Title page for ETD etd-01182005-111607


Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Du Preez, Anna Elizabeth
URN etd-01182005-111607
Document Title Format and long-term effect of a technique mastering programme in first year Calculus
Degree MSc (Mathematics Education)
Department Mathematics and Applied Mathematics
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Prof J C Engelbrecht Co-Supervisor
Dr A F Harding Supervisor
Keywords
  • no key words available
Date 2005-04-06
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
The research on the format and long-term effect of a technique mastering

programme in the first year Calculus course involves a group of first year engineering

students at the University of Pretoria. Apart from conceptual understanding these

students are also expected to master a certain amount of basic knowledge and rote

skills in the Calculus course. The process of acquiring and assessing basic knowledge

and rote skills (also referred to as must knows and techniques, respectively) is known

as the technique mastering programme at the University of Pretoria.

This study addresses two research questions. The first question deals with the issue as

to whether the paper-based assessment format for the technique mastering programme

in first year Calculus can be replaced by computer-based assessment without a

significant difference in performance. The second question deals with the long-term

effect of the techniques mastering programme and the study investigates which and

how much of the knowledge and skills embedded by the technique mastering

programme in the first year is retained after a further two years of study.

In answer to the first question, the study shows that statistically there is no

significant difference in performance in the technique mastering tests when the paper

format is replaced by an online format. Yet, for a large group of students the logistics

are formidable and the change to the online format under investigation is not

practically feasible. The second part of the study shows that, in general, there is a

disappointing decline in performance over a period of two years. There are, however,

areas in which students performed better after the elapsed period. The research is of

diagnostic value in determining the future of the technique mastering program with

regard to both its format and contents.

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