Date of Graduation

Spring 2011


Master of Science in Education in Secondary Education in Mathematics



Committee Chair

Linda Plymate

Subject Categories

Science and Mathematics Education


This study examined how context-based instruction affects students‟ understanding, application, retention and motivation to learn absolute value, inequalities, and absolute value inequalities. The participants (N = 33) were enrolled in an intermediate algebra course at a university in southwest Missouri and were grouped into a control (N = 17) and treatment group (N = 16). The participants completed a math pre-test, post-test and cumulative test. The control and treatment groups also completed a pre-test and post-test questionnaire to investigate how context-based instruction impacted affective measures. The study was unable to prove that context-based instruction significantly improved student learning or retention of solving linear inequalities, linear absolute value equations and absolute value inequalities. However, the study did show that context-based instruction significantly improved students‟ ability to apply linear inequalities and absolute value equations to real life situations when compared to process-based instruction. The pre-test and post-test questionnaires covering affective measures showed there was no significant difference in student attitude or confidence over inequalities or absolute values between the treatment and the control group. The questionnaires for this study also indicated no significant difference while looking at the confidence of students to solve absolute value inequalities. The study did show that using context-based instruction increased students‟ interest in absolute value inequalities, while using process-based instruction had no change on students‟ interest on absolute value inequalities.


© Jeffrey Burgess

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