Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This study was formulated in order to gain information about the effectiveness of two methods of instructing secondary mathematics students in introductory computer programming. Investigation of programming instruction in a reduced period of time was a major component of the study for those educators who choose to teach programming as a portion of a mathematics course must do so under time constraints. The research was conducted in three public secondary schools in St. Mary Parish in Louisiana. The subjects were enrolled in an algebra II or a geometry class during the spring semester of the 1982-83 academic year. An experimental-control group, pretest-posttest design was employed in the study. The experimental group was composed of sixty-nine students, and the control group consisted of sixty-two students. The purpose of this experiment was to investigate the effect of two methods of teaching computer programming using the BASIC language. Subjects in the experimental group received instruction in the turtle graphics component of Logo, a simple language designed for children's initial computer experiences, and they designed two programs using this language. The Logo phase of the treatment constituted approximately 25 percent of the time allowed for treatment. For the remainder of the treatment period of nine hours the experimental group received instruction in BASIC and created programs in that language. The control group was taught to design programs in BASIC only so that all of the programs created by the subjects in the control group were in BASIC. Treatment for both groups was conducted by the researcher. A pretest on computer programming in BASIC was administered to the subjects on the first day of the experiment, and the subjects completed a posttest immediately after the treatment. The evaluation instrument was designed by the researcher, field tested in a secondary school, and validated by a panel of experts. Analysis of covariance was performed on the scores obtained on the BASIC programming posttest using the pretest score as covariate. The students who had received instruction in BASIC alone exhibited significantly higher achievement than those taught Logo and BASIC. No significant difference was found in the scores of samples of algebra II students and geometry students nor in samples of males and females that received instruction in BASIC by each of the two methods of study.