Using unified modeling language activity diagrams to improve performance in solving problems of ratios and proportions
This thesis reports on a study aimed to determine if high school students can improve their performance on solving ratio and proportion problems with one variable by applying concepts of unified modeling language activity diagrams. This activity was chosen to allow for the development of a possible means of improving mathematical performance without having to rely on the use of technology nor requiring students to participate in a computer science class, which are not always offered in public schools. A quasi-experimental control group pre-test-post-test design was used for this study. Each test consisted of 5 ratio or proportion word problems and 5 ratio or proportion equations with a single variable. The 24-student treatment group, which consisted of freshmen and sophomore engineering students, received instruction on unified modeling language and created several activity diagrams, including an activity diagram on how to solve a ratio or proportion problem with one variable. The duration of the treatment period was two weeks, totaling 500 minutes of in-class instruction. The 41-student control group, which consisted of freshmen and sophomore math students, received their regular mathematics curriculum as outlined by the Texas Education Agency. Data analysis showed that the treatment group had higher proficiency in the pre and post-test and there was statistical evidence to show that unified modeling language activity diagrams contributed to the improvement of mathematical performance on solving ratio and proportion problems.