• Adolescent girls and mathematics: classroom performance, attitudes toward mathematics and perceptions of parental attitudes /

      Madonia, Mary Jane.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 1992-06-09)
      The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which gender differences exist in student attitudes toward mathematics and in their performance in mathematics at the Grade Seven and Eight level. The study also questioned how parents influence the attitudes of this grade level of male and female students toward mathematics. Historically, the literature has demonstrated gender differences in the attitudes of students toward mathematics, and in parental support for classroom performance in mathematics. This study was an attempt to examine these differences at one senior public school in the Peel Board of Education. One hundred three Grade Seven and Eight students at a middle school in the Peel Board of Education volunteered to take part in a survey that examined their attitudes toward mathematics, their perceptions of their parents' attitudes toward mathematics and support for good performance in the mathematics classroom, parental expectations for education and future career choices. Gender differences related to performance levels in the mathematics classroom were examined using Pearson contingency analyses. Items from the survey that showed significant differences involved confidence in mathematics and confidence in writing mathematics tests, as well as a belief in the ability to work on mathematics problems. Male students in both the high and low performance groups demonstrated higher levels of confidence than the females in those groups. Female students, however, indicated interest in careers that would require training and knowledge of higher mathematics. Some of the reasons given to explain the gender differences in confidence levels included socialization pressures on females, peer acceptance, and attribution of success. Perceived parental support showed no significant differences across gender groups or performance levels. Possible explanations dealt with the family structure of the participants in the study. Studies that, in the past, have demonstrated gender differences in confidence levels were supported by this study, and discussed in detail. Studies that reported on differences in parental support for student performance, based on the gender of the parent, were not confirmed by this study, and reasons for this were also discussed. The implications for the classroom include: 1) build on the female students' strengths that will allow them to enjoy their experiences in mathematics; 2) stop using the boys as a comparison group; and 3) make students more aware of the need to continue studying mathematics to ensure a wider choice of future careers.
    • The effect of calculators on the numerical problem-solving skills and attitudes of primary students towards mathematics /

      McDowell, Jennifer J.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2000-05-21)
      The purpose of this study was to determine the effect that calculators have on the attitudes and numerical problem-solving skills of primary students. The sample used for this research was one of convenience. The sample consisted of two grade 3 classes within the York Region District School Board. The students in the experimental group used calculators for this problem-solving unit. The students in the control group completed the same numerical problem-solving unit without the use of calculators. The pretest-posttest control group design was used for this study. All students involved in this study completed a computational pretest and an attitude pretest. At the end of the study, the students completed a computational posttest. Five students from the experimental group and five students from the control group received their posttests in the form of a taped interview. At the end of the unit, all students completed the attitude scale that they had received before the numerical problem-solving unit once again. Data for qualitative analysis included anecdotal observations, journal entries, and transcribed interviews. The constant comparative method was used to analyze the qualitative data. A t test was also performed on the data to determine whether there were changes in test and attitude scores between the control and experimental group. Overall, the findings of this study support the hypothesis that calculators improve the attitudes of primary students toward mathematics. Also, there is some evidence to suggest that calculators improve the computational skills of grade 3 students.
    • Exploring the Impact of a Teacher Education Program on the Mathematical Anxieties of Elementary Pre-Service Teachers

      Gannon, Sarah; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      Mathematics education in Ontario has been a topic of significant focus in recent years. One concern is the lack of strong elementary mathematics teachers, in part due to the high levels of mathematics anxiety amongst this population (Gresham, 2007; Novak & Tassell, 2017). This study investigated the impact of a teacher education program on elementary pre-service teachers’ mathematical anxieties. The study examined the main components of a consecutive teacher education program, namely mathematics methods courses and field experiences, their interrelationships, and their connections with pre-service teachers’ background experiences. This explanatory sequential mixed methods approach emphasized qualitative methods (i.e., quan → QUAL) and involved two distinct phases. In Phase 1, quantitative questionnaire data were collected from the nine elementary pre-service teacher participants and analyzed using descriptive statistics. These results were then connected to the individual interview protocols employed in Phase 2 to collect qualitative data, which were analyzed thematically using the constant comparative method to uncover six themes: (a) prior experiences with mathematics, (b) anxieties towards mathematics, (c) the influence of mathematics methods courses on mathematical anxieties, (d) the influence of field experiences on mathematical anxieties, (e) the synthesis of mathematics methods courses and field experiences, and (f) anticipated future mathematics teaching style. This study’s results address gaps in the existing literature and highlight the key impacts of teacher education programs on pre-service teachers’ state and trait mathematical anxieties. Suggestions are provided for the practice of teacher educators, faculty administrators, and mentor teachers, as well as implications for theory and recommendations for future research.
    • Gender bias in the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study 2003 (TIMMS) for Canadian students /

      Faber, Renata.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2008-06-01)
      This study is a secondary data analysis of the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study 2003 (TIMSS) to determine if there is a gender bias, unbalanced number of items suited to the cognitive skill of one gender, and to compare performance by location. Results of the Grade 8, math portion of the test were examined. Items were coded as verbal, spatial, verbal /spatial or neither and as conventional or unconventional. A Kruskal- Wallis was completed for each category, comparing performance of students from Ontario, Quebec, and Singapore. A Factor Analysis was completed to determine if there were item categories with similar characteristics. Gender differences favouring males were found in the verbal conventional category for Canadian students and in the spatial conventional category for students in Quebec. The greatest differences were by location, as students in Singapore outperformed students from Canada in all areas except for the spatial unconventional category. Finally, whether an item is conventional or unconventional is more important than whether the item is verbal or spatial. Results show the importance of fair assessment for the genders in both the classroom and on standardized tests.
    • Introduction to engineering : a case study of an interdisciplinary course in Mathematics, Science and Technology

      White, Paul L.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2012-03-30)
      This thesis research was a qualitative case study of a single class of Interdisciplinary Studies: Introduction to Engineering taught in a secondary school. The study endeavoured to explore students' experiences in and perceptions of the course, and to investigate the viability of engineering as an interdisciplinary theme at the secondary school level. Data were collected in the form of student questionnaires, the researcher's observations and reflections, and artefacts representative of students' work. Data analysis was performed by coding textual data and classifying text segments into common themes. The themes that emerged from the data were aligned with facets of interdisciplinary study, including making connections, project-based learning, and student engagement and affective outcomes. The findings of the study showed that students were positive about their experiences in the course, and enjoyed its project-driven nature. Content from mathematics, physics, and technological design was easily integrated under the umbrella of engineering. Students felt that the opportunity to develop problem solving and teamwork skills were two of the most important aspects of the course and could be relevant not only for engineering, but for other disciplines or their day-to-day lives after secondary school. The study concluded that engineering education in secondary school can be a worthwhile experience for a variety of students and not just those intending postsecondary study in engineering. This has implications for the inclusion of engineering in the secondary school curriculum and can inform the practice of curriculum planners at the school, school board, and provincial levels. Suggested directions for further research include classroom-based action research in the areas of technological education, engineering education in secondary school, and interdisciplinary education.
    • The use of explicit algorithms and episodic context to teach subtraction to students with learning problems in mathematics /

      Ailles, Douglas S.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 1992-05-21)
      This research attempted to address the question of the role of explicit algorithms and episodic contexts in the acquisition of computational procedures for regrouping in subtraction. Three groups of students having difficulty learning to subtract with regrouping were taught procedures for doing so through either an explicit algorithm, an episodic content or an examples approach. It was hypothesized that the use of an explicit algorithm represented in a flow chart format would facilitate the acquisition and retention of specific procedural steps relative to the other two conditions. On the other hand, the use of paragraph stories to create episodic content was expected to facilitate the retrieval of algorithms, particularly in a mixed presentation format. The subjects were tested on similar, near, and far transfer questions over a four-day period. Near and far transfer algorithms were also introduced on Day Two. The results suggested that both explicit and episodic context facilitate performance on questions requiring subtraction with regrouping. However, the differential effects of these two approaches on near and far transfer questions were not as easy to identify. Explicit algorithms may facilitate the acquisition of specific procedural steps while at the same time inhibiting the application of such steps to transfer questions. Similarly, the value of episodic context in cuing the retrieval of an algorithm may be limited by the ability of a subject to identify and classify a new question as an exemplar of a particular episodically deflned problem type or category. The implications of these findings in relation to the procedures employed in the teaching of Mathematics to students with learning problems are discussed in detail.