Evaluation
of Prior Projects
Earth Algebra
Evaluation Summary
The
project evaluation was discussed in the FIPSE publication, Lessons
Learned from FIPSE Projects III, p.100. The evaluation design and
selection of treatment and control groups is discussed there.To
assess the extent of the success of Earth Algebra, the results of
testing six hypotheses were analyzed to determine if the course
enhanced achievement in any of the four pretest and posttest variables:
(a) knowledge of algebra, (b) data analysis, (c) mathematical modeling,
and (d) view toward mathematics. The following listing provides
the major conclusions of this investigation.

Supplanting
the curriculum of a standard entrylevel college algebra course
is feasible.

Earth
Algebra students dramatically improved their views toward
mathematics.

Earth
Algebra enhanced students' achievement in data analysis.

Earth
Algebra enhanced students' achievement in mathematical modeling.

Earth
Algebra had no different effect on students' knowledge of
algebra than did "regular" College Algebra; i.e.
both groups performed at an equal level in algebraic skills.

There
is a very strong relationship between the students' final
course grade and View of Mathematics Inventory (VMI) Gain
scores among Earth Algebra students.

A
strong relationship existed between final course grade and Data
Analysis Achievement (DAA) Gain scores among Earth Algebra students.

Earth
Algebra can be judged successful. This conclusion is justified
after reviewing the previous six conclusions (27).

In
addition to the above, followup investigation of student grades
reveals that the percentage of students who were successful
with a grade of C or better in both college algebra and subsequent
courses at Kennesaw State was higher for Earth Algebra Students.
From Earth
Algebra to Earth Math (1993  1996) Evaluation Summary
To assess
the extent of the success of the EarthMath Project, the results
of testing six hypotheses were analyzed to determine if the
materials enhanced general mathematics ability, views toward
mathematics, and problemsolving and decision making proficiency.
And, the materials themselves were analyzed to determine the
extent to which they are aligned with the recommendations of
the NCTM Standards. The following listing
provides the major conclusions of the investigation, excerpted
from the complete evaluation report.

Using
EarthMath Studies in precalculus and mathematics teacher
education courses is enticing.
Students
in precalculus and mathematics teacher education courses dramatically
improved their mathematical prowess.

Precalculus
students improved their views toward mathematics.

Mathematics
teacher education and precalculus students experienced significant
different problemsolving and decision making competence.

EarthMath
Studies are remarkably aligned with the NCTM Curriculum
and Evaluation Standards

The
EarthMath Project can be judged successful. This conclusion
is justified after viewing the previous five conclusions.

A
strong relationship existed between final course grade and
Data Analysis Achievement (DAA) Gain scores among Earth
Algebra students.
Earth
Math Phase 3 (19972000) Evaluation Summary
The
project evaluator posed three research questions:
 Does
experience with the Earth Studies materials enhance a student’s
problemsolving and/or mathematical decision making ability?
 Does
the use of Earth Studies materials in an elementary applied
calculus or elementary statistics course enhance a student’s
opinions about mathematics?
 To what
extent are the Earth Studies materials aligned with the recommendations
of the NCTM Standards?
Regarding
the first two research questions, the evidence indicates that
experience with the Earth Math Studies does enhance problem
solving and decision making competence and opinions about mathematics
were stronger. Both treatment
and control groups exhibited significant improvement and there
was no statistically significant difference between the two
groups in Applied Calculus. The scores of the statistics Treatment
group were significantly higher than those of the Control Group.
It should be noted here that the Applied Calculus Treatment
group was also using innovative reform material while the Statistics
Treatment group used a traditional text.
To answer
Research Question 3, the materials
were evaluated according to eight curriculum standards considered
germane to the Earth Math Studies:
the four process standards (Problem Solving, Communication,
Reasoning and Communication), and four content standards
(Algebra, Functions, Statistics and Conceptual Underpinnings
of Calculus). A comparison
of the individual components for each standard with the Studies
revealed that these materials were highly congruent with the
Standards. Further analysis
showed the students in the Treatment courses were much more
likely to work together in small groups in class and to work
on projects as well. This result is particularly significant for
those materials which will be used for teacher training.
Other
Evaluation Information
Maricopa
Mathematics Consortium
Alan Jacobs
of Scottsdale College delivered a paper at the 1996 annual MAA
Meetings that reported a comparison study of college algebra
students at two colleges in the Maricopa Mathematics Consortium.
Success
rates for students of Earth Algebra and of a traditional course
were computed: Traditional 55.6%, EA 82.9%. Also compared were
success rates in subsequent mathematics and science courses. Results for these students in Calculus I, II,
and beyond are cited: Traditional 44%, EA 60%. Further, a throughput
ratio was determined for both groups and compared: Traditional
47.6%, EA 55.1%.
An ApplicationsDriven
Curriculum: The Maricopa Mathematics Consortium Addresses the
AMATYC Standards), Alan Jacobs, 1996)
Navajo
Community College
A
special set of notes designed using the Earth Algebra approach
was written for the Navajo Community College (Shiprock) college
algebra course in 1994. Student success rates for the same instructor
were computed comparing rates before and after introduction of
these notes into the classroom: before EA 48%, EA 70%.

