Characteristics and skills exhibited by middle school students in performing the task of computational estimation

Eric John Heinrich, Fordham University

Abstract

The main purpose of this study was to investigate the performance of 66 students in grades 6, 7, and 8 of an urban public middle school in the performance of tasks of computational estimation. This experimental study was designed to determine whether there were any significant differences in abilities of students in middle school to apply the strategies, front-end rounding, translation, reformulation, and compensation, used in performing tasks of computational estimation. Each of the participating students took the Assessing Computational Estimation (ACE) test (R. E. Reys, 1980) as both a pretest and posttest in addition to four unit tests and a posttest. Two lessons on each of the four strategies were taught by the cooperating teacher with the investigator serving as a participant observer.^ An analysis of variance was performed to determine if there were any significant differences in means of unit test scores among students in the three grades studied. An analysis of variance was also performed to determine whether there were significant differences in unit test scores for each of the three grades studied. An analysis of covariance was performed to determine if there were any significant differences between the means of adjusted posttest scores among students in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades.^ The findings of this study showed there were significant differences among the three grades on the pretest and unit tests on reformulation, translation, and compensation. There were highly significant differences in the means of unit test scores across each of the three grades. There were no significant differences in means on the unit test of front-end rounding or the posttest. The one strategy that all students had trouble applying effectively was compensation. Based on the findings of this research, it is recommended that the topic of compensation as a form of computational estimation be studied in greater depth to formulate new methods of teaching this important topic area. ^

Subject Area

Education, Mathematics

Recommended Citation

Eric John Heinrich, "Characteristics and skills exhibited by middle school students in performing the task of computational estimation" (January 1, 1998). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI9839507.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9839507

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