Date of Award

8-2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Vena M. Long

Committee Members

P. Mark Taylor, David F. Anderson, C. E. Roeske

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine any significant differences among recent high school graduates placed in developmental and college-level mathematics courses. The focus of the investigation was on students’ high school course-taking patterns in mathematics and their attitudes and beliefs towards mathematics. High school location was also considered.

The study was conducted at two community colleges in east Tennessee. Students placed in both developmental and college-level mathematics courses completed surveys at the beginning of the fall semester 2006. Four scales of the Fennema-Sherman Mathematics Attitudes Scales (1976), along with the Indiana Mathematics Belief Scales (Kloosterman & Stage, 1992), were used to assess students’ attitudes and beliefs towards mathematics. Data analysis was limited to recent high school graduates (students who graduated from high school in the spring of 2006) who were taking a mathematics course for the first time in college.

No significant differences were found among rural and non-rural recent high school graduates with regard to mathematics course-taking patterns in high school and attitudes and beliefs towards mathematics. Furthermore, rural students were no more likely to be placed in developmental mathematics courses upon entering college than were non-rural students.

Significant differences were found among students placed in developmental and college-level mathematics courses. Students placed in developmental mathematics courses took significantly fewer mathematics courses in high school than did students placed in college-level mathematics courses. In addition, students placed inSignificant differences were found among students placed in developmental and college-level mathematics courses. Students placed in developmental mathematics courses took significantly fewer mathematics courses in high school than did students placed in college-level mathematics courses. In addition, students placed in developmental mathematics courses were less likely to have taken a course beyond Algebra II or Geometry in high school than were students placed in college-level mathematics courses. Students placed in developmental mathematics courses had significantly less confidence and effectance motivation in mathematics than did students placed in college-level mathematics courses. Also, students placed in developmental mathematics courses had a significantly lower belief in the usefulness of mathematics than did students placed in college-level mathematics courses. Finally, students placed in developmental mathematic courses had a significantly lower belief in their ability to solve time-consuming mathematics problems and in that it is not always possible to solve word problems using simple, step-by-step procedures than did students placed in collegelevel mathematics courses.

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