Thesis Title

Improving Students' Attitudes About Statisitcs Ability through Integration of Statistical Software With Statistics Instruction

Graduation Date

Spring 2005

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form

Print

Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name

Education

Program Director

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD

Abstract

Over one third of students who seek help at university counseling centers state that their problem is mathematics related anxiety (Richardson & Suinn, 1972). Preconceived notions about statistics, feelings of weak mathematical background, and limited computer exposure may increase student anxiety and fear in undergraduate and graduate courses in statistics. The purpose of this study is to explore computer-based mathematics and content area learning along with student anxiety and attitudes toward statistics learning. The study researches whether the utilization of the statistics software Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS®) in statistics learning improves student attitudes about statistics and student statistics ability. Many researchers have examined student anxiety regarding mathematics, statistics, computers, and tests in general pointing to a need for well-developed theoretical models for computer learning and student attitudes toward self-concept on ability to learn subject matter. This study utilized the Survey of Attitudes Toward Statistics (SATS) (Appendix C) to collect data from study participants. Thirty-one male and female adult, undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in evening and daytime nursing and psychology Research Methods, Field Placement and Directed Research courses at Dominican University of California participated in the study. Although there was no significant difference in attitude towards statistics between those students responding positively that SPSS® increased their statistics ability and those students responding negatively that SPSS® did not increase their statistics ability, the 71 percent of students responding positively that using SPSS® increased their statistics ability was significantly greater than the 29 percent responding that it did not. Findings indicate a need for further research on how statistical software instruction, specifically SPSS® instruction, can best be effectively integrated into statistical studies programs.

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