June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
12.1502.1 - 12.1502.26
being captured by the state department of education at the district and schoolhouse level. Using data publicly reported for middle school education in Indiana (available at http://ideanet.doe.state.in.us ), statistical calculations were used to determine how significant the effect of PRISM usage was for changing ISTEP scores (specifically math) during a given time frame and for a given grade level. More detailed results for these two studies are included in Addendum B.
Dr. Dale Bremmer (Professor of Economics at Rose-Hulman) worked with the project, collecting and analyzing data on several different variables that potentially influence performance on ISTEP (Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress), an achievement test that measures student learning as defined by the state’s academic standards. In addition to PRISM usage, independent variables included such things as past achievement of students, school and teacher corps characteristics, and other socio-economic features, for a total of about a dozen independent variables. Using statistical regression analysis, we determined the factors – including PRISM usage by classroom teachers – that affected the performance of Indiana eighth graders on the standardized math exam.
In the first study, we used data from the 2004 ISTEP. (At the time of this preliminary study, these were the most recent test data available from the state.) Our unit of measure was the school district level, and we have reported our findings in the literature . Succinctly, we found statistical evidence that PRISM use had a weak, but positive, effect on ISTEP scores. While the results were encouraging, PRISM was relatively new and cumulative number of unique visitors to the site had reached only about 2,000 at the time of the September 2004 ISTEP testing period. (See Figure 1 above; the solid vertical line to the left of the chart indicates the traffic history used in this first study.)
Improved collection methods in 2005 allowed us to track PRISM usage patterns at the school house level from the system’s inception in September 2003. We anticipated that this refinement in the empirical model would more closely capture effects of PRISM that were being “washed out” by the large variance in usage intensity at the district level. Our second study was based on individual school house data and analyzed how PRISM affected the change in scores on the eighth-grade ISTEP math exams between the years 2003 and 2006 (inclusive).
We found good results from this second empirical study. Using well-known regression techniques, statistical evidence indicates there is a direct (and statistically significant) relationship between the use of PRISM at a given school and the students’ performance on the eighth-grade ISTEP math exam. In other words, increased use of PRISM by a school’s teachers, holding everything else constant, leads to larger increases or smaller decreases in their eight- grade students’ ISTEP math scores.
The results from both studies, however, should be taken with several caveats. Our regression analyses do not determine causality. The key question is whether continued use of PRISM leads to better teaching, improved learning, and higher standardized scores? Or do better, more motivated teachers use all teaching tools at their disposal, including PRISM? And would these stronger teachers generate an improved learning experience and result in higher ISTEP scores without using PRISM? Furthermore, the positive relationship between PRISM use and ISTEP
Carlson, P., & Bremmer, D. (2007, June), Transforming Curricula To Reflect New It Literacies For 21 St Century Stem Careers Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2917
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