievement scores in both the pre-tests and post-tests and the qualitative data will be obtained from the interview sessions with a few randomly selected students and also from video observations.

Objectives

The research aimed to investigate the extent of improvement in the students' achievement in Trigonometry with the aids of ICT tools. Another objective of the research was to investigate if there was any correlation between having done Additional Mathematics in O-Levels and students' achievement. The research carried out also aimed to investigate if there was any correlation between gender and students' achievement. Finally, the researcher hoped to find out the difficulties that students faced when learning Trigonometry.

Study Framework

The table below shows the framework for the study.

Table 3.1

Research Study Framework

Research Questions

Data Type

Instrument

Data Collection Strategy

Data Analysis

To what extent does learning Trigonometry with ICT-enhanced activities improve students' achievements in Trigonometry?

Quantitative and Qualitative

A paper and pencil pre and post test paper marked out of 35.

Observation and Video-recording

Written tests

Lesson Observations

Descriptive and statistical significance

Transcribed

Is there a correlation between having done Additional Mathematics in the O-Levels and students' achievement in the learning of Trigonometry?

Quantitative

A paper and pencil pre and post test paper marked out of 35.

Written tests

Descriptive and statistical significance

Is there a correlation between gender and students' achievement in the learning of Trigonometry?

Quantitative

A paper and pencil pre and post test paper marked out of 35.

Written tests

Descriptive and statistical significance

What are the problems / difficulties encountered by students in the learning and understanding of Trigonometry?

Quantitative and Qualitative

A paper and pencil pre and post test paper marked out of 35.

Interview scripts

Written tests

Student interviews

Descriptive and statistical significance

Transcribed

Sample and Demographic Background of Students

The study will be carried out at a new Sixth Form Centre in Brunei Darussalam. The school has an estimated 550 students in both Upper and Lower Sixth levels.

The sample chosen for this study comprised 4 classes of Lower Sixth mixed ability students undertaking Advanced Level Mathematics.

Table 3.2

Sample Classes and Students' Background Knowledge

Class

Lower 6 Block

No. of Students

No. of Students With Additional Mathematics Qualification

Male

Female

1

(Experimental)

11

13

9

2B

(Experimental)

11

11

8

4

(Control)

5

15

7

5

(Control)

8

8

8

Table 3.2 shows the classes from which the sample for the study are taken, the number of boys and girls in the respective classes and their background knowledge of Additional Mathematics i.e. whether the students have taken up Additional Mathematics during their O-Levels.

Lesson Design

Table 3.3

Sample Classes and Procedure Outlines

Class

Lower 6 Block

Procedures

Pre-Test

ICT based Instructions

Post-Test

1

(Experimental)

√

√

√

2B

(Experimental)

√

√

√

4

(Control)

√

X

√

5

(Control)

√

X

√

Table 3.3 briefly illustrates how the samples groups were studied. There are 2 experimental groups (Blocks 1 and 2B) and 2 control groups (Blocks 4 and 5) from the same school chosen for the study. The experimental groups will be exposed to teaching using ICT whereas the control groups will be taught using traditional method of teaching (chalk-and-talk method).

Control Groups

The materials used in the teaching of the control groups consist of prepared notes, whiteboard and exercises. The teacher teaching the control groups will give the instructions through the traditional method that is by delivering lectures using the notes and the whiteboard. The teacher requires the students to solve the exercises given in the notes after having shown a few examples on the whiteboard. Daily assignments will be given to the students and checked regularly by the teacher.

Experimental Groups

The students from the experimental groups will receive ICT-based lessons. The researcher (i.e. the facilitator) will deliver the lessons by providing worksheets that contained activities which required the use of Mathematical Software. The software used will either be pre-installed by the facilitator before any lesson is conducted or downloaded from the internet. The software includes Geogebra applet software (Internet based) and also Autograph (pre-installed).

Meeting

A meeting was held with the Principal of the selected school to seek permission to conduct the research. Another meeting was held with the cooperating tutors to seek permission to use their classes for the research study. The cooperating tutor from the experimental groups was then provided with the details of the study i.e. the objectives and how the lessons will be conducted.

Instruments

Different instruments will be designed to collect the required data to answer the research questions for the study.

Pre-test and Post-test

Two tests (pre and post tests) will be administered to the students from all 4 sample groups. The tests will be the main instruments used in the study to answer the second research question i.e. "To what extent does learning Trigonometry with ICT-enhanced activities improve students' achievements in Trigonometry?" The test items were taken from past examination papers (Cambridge International Examinations 2004 - 2011). All the test papers will have the same number of questions and a total of 35 marks. The test questions mainly focused on solving trigonometric equations and proving trigonometric identities.

Reliability of Test

The test items for the pre-test were piloted with a class of 22 Upper Sixth Form students from the same Sixth Form College. The data collected from the test was then analyzed for reliability using SPSS software and the results yielded a Cronbach Alpha of 0.764 and a Split-Half coefficient of 0.795.

Worksheets

ICT based worksheets will be handed out to the students from the experimental group. These worksheets will serve as teaching notes which consist of hands-on activities for students to try using the applied software. The worksheets were designed to introduce a new learning environment to the students to help enhance their understanding of the Trigonometric concepts.

In addition to the worksheets, a simple guideline was designed by the researcher to be given to the students as an introduction to the Autograph Software which will be used during the intervention. A whole lesson will be spent on the introduction of the software so that the students could spend some time familiarizing themselves before actually using the software for the worksheet activities set for them.

ICT activity 1 - Discovering Trigonometric Ratios

The activity required the students to make use of dynamic geometric software "Geogebra" which the main objective of the activity was to be able to discover the trigonometric ratio formulae which were:

Sine of an angle is the ratio of the opposite side with that of its hypotenuse.

Cosine of an angle is the ratio of the adjacent side with that of its hypotenuse.

Using (1) and (2) students were then able to discover that:

Tangent of an angle is the ratio of the sine of the angle with the cosine of the angle.

ICT activity 2 - Understanding the Amplitude, Period and Vertical Shifts of Trigonometric Graphs

This activity required the students to make use of dynamic geometry software "Autograph" to sketch graphs of basic trigonometric functions. Before this activity was implemented into the lesson, students were given a whole lesson to try out the software with the help of a prepared guidebook. Students were to familiarize themselves with the operations of the software.

ICT activity 3 - Solving Trigonometric Equations Through The Use of Graph Sketching

Students were first required to solve the trigonometric equations using the working method and then check their solutions by sketching the graphs of the given equations using "Autograph".

The students from the control group were taught using lesson notes prepared by their tutor and also textbooks.

Interviews

Interviews will be conducted with a random sample of students selected from the experimental groups. The main objective of the interview was to identify the problems or difficulties the student faced during the learning process and also to identify any possible flaws in the lessons such as difficulty in using the software or preference of teaching method. The data gathered from the interviews was then used to answer the final research question, "What are the problems / difficulties encountered by students in the learning and understanding of Trigonometry?"

Video-recording

The lessons conducted in both experimental groups will be video-recorded and then analyzed to provide supportive qualitative evidence in answering the first research question.

Treatment of Data

Qualitative Data

Data collected from the interview sessions will be transcribed and analyzed. All the important information analyzed will be categorized according to themes in order to address the research questions.

Any information obtained from the video recordings will be used and included as part of the findings.

Quantitative Data

The post-test results will be analyzed using the SPSS software and then compared to the pre-test results. Different data analyses were conducted and comparisons were made accordingly using the results obtained and will be discussed later on in the report.

Summary

This chapter has summarized the design of the study being a combination of both a Qualitative and Quantitative research. The objectives of the study were mentioned in this chapter with the main focus of gathering data to answer the research questions that have guided this research.

The methodology used to gather the necessary information to answer the research questions was also discussed in a study framework presented in the chapter. Also discussed in this chapter was the demographic background of the students chosen for this study. A total of 82 students from four classes in the Lower Sixth were selected for this study where two classes were treated as the experimental groups and another two classes treated as the control groups.

The students from the experimental groups received their lessons through the use of ICT-based activities whereas the control groups were taught using the traditional method of teaching.

This chapter has discussed the instruments used to gather data for this research which included the pre-test and post-test questions, how and where the questions were obtained, worksheets for the students in the experimental groups, interviews with a few randomly selected students from the experimental groups and video-recordings.

Treatment of the data gathered was also discussed where the qualitative data from the interview sessions will be transcribed and the video recordings will be used as additional support to the evidence. The quantitative data gathered will be analyzed using a statistical software package (SPSS).

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