Date of Award

5-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Chair

Sherry Herron

Committee Chair Department

Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Member 2

Melinda Gann

Committee Member 2 Department

Mathematics

Committee Member 3

Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 4

Richard Mohn

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

Mathematics is a subject with which many students struggle. It has been noted that students’ attitudes towards mathematics can often affect their performance in related courses. The goal of this research is to explore the relationship between students’ basic applied mathematics skill and students’ attitudes towards mathematics. That is, do students, as they learn how to use mathematics in the real world, tend to develop a more favorable outlook towards mathematics? Or, on the other hand, do the attitudes towards mathematics of students remain unaffected as their ability to use mathematics in the real world increases? The current research seeks to clarify these propositions in an effort to improve mathematics instruction by providing educators with a better understanding of students’ attitudes towards mathematics.

Multiple linear regression analysis found that attitude toward mathematics was indeed significantly related to students’ basic applied mathematics skill. Attitude toward mathematics explained 29.7% of the variance observed in basic applied mathematics skill. Attitudinal subscales were also analyzed. Student self-confidence and motivation were both significant predictors of basic applied mathematics skill. In a separate analysis, attitude toward mathematics was found not to be significantly related to mathematical achievement in the college classroom.

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