Date of Award

10-7-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Christine D. Thomas - Chair

Second Advisor

Pier Junor Clarke

Third Advisor

Douglas A. Wagner

Fourth Advisor

Steve W. Harmon

Fifth Advisor

Karen A. Schultz

Abstract

Public concern over the mathematical incompetence of students and adults is longstanding and justified. The No Child Left Behind act has affected the nation’s teachers, their school systems, and their communities. The act required all classrooms have a “highly-qualified teacher” by June, 2006 (United States Department of Education, 2002). Thus, the purpose of this evaluative case study was to understand if the unique National Board Certification (NBC) focused Educational Specialist (EdS) program was effective in creating change in teacher practice of six high school mathematics teachers in a suburban Georgia county. The learning outcomes of the program and perceptions of self-efficacy were evaluated and used as guidelines for the effectiveness of the program. The study was grounded in theories of metacognition, social constructivism, and self-efficacy. Metacognition provided the basis for “thinking about thinking” (McApline, Weston, et al, 1999) but reflection expanded the thought process to thinking about thinking or actions. Reflections were an integral for each of the constructs of the EdS program and this dissertation. Data for the study included written teacher reflections, action research projects, and mentoring manuals; in addition to interviews three years after the program. Data were coded and analyzed through a process of constant comparison using the NVivo 7 software. The findings at each stage of analysis, which were halfway through the program, end of the program, and three years after the program, indicate the five constructs metacognition, social constructivism, self-efficacy, community of learners, and action research were common across data sets. Four of the five constructs became more prevalent at each stage of analysis with only action research peaking prior to the third stage. The patterns developed during the study indicated long-term change in teacher practice and these constructs solidified as part of their teaching philosophy.

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