Spreadsheet instruction and their use for teaching mathematics in the business computer applications course in Virginia
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This study describes the use of spreadsheets in business computer applications (BCA) courses and identifies and evaluates the use of spreadsheets for emphasizing and teaching mathematics in BCA courses.
Survey instruments in the form of questionnaires were sent to all of the Virginia high schools with the BCA course to attain the BCA teachers' perceptions of spreadsheet use. Responses were received from 257 teachers, or 70% of the total assumed population.
Findings reveal that 95% of the Virginia BCA teachers include spreadsheet instruction in their BCA courses. The mean number of class periods used for spreadsheet instruction is 27; however, the standard deviation is relatively high. The basic mathematics operations received extensive emphasis. The more complex operations only some emphasis. Accounting and Payroll computation receive the most amount of spreadsheet instructional time.
Over half of the BCA teachers who teach spreadsheets include increasing their students' mathematics skills as one of the course objectives. At the same time, however, only 22% of the respondents evaluate their students' mathematics skills independently from spreadsheet application evaluation. Although this independent mathematics evaluation seldom occurs, 72% of the respondents believe that teaching spreadsheets enhances students' mathematics skills to some extent, and 42% believe that teaching spreadsheets enhances students' mathematics skills extensively.
Considering the amount of material to be taught in spreadsheet instruction, not enough of the BCA class time is devoted to spreadsheet instruction. Much spreadsheet instruction precedes emphasis on mathematics as part of the instruction. Also, considering that students emphasize in their learning what they are evaluated on, the importance the BCA teachers placed on mathematics appears to be minimal.
- Masters Theses