Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Department of Mathematics: Mathematics Education
Sherry L. Meier
BELIEFS AND INSTRUCTIONAL PRACTICES OF FOUR COMMUNITY COLLEGE REMEDIAL MATHEMATICS INSTRUCTORS
Robin M. Wucherer
285 Pages August 2011
In an extension of research linking teachers' beliefs about mathematics and their instructional practices at the Prek-12 level, the present study examined and documented both the beliefs and instructional practices of four community college instructors who teach remedial mathematics. Data was collected through survey, observations, interviews, and classroom artifacts. The results of the survey, the Modified Standards Based Belief Instrument (MSBI), showed one-third of 39 community college mathematics instructors had beliefs about mathematics and the teaching and learning of mathematics that aligned with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Standards (1989,2000), with the remaining two-thirds having a mix of traditional and Standards-based beliefs.
Case study findings indicated a variation in teachers' beliefs about mathematics and the teaching and learning of mathematics, in particular, two instructors had Standards-based beliefs while two instructors had traditional based beliefs. Each instructor's mathematical tasks, discourse, and learning environment were evaluated using Smith and Stein's (1998) level of cognitive demand, Brendefur and Frykholm's (2000) four constructs of discourse, and Horizon Research's (2000) classroom observation protocol. The findings showed that four instructors employed traditional practices. They consistently employed tasks labeled as procedures without connections. There was a difference in the discourse observed in the four classes. Two instructors were at the uni-directional level of communication with one instructor at each of the contributive and reflective levels of communication. Study findings indicate a need for further research of the effectiveness of student learning based on an instructor's beliefs and instructional strategies along with effectiveness of professional development that focuses on cognitive demand level of tasks, discourse, and group activities.
Wucherer, Robin Marie, "Beliefs and Instructional Practices of Four Community College Remedial Mathematics Instructors" (2013). Theses and Dissertations. 23.