The Effect of Assignments for Field-dependent/independent Students in Teaching Mathematics by Distance Education

Year: 1991

Author: Boondao, Sakorn Rowley, Glenn

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of assignments for submission in teaching mathematics for field-dependent and field- independent students in distance education. Five hundred and thirty-three students from three provinces in the Central region of Thailand enrolled in a `Mathematics for Social Science' course, in the second semester of 1989, at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University were chosen to participate in the experiment. A pre-test and the Group Embedded Figures Test (GEFT) were administered. The GEFT was also administered after the final examination. From the results of GEFT, there were respectively 86 and 82 field-dependent and field-independent students in the experimental group and 82 each in the control group. The groups were divided geographically. Both field-dependent and field-independent students in the experimental group received four sets of assignments for submission but those in the control did not. After the last assignment and before the final examination, the students in both groups completed a questionnaire. The findings revealed that assignments for submission positively affected field-dependent students' achievements. Field-dependent students who submitted assignments performed significantly better than those who did not. This was not true for field-independent students. It is argued that the characteristics of field-dependent students are most suited to the use of assignments for submission, especially those who study via distance education.