Infusing Measurement Theory, Cognitive Science and Instructional Design into Post-Secondary Developmental Mathematics Courses

Infusing Measurement Theory, Cognitive Science and Instructional Design into Post-Secondary Developmental Mathematics Courses

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  • Create Date August 2, 2018
  • Last Updated August 2, 2018

Infusing Measurement Theory, Cognitive Science and Instructional Design into Post-Secondary Developmental Mathematics Courses

Developmental students present challenges for post-secondary institutions in terms of readiness for an educated labor force. Underprepared individuals often repeat coursework or drop out, leaving behind a wealth of opportunities for employment. Some models for ameliorating these problems in developmental mathematics propose easing of curricular standards. This study however, was aimed at attempting to improve developmental education in mathematics through newly developing theories in psychometrics, cognitive science, and instructional design. Its approach treats learning deficiency directly. It combines Multi-dimensional IRT, cognitive load theory, and changing lesson delivery, and is validated through randomized group pretest-posttest analysis of covariance using the previous year’,s final test scores in basic mathematics as the covariate to capture on a large scale what students find intrinsically difficult in mathematics test questions. For n=498 students in the treatment group for whom responses to intrinsic difficulty options were collected and used instructionally, it was found that these students outperformed control group students over the short term of the course. Once mathematics faculty understood and applied this new knowledge of learning difficulties in instruction, they enabled more students to acquire these fundamental skills to become potentially greater assets to society.

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