Date of Award

Spring 5-31-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Christine Thomas

Second Advisor

Dr. Iwan Elstak

Third Advisor

Dr. Junor Pier Clark

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Nikita Patterson

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Mary Shoffner

Abstract

Instructional practices in mathematics courses at two-year colleges include lecture as the predominant instructional form in 78% of two-year colleges, with class sizes averaging about 26 students (AACC, 2005). The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) indicates that there is a need for change in the practices of mathematics teachers because students are not being served well by the traditional pedagogical approaches (Burrill & Hollweg, 2003). The standards-based reform movement has had a positive impact on pedagogy but there are ongoing issues of alignment of teaching strategies to more student-centered practices (Barrington, 2004).

This study examined the standards-based teaching practices of college mathematics faculty in the first two years to answer the research questions: What alignment exists between two-year college mathematics instructor’s knowledge and the instructional standards published by the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges in Beyond Crossroads? What are the components that characterize the instructional practices of two-year college instructors? What relationship exists between the alignment of Two-Year College mathematics faculty instructional practices with Beyond Crossroads? An interpretative qualitative methodology with an embedded survey was applied to examine how the American Mathematical Association of Two Year Colleges standards are currently being aligned with instruction in the first two years of college.

An analysis of the data revealed that standards-based teaching strengthens instructor delivery and accommodates diverse learning styles. Mathematics faculty use technology as a teaching tool and use a variety of student-centered activities to engage students to help them make meaningful connections. Findings from the study suggest there exist a strong relationship between the American Mathematical Association of Two Year College standards and instructor practice in the first two years. The findings indicate that mathematics faculty struggled in changing their instructional practice to meet the needs of their students. Furthermore, findings suggest that those invested in the mathematics education in the first two years constantly adjust their teaching through professional development opportunities. Additionally, mathematics faculty modified the curriculum to customize their instruction to align with standards-based teaching practices as their knowledge and awareness of standards develops as a professional.

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