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2006Research Conference | June 15–16

This conference highlighted the work of invited speakers, independent researchers who have received grant funds from the Institute of Education Sciences, and trainees supported through predoctoral training grants and postdoctoral fellowships. The presentations are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Education or the Institute of Education Sciences.
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
400 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.
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Performance Features of Students' Problem-Solving Strategies In Multimedia-Based Math Assessments

Brian Bottge, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Enrique Rueda, University of Wisonsin-Madison

Abstract: The purpose of this randomized experiment was to evaluate two ways of assessing the math skills of 132 middle school students after they had been taught with an instructional method called Enhanced Anchored Instruction (EAI). Specifically, this study was designed to determine whether students at three skill levels (novice, typical, and expert) would demonstrate the same or different levels of understanding on a computer-based assessment (CBA) as compared with a pencil-paper assessment (PPA). A second objective was to trace the search-path maps of a sample of students at each skill level as they worked on the CBA to identify possible differences in their problem-solving strategies. It was predicted that the CBA would eliminate some of the cognitive demands of problems for low-achieving students, thereby enabling them to more fully demonstrate their understanding of the math concepts they had learned. Overall, results showed students at each skill level demonstrated understanding of the EAI, and no differences in student performance were found between CBA and PPA. In both test conditions, high achievers outscored average achievers, who in turn outscored low achievers. Search-path maps generated from the analyses of students' interactions with items on the CBA revealed important differences in students' problem-solving strategies by ability level. At the conference, the generation of these maps will be shown as students are working on the CBA. Theoretical and practical implications of the study will be discussed.