Exploring the Effects of Attitude Toward Mathematics, Gender, and Ethnicity On the Acquisition of Geometry Content Knowledge and Geometric Spatial Visualization

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

First Advisor

Mildred E. Kersh

Advisor Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education


The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of attitude toward mathematics, gender, and ethnicity, on geometry achievement in sixth-grade classrooms. Data were collected for six weeks through the administration of tests, conducting observations, and interviews. Multiple regression analysis was used to evaluate the quantitative data and constant comparison was the method used for reducing and interpreting the qualitative data. The research study explores geometry content knowledge, spatial visualization, gender, ethnicity, and mathematics attitude. Geometry has received greater attention as a result of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Standards. This research represents the apparent differences in mathematics attitude, gender, and ethnicity on the learning of geometry content knowledge and geometric spatial visualization. The qualitative component of the research considers important issues such as students' understanding and the parents' role in geometry achievement. This study pinpoints some critical problems that arise. Gender equity, geometric content knowledge, and spatial visualization continues to be a timely topic and an issue in education. A survey of the results indicated that: (a) confidence and usefulness were important to both geometry content knowledge and spatial visualization, (b) ethnic differences existed on geometry content knowledge, whereas no ethnic differences were found statistically significant on geometric spatial visualization, (c) parent-child interactions were related to performance in geometry, (d) factors related to gender were identified as enabling skills for achievement in geometric spatial visualization, and (e) play factors were identified that accounted for geometric spatial visualization skills.