Answer 1:
I really like your idea for a science
project, I think it is very interesting and
something that most adults probably don’t think
about. In my opinion, the best way to design
this experiment would be to look through your
6th, 7th and 8th grade math textbooks and pick
out a few problems from each. Perhaps choose 10
questions from each grade level, and try to vary
them so that you would cover all the topics
learned in the year. Then you could administer
your math test to a group of adults, 8th grade
students, high school students, and elementary
school students. You could grade the tests and
determine which group did the best. The 8th
grade students would be your positive control
group, meaning they should do very well because
this test was designed to be something they will
understand. The elementary school students
would be your negative control group, because
they should not have learned these things yet
and should therefore do very poorly. The high
school and adult groups would be the
experimental groups because you are not sure how
they will do. I think it would be interesting
to look at high school students and adults
because that will tell you how long people
retain their middle school math knowledge. Be
sure to keep track of the ages of all your test
takers. Also, it might be interesting to keep
track of the occupations of the adults who take
this test, so you can see which occupations
retain middle school math knowledge the best
(perhaps engineers and teachers retain it better
than lawyers and writers).
If you want to perform statistics on your
results, I think a one tailed student’s t test
should work, making your comparison to the 8th
grade test taker average. You want to see if
the others scored significantly lower than this
group. If you enter your data into excel it
should be able to make these calculations for
you. Good luck with the science project!
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