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The Effects of Special Instruction for Three Kinds of Mathematics Aptitude Items SAT

Pike, Lewis W.; Evans, Franklin R.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Aptitude Tests, Coaching, Mathematics Tests, SAT


A differential instructional program was developed for each of three mathematics aptitude item formats to determine the relative susceptibility of each to special instruction. High school juniors were given a pretest that included items of each format and a parallel form as a posttest several weeks later. Between the pre- and posttests, experimental subjects received instruction in one of the three formats; controls received no special instruction. Pre- to posttest gains were analyzed using a two-way multivariate covariance analysis. The six dependent variables were the geometry and nongeometry posttest scores for each of the item formats. The seven covariates included the pretest scores corresponding to the six dependent variables and the Scholastic Aptitude TestVerbal pretest score. Results of the statistical analysis showed that each of the three formats was susceptible to the special instruction directed toward it. The complex or novel item formats seemed to be more susceptible than the more straightforward item format. Female subjects tended to benefit less from the instruction than male volunteers. Mean gains of nearly one full standard deviation obtained by the "complex" format groups were considered to be of practical consequence and likely to influence admissions decisions. It is concluded that instruction was effective in two ways: subjects seemed to have learned a systematic approach to the item format and some basic mathematical concepts. (Author) (86pp.)

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