Honors College Thesis


College Algebra Students’ Beliefs About Mathematics and Mathematics Classes Public Deposited

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  • For several years researchers have investigated how teachers’ beliefs impact a classroom. Equally important to consider when striving to improve education are the beliefs held by the students. College Algebra is an important class for many collegiate students, and gaining an insight into their beliefs about mathematics and desires for a mathematics classroom could prove to be essential in developing a class that benefits the students. This study focused on discovering desired classroom characteristics for College Algebra students and the connection between their mathematical beliefs and those classroom characteristics. Eleven College Algebra students were given a 60-item survey detailing their beliefs about mathematics. Following the survey, participants were interviewed and asked questions regarding their mathematical dispositions, past experiences, expectations, and ideal class. The results showed that a student’s belief about the source of knowledge as either a passive or active endeavor was most indicative of their definition of an ideal class. Students with survey results indicating a belief that learning mathematics should be a passive process described an ideal class centered on the teacher’s lecture. Participants found to believe learning math should be an active process were more likely to depict an ideal class involving student exploration and discovery. Key
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