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Addressing High Failure Rates in Algebra through the Examination of Relationships Between Engagement, Mathematics Attitudes, and Instructional Practices

Causer, Victoria (2023) Addressing High Failure Rates in Algebra through the Examination of Relationships Between Engagement, Mathematics Attitudes, and Instructional Practices. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The purpose of this study was to examine the impact and interactions of student-centered instructional techniques on College Algebra student engagement, mathematics attitudes, and achievement. At my place of practice, instructional shifts towards student-centered and social-efficiency models of instruction are taking place, supported by administrative initiatives, to individualize student learning and better prepare students for the workforce. This project focused on using inquiry-based and collaborative methods of instruction in a College Algebra classroom throughout the course of one semester using an instructional approach known as POGIL. Instructor implementation of inquiry-based collaborative methods aimed for students to build positive mathematical attitudes, actively engage in their learning, and be more likely to show positive math learning outcomes –including higher achievements with the use of productive struggle and collaborative learning instructional techniques. Qualitative results showed student attitudes toward mathematics in introductory college algebra classrooms were primary influenced by teacher practices in their K-12 mathematics classrooms and the feelings ranging from fear to joy that resulted from these past practices and suggested that POGIL activities may have helped with student attitudes by shifting negative experience of fear and dread to the excitement and increased sense of camaraderie amongst peers. No quantitative self-reported Likert scaled survey items showed a statistically significant (p<0.05) differences at the two time-points for items corresponding to attitude, engagement, or content retention based on paired t-tests. However, results indicated a “cohort effect” within the classroom with trends showing different responses regarding survey items and summative test results between the three cohorts examined.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Causer, Victoriavdc5@pitt.eduvdc5
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairQuigley,
Committee MemberAkiva,
Committee MemberHeffernan,
Date: 11 January 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 1 November 2022
Approval Date: 11 January 2023
Submission Date: 2 December 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 106
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Engagement, Attitudes, Instructional Practices,Mathematics
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2023 19:13
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2023 19:13


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