Exploring the Relationship Between Technology Use and Student Performance in Developmental Mathematics



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Rooted in learning theory and developmental psychology, the field of developmental education is concerned with addressing underprepared students' needs for growth. Much of this development relates to college readiness, thus students considered underprepared for college-level coursework are referred to developmental education coursework in subjects like reading, writing, and mathematics. This approach is similarly taken in Texas, the setting for this study, with the Texas Success Initiative Assessment as the approved instrument for assessing students' college readiness. In Texas, legislation also has been used to govern developmental education programs, such as through state administrative and education codes levying various requirements on the higher education institutions at which developmental education is offered. Of particular interest, a state mandate exists wherein these institutions must provide technology-mediated developmental education. Texas policies also are focused on student performance, defined as students' achievement of state-established benchmarks on the state assessment. For these reasons as well as the wealth of literature about technology in developmental mathematics, this dissertation study explored the relationship between technology use and student performance in developmental mathematics courses.

The study setting was a four-year public in Texas through which archival data relevant to technology use and student performance were explored to answer two research questions. One question focused on the relationship between technology use and student performance in developmental mathematics courses, and the second question focused on technology use in developmental mathematics courses in relation to student performance in gatekeeper, college-level mathematics courses. Through an application of the I-E-O model, data were analyzed using the chi-square test of association with relevant descriptive statistics and frequencies computed. Technologies considered for analyses were graphing calculators, scientific calculators, learning management systems, online homework, software, online supplements, and e-textbooks. The results of analyses indicated statistically significant associations between technology use overall and student performance in developmental mathematics courses as well as five of the seven technologies. Conversely, statistically significant associations between technology use overall in developmental mathematics courses and letter grades earned in gatekeeper mathematics courses did not exist; however, statistically significant associations were identified regarding two technologies: learning management systems and e-textbooks.



Developmental education, Developmental mathematics, College-level mathematics, Gatekeeper mathematics, Student performance, Texas Success Initiative Assessment, Educational technology, Instructional technology