Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Christine Thomas

Second Advisor

Dr. Iman Chahine

Third Advisor

Dr. Junor Clarke

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Esposito

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Rebecca Casey


The purpose of this study was to examine traditionally aged developmental mathematics college students’ experiences of mathematical practices, in a 4-week summer learning community, using a qualitative explanatory single case study approach (Yin, 2009). This study used the methodological framework of Local Communities of Mathematical Practices (Winbourne & Watson, 1998), the conceptual theory of situated cognition (Brown & Duguid, 1988), and the theories of communities of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991), and learning communities (Tinto, 1997). The objectives were to highlight contextual factors that allowed participants to be academically successful as evidenced by their mathematical practices (Ball, 2003). The research question was: How does participating in a 4-week summer learning community shape developmental mathematics college students’ experiences of mathematical practices?

The participants of this case study were one group of four women. Data were collected in the form of video and audio tape of classroom interactions, observations and reflections, diagnostic pretest, and participant interviews. Findings revealed that participants’ mathematical practices were shaped in part by: a) the way students identified with mathematics reflected their ‘success’ or ‘failure’ in the mathematics course; b) the students level of participation within the community; c) the students collaboration with purpose, discussion, and reflection; d) the students shared repertoire confirmed the consensus of knowledge; e) the students mutual engagement played a large part in their motivation, and f) the students joint enterprise within the learning community led to a self supporting system verifying that learning is the intersection of activity, concept, and the classroom.