Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Hare, R. Dwight

Committee Member

Reed, Jerry F.

Committee Member

Morse, David T.

Committee Member

Minchew, Sue S.

Committee Member

Franz, Dana Lea

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Elementary Education

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


At Mississippi State University, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, a standardized multiple-choice departmental final examination (SMCDF) was administered at the end of the Calculus I mathematics course. This practice was abolished at the end of the spring 1997 semester. The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a difference in students¡¯ success in subsequent calculus courses as measured by a student¡¯s grade. If there was a difference, was it consistent along varying levels of students¡¯ ACT mathematics scores. A two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was run on the data. The variables were the five student ACT Mathematics Standards for Transition ranges, and the two groups of students, those required to take a SMCDF examination and those required to take a teacher generated final examination. The results showed there was a significant difference in the mean grades at the Calculus II level (p=.006), suggesting the SMCDF examination in Calculus I improved their level of success in Calculus II. In the Calculus III and IV courses no significant differences were found. When descriptive statistics were analyzed, an unusual number of F grades were found in one group due to a university audit policy that was abolished in the fall of 1997. When F grades were excluded from the data, no significant differences were found for Calculus II, III, or IV. Further investigation along ACT-Mathematics Standards for Transition ranges showed, at an alpha level of .01 for Calculus II and IV, the data set was too small at each of these ranges to determine any significant differences. Although conflicting results did not clearly indicate whether a SMCDF examination made a difference, indications seem to be at least at the Calculus II level there was a significant effect in the original data set. Descriptive statistics showed inconsistencies within the Calculus III data as compared to Calculus II and IV. Further investigation was recommended for this area of research. Incorporating teaching styles into this study and changing the format of the examination were suggested.