Date of Award

5-16-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Christine D. Thomas, Ph.D. - Chair

Second Advisor

Miles Anthony Irving, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Pier Junor Clarke, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Marti Singer

Abstract

Bridging the achievement gap while improving overall performance in high school mathematics is a primary concern in the educational arena. A peer tutoring strategy was implemented to examine its effects on the achievement and attitude of African American students in mathematics courses. Vygotsky’s theory of social interaction and the Zone of Proximal Development served as the guide for this investigation involving 138 high school students. Dyads were formed by pairing 46 Algebra and Geometry students with 46 Advanced Placement Calculus students for after- school tutorial sessions. Forty-six members of a control group received no tutoring intervention. Participants completed a 25-item graduation pretest and a 31-item Mathematical Disposition Survey (Donovan & Beveridge, 2004). No significant group differences were found on any pretest measures. After working with trained tutors for six weeks, the tutees completed a posttest and survey. Students’ course grades from the first week were compared to their grades at the conclusion of the study. ANOVA indicated achievement margins were statistically significant at the .05 level; however, attitudinal changes were not significant. Results indicated that participation in peer tutorials appears to have a predictive effect on increased achievement, but not on student attitudes toward learning mathematics.

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