Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0810-7892

Date of Award

Summer 8-10-2021

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Learning Technologies Division

First Advisor

Brendan Calandra

Second Advisor

Lauren Margulieux

Third Advisor

Jonathan Cohen

Fourth Advisor

Keith Wright

Abstract

Students who feel anxiety about and have low perceptions of their abilities in mathematics and connected fields such as statistics tend to also show low achievement, and vice versa (Foley et al., 2017; Haciomeroglu, 2017; Hembree, 1990; Sherman & Wither, 2003; Soni & Kumari, 2017; Zakaria, Zain, Ahmad, & Erlina, 2012). It has been proposed in the literature that using technology tools such as spreadsheets in a statistics class may reduce the perceived complexity of problems, reduce the load of complex calculations, make problems more manageable for students, and thus potentially reduce related anxiety (Yadav, Hong, & Stephenson, 2016).

The purpose of the study was to examine whether and how working with spreadsheets in a high school statistics course might influence a group of high school students’ performance on and attitudes towards statistical functions and their levels of anxiety towards statistics and mathematics more generally. Data sources included an existing, validated attitude survey for mathematics, student artifacts, formative assessments, and semi-structured interviews. This study was guided by the following research question: How will a problem-based statistics activity using spreadsheets in a high school mathematics course influence participant knowledge and attitudes? Results demonstrated generally that working with spreadsheets did have a positive influence on the participants' knowledge, attitudes and even efficiency (time spent on tasks).

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