This is the summary of a presentation given at the Joint Mathematics
Meetings, January 1013, 1996, Orlando, Florida.
A Comparison of Calculus Teaching Methodologies:
The Need for Evaluation in Calculus Reform
Although calculus reform has received a great deal of financial support,
very few funded projects
designed a plan to evaluate program outcomes as part of
their work. Therefore, the research on student learning in calculus is
very limited and,
consequently, there is still
relatively little information on the impact of the reform efforts. It
has become increasingly
clear that a much greater effort to evaluate these projects is indeed
necessary, as the
mathematical
community now has little evidence to validate the expenditure of enormous
amounts of time,
energy, and financial resources.
The purpose of this talk will be twofold. First, a study conducted at
WPI
that addresses
some of the issues above will be presented and discussed. The study
investigated the progress of
students in reformed calculus
courses as compared to traditionallytaught courses, as well as the
progress of these two
groups in subsequent courses. Data on student performance and retention
will be reported, analyzed,
and discussed. Second, and perhaps more important, will be the
instigation of a discussion about
designing scientifically valid evaluation studies. Included in this part
of the
presentation will be an introduction to several appropriate
methodologies, as well as
suggestions for initiating an evaluation plan.
Susan L. Ganter, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
