Houston A+ Challenge
Teacher as a Researcher Inquiry

School Works Spring 2006 A+ Newsletter

Can computer programming increase mastery of algebraic computation skills?

YES. Programming provided students with time to practice concepts, produce products, and apply problem-solving skills.

All my algebra students passed the Texas ninth grade math accountability TAKS test. My students earned the largest percent of commended scores, demonstrating preparation for AP level classes. This success was the result of teaching students to think about and plan solutions with the continuous use of design recipes using programming concepts.

Student performance on April 2005 Math TAKS is compared to their performance on last year’s test. The experimental group (EG) CS/Pre-AP Algebra class shows a 23% increase commended on TAKS compared to 8th grade. The control group (CG) is the seven other Pre-AP Algebra classes at Westside HS.

  Math TAKS April 2005  Math TAKS April 2004  % Change same students 2004 to 2005
9th Grade Year 8th Grade Year
Total Tested % Passing % Commended Total Tested % Passing % Commended % Passing % Commended
HOUSTON ISD 12,832 44% 9% 11,529 46% 8%   2% -   1% +
Pre-AP Algebra 1,221 78% 15% 1,101 86% 10% 8% -   5% +
WESTSIDE HS 793 58% 18% 537 76% 15% 18% -   3% +
Control Group 
Pre-AP Algebra
161 85% 19% 134 90% 10%   5% -   9% +
Experimental Group
CS/ Pre-AP Algebra
20 100% 35% 17 100% 12% 0% 23% +

Algebra lessons were developed to emphasize comprehension of the problem-solving process. Observations of other math teachers and CFG discussions helped in determining lesson target areas. Students practiced processing solutions to problems by developing examples in process charts and on graph paper. Programming Lessons included the Cartesian Plane Program, Four-Corner Design Recipe, Slope Graphic Design, Profit Program Process Chart, My Box Program with physical models and Graphic Art. See TeachScheme reports for details.