The effects on student academic achievement and student self-confidence of a course-specific textbook written for applied electronics math 2
Phillips, JoAnne Gilbert
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This research project was developed from the need for a good, affordable textbook for Applied Electronics Math 2 at Madison Area Technical College. When no suitable textbook was found, I chose to write a one specifically designed for that course. This study was motivated by two major research questions in relation to that text: (1) what is the effect on student achievement of using this text? (2) Does the additional emphasis on basic concepts enhance student self-confidence in field-related applications? Data for this project was collected over a period of three semesters. This included not only student grades for homework, quizzes, and exams but information on students' self-confidence levels with respect to mathematics in math and related electronics classes collected at the beginning and end of each semester. Student opinions of the textbook were collected and evaluated using surveys and interviews. Academic scores of the three test classes as compared to a baseline of previous classes taught without a textbook showed expected improvement. However, the greatest improvement was in the self-confidence levels of a majority of the students. Math anxiety was greatly reduced and students declared themselves more prepared to take on the mathematics in their other electronics classes. Student comments about the textbook itself were very favorable. The findings from this research suggest that an affordable book written for a particular course can have a positive effect on both students' academic success in that course and their self-confidence in related areas.