A + dvancer College Readiness Online Improves. ACCUPLACER Scores of Miami Dade College Freshmen. May John Vassiliou, M. S.

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1 A + dvancer College Readiness Online Improves ACCUPLACER Scores of Miami Dade College Freshmen May 2008 John Vassiliou, M. S. Nicholas B. McDonald, Ph.D. The American Education Corporation

2 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY High school graduates in need of remedial instruction are an important target population for higher education. These organizations need to increase students performance on their own state-mandated standardized assessments in an efficient and cost-effective manner. While multiple methodologies exist, one increasingly popular method is the use of computer-aided instruction. In this summary, 27 first time in college students (FTIC) at Miami Dade College (located in Florida) in need of remedial instruction in basic mathematical and language skills utilized the A + dvancer College Readiness Online (A + dvancer ) software to improve their ACCUPLACER assessment performances. Following an initial ACCUPLACER baseline assessment for Arithmetic, Elementary Algebra, Reading, and Sentence Skills, the A + dvancer software prescribed a series of individualized lessons addressing assessed skill deficits for each student. By the end of 2007 and considering only those students who completed a pre- and posttest ACCUPLACER assessment for at least one content area, each student spent an average of four hours and 12 minutes spread over about (standard deviation of days) days before being re-assessed with an ACCUPLACER exam. Statistically significant improvement was found following A + dvancer software use for three of the four content areas: Arithmetic, Elementary Algebra and Sentence Skills. Students improved their Arithmetic scores by 9.2 points or a 27% increase, their Elementary Algebra scores also increased significantly by 12.1 points or a 29% increase, and their Sentence Skills scores by points or a 24% increase. These results strongly suggest that employment of the relatively inexpensive A + dvancer software for a comparatively short period of time produces a significant increase in the performance of students in need of remedial mathematical instruction and, to a lesser extent, language skills. Commonly, general reading improvement is difficult to increase with a short intervention, and even though the trend was improving in this research, that change was not statistically significant. 2

3 METHOD Participants: In 2007, twenty-seven Miami Dade College FTIC students participated in this research. The majority (16 out of 27) of these students had Hispanic ethnic backgrounds with nine being non-hispanic and two with no response. The majority (22 out of 27) of students were US citizens with an average age of about 20 years (ages varied from 18 to 39) and a gender distribution of 13 females and 14 males. Design This research consisted of a pre-post test, single group design utilizing the ACCUPLACER assessments: one for Mathematics (Arithmetic and Elementary Algebra) and one for Language (Sentence Skills and Reading). The participants total time using the educational intervention variable (the A + dvancer software) was self-paced, and each individual s exact sequence of lessons was uniquely determined by his or her particular skill deficits as identified by the A + dvancer initial assessments. RESULTS Analysis Four dependent t-tests were conducted, one for each of the paired pre- and post- assessments for Arithmetic, Elementary Algebra, Sentence Skills, and Reading. The number of students for each specific statistical calculation was lower than the overall number of students. This is due to the differing numbers of students who participated in each of the four topic areas assessed. Please see Table 1 for the means and standard deviations for each of the assessments. When 3

4 considering only those students who completed both the pre- and post- ACCUPLACER tests within each content area, the average amount of time spent on A + dvancer Arithmetic lessons was about four hours and 11 minutes (with a standard deviation of about five hours and 44 minutes). The average amount of time spent on A + dvancer Algebra lessons was about two hours (with a standard deviation of about two hours and eight minutes). The average amount of time spent on A + dvancer Reading lessons was two hours and 24 minutes (with a standard deviation of about two hours and 36 minutes). The average amount of time spent on A + dvancer Sentence Skills lessons was seven hours and 13 minutes (with a standard deviation of about two hours and 23 minutes). Table 1: Mean ACCUPLACER scores for all Pre- and Post- assessments. ACCUPLACER Assessment Mean Score Number of Participants Standard Deviation Arithmetic Pre-Test Arithmetic Post-Test Elementary Algebra Pre-Test Elementary Algebra Post-Test Sentence Skills Pre-Test Sentence Skills Post-Test Reading Pre-Test Reading Post-Test

5 Significant within-group results were found for the increase in participant mean score performances for three of the four content areas. Arithmetic scores increased significantly over time by 9.2 points: t(14) = 2.523, p =.024. Please see Figure 1 for a graph of these results. Figure 1: Change in ACCUPLACER score over time for Arithmetic Assessment. 5

6 Elementary Algebra scores also increased significantly over time by 12.1 points: t(19) = 3.418, p =.003. Please see Figure 2 for a graph of these results. Figure 2: Change in ACCUPLACER score over time for Elementary Algebra Assessment. 6

7 Sentence Skills scores also increased significantly over time by points: t(11) = 2.745, p =.019. Please see Figure 3 for a graph of these results. Figure 3: Change in ACCUPLACER score over time for Sentence Skills Assessment. 7

8 Reading scores, despite increasing slightly by 2.33 points, failed to reach significance: t(17) = 0.678, p =.507. Please see Figure 4 for a graph of these results. Figure 4: Change in ACCUPLACER score over time for Reading Assessment The American Education Corporation. All Rights Reserved. A + dvancer and the A + are either trademarks or registered trademarks of The American Education Corporation. ACCUPLACER is a registered trademark of the College Board and collegeboard.com. 8

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