Date of Award

Spring 5-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education & Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Nancy Heilbronner, PhD

Second Advisor

Rachel McAnallen, PhD

Third Advisor

Judith Pandolfo, PhD

Abstract

This research explored the impact of an intervention designed to increase fourth and fifth grade students’ persistence in mathematics on their mathematical self-perceptions. The researcher utilized a quasi-experimental design in which intact classrooms were randomly assigned to treatment or comparison conditions, as well as follow-up survey methodology. Students in the treatment group received prescriptive informational feedback in mathematical notebooks from their teachers, were taught that abilities are expandable and improvable, and were exposed to role models that taught about the importance of persistence, while students in the comparison group received a traditional mathematics curriculum. The persistence intervention occurred over the course of 12 weeks in a small northeastern suburban school district in which three of the five elementary schools were utilized. Two researcher-designed surveys (demographic and open-ended) and The Math and Me survey (Adelson, 2006) were administered to the students in this study. Data were analyzed using a two-way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) and cycle coding of the general qualitative data (Saldaña, 2009). The results of the analysis indicated no significant main effect for Type of Intervention or Gender. No significant interaction was found for Type of Intervention and Gender. However in the qualitative results, four themes emerged: Attribution – Effort, Attribution – Ability, Positive Feelings about Math, and Negative Feelings about Math. The responses to the intervention indicated a positive attitude toward the mathematic notebooks, the comments provided, and the Staying in the Struggle (McAnallen, 2002) vignettes. Implications for educators and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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