Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Educational Administration and Supervision
Dr. Neal Grandgenett
Dr. Elliott Ostler
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship of learning modality and the use of manipulatives in adult beginning algebra. Four elementary algebra classes were involved in an eleven week quarter study that used a modified A-B-A-B research design. All subjects were tested in a series of research phases where manipulative based instruction was alternately implemented and withdrawn. All instruction focused on meeting regular class objectives with the addition of manipulatives to treatment phases of the study. During both the treatment and non treatment phases, student questions were answered as asked. The learning modality preferences of the students were identified on the first day of class by a self scored learning modality preference inventory. The five hypotheses that were investigated in the study were as follows: 1)Students with tactile learning preference will score significantly higher on tests following manipulative based instruction than on tests following instruction without the use of manipulatives, 2) Students with visual learning preference will score significantly higher on tests following manipulative based instruction than on tests following instructions without the use of manipulatives, 3) There will be a significant difference in test scores of students with auditory learning preference when they receive manipulative based instruction than when they do not, 4) There will be a significant correlation between tactile sensory modality preference and test score increase, and 5) There will be a significant correlation between total sensory modality preference scoe and total test score average. The results of the study encourage further research in adult mathematics education encompassing manipulatives, learning modality consideration, and the use of manipulatives while considering learning modality. Building on the studies done in K-12 classrooms, adult education research suggests that the use of manipulatives is appropriate at all levels of math education. Manipultives can help students learn by allowing them to learn actively in a way that may address their learning modality strengths.
Mooney, Pamela J., "The relationship of learning modality and the use of mathematical manipulatives in adult beginning algebra." (1997). Student Work. 3545.