Professional Statement
The Effect of Math Sprint Competition in Student Achievement on SOL Mathematics Tests at Camelot Elementary School

[Team Website]

Given Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOL) (1995) mandates, Virginia’s elementary teachers and school leaders utilized research for teaching methods that encouraged gains on the end of course mathematics tests. The relationship between teacher motivation methods and student achievement on Virginia’s End of Course SOL Test for elementary deserves investigation. Virginia’s elementary students in grades three, four and five must maintain an annual pass rate to meet Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) as recommended by the national “No Child Left Behind Act” of 2001. Camelot Elementary School is a Title I school housing high concentrations of minority students who normally achieve lower test score gains than students in other schools. Camelot has a student population receiving at least seventy percent free and reduced lunch nested in a low middle class neighborhood in Chesapeake, Virginia.

This research was based on school effectiveness by developing and testing hypotheses about the specific relationships between student competition and state wide testing results in elementary mathematics in grades three and five at Camelot Elementary School in Chesapeake, Virginia. The study compiled data from the “Math Sprint Competition”, a series of student group related reviews of state released test items in a math test relay format. Research focused on methods for motivating an experimental group of students motivated by the use of a math sprint competition from 2005 to 2007 versus a control group of elementary students in mathematics for grades three and five from 2002 to 2004. Student learning activities were compared from teaching methods that included: direct instruction, problem-based learning, technology aided instruction, cooperative learning, manipulative, models, and multiple representations, communication, and study skills.

A group of twenty-four elementary teachers from Camelot Elementary School participated in this research to ascertain how frequently they used research-based teaching methods and determined the influence of teaching methods on their students’ achievement. A multiple regression analysis was used to show results from a 40-item state wide test for each grade level. Individual Pearson Product Moment Correlations were conducted to determine which variables possess strong and statistically significant relationships. This analysis determined if gains on the end of the year SOL scores were a result of an impact of the series of math sprint competitions used as motivators before each benchmark assessment leading to the SOL tests in 3rd and 5th grade mathematics.

Previous Research:
A Hydrology comparison among Barcelona Spain, Pasquotank County, North Carolina & Lake Cavalier Portsmouth, Virginia water samplings.

[Team Website]

Water content varies from community to community and throughout the world. Some of these are natural differences caused by nature and some a induced by human. The research team will compare the water quality results against local surrounding counties, statewide, countrywide and International water quality standards. The team will utilize Math Lab Seven, Microsoft Excel, Mathematica which have statistical software capabilities within these packages to display there findings. In order to illustrate these differences the 2007 Topics in Computer Science course Hydrology Research team will compare water samples from the Pasquotank River located in Elizabeth City North Carolina, Lake Cavalier which is located in Portsmouth Virginia, Playa De Mar Beach Spain, Chesapeake Bay Virginia and sample of their house tapwater. The team will then measure Ph, Salinity, and DO Dissolved Oxygen.


Use of Microsoft Visual Studio Express Edition and DirectX SDK to simulate movements of a colony of penguins that must be tagged for a science mission Education

[Team Website]

Our team worked on the development of an educational and entertaining video game, targeted for middle school students, to introduce them to research at the Polar Regions. We enhanced an existing video game, improving the visual quality of the game, and incorporating biologically inspired aspects into the game play. The game consists of a colony of penguins that must be tagged for a science mission in order for the scientist to track the penguins’ movements throughout the year. The penguins move around to avoid being tagged (walk, run, and, slide) and hide behind snow mounds or other obstacles.

In developing this game, we were involved in specifying, designing, implementing, and testing the software for the game. The platforms and packages that were utilized included Visual C++ Express Edition and Microsoft Platform SDK (Software Development Kit). We generated enhanced images for penguins and other objects in the game. We researched the behavior of penguins in order to make the game more realistic, such as studying the walking and running speeds of penguins. The game play was also improved based on the results of testing performed using human subjects, incorporating the feedback from the players. Conducting this research and being involved in developing this game have improved our programming and software engineering skills, while resulting in an entertaining educational resource for middle school students in order to get them interested in STEM disciplines.