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A qualitative inquiry exploring affective characteristics of developmental mathematics students

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Item Summary

Title: A qualitative inquiry exploring affective characteristics of developmental mathematics students
Authors: Paulding, Michael
Keywords: developmental mathematics
Issue Date: Dec 2014
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2014]
Abstract: Across the United States, initiatives have been undertaken to address the concerning numbers of academically underprepared students who enroll in community colleges with the need for developmental mathematics coursework. Practically all assessment done to understand the needs of developmental education students is cognitive and few efforts are made to assess students' affective characteristics, which include student attitudes, locus of control, anxiety, and self-efficacy. The purpose of this qualitative, collective case study was to seek understanding of the affective characteristics of developmental mathematics students and how these characteristics influence completion of their prescribed mathematics coursework within a developmental education program at a community college in the state of Hawaiʻi. Two cases of developmental learners were explored, including students who completed the prescribed sequence of courses (completers) on the first attempt and those who withdrew from, failed or otherwise did not complete the developmental mathematics course(s) on the first attempt (repeaters). The third case consisted of fulltime developmental education faculty members, including educators, counselors, and administrators (developmental faculty case). The design of this research study was framed under the lens of Albert Bandura's selfefficacy theory, based on the notion that achievement is dependent on interactions between a person's behaviors, personal factors, and their environment. Through the use of open-ended interview questions, utilizing a semi-structured interview protocol, quality responses reflecting the lived experiences of the participants were obtained. The perspectives of 10 research participants produced findings about how attitudes are formed by prior experiences in mathematics, often times adopting a utilitarian function from pleasurable or painful experiences; how locus of control is often influenced by motivation, such that irrelevant coursework spawns amotivation, while engagement fosters intrinsic curiosity; how math anxiety can be incapacitating; how low mathematical self-efficacy perceptions are deeply entrenched, but can be delicately rebuilt with the encouragement of faculty and how the developmental educator is considered a cornerstone for student learning. This study contributes to the body of literature in developmental education and may be used to assist educators, counselors, and administrators to develop more effective learning communities that support the affective characteristics of the students they serve.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/101127
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Education



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