Date of Award

1-1-2009

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Wise,Kevin

Second Advisor

Mumba,Frackson

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which six cognitive and attitudinal variables predicted pre-service elementary teachers' performance on line graphing. Predictors included Illinois teacher education basic skills sub-component scores in reading comprehension and mathematics, logical thinking performance scores, as well as measures of attitudes toward science, mathematics and graphing. This study also determined the strength of the relationship between each prospective predictor variable and the line graphing performance variable, as well as the extent to which measures of attitude towards science, mathematics and graphing mediated relationships between scores on mathematics, reading, logical thinking and line graphing. Ninety-four pre-service elementary education teachers enrolled in two different elementary science methods courses during the spring 2009 semester at Southern Illinois University Carbondale participated in this study. Each subject completed five different instruments designed to assess science, mathematics and graphing attitudes as well as logical thinking and graphing ability. Sixty subjects provided copies of primary basic skills score reports that listed subset scores for both reading comprehension and mathematics. The remaining scores were supplied by a faculty member who had access to a database from which the scores were drawn. Seven subjects, whose scores could not be found, were eliminated from final data analysis. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted in order to establish validity and reliability of the Questionnaire of Attitude Toward Line Graphs in Science (QALGS) instrument. CFA tested the statistical hypothesis that the five main factor structures within the Questionnaire of Attitude Toward Statistical Graphs (QASG) would be maintained in the revised QALGS. Stepwise Regression Analysis with backward elimination was conducted in order to generate a parsimonious and precise predictive model. This procedure allowed the researcher to explore the relationships among the affective and cognitive variables that were included in the regression analysis. The results for CFA indicated that the revised QALGS measure was sound in its psychometric properties when tested against the QASG. Reliability statistics indicated that the overall reliability for the 32 items in the QALGS was .90. The learning preferences construct had the lowest reliability (.67), while enjoyment (.89), confidence (.86) and usefulness (.77) constructs had moderate to high reliabilities. The first four measurement models fit the data well as indicated by the appropriate descriptive and statistical indices. However, the fifth measurement model did not fit the data well statistically, and only fit well with two descriptive indices. The results addressing the research question indicated that mathematical and logical thinking ability were significant predictors of line graph performance among the remaining group of variables. These predictors accounted for 41% of the total variability on the line graph performance variable. Partial correlation coefficients indicated that mathematics ability accounted for 20.5% of the variance on the line graphing performance variable when removing the effect of logical thinking. The logical thinking variable accounted for 4.7% of the variance on the line graphing performance variable when removing the effect of mathematics ability.

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