Title page for ETD etd-07082009-113642


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Baggett, Martha Lauren
URN etd-07082009-113642
Title Mathematics Grade 8 LEAP scores: A Predictor of Student Success in Dimensional Analysis?
Degree Master of Natural Sciences (M.N.S.)
Department Natural Sciences (Interdepartmental Program)
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Joseph F. Siebenaller Committee Chair
James J. Madden Committee Member
John W. Lynn Committee Member
Keywords
  • dimensional analysis
  • mathematics ability
  • LEAP
  • chemistry education
Date of Defense 2009-07-06
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
This study investigates whether the Mathematics Grade 8 LEAP score can be used to predict student success in a key concept of chemistry, dimensional analysis. Mathematics Grade 8 LEAP scores of 106 ninth grade students enrolled in physical science during the 2008-09 school year were tested for correlations with student performance on a pre-test of dimensional analysis, a post-test of dimensional analysis, and student learning gain. Significant, positive correlations were observed between the Mathematics Grade 8 LEAP scores and the pre-test scores of dimensional analysis scores, the post-test scores of dimensional analysis scores, and the dimensional analysis student learning gain. To test whether student success in dimensional analysis is dependent upon mathematical ability, student performance in another academic area not related to dimensional analysis, English Language Arts mid-term grades were analyzed. The English midterm grades were not correlated with dimensional analysis. The Mathematics LEAP scores account for 12.4% of the variance in pre-test of dimensional analysis scores, 21.5% of the variance in post-test of dimensional analysis scores, and 6.1% of the variance in student learning gains, suggesting that the LEAP scores are not a stronger predictor of student success in dimensional analysis.

Students were separated into ability groups based on their Mathematics Grade 8 LEAP scores to test how mathematics ability relates to student performance in dimensional analysis. Mean pre-test scores of dimensional analysis, post-test scores of dimensional analysis, and student learning gains were compared in high ability and low ability groups using a Mann-Whitney test. Significant differences were observed in all three measures tested, mean pre-test scores of dimensional analysis, mean post-test scores of dimensional analysis, and mean dimensional analysis student learning gain.

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