Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Sarah Hough

Abstract

The Premier Technical College of Qatar (PTC-Q) has seen high failure rates among students taking a college statistics course. The students are English as a foreign language (EFL) learners in business studies and health sciences. Course delivery has involved conventional content/curriculum-centered instruction with minimal to no interactive components. The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to assess the effectiveness of an interactive approach to teaching and learning statistics used in North America and the United Kingdom when used with EFL students in the Middle East. Guided by von Glasersfeld's constructivist framework, this study compared conceptual understanding between a convenience sample of 42 students whose learning experience included a hands-on, interactive component and 38 students whose learning experience did not. ANCOVA was used to analyze posttest scores on the Comprehensive Assessment of Outcomes in Statistics (CAOS) as the dependent variable, the course placement (hands-on versus no hands-on component) as the independent variable, and the pretest score on CAOS as the covariate. Students who were exposed to the hands-on learning demonstrated greater conceptual understanding than students who were not. Based on these results, a 3-day workshop was designed to create a learning community to enable statistics instructors to address the problem of high failure, to introduce delivery methods that involve place-based examples, and to devise hands-on activities designed to reflect authentic research. This study has implications for positive social change in Qatar, in that application of the findings may result in producing trained graduates capable of filling the shortage of qualified researchers, thereby supporting the nation's goal of being a leader in research as stated in the Qatar National Vision 2030.