Electronic Proceedings of the Seventh Annual International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics

Orlando, Florida, November 17-20, 1994

Paper C004

CAI in Precalculus

Bob Tilidetzke

Charleston Southern University
P. O. Box 118087
Charleston, SC 29423-8087

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A pilot study was done during the Fall 1993 semester to compare methods of instruction in two sections of Precalculus taught by the author. One section was designated experimental, the other control. Three sections of the text material were used in the pilot study. One section was on graphs of functions and included the concepts of the vertical line test, piece-wise defined functions, increasing or decreasing functions, odd or even functions, and symmetry with respect to either the origin or the y-axis. A second section covered six basic functions, such as the absolute value function, the square root function, and the cubing function. This section included the aides to graphing of vertical shrinking or stretching, reflection about the x axis, vertical shifts, and horizontal shifts. The third section contained the basic concepts of quadratic functions, eg., vertex and axis of symmetry. The experimental group used CAI in lab assignments to supplement the instruction, while the control group only received classroom instruction.

The results of the pilot study and a follow-up study done in the Spring 1994 semester are reported here. In both studies no significant differences in test scores were found between the control and experimental groups.

Keyword(s): precalculus, computer algebra systems, assessment