Year of Publication

2007

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Education

Department

Administration and Supervision

First Advisor

Margaret Mohr

Second Advisor

Truman Stevens

Abstract

Not often do mathematics teachers instruct to improve students' attitudes toward mathematics. The pressures to cover the state-mandated curriculum drive teachers to instruct for procedural understanding with few connections. The lack of real-life connections results in students with low motivation toward mathematics and results in poor mathematics attitude (Ma andamp; Kishor, 1997). The purpose of this mixed-methods research is to examine self-regulated learning as an instructional technique aimed at increasing mathematical attitudes while also increasing achievement and to reveal barriers to its implementation in the classroom.The research study involved an intervention in a Mid-South urban high school at the 9th grade level. All students who participated were enrolled in the middle track at the school, thus taking an Algebra I course. The intervention took place with four teachers in seven separate classes. Students were given the opportunity to regulate their own learning based on objectives for district and state requirements. In this pre/post design, students were surveyed for their mathematics attitude and achievement using the Attitude Toward Mathematics Inventory (Tapia, 1996) and a polynomial survey designed by the researcher. Teachers were surveyed and interviewed prior to the study to develop a sense of their teaching preferences. During the experiment classroom observations were conducted to assist in developing themes in the intervention. Following the study, extensive interviews took place with each participating teacher.Data analyses revealed no statistically significant difference between the control and experimental group in regards to mathematics attitude and achievement. Qualitative analysis using constant comparative strategies (Denzin andamp; Lincoln, 2000) revealed many teacher barriers and misconceptions. Teachers felt uncomfortable with the technique and were unable to allow the students to fully regulate their learning. The teachers imposed a timeline, quizzes, written tests, and direct instruction techniques on the students during the study. All of these created barriers to the students fully regulating their learning. Also, teachers' perceptions of learning and attitude were not valid. Teachers believed the students achieved at a lower level than with a traditional approach and viewed their attitudes as worse than normal. This was in direct contrast to the quantitative results.

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