Evaluating the effectiveness of doing mathematics warm-up problems with an agricultural context on improving mathematics performance
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate one instructional activity that could be used by agricultural science teachers to improve math performance of students, grades 7- 12. The treatment group (11 schools, 218 students) used math warm-up problems that coincided with topics covered in Agriscience 101, while the control group (13 schools, 170 students) did not use contextual warm-up problems. Both groups were tested with a 30-item word problem exam. Students and teachers in each group were asked questions regarding demographics. Students and teachers in the treatment group were also asked questions related to their perceptions of the activity and TAKS-related materials. The results of the study showed no statistically significant difference in the performance of the groups. The scores for schools in the treatment group had a mean of 18.95 (SD 4.33), while the scores for schools in the control group had a mean of 20.14 (SD 2.35). Hispanic students in the treatment group outperformed all other subgroups in both experimental groups. A majority of students in the treatment group perceived the difficulty level of the warm-up problems as "neutral" (42.2%) or "easy" (29.9%) and did not enjoy doing the warm-up problems (71.8%). Over 40% of the students in the treatment group believed that the warm-up problems were "absolutely" (4.9%) or "probably" (36.8%) beneficial for improving their math skills. Teachers in the treatment group perceived their students' attitudes about doing the warm-up problems as favorable (40%) or indifferent (40%) and all perceived the warm-up problems as being "very beneficial" (33.3%) or "beneficial" (66.6%). Furthermore, teachers were almost unanimous in expressing their desire for more TAKS-related materials based on an agricultural context. In summary, this study showed that the warm-up problems activity did not significantly improve math performance overall, but seemed to have some benefits for Hispanic students.
Jasek, Mary Helen (2005). Evaluating the effectiveness of doing mathematics warm-up problems with an agricultural context on improving mathematics performance. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from