Saturday, January 30, 2021

The Importance of Psychology in Mathematics Education

Image Source: https://www.thoughtco.com/math-vocabulary-
in-french-and-english-4083757

Mathematics Education is a two-edged sword. Apart from mastering the contents of basic and advanced mathematics, aspiring mathematics teachers also need to study the principles behind teaching and learning Mathematics. Thus, grows the necessity for every budding mathematics educator to understand not only the content of the subject but also, the pedagogical principles behind it. This is the reason why Mathematics Education usually falls under the College of Sciences and the College of Education. While training in sciences enables us to develop a good understanding of mathematics as a study of quantities, magnitudes, and their relationships by utilizing symbolic logic and language, equally important training in education equips us with the essential knowledge and skills to teach mathematics to young learners. 

Psychology is one of the important foundations of education as it essentially covers scientific studies on human development and cognitive processes. When contextualized in the area of mathematics education, it enables us to understand how learners develop an understanding of quantities and the cognitive processes involved in acquiring skills and enduring understanding of mathematical concepts and processes.  



Nature of Mathematics Learners

In his paper, Psychological Foundations in Teaching Mathematics, Marlow Ediger emphasized the need for every Mathematics teacher to study various theories in psychology in order to understand the learners and in order to give them maximum support in learning Mathematics. He argued that Mathematics teachers should develop an understanding of theories of learning in Mathematics which include B.F. Skinner’s Operant Conditioning, James Popham’s Behaviorism, Robert Gagne’s Task Analysis, Jerome Bruner’s Structure of Knowledge, Jean Piaget’s Developmental Psychology, and John Dewey’s Utilitarian Mathematics. 


B.F. Skinner puts emphasis on a highly structured curriculum wherein the learners achieve the objectives with fewer errors when they are arranged in ascending level of difficulty.  Popham, on the other hand, believed that Mathematics instruction should be driven by measurements defined by a set of behaviorally stated objectives.  Gagne provided a more open-ended approach than those of Skinner’s and Popham’s. For Gagne, the objectives written by the teachers should be arranged in ascending order of complexity. Bruner emphasized that pupils on any grade level attain structural ideas in Mathematics while Piaget argues the importance of providing lessons and materials to the learners according to their level of maturity. Dewey, who is known for his pragmatic philosophy in education, advocated a problem-solving approach where the learners identify and solve problems that are pragmatic. 


When you expose a student to mathematical concepts and processes that are too complex for his/her level, it could lead to frustrations. Instead of learning Mathematics at the finest of its beauty and application, we could end up tormenting the child's potential to love Mathematics and embrace the many learning opportunities embedded within the subject. The content of Mathematics should be arranged according to the readiness of the student. Personally, as a teacher, I like to assess my students' readiness for the content when I handle tutorial sessions. This will allow me to understand the student's readiness and the type of materials that I should be providing.  When I notice that a student is having difficulty understanding complex concepts, I look back to the foundation of the child. One's inability to factor polynomial expressions in Algebra could be a result of the students' lack of mastery in multiplying polynomials which is an essential learning requisite in understanding factoring. 



Mathematics Curriculum

While the question "Why do we teach Mathematics?" can be answered by the philosophical foundations of Mathematics Education, the question "How should we teach Mathematics?" can be answered by the psychological foundations of Mathematics. Thus, mathematics pedagogy as embedded in every Mathematics Curriculum is highly influenced by the psychology behind Mathematics Education. 


In the Philippines, the Department of Education emphasized the twin goals of mathematics at the basic education level which are critical thinking and problem-solving. On the other hand, Singapore's Ministry of Education sets its mathematics curriculum's sole target to developing mathematical problem-solving. These targets can be attained by a definite set of skills, attitudes, contents, and other factors that are carefully built together in order to form a cohesive framework in the teaching and learning of mathematics. 


Image Source: www.depedbohol.org

Understanding the framework of Mathematics Education in the context of the Philippines and Singapore, we can see how psychology forms part of the holistic framework.  According to Eideger, the goals of the Mathematics curriculum are to engage the learners in the process of critical thinking and creative thinking through solving problems that are relevant and exploring creative ways to solve these problems. Ediger also made mention an array of teaching approaches and strategies to engage the learners in the process. Some of these strategies are induction, deduction, differentiated instruction, provision of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation to sustain the learners’ interest, and maintaining a sundry of persona to eradicate monotony in the class. These are all intertwined in the Mathematics Education frameworks of the Philippines and Singapore. 


Image Source: www.https://pasirrispri.moe.edu.sg



Implications to Mathematics Teaching 

Dr. Marlow Ediger argues that Mathematics teachers should study diverse psychologies of learning for use so that individual learners may be guided to attain as optimally as possible. For me, it is not only a duty but a responsibility of every teacher who chooses to be in the field of Mathematics pedagogy. As we agree to the academic cliché that Mathematics pervades life because everything in this world revolves around the concept of Mathematics, the role of a Mathematics teacher becomes a two-edged sword. One edge could help ascertain the mathematical potentials of a child and/or unleash a child’s appreciation of the Mathematics around while the other edge could be a lethal side ready to torment a child’s perception towards Mathematics. 

In the Philippines, we grow up in a society where Mathematics is considered difficult if not impossible and that developing anxiety towards Mathematics is almost a norm. With a stigma attached to Mathematics, it is a necessity for every Mathematics teacher to develop a deeper understanding of Mathematics and its underlying pedagogical principles in order to effectively communicate it to the learners and lead them to the wonders of Math.


Ediger’s idea that Mathematics teachers need to guide learners to engage in higher levels of cognition when using meaningful materials for learners is relevant in the times wherein Mathematics is sometimes perceived as a subject composed merely of formulas and sets of defined processes. In such a case, learners are taught to memorize formulas and steps in solving problems instead of engaging them in critical thinking and creative thinking. A popular misconception about Mathematics is that it is a subject that does not require so much creativity due to well-defined rules and algorithms and that there is always singularity when it comes to arriving at the right answer. However, Ediger emphasized how creative thinking can be practiced in Mathematics by allowing the learners to explore various algorithms and have them familiarize the diversity of the solution. Comparing the various algorithms also enhances critical thinking and the learners’ ability to transfer knowledge in other situations such as solving real-life problems.


The various learning theories presented in the article shed light on the current practices in Mathematics teaching. Teaching Mathematics for a long period of time without any update or refresher on the pedagogical principles would make one forget the very motivation for doing these practices in Mathematics Curriculum and Instruction. Honestly, as I repeatedly wrote down various curriculum maps and instructional plans the past years, I somehow forgot the very reason why we had to structure our curriculum and lesson plan in such a way. All I know was it has always been the standard set by various accreditation bodies in order to ensure that we get to our respective targets. However, as I read through the various theories in the article, it gave me moments of eureka that, after all, these are the bases of how we have been structuring our curriculum and our lesson plan. 


In conclusion, I strongly recommend all Mathematics teachers read the full article to gain significant insights on how the Mathematics curriculum is designed and why instructional plans are structured that way. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and the Philippine K+12 Education Reform: A Reflective Essay



Image Source: https://www.learning-mind.com/plato-allegory-of-the-cave/
The implementation of the K+12 Curriculum in the Philippines has caused several reactions from various education stakeholders in the country. While there was a remarkable number of negative criticisms on the readiness of the country for the implementation of this "ambitious" paradigm in the basic education level, one cannot deny the fact that the policy has a number of good intentions especially on the retooling of our education system so that its quality will be at par with our other counterparts in the ASEAN region and the world. I consider this reform a remarkable milestone that the government has risked for just to ensure that the quality of graduates that we will be able to produce will be globally competitive. However, one could hardly deny the fact that the implementation was not a smooth sailing – it was marred with various challenges in the areas of curriculum implementation, facilities development, economic concerns among parents, faculty readiness among others. I was in the forefront of the implementation of the reform as pioneering faculty member in the Senior High School and current middle level school administrator who has been tasked to ensure that the program will continue to ensure the quality of learning in response to the call of the policy implementation by the Department of Education. Hence, I am compelled to create personal and professional reflections on the challenges of the implementation of the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2010 in relation to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave which has been one of the celebrated contents from his pioneering works in The Republic.

            In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Socrates described a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives facing a blank wall. The people watched the shadows projected on the wall from objects passing in front of a fire behind them and gave names to these shadows. The shadows were the prisoners’ reality and they thought of the voice coming from the people passing by the fire as that of the shadows projected on the wall. Philippines is one of the last four countries in the world to implement a 13-year basic education program. For the past decades, we have been implementing the same system that the Americans established when they colonized the Philippines – this has become the reality of the Philippines’ education for the past decades. While there have been several attempts to reform our system of education before this revolutionary reform, those attempts have always been marred by negative criticisms like the Philippines is not ready for the shift as it could even hardly provide quality education within the required 10-year basic education – how much more a 13-year basic education which would require bigger budget for facilities, teacher development and others. This has been the reality of the Philippines’ basic education system for the past years and we have long accepted and lived with this reality for it has been a significant part of our lives. We have produced graduates who became significant parts of the global workforce with the Philippines being one of the top countries producing workers for various industries in the world. Policy makers did not see the need for a change because we have not experienced any detrimental effect of the current education system to our society. As Filipinos, we were enclosed in a cave of our own reality and it took us decades to realize the need for a shift to a more competitive system of education. As we enclosed ourselves with the said reality, there were factors that we had to key in why we had to retaliate any attempt for change. We had budgetary concerns as a third world country and just like the people in the cave leashed in order for them not to see the reality outside the cave, our vision as a country has been cuffed with various issues such as poverty which entangled us with other issues like health and food sufficiency. For most Filipinos, toiling to ensure that something could be served on one’s plate has been more important than looking into the need for education reform. We sometimes continue to create our own versions of reality and continue to believe in them not because we refuse to see a better version of it but because there are circumstances that deliberately tie us to the realities that we created. Just like the prisoners in the cave, we do not desire to leave the prison because we know no better life or we lack understanding of what is better because of the circumstances that continue to oppress us from unleashing our deemed ignorance.

            One day, the prisoners managed to break their bonds and discovered that their reality was not what they thought it was. They discovered the sun which Plato used as an analogy of the fire that the people in the cave could not see behind. For the prisoners, the sun is incomprehensible especially that they have never seen it in their entire lives. I could directly relate this to the many failed attempts of our policy makers to reform our education to that of K+12. When the concept of the K+12 program was introduced to us, we could hardly accept it because it was a new realm of reality and it would challenge our long-established version of truth of the education system. Why would we need to painstakingly undergo an ambitious reform if we have survived decades of conceived glory as a nation with the system of education that we have. On the other hand, it is also important to note that we sometimes deny ourselves of a better reality not because we do not understand it but we focus so much on our limitations and the pain that we have to undergo when we have to go out of our comfort zone to experience the promise of a better reality. In this case, we encounter an incomprehensible realm. Just like in the allegory that the sun would hurt the eyes of the prisoners and they would escape by turning away to the things which he was able to look at, and these he would believe to be clearer than what was being shown to him, we heard an outrage from various sectors of the society denying the need for a reform as the current state of education is clearer than this less known system that we have to undertake. Nevertheless, someone had to drag us in order for us to see the light but as it was done to us, we experienced pain which triggered an uproar and when we eventually saw the sun, the radiance hurt us causing us to negatively react. Change is painful and the journey towards reform is always a struggle because we have to go through stumbling blocks of doubt or comfort or the state of being cynical to the facts which are less known to us.

Departing the Cave and Embracing K+12 Education
As a nation, we have not fully departed yet from the cave when it comes to the implementation of the K+12 Curriculum.    While we have heard good feedback from the first batch of graduates last school year in terms of their college readiness, employability and acquisition of skills, there are significant setbacks brought about by the redundancy of the curriculum offered by higher education institutions, lack of confidence from some of the industries to accept graduates of the K+12 program and the most recent agendum of the Department of Education on its plan to review and revise the curriculum. These are some of the setbacks that could be likened to the prisoner’s glary sight of the sun that holds him back from fully seeing the reality. Until the prisoner could strongly see the sun with its brightness, he would not be able to justify the sun as it appears and his reasoning of the new reality would be weak. It would take time for our society to fully mature with this new education paradigm and live within the brightness of the light that is spotted to us. However, I stay positive that in less than a decade, this new system of education will bring us to another level of maturity that will enable us to produce more competent basic education graduates who are not only ready for higher education but are also ready to supplement the needs for technical workforce in the industry and citizens who will fully take part in nation building as a result of their strong foundation in the basic education.
I am positive that the time will come that university education will only be an option for some of the graduates as they already find their basic education sufficient for them to become significant contributors for economic development and social transformation.

Transitioning Back
            In a matter of a decade or two, provided that there is going to be a continuum in the progress that has been made in the implementation of the K+12 Curriculum, we will be expecting a new breed of basic education graduates whose competence is at par with our ASEAN counterparts or our global counterparts. By then, we will be looking back at how we have been and how far we have progressed in our journey towards a more competent education. Will we be happy of the outcome of this reform? By then, we could only measure the success of this reform through the parameters that we will set in reference to our goals. By then, we could hopefully see a better nation with citizens who are more competent and better contributors of nation building.   
            On the other hand, the question remains if we are still willing to transition back to what we were used to after we experience positive impacts in various aspects of our nation or what could be the possible repercussions of this reform.   

Conclusion
            Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is a remarkable literary work that tells us so much about how people react to change and how poignant change is for a certain society. In fact, for some communities, change involved some lives as collateral damages in an attempt to transition from once practice or idea to another. People’s tendency to retaliate change is not necessarily because of them not open to embrace a new concept or culture that is being introduced but because of their failure to see the bigger picture of the need for the change. At times, it is brought about by many factors like poverty, lack of education, economic constraints and others. These factors could be related to the leash that bars the person from seeing the light behind him and the animate objects outside the cave.
            Plato’s Allegory of the Cave could be a good source of reflection each time we attempt to implement change in a certain organization or introduce something new in our classroom. In the level of our students, we have to understand that they came from different backgrounds with several orientations of reality. New ideas might be poignant for some of them at first but we owe them a sound explanation and we have to guide them through the process. As educators, our responsibility should not only to show the students what is better – we have to let them experience and reflect why such is better.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Using Google+ for Education

Image from www.teachthought.com
Last November, I was invited by Google Business Group - Cebu to speak about Using Google+ for Education at the Google+ Workshop at the University of the Visayas New School of Media and Design. It was a privilege to speak and share my passion for the integration of technology into education and the revolutionary ideas in classroom instruction.

The crowd was not composed of mainly educators and/or parents who might be able to make use of the ideas I presented but I was sure enough that those people have been using Social Media and considering such, everyone is said to have educated in a way or two through their networks in different social media platforms. I started my talk by citing the impact of social media to the modern landscape of the education field. I also reiterated the basic characteristics of 21st Century Education in an effort to establish connections between these characteristics and the social media platforms and their possible impacts. However, the main focus was on the use of Google+ for Education highlighting different applications that, if enhanced and properly used, will help the students learn better. The next few paragraphs will help you identify the different applications of Google+ in education. In a way, this is the transcript of my talk but I added more ideas to help us understand better what is Google+ and how it can be used in education.

What is Google+?
Although I started my talk by citing the impact of social media to the present landscape of education, it would be an understatement to say that Google+ is just another social media platform. According to Martin Shervington, Google+ is a phenomenal tool for human communication, and much more. ...It is bringing people together within the context of many of Google’s services. It is, quite simply, something to be experienced for yourself. Think of all the Google tools and applications and sum them up -- they're all in one roof for ease of use and expand one's technological horizon.

Using Google+ for Education
Considering that Google+ is an aggregate of all Google services, this technology can be helpful in enriching classroom instruction by making use of various Google tools as learning platform. Here are some of the applications that can be effectively used to enhance our students' learning experiences.

Google Hangout. Established to replace Google talk, Hangouts are simply sitting with your students   while engaged in a meaningful discussion about a particular topic.  There will be times wherein, as much as you would like to talk more about a certain topic in your classroom, time would not permit. For enrichment, you can schedule a hangout where you can entertain more questions from your students or simply device a presentation wherein your students can interact with you just like you're in the same classroom. Click HERE for an awesome guide to Google Hangout. 

Google Circles. You want to add your students in your network but there are some posts that might not be appropriate for them or you want to post an announcement on Google+ specifically for your students. Google Circles is the answer. Through Circles, you can organize your networks into different groups. What are circles? Here's a great VIDEO you can learn from.

Google Plus Communities. Create communities -- specifically, learning communities through Google Plus Communities. G+ communities allow one to communicate with the members of the community, share ideas and collaborate on a particular learning activity. Posting updates and information helpful for the learners has never been a hassle with Google Plus Communities. 

YouTube. I would call this application or tool infamous for legends were started through the platform. Infamous as it is, there are hundreds of videos on YouTube that every teacher can make use in the classroom. As free video-sharing community, the tool can be utilized  to upload instructional videos or even simply learning from the available instructional videos of various topics. I learned from a former colleague that a YouTube video on bullying she shared in her Values Education class inspired her students to take action against bullying. 

Google Drive. Replacing Google Docs, Google Drive revolutionizes file sharing as it integrates cloud backup for learning files. To minimize paper usage in my classroom, I usually advise my students to send their works through Google Drive. The advantage is not only environmental -- it also allows me to provide immediate feedback to my students as I easily evaluate their works as soon as they upload it and. If they happen to be online, they can even work on the corrections real time. The feature also encourages collaboration.

I am sure that aside from the applications that I have mentioned, there are still a number of other applications. However, I indicated only the tools that I am fond of using. I hope you find this helpful.    



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Experimental Research Design in Education

Photo from Ocean Portal - Educator's Corner
www.ocean.si.edu/for-educators
As defined by Davis (1997), experimental research is a research design which seeks to establish cause-and-effect laws by isolating causal variables. Davis’ definition has been supported by Costales and Zulueta (2003) as they defined experimental research as a type of research that seeks to answer about causation. Definitely, experimental research answers to life’s profound questions, “What is the cause?” and “What would be the effect?”

The same with other educational research designs, experimental research as applied in education considers the different types of variables. On a note, variables affect the result of the study by taking on different values, thus, changing the course of the research. The following types of variables need to be considered in experimental research:

1. Independent Variable (IV) It is the variable that the experimenter changes or enacts in order to do the experiment. It has levels, conditions, or treatments. It is also the hypothesized cause. For example, if you are   going to conduct an experimental research on the effectiveness of cooperative learning in learning Mathematics, you would hypothesize that cooperative learning is not effective in learning Mathematics and to prove your hypothesis you would, for example, apply cooperative learning to a particular group of learners while using a traditional strategy to another group of learners. This way, you enact cooperative learning in one group of students to do the experiment.
2. Dependent Variable (DV) It is the one affected by the independent variable. DV changes when the IV changes - the dependent variable depends on the outcome of the independent variable. In the case of studying the effectiveness of cooperative learning in learning Mathematics, your dependent variable could be the learners' level of comprehension of the mathematical concepts being studied using and without using cooperative learning strategy. If you would try to intuitively look at the situation, you would see that it would vary as you apply or suppress you independent variable which is cooperative learning.   

3. Controlled Variable It is anything else that could influence the dependent variable aside from the independent variable. Controlled variables are usually held constant by the researcher to eliminate them as potentials causes. For example, as you do the experimental research on the effectiveness of cooperative learning in learning Mathematics, you would foresee that other factors would affect the dependent variable 
  
4. Random Variable This type of variable is allowed to vary freely in order to eliminate them as potential causes (e.g., age, gender).

5. Confounding Variable This variable vary systematically with the independent variable and may also be a cause. Experimenters should eliminate them if possible. Confounding variable can be further classified Intervening Variable which is easier to control and Extraneous Variable which is, at times, difficult and, sometimes, impossible to control. 

For any type of experimental research, internal validity is always taken with utmost consideration. Internal Validity is simply translated as the accuracy of the study or the truth-value. When checking for internal validity, one needs to ask the questions: "Does the research design lead to true statement?" or "Did the independent variable cause the effects in the dependent variable?" External Validity, on the other hand, is the generality of the result. It simply answers the question, "Can the result be applied in another setting or to another population of research participants?"

Key Terms in Experimental Research
Key to understanding experimental research are the terms commonly used throughout the study. These terms include:
1. control group – the group that does not receive treatment (independent variable)
2. experimental group – the group that receives treatment (dependent variable)
3. new treatment/unusual treatment – a new theory/practice/method applied to a group of individuals (experimental group)
4. usual treatment/control treatment – a traditional/usual practice continuously applied among a group of individuals (control group)
5. pretest – an assessment conducted before a treatment is being applied
6. posttest – an assessment conducted after a treatment has been applied
7. randomization – indiscriminate way of selecting and assigning subjects to group

Types of Experimental Research
Experimental Research is classified into different types which include Pre-Experimental, Quasi-Experimental, and True ExperimentalPre-experimental designs follow basic experimental steps but fail to include a control group. In other words, a single group is often studied but no comparison between an equivalent non-treatment group is made. The following are pre-experimental research designs:

1. One-Shot Case Study. The subjects are presented with some type of treatment and then the outcome measure is applied. 

Advantage: There is a possibility of real-world exploration.
Limitations:
a. There is no comparison group (control group) making it impossible to determine if the outcome is higher that those who do not receive the treatment. 
b. There is no pretest; therefore, it is impossible to determine if any change within the group has taken place.

3. One Group Pretest Posttest Study. The subjects are given pretest before some type of treatment is presented. After the treatment, a posttest follows in order to determine if there is any change brought by the treatment.
Advantage: There is a comparison between performances by the same subjects.
Limitation:
Because there is no control group, it’s difficult to determine whether the change is brought by the treatment (independent variable) or other factors (intervening variable) like maturation and family/peer support.

4. Static Group Comparison Study. Two groups are chosen, one of which receives the treatment and the other does not. A posttest score is then determined to measure the difference, after treatment, between the two groups.
Advantage: It can provide group comparisons to evaluate a program after it is completed.
Limitation:
There is no pretest and therefore any difference between two groups (control and experimental) prior to the study is unknown.

A quasi-experimental design is quite better than pre-experimental research design for it employs means to compare groups which the later fails to do so. However, this type of experimental design still fails one important aspect of an experiment, which is RANDOMIZATION. The following are quasi-experimental research designs:

1. Nonequivalent Control Group Design. Both a control group and an experimental group is compared, however, the groups are chosen and assigned out of convenience rather than through randomization.


2.Time-Series Design. Time series designs refer to the pretesting and posttesting of one group of subjects at different intervals. The purpose might be to determine long term effect of treatment and therefore the number of pre- and posttests can vary from one each to many.Sometimes there is an interruption between tests in order to assess the strength of treatment over an extended time period. When such a design is employed, the posttest is referred to as follow-up.
Advantages:
a. Can be used to study variables that can’t be studied in any other way.
b. Since there is no control group, the experiment might be repeated in many different places by different researchers to gain external validity.
           Disadvantage:
         It is not capable at controlling effects of history (e.g., events occurring between two measurements) and this design typically extends over long periods of time.

3. Counterbalanced Design. This design is used when we want to compare two groups that are likely to be different even before the study begins. In other words, if we want to see how a new treatment affects people with different psychological disorders, the disorders themselves would create two or more nonequivalent groups. Once again, the number of pretests and post tests can vary from one each to many.

True experimental designs employ both a control group and a means to measure the change that occurs in both groups. In this sense, the researcher attempts to control for all confounding variables, or at least consider their impact, while attempting to determine if the treatment is what truly caused the change. The true experiment is often thought of as the only research method that can adequately measure the cause and effect relationship. The following are true experimental research designs:

1. Pretest-Posttest Control Group. This design holds a degree of randomization, uses control group, and therefore has greater internal validity.
Principal Use:
It is used to assess the impact of an intervention or treatment to two randomized group, one control and one experimental.
Advantages:
a. change in behavior and outcomes after intervention can be determined
b. chances of confounding due to other factors can be decreased
c. can be expanded to include more than one treatment
d. it can allow for many comparisons (i.e. between groups, pretest and posttest)
e. confidence in establishing cause-and-effect (i.e. confidence that the difference between groups is due to the intervention)Posttest Only Control Group Design. Only one group receives treatment and both groups undergo posttest.Design assumes groups are equivalent due to random assignment.
Advantages:
a. easy design to implement
b. used in instances when a pretest is too costly or inappropriate or impossible
c. eliminates interaction effect of combined pretest -treatment from the group comparison
d. optimal design for applying the t-test or analysis of variance.

           Limitations
a. requires care in selection of a posttest instrument which is truly sensitive to changes caused by the treatment.
b. can’t measure change
c. will not allow as powerful statistical tests as is permitted by the standard pretest-posttest control group design 

4. Solomon Four-Group Design. Controls for the effect of the pretest.
Advantages:
a. control threats to external validity inherent in the standard design, e.g., possibility of pretest sensitizing groups to the treatment.
b. assess more accurately effects of pretest alone, the treatment alone, and the interaction of pretesting and treatment.
c. If we disregard pretests, analysis of variance procedures are possible.
d. Alternatively, by using pretest as a covariate, analysis of covariance procedures is possible.
           Limitations: Difficulty in arranging the logistics of the design

Steps in Conducting Experimental Research
Like performing a regular experiment in Science classes, Experimental Research in education involves steps that need to be followed. The first step involved is the selection and definition of a problem. For example, if you are interested at doing an experimental research on the effectiveness of a new teaching strategy, such topic can be selected as the "problem" and can further be defined before executing the experiment.

The second step is the selection of subjects for the study. This process will highly depend on the type of experimental research one is interested to conduct. If it's pre-experiemental research, on experimental group can be assigned. If it's quasi-experimental, two groups can be assigned but individuals are not randomly chosen. For a true experimental research, the researcher can randomly assign individuals in two different groups.

The third steps involves the selection of measuring instruments for the research based on the chosen problem.  It is followed by the selection of a design then the execution of procedure. Data analysis follows and then the formulation of conclusion.

References:
All Psych Online: The Virtual Psychology Classroom. (2004). Research Methods (Chapter 5: Experimental Design). Retrieved February 3, 2009 from http://allpsych.com/researchmethods/experimentaldesign.html

Davis, John, PhD (1997). Experimental Research Methods. Retrieved February 1, 2009 from http://clem.mscd.edu/~davisj/prm2/exper1.html

Krishnan, Edward Roy, Ph.D. Experimental Research. Course handout in Research Methods in Educational Administration, St. Theresa Inti College, BangkokThailand.

Zulueta, Francisco M. and Costales, Nestor Edilberto B., Jr. (2003). Methods of Research, Thesis-Writing and Applied Statistics. Mandaluyong CityPhilippines: National Book Store