Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Ismahan Arslan-Ari


Students are leaving high school and college with insufficient Quantitative Literacy (QL) skills to fully understand lifelong decisions about citizenship, personal finances, and healthcare. These quantitative skills are not taught consistently across the curriculum, which prevents students from making connections across multiple courses and correctly applying math skills beyond the classroom. The purpose of this action research was to evaluate the effectiveness of graphic organizers, spreadsheets, and authentic data on the QL skills of 11th grade students enrolled in an honors level United States History class enrolled at a suburban NJ high school (SHS).

This study focused on two overarching research questions. 1) How does the implementation of the use of advanced graphic organizers and the use of a spreadsheet tool to manipulate authentic data impact the quantitative literacy skills of 11th grade honors level history students at SHS? and 2) What are student’s perceptions about the effectiveness of incorporating situated data sets into graphic organizers in order to increase their quantitative literacy skills?

I utilized a convergent parallel mixed method research design (Creswell & Creswell, 2017). Data were collected from 14 participants who engaged in an intervention which taught QL skills by using spreadsheets, graphic organizers, and meaningful data to encourage higher-order cognitive functioning.

Quantitative data were collected through a demographic survey, a pretest-posttest and Likert type questions in post-lesson exit slips. The exit slips were also used to collect qualitative data after each lesson, and a focus group interview augmented the qualitative data collection. During the intervention, qualitative data were also collected through daily observations and field notes.

Although students scored higher on the posttest than the pretest, a paired sample t-test of the difference in scores did not indicate a statistically significant difference. Analysis of the Likert scale and Likert type data indicated that the students did in fact learn new ideas and concepts during the intervention. Qualitative analysis of the exit slip comments, and the focus group interview also suggested that student’s learning was increased during the intervention, and they learned significant lessons about charts and graphs and the benefit of using multiple tools while learning.


© 2021, Bruce Alexander Thames