Date of Award

3-12-2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Christine Thomas - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Deborah Najee-ullah

Third Advisor

Dr. Sheryl Gowen

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Lynn Hart

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Nikita Patterson

Sixth Advisor

Dr. Lynn Stallings

Abstract

To address the pervasive concerns of educators about the social and emotional effects of mathematics acceleration on students and the paucity of findings on those issues, 6 students who had participated in 6 years of accelerated mathematics courses were purposefully identified and interviewed in this longitudinal study. Through a qualitative research design, using phenomenological methods, and accompanying descriptive statistics, the author elicited the students’ descriptions of their learning experiences. Major findings in this study were that all students described great benefits from the experience, negative effects were minor, and key factors contributing to success were work ethic, motivation, parents and teachers. The researcher examines a subset of able and promising students who experienced increased mathematics expectations, and she gives parents, educators and policymakers insight into how that population responded to those challenges. In the ever-shifting arena of higher learning expectations for all students under No Child Left Behind legislation and the poor showing of U.S. students on international tests, these results provide information about the possible responses that other students, those struggling and unmotivated, might have to those demands.

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