An investigation of the relationships between learning styles : personality temperaments, mathematics self-efficacy, and post-secondary calculus achievement /
With the availability of the internet, many web-based tutorials, and related materials
and computer based tutorials, students continue to fail and/or do poorly in calculus
classes. On average about fifty percent of students receive a grade of D, F, or W
(withdraw) in first semester calculus at the university level. To meet the needs of all
students, regardless of learning style, attitude towards mathematics, or ability level,
teachers should utilize modern technology, such as computers or graphing calculators.
These tools are able to serve the needs of the students in ways that other tools have not
been able to accomplish.
The primary purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between learning
style preferences, personality temperament types, and mathematics self-efficacy on the
achievement and course completion rate of a sample of the University of Tennessee at
Knoxville college students enrolled in first and second semester calculus classes which
utilized web-based materials. The following research questions were explored.
1. How does student achievement vary with learning style preferences?
2. How does student achievement vary with temperaments?
3. How does student achievement vary with mathematics self-efficacy?
4. How does student achievement vary with teaching method?
To achieve the purpose of this study, five instruments were used to collect data from
students enrolled in a lecture/recitation and a web-based first semester calculus class and
a lecture/recitation and a web-based second semester calculus class for a total of four
The data collected included ACT mathematics scores, Myers-Briggs personality
types, mathematics self-efficacy scores, and calculus test scores. Findings were
significant for several dimensions of learning style and temperament with respect to both
the calculus test and the Mathematics Self-Efficacy instruments. Students who were
categorized as reflective learners on the Felder-Silverman Index of Learning Styles
scored significantly higher on the calculus test and those students who were categorized
as SPs on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator scored significantly lower on the calculus test
and the Mathematics Self-Efficacy Scale (MSES). Additionally, with one exception, the
students who enrolled in the second semester calculus classes were visual rather than
verbal learners. The female students declined in enrollment by fifteen percent between
the first and second semester of calculus. The expectation was that the web-based
tutorials would be an effective means of meeting the needs of the large percentage of
visual learners; however the quantitative data were insufficient to test this hypothesis.
The survey data indicated that the majority of the visual learners attributed the website as
aspect that contributed most to their learning.
School:The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
School Location:USA - Tennessee
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:university of tennessee knoxville mathematics academic achievement
Date of Publication: