Murray State Theses and Dissertations


This quasi-experimental study examined the effectiveness of elaborative processing and knowledge maps for learning the steps to factor polynomials with various numbers of terms when math anxiety was accounted for. The study took place in a college classroom during an eight day period when students were learning to factor polynomials. On Day 2, students studied the factoring steps using a list of steps or a flowchart and then engaged in free- and cued-recall tests. Day 3 was similar except that students did not complete a free recall test. Another set of cued recall tests were administered on Day 5, and final cued- and free-recall tests were given about four weeks later. Students were scored on their ability to recall the individual steps (individual item memory), as well as the organization of the steps (relational memory). Separate mixed-model ANCOVAs using math anxiety as a covariate revealed the flowchart was generally a more effective learning aid than the list of steps for relational recall. Students who learned with the flowchart were better able to recall the steps in the correct order. These findings have important pedagogical implications because knowing the order of the steps is important for correctly factoring polynomials.

Year manuscript completed


Year degree awarded


Author's Keywords

Knowledge maps, elaboration, math education

Dissertation Committee Chair

Paula Waddill

Committee Chair

Mary Williams

Committee Member

Michael Bordieri

Committee Member

Sean Rife

Document Type