Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ed.D.

Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership

Major Professor

Donald A. Dellow

Keywords

Achievement, Assessment, Enjoyment, Motivation, Self-confidence, Value

Abstract

Examining students' attitudes toward mathematics has become extremely popular. This study examined the attitudes and outcomes of Beginning Algebra students at a central Florida community college. Quantitative methods were used to examine the students' initial composite attitudes toward mathematics. The initial composite attitude was used to examine the relationship between CPT scores and State Competency Exam scores. Further analysis was conducted to examine completers' and non-completers' initial attitudes. The composite change score was determined and quantitative methods were used to examine interactions between class sections, age, gender, and ethnicity.

The study began with 217 students and ended with 158. The initial attitude scores were determined for the 217 students who completed the Attitudes Toward Mathematics Inventory (ATMI) in the first week of the fall 2010 semester. The ATMI was administered again in the 12th week of the semester to gather an end-of-semester attitude score. Throughout the semester several students withdrew, and the final sample size was 158 students. A change score was determined using the final sample size and subtracting the beginning attitude scores from the ending attitude scores. The change score was used to examine whether an interaction occurred between class sections, age, gender, and ethnicity. Students' initial composite attitude was revealed to be slightly positive. Students' initial composite scores for the factor of value implied that these students valued mathematics. The factors of self-confidence and enjoyment were slightly positive. Motivation was the most negative response with a below neutral composite attitudinal score. No significance was found between the CPT score and student composite initial attitudinal score, nor was there any significance between the State Competency Exam and composite initial attitudinal score. Completers of the course were found to have a more positive composite attitude score than non-completers. Students' change score indicated that the students' overall attitudes had a positive change over the semester. A statistically significant association was found in change scores in the ATMI factor of value among these age groups. These findings have implications for professors who seek to identify students' attitudes in order to intervene and assist students to become more positive toward mathematics and thus possibly improve students' success in mathematics.

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