Academic Commons Search Results
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Academic Commons Search Resultsen-usWhat Makes a Good Problem? Perspectives of Students, Teachers, and Mathematicians
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:188061
DeGraaf, Elizabeth Brennanhttp://dx.doi.org/10.7916/D8NV9HC3Thu, 04 Jun 2015 18:37:18 +0000While mathematical problem solving and problem posing are central to good mathematics teaching and mathematical learning, no criteria exist for what makes a good mathematics problem. This grounded theory study focused on defining attributes of good mathematics problems as determined by students, teachers, and mathematicians. The research questions explored the similarities and differences of the responses of these three populations. The data were analyzed using the grounded theory approach of the constant comparative method. Fifty eight students from an urban private school, 15 teachers of mathematics, and 7 mathematicians were given two sets of problems, one with 10 algebra problems and one with 10 number theory problems, and were asked choose which problems they felt were the “best” and the “least best”. Once their choices were made, they were asked to list the attributes of the problems that lead to their choices. Responses were coded and the results were compared within each population between the two different problem sets and between populations. The results of the study show that while teachers and mathematicians agree, for the most part, about what attributes make a good mathematics problem, neither of those populations agreed with the students. The results from this study may be useful for teachers as they write or evaluate problems to use in their classes.Mathematics educationecb2154Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsQuaternions: A History of Complex Noncommutative Rotation Groups in Theoretical Physics
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:187914
Familton, Johannes C.http://dx.doi.org/10.7916/D8FB521PTue, 12 May 2015 18:29:01 +0000The purpose of this dissertation is to clarify the emergence of quaternions in order to make the history of quaternions less opaque to teachers and students in mathematics and physics. ‘Quaternion type Rotation Groups’ are important in modern physics. They are usually encountered by students in the form of: Pauli matrices, and SU(2) & SO(4) rotation groups. These objects did not originally appear in the neat form presented to students in modern mathematics or physics courses. What is presented to students by instructors is usually polished and complete due to many years of reworking. Often neither students of physics, mathematics or their instructors have an understanding about how these objects came into existence, or became incorporated into their respected subject in the first place. This study was done to bridge the gaps between the history of quaternions and their associated rotation groups, and the subject matter that students encounter in their course work.Mathematics educationMathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsMathematics Identities of Non-STEM Major Female Students
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:186989
Guzman, Anahuhttp://dx.doi.org/10.7916/D8NS0SZXThu, 07 May 2015 00:22:16 +0000The mathematics education literature has documented gender differences in the learning of mathematics, interventions that promote female and minority students to pursue STEM majors, and the persistence of the gender, achievement, and opportunity gaps. However, there is a significantly lower number of studies that address the mathematics identities of students not majoring in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Even more elusive or non-existent are studies that focus on the factors that shaped the mathematics identities of female students not pursuing STEM majors (non-STEM female students). Because the literature has shown the importance of understanding students' mathematics identities given its correlation with student achievement, motivation, engagement, and attitudes toward mathematics, it is vital to understand the factors that influence the construction of mathematics identities in particular of those students that have been historically marginalized.
To address this issue, I explored the mathematics identities held by 12 non-STEM major students (six taking a remedial mathematics course and six others taking a non-remedial mathematics course) in one urban business college in a metropolitan area of the Northeastern United States. This study used Martin's (2000) definition of mathematics identity as the framework to explore the factors that have influenced the mathematics identities of non-STEM female students. The data for this qualitative study were drawn from mathematics autobiographies, one questionnaire, two interviews, and three class observations.
I found that the mathematics identities of non-STEM major female students' in remedial and non-remedial mathematics courses were influenced by the same factors but in different ways. Significant differences indicated how successful and non-successful students perceive, interpret, and react to those factors. One of those factors was non-successful students believe some people are born with the ability to do mathematics; consequently, they attributed their lack of success to not having this natural ability. Most of the successful students in remedial mathematics attribute their success to effort and most successful students in non-remedial mathematics attribute their success to having a natural ability to do mathematics. Another factor was successful students expressed having an emotional connection to mathematics. This was evident in cases where mathematics was an emotional bond between father and daughter and those in which mathematics was a family trait.
Moreover, the mathematics activities in both classrooms were scripted and orchestrated with limited room for improvisation. However, the non-remedial students experienced moments in which their academic curiosity contributed to opportunities to exercise conceptual agency and author some of their mathematics knowledge. Further, successful students in remedial mathematics did not have the ability to continue the development of positive mathematics identities given rigid classroom activities that contributed to a limited sense of community to support mathematics learning.Mathematics educationMathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertations'Value Creation' Through Mathematical Modeling: Students' Mathematics Dispositions and Identities Developed in a Learning Community
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:176803
Park, Joo younghttp://dx.doi.org/10.7916/D87S7KXXMon, 07 Jul 2014 11:53:38 +0000This study examines how mathematical modeling activities within a collaborative group impact students' `value creation' through mathematics. Creating `value' in this study means to apply one's knowledge in a way that benefits the individual and society, and the notion of `value' was adopted from Makiguchi's theory of `value creation' (1930/1989). With a unified framework of Makiguchi's theory of `value', mathematical disposition, and identity, the study identified three aspects of value-beauty, gains, and social good-using observable evidence of mathematical disposition, identity, and sense of community. Sixty students who enrolled in a college algebra course participated in the study. The results showed significant changes in students' mathematics dispositions after engaging in the modeling activities. Analyses of students' written responses and interview data demonstrated that the modeling tasks associated with students' personal data and social interactions within a group contributed to students' developing their identity as doers of mathematics and creating social value. The instructional model aimed to balance the cognitive aspect and the affective skills of learning mathematics in a way that would allow students to connect mathematical concepts to their personal lives and social lives. As a result of the analysis of this study, there emerged a holistic view of the classroom as it reflects the Makiguchi's educational philosophy. Lastly, implications of this study for research and teaching are discussed.Mathematics education, MathematicsMathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsMathematical Modeling in the People's Republic of China ---Indicators of Participation and Performance on COMAP's modeling contest
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:176110
Tian, Xiaoxihttp://dx.doi.org/10.7916/D8WQ01Z9Mon, 07 Jul 2014 11:49:16 +0000In recent years, Mainland Chinese teams have been the dominant participants in the two COMAP-sponsored mathematical modeling competitions: the Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM) and the Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM).
This study examines five factors that lead to the Chinese teams' dramatic increase in participation rate and performance in the MCM and ICM: the Chinese government's support, pertinent organizations' efforts, support from initiators of Chinese mathematical modeling education and local resources, Chinese teams' preferences in selecting competition problems to solve, and influence from the Chinese National College Entrance Examination (NCEE).
The data made clear that (1) the policy support provided by the Chinese government laid a solid foundation in popularizing mathematical modeling activities in China, especially in initial stages of the development of mathematical modeling activities. (2) Relevant organizations have been the main driving force behind the development of mathematical modeling activities in China. (3) Initiators of mathematical modeling education were the masterminds of Chinese mathematical modeling development; support from other local resources served as the foundation of mathematical modeling popularity in China. (4) Chinese teams have revealed a preference for discrete over continuous mathematical problems in the Mathematical Contest in Modeling. However, in general, the winning rates of these two problem types have been shown to be inversely related to their popularity — while discrete problems have traditionally had higher attempt rates, continuous problems enjoyed higher winning rates. (5) The NCEE mathematics examination seems to include mathematical application problems rather than actual mathematical modeling problems. Although the extent of NCEE influence on students' mathematical modeling ability is unclear, the content coverage suggests that students completing a high school mathematics curriculum should be able to apply what they learned to simplified real-world situations, and pose solutions to the simple models built in these situations. This focus laid a solid mathematics foundation for students' future study and application of mathematics.Mathematics educationMathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsThe Effects of Number Theory Study on High School Students' Metacognition and Mathematics Attitudes
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:176092
Miele, Anthonyhttp://dx.doi.org/10.7916/D8XP733JMon, 07 Jul 2014 11:48:32 +0000The purpose of this study was to determine how the study of number theory might affect high school students' metacognitive functioning, mathematical curiosity, and/or attitudes towards mathematics.
The study utilized questionnaire and/or interview responses of seven high school students from New York City and 33 high school students from Dalian, China. The questionnaire components served to measure and compare the students' metacognitive functioning, mathematical curiosity, and mathematics attitudes before and after they worked on a number theory problem set included with the questionnaire. Interviews with 13 of these students also helped to reveal any changes in their metacognitive tendencies and/or mathematics attitudes or curiosity levels after the students had worked on said number theory problems.
The investigator sought to involve very motivated as well as less motivated mathematics students in the study. The participation of a large group of Chinese students enabled the investigator to obtain a diverse set of data elements, and also added an international flavor to the research.
All but one of the 40 participating students described or presented some evidence of metacognitive enhancement, greater mathematical curiosity, and/or improved attitudes towards mathematics after the students had worked on the assigned number theory problems. The results of the study thus have important implications for the value of number theory coursework by high school students, with respect to the students' metacognitive processes as well as their feelings about mathematics as an academic discipline.Mathematics educationMathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsThe Effects Of Elementary Departmentalization On Mathematics Proficiency
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:175720
Taylor-Buckner, Nicolehttp://dx.doi.org/10.7916/D8D50K49Mon, 07 Jul 2014 11:38:46 +0000Mathematics education in the elementary schools has experienced many changes in recent decades. With the curriculum becoming more complex as a result of each modification, immense pressure has been put on schools to increase student proficiency. The Common Core State Standards is the latest example of this. These revisions to the mathematics curriculum require a comprehensive understanding of mathematics that the typical elementary teacher lacks. Some elementary schools have begun changing the organization of their classrooms from self-contained to departmentalized as a possible solution to this problem.
The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the effects of elementary departmentalization on student mathematics proficiency. This was done by exploring and comparing the background and educational characteristics, teaching practices, assessment methods, beliefs, and influence of departmentalized elementary mathematics teachers. The study also investigated the circumstances under which there are significant differences in mathematics proficiency between departmentalized and non-departmentalized elementary students, and examined if these differences continued into students' eighth-grade years and/or led to higher level eighth-grade mathematics course attainment. Additionally, the study aimed to determine if there was a relationship between elementary departmentalization and mathematics proficiency and also to identify additional factors that could lead to mathematics proficiency.
Data came from the U.S. Department of Education's Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K) data set. The ECLS-K is a national data set that followed the same children from kindergarten to eighth grade focusing on their school experiences from 1998 to 2007. Numerous statistical analyses were conducted on this rich data set, utilizing the statistical software Stata 13 and R.
The results of this study indicate that there is a significant difference in the mathematics proficiency of departmentalized and non-departmentalized students when teachers have below-average mathematics backgrounds. The students of the mathematically below-average departmentalized teachers displayed the highest mathematics proficiency as well as the biggest gain in mathematics proficiency, and these higher proficiencies and gains continued into later grade levels. However, when exploring differences in mathematics proficiency among all students, there were no conclusive differences between departmentalized and non-departmentalized students.
Regression models yielded inconclusive results as well, even after controlling for factors pertaining to classroom size, student demographics and socioeconomic status, student confidence, parental background, teacher knowledge and instructional practices, and prior student mathematical proficiency. Other findings include self-contained and departmentalized third-grade teachers being very similar in their educational backgrounds and teaching practices, whereas departmentalized and non-departmentalized fifth-grade teachers were found to be fairly different in their educational backgrounds and instructional practices. However, in both grade levels, self-contained teachers appeared to be more reliant on printed materials than departmentalized teachers.Mathematics education, Education policy, Elementary educationMathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsMotivation and Study Habits of College Calculus Students: Does Studying Calculus in High School Make a Difference?
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:172257
Gibson, Megan E.http://dx.doi.org/10.7916/D8W37TCNTue, 01 Apr 2014 12:53:10 +0000Due in part to the growing popularity of the Advanced Placement program, an increasingly large percentage of entering college students are enrolling in calculus courses having already taken calculus in high school. Many students do not score high enough on the AP calculus examination to place out of Calculus I, and many do not take the examination. These students take Calculus I in college having already seen most or all of the material. Students at two colleges were surveyed to determine whether prior calculus experience has an effect on these students' effort levels or motivation. Students who took calculus in high school did not spend as much time on their calculus coursework as those who did not take calculus, but they were just as motivated to do well in the class and they did not miss class any more frequently. Prior calculus experience was not found to have a negative effect on student motivation or effort. Colleges should work to ensure that all students with prior calculus experience receive the best possible placement, and consider making a separate course for these students, if it is practical to do so.Mathematics educationmeg2154Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsA Pre-Programming Approach to Algorithmic Thinking in High School Mathematics
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:174473
Nasar, Audrey Augustahttp://dx.doi.org/10.7916/D8BG2M1MThu, 20 Mar 2014 17:11:08 +0000Given the impact of computers and computing on almost every aspect of society, the ability to develop, analyze, and implement algorithms is gaining more focus. Algorithms are increasingly important in theoretical mathematics, in applications of mathematics, in computer science, as well as in many areas outside of mathematics. In high school, however, algorithms are usually restricted to computer science courses and as a result, the important relationship between mathematics and computer science is often overlooked (Henderson, 1997). The mathematical ideas behind the design, construction and analysis of algorithms, are important for students' mathematical education. In addition, exploring algorithms can help students see mathematics as a meaningful and creative subject.
This study provides a review of the history of algorithms and algorithmic complexity, as well as a technical monograph that illustrates the mathematical aspects of algorithmic complexity in a form that is accessible to mathematics instructors at the high school level. The historical component of this study is broken down into two parts. The first part covers the history of algorithms with an emphasis on how the concept has evolved from 3000 BC through the Middle Ages to the present day. The second part focuses on the history of algorithmic complexity, dating back to the text of Ibn al-majdi, a fourteenth century Egyptian astronomer, through the 20th century. In particular, it highlights the contributions of a group of mathematicians including Alan Turing, Michael Rabin, Juris Hartmanis, Richard Stearns and Alan Cobham, whose work in computability theory and complexity measures was critical to the development of the field of algorithmic complexity.
The technical monograph which follows describes how the complexity of an algorithm can be measured and analyzes different types of algorithms. It includes divide-and-conquer algorithms, search and sort algorithms, greedy algorithms, algorithms for matching, and geometric algorithms. The methods used to analyze the complexity of these algorithms is done without the use of a programming language in order to focus on the mathematical aspects of the algorithms, and to provide knowledge and skills of value that are independent of specific computers or programming languages.
In addition, the study assesses the appropriateness of these topics for use by high school teachers by submitting it for independent review to a panel of experts. The panel, which consists of mathematics and computer science faculty in high school and colleges around the United States, found the material to be interesting and felt that using a pre-programming approach to teaching algorithmic complexity has a great deal of merit. There was some concern, however, that portions of the material may be too advanced for high school mathematics instructors. Additionally, they thought that the material would only appeal to the strongest students. As per the reviewers' suggestions, the monograph was revised to its current form.Mathematics educationaan2112Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsExploring Algebra-based Problem Solving and Strategies of Spanish-speaking High School Students
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:165177
Hernandez-Duhon, Andreahttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:21628Fri, 13 Sep 2013 16:04:54 +0000This dissertation analyzes differences found in Spanish-speaking middle school and high school students in algebra-based problem solving. It identifies the accuracy differences between word problems presented in English, Spanish and numerically based problems. The study also explores accuracy differences between each subgroup of Spanish-speaking students in each category. It identifies specific strategies used by successful students when solving algebra problems. The study also sought to identify factors that could serve to predict Spanish-speaking students' ability to accurately solve algebra word problems presented in English and Spanish.
A heterogeneous urban sample composed of one hundred and fifty two middle school and high school students were given an assessment composed of pre-approved algebra-based problems and a biographical information sheet. Specific students were then chosen for individual interviews in which researcher sought to gain more in depth information about student's reaction to assessment. The study found that the average accuracy rate for Hispanics non-ELL and non-Hispanic students was significantly higher for numerically based problems than Spanish word problems. Similarly, the average accuracy rate for Hispanics non-ELL and non-Hispanic students was significantly higher in English word problems that in Spanish word problems. Results showed that there was a significant difference in the overall performance of the assessment between Hispanic ELL and Hispanic non-ELL students. On one particular set, set C (Spanish word problems), findings showed that Hispanic ELL students performed better than Hispanic non-ELL students and non-Hispanic students. All other subgroup comparisons did not show a significant difference.
The study found that students who were most successful in the assessment: (a) used previous linguistics knowledge and memory of previously seen mathematical problems properly; (b) highlighted the question being asked; (c) used key words to identify mathematical principles and to aid in the translation process; (d) used diagrams, tables and graphs to organize data; (e) showed work and had all processes laid out clearly; and (f) displayed a clear verification process for their answer as strategies for successfully answering the problems. As it was evident through the study, the diversity in the Spanish speaking population and their needs exposes the need for teaching methods, which are inclusive of all populations. Schools must be sensitive to the diversity in which students learn and aim to individualize the teaching for every student. As Hispanics become the largest minority in the United States, understanding the diverse needs of Spanish speaking students in the classroom will be necessary for the development of a better educated society.Mathematics education, Hispanic American studiesach2125Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsWhich Approaches Do Students Prefer? Analyzing the Mathematical Problem Solving Behavior of Mathematically Gifted Students
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:161908
Tjoe, Hartono Hardihttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:20598Thu, 06 Jun 2013 15:00:34 +0000This study analyzed the mathematical problem solving behavior of mathematically gifted students. It focused on a specific fourth step of Polya's (1945) problem solving process, namely, looking back to find alternative approaches to solve the same problem. Specifically, this study explored problem solving using many different approaches. It examined the relationships between students' past mathematical experiences and the number of approaches and the kind of mathematics topics they used to solve three non-standard mathematics problems. It also analyzed the aesthetic of students' approaches from the perspective of expert mathematicians and the aesthetic of these experts' preferred approaches from the perspective of the students. Fifty-four students from a specialized high school were selected to participate in this study that began with the analysis of their past mathematical experiences by means of a preliminary survey. Nine of the 54 students took a test requiring them to solve three non-standard mathematics problems using many different approaches. A panel of three research mathematicians was consulted to evaluate the mathematical aesthetic of those approaches. Then, these nine students were interviewed. Also, all 54 students took a second survey to support inferences made while observing the problem solving behavior of the nine students. This study showed that students generally were not familiar with the practice of looking back. Indeed, students generally chose to supply only one workable, yet mechanistic approach as long as they obtained a correct answer to the problem. The findings of this study suggested that, to some extent, students' past mathematical experiences were connected with the number of approaches they used when solving non-standard mathematics problems. In particular, the findings revealed that students' most recent exposure of their then-AP Calculus course played an important role in their decisions on selecting approaches for solution. In addition, the findings showed that students' problem solving approaches were considered to be the least "beautiful" by the panel of experts and were often associated with standard approaches taught by secondary school mathematics teachers. The findings confirmed the results of previous studies that there is no direct connection between the experts' and students' views of "beauty" in mathematics.Mathematics educationhht2105Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsSocial Capital and Adolescents Mathematics Achievement: A Comparative Analysis of Eight European Cities
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:161622
Gisladottir, Berglindhttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:20481Thu, 30 May 2013 14:01:08 +0000This study examines the impact of social capital on mathematics achievement in eight European cities. The study draws on data from the 2008 Youth in Europe survey, carried out by the Icelandic Center for Social Research and Analysis. The sample contains responses from 17,312 students in 9th and 10th grade of local secondary schools in the following cities: Bucharest in Romania, Kaunas, Klaípéda and Vilnius in Lithuania, Reykjavík in Iceland, Riga and Jurmala in Latvia and Sofia in Bulgaria. The study builds on social capital theory presented in 1988 by the American sociologist James Coleman. He argued that social capital in both family and community is a key factor in the creation of human capital, meaning that children that possess more social capital in their lives will do better in school. Several prior studies have empirically supported the theory, although most of those studies were carried out in the United States. The current study tests whether the theory of social capital holds across different cultures. The findings partly support the theory, showing that the key measures of social capital are positively correlated with mathematics achievement in all of the cities. The impact however was less in many of the cities than expected. Additionally, Coleman's key social capital variable did not positively associate with mathematics achievement in cities around Europe. The implications of that finding are discussed in the thesis.Mathematics education, Sociologybg2347Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsThe Mathematical Content Knowledge of Prospective Teachers in Iceland
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:161616
Johannsdottir, Bjorghttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:20479Thu, 30 May 2013 13:49:09 +0000This study focused on the mathematical content knowledge of prospective teachers in Iceland. The sample was 38 students in the School of Education at the University of Iceland, both graduate and undergraduate students. All of the participants in the study completed a questionnaire survey and 10 were interviewed. The choice of ways to measure the mathematical content knowledge of prospective teachers was grounded in the work of Ball and the research team at the University of Michigan (Delaney, Ball, Hill, Schilling, and Zopf, 2008; Hill, Ball, and Schilling, 2008; Hill, Schilling, and Ball, 2004), and their definition of common content knowledge (knowledge held by people outside the teaching profession) and specialized content knowledge (knowledge used in teaching) (Ball, Thames, and Phelps, 2008). This study employed a mixed methods approach, including both a questionnaire survey and interviews to assess prospective teachers' mathematical knowledge on the mathematical topics numbers and operations and patterns, functions, and algebra. Findings, both from the questionnaire survey and the interviews, indicated that prospective teachers' knowledge was procedural and related to the "standard algorithms" they had learned in elementary school. Also, findings indicated that prospective teachers had difficulties evaluating alternative solution methods, and a common denominator for a difficult topic within both knowledge domains, common content knowledge and specialized content knowledge, was fractions. During the interviews, the most common answer for why a certain way was chosen to solve a problem or a certain step was taken in the solution process, was "because that is the way I learned to do it." Prospective teachers' age did neither significantly influence their test scores, nor their approach to solving problems during the interviews. Supplementary analysis revealed that number of mathematics courses completed prior to entering the teacher education program significantly predicted prospective teachers' outcome on the questionnaire survey.Comparison of the findings from this study to findings from similar studies carried out in the US indicated that there was a wide gap in prospective teachers' ability in mathematics in both countries, and that they struggled with similar topics within mathematics. In general, the results from this study were in line with prior findings, showing, that prospective elementary teachers relied on memory for particular rules in mathematics, their knowledge was procedural and they did not have an underlying understanding of mathematical concepts or procedures (Ball, 1990; Tirosh and Graeber, 1989; Tirosh and Graeber, 1990; Simon, 1993; Mewborn, 2003; Hill, Sleep, Lewis, and Ball, 2007). The findings of this study highlight the need for a more in-depth mathematics education for prospective teachers in the School of Education at the University of Iceland. It is not enough to offer a variety of courses to those specializing in the field of mathematics education. It is also important to offer in-depth mathematics education for those prospective teachers focusing on general education. If those prospective teachers teach mathematics, they will do so in elementary school where students are forming their identity as mathematics students.Mathematics education, Teacher educationbj2231Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsTeachers' Conceptions of Mathematical Modeling
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:161497
Gould, Heather Tianahttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:20442Thu, 23 May 2013 13:17:41 +0000The release of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics in 2010 resulted in a new focus on mathematical modeling in United States curricula. Mathematical modeling represents a way of doing and understanding mathematics new to most teachers. The purpose of this study was to determine the conceptions and misconceptions held by teachers about mathematical models and modeling in order to aid in the development of teacher education and professional development programs. The study used a mixed methods approach. Quantitative data were collected through an online survey of a large sample of practicing and prospective secondary teachers of mathematics in the United States. The purpose of this was to gain an understanding of the conceptions held by the general population of United States secondary mathematics teachers. In particular, basic concepts of mathematical models, mathematical modeling, and mathematical modeling in education were analyzed. Qualitative data were obtained from case studies of a small group of mathematics teachers who had enrolled in professional development which had mathematical models or modeling as a focus. The purpose of these case studies was to give an illustrative view of teachers regarding modeling, as well as to gain some understanding of how participating in professional development affects teachers' conceptions. The data showed that US secondary mathematics teachers hold several misconceptions about models and modeling, particularly regarding aspects of the mathematical modeling process. Specifically, the majority of teachers do not understand that the mathematical modeling process always requires making choices and assumptions, and that mathematical modeling situations must come from real-world scenarios. A large minority of teachers have misconceptions about various other characteristics of mathematical models and the mathematical modeling process.Mathematics educationhtg2103Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsExamining the Effects of Gender, Poverty, Attendance, and Ethnicity on Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry Performance in a Public High School
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:160486
Shafiq, Hasanhttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:20075Wed, 01 May 2013 10:59:21 +0000Over the last few decades school accountability for student performance has become an issue at the forefront of education. The federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and various regulations by individual states have set standards for student performance at both the district and individual public and charter school levels, and certain consequences apply if the performance of students in an institution is deemed unsatisfactory. Conversely, rewards come to districts or schools that perform especially well or make a certain degree of improvement over their earlier results. Albeit with certain conditions, the federal government makes additional education money available to the states under NCLB. While testing is nothing new in American public education, the concept of district/school accountability for performance is at least relatively so. In New York City, where New York State Regents Examinations (NYSRE) have been a measure of student performance for many years, scores on these tests are low, often preventing students from receiving course credit, which in turn results in failure to graduate on schedule. In addition, rates of graduation from public high schools are low. The city and state have kept data on student performance broken out by a number of factors including socioeconomic status, ethnicity, attendance, and gender which point to an achievement gap among different groups. This study investigates a series of those factors associated with the mastery of high school Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry. This study concerns itself specifically with the effect that gender, socioeconomic status, attendance, and ethnicity may have on student achievement in a mathematics course and on standardized tests, specifically the NYSRE, an annual rite of passage for students in grades 9 through 11. This research considered and ran tests on data gathered from a single large New York City high school. In this study, a 12 two-way (between-groups) univariate analyses of variance (ANOVAs) were conducted to assess whether there were differences in students' mathematics achievement scores by gender, ethnicity, attendance, and family socio-economic status (SES). In addition, three Pearson correlation analyses were conducted to determine whether there was a correlation among Integrated Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra II/Trigonometry unit examination scores and Regents scores. Nine Pearson correlation analyses were conducted to determine whether there was a correlation between Regents scores and mathematics achievement unit examination scores. A correlation was run between each mathematics achievement score with the Regents score from each subject. Six two-way (between-groups) ANOVA were also conducted to assess whether there were difference in students' mathematics achievement among Black males, Black females, Hispanic males, and Hispanic females. Data were gathered, merged, and transferred into a Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) 19.0 (IBM, 2010) for analysis. The findings indicate that attendance and family SES have a meaningful relationship to mathematics achievement in the New York City public high school which was the subject of this investigation. On the other hand, gender and ethnicity showed no relationship to students' mathematics achievement. As an implication of this research, school policies must focus more on the achievement gap of students from low-SES families and must encourage students to maintain good attendance. Students should have access to different forms of academic interventions that go beyond after-school or Saturday tutoring; academic intervention services; community counseling or mediation; or peer intervention or peer counseling through which students learn basic mathematics skills from each other to achieve college readiness.Mathematics education, Mathematicsmhs2143Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsTetrahedra and Their Nets: Mathematical and Pedagogical Implications
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:160274
Mussa, Deregehttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:20037Tue, 30 Apr 2013 09:39:21 +0000If one has three sticks (lengths), when can you make a triangle with the sticks? As long as any two of the lengths sum to a value strictly larger than the third length one can make a triangle. Perhaps surprisingly, if one is given 6 sticks (lengths) there is no simple way of telling if one can build a tetrahedron with the sticks. In fact, even though one can make a triangle with any triple of three lengths selected from the six, one still may not be able to build a tetrahedron. At the other extreme, if one can make a tetrahedron with the six lengths, there may be as many 30 different (incongruent) tetrahedra with the six lengths.
Although tetrahedra have been studied in many cultures (Greece, India, China, etc.) Over thousands of years, there are surprisingly many simple questions about them that still have not been answered. This thesis answers some new questions about tetrahedra, as well raising many more new questions for researchers, teachers, and students. It also shows in an appendix how tetrahedra can be used to illustrate ideas about arithmetic, algebra, number theory, geometry, and combinatorics that appear in the Common Cores State Standards for Mathematics (CCSS -M). In particular it addresses representing three-dimensional polyhedra in the plane. Specific topics addressed are a new classification system for tetrahedra based on partitions of an integer n, existence of tetrahedra with different edge lengths, unfolding tetrahedra by cutting edges of tetrahedra, and other combinatorial aspects of tetrahedra.Mathematics education, Mathematicsdhm2114Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsMathematics Self-Efficacy and Its Relation to Profiency-Promoting Behavior and Performance
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:160627
Causapin, Mark Gabrielhttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:19428Mon, 25 Mar 2013 11:03:26 +0000The purpose of this study was to verify Bandura's theory on the relationship of self-efficacy and performance particularly in mathematics among high school students. A rural school in the Philippines was selected for its homogenous student population, effectively reducing the effects of confounding variables such as race, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, socioeconomic status, and language. It was shown that self-efficacy was a positive but minor predictor of future performance only for male students who previously had higher mathematics grades. The effects were different between genders. It was not a strong predictor for women regardless of previous grades, and men with weaker mathematics skills. On the other hand, mathematics self-efficacy was predicted by previous mathematics achievement for women; and also the number of siblings and parental education for the higher performing women. The use of a second language in the mathematics classroom negatively affected confidence and performance. It was also found that there were differences in terms of academic behavior, peers, and family life between students with high and low self-efficacy. Positive behaviors were found for all female students regardless of self-efficacy levels and fewer were found among men. Negative behaviors were only found among low self-efficacy students. No differences were found in terms of the lives and families of the participants, but the interviews revealed that family members and their experiences of poverty affected educational goals and ambitions. In terms of other dispositional factors, students expressed classroom and test anxieties, concerns of being embarrassed in front of their classmates, and beliefs that mathematics was naturally difficult and not enjoyable. The students who did not talk about any of these themes were better performing and had higher self-efficacy scores.Mathematics education, Educational psychologyMathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsGood Mathematics Teaching: Perspectives of Beginning Secondary Teachers
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:159494
Leong, Kwan Euhttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:19322Mon, 11 Mar 2013 13:46:19 +0000What is good mathematics teaching? The answer depends on whom you are asking. Teachers, researchers, policymakers, administrators, and parents usually provide their own view on what they consider is good mathematics teaching and what is not. The purpose of this study was to determine how beginning teachers define good mathematics teaching and what they report as being the most important attributes at the secondary level. This research explored whether there was a relationship between the demographics of the participants and the attributes of good teaching. In addition, factors that influence the understanding of good mathematics teaching were explored. A mixed methodology was used to gather information from the research participants regarding their beliefs and classroom practices of good mathematics teaching. The two research instruments used in this study were the survey questionnaire and a semi-structured interview. Thirty-three respondents who had one to two years of classroom experience comprised the study sample. They had graduated from a school of education in an eastern state and had obtained their teacher certification upon completing their studies. The beginning mathematics teachers selected these four definitions of good teaching as their top choices: 1) have High Expectations that all students are capable of learning; 2) have strong content knowledge (Subject Matter Knowledge); 3) create a Learning Environment that fosters the development of mathematical power; and 4) bring Enthusiasm and excitement to classroom. The three most important attributes in good teaching were: Classroom Management, Motivation, and Strong in Content Knowledge. One interesting finding was the discovery of four groups of beginning teachers and how they were associated with specific attributes of good mathematics teaching according to their demographics. Beginning teachers selected Immediate Classroom Situation, Mathematical Beliefs, Pedagogical Content Knowledge, and Colleagues as the top four factors from the survey analysis that influenced their understanding of good mathematics teaching. The study's results have implications for informing the types of mathematical knowledge required for pre-service teachers that can be incorporated into teacher education programs and define important attributes of good mathematics teaching during practicum.Mathematics education, Mathematics, Teacher educationMathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsWhen beginning mathematics teachers report acquiring successful attributes: Reflections on teacher education
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:157016
Wasserman, Nicholashttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:19103Mon, 18 Feb 2013 13:38:15 +0000Education plays a vital role in any society; so much so, that countries strive to have not only adequate, but excellent educators in their classrooms. The aim of this study was to understand how beginning secondary mathematics teachers define success and to what experiences they attribute that success. Specifically, the central research question addressed was, "To what degree were significant attributes or experiences, important to the success of the first year teaching, learned pre-teacher education program, during a program, or post-program?" The practical goal of filling classrooms with great educators needs to be informed by research on how best to recruit highly qualified candidates into the field of mathematics education and how best to facilitate the teacher preparation process. This study employed a mixed methodology, using a sample of beginning secondary mathematics teachers to gather both quantitative and qualitative data on when they reported gaining influential knowledge or experiences. In particular, input from those who have had some success as beginning mathematics teachers was desired. The interview protocol designed for these participants added depth to the survey responses. Emphasis was placed on the relative importance of the three stages, pre-, during, and post-program, in developing common attributes associated with good teaching. Two characteristics were generally discussed as developing pre-program: being a self-starting and hard-working individual, and holding a belief that every student can learn. Beginning teachers viewed these traits as important for their success. Participants also felt that they acquired both practical classroom tools and educational theory from their teacher education program; having program instructors model pedagogy and mathematical instruction, and having opportunities to practice incorporating theory into their teaching were also seen as important. These aspects distinguished particularly prominent roles that the teacher education program played in shaping its graduates. Classroom management and being flexible and adaptive to different contexts were the most notable qualities frequently reported as being learned post-program. The study's results have implications for informing the types of students a mathematics education program should try to attract or recruit and defining areas where practicum or internship components might be incorporated into the teacher education process.Mathematics education, Teacher education, Secondary educationMathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsProof and Reasoning in Secondary School Algebra Textbooks
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:156775
Dituri, Philip Charleshttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:19092Fri, 15 Feb 2013 12:35:22 +0000The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which the modeling of deductive reasoning and proof-type thinking occurs in a mathematics course in which students are not explicitly preparing to write formal mathematical proofs. Algebra was chosen because it is the course that typically directly precedes a student's first formal introduction to proof in geometry in the United States. The lens through which this study aimed to examine the intended curriculum was by identifying and reviewing the modeling of proof and deductive reasoning in the most popular and widely circulated algebra textbooks throughout the United States. Textbooks have a major impact on mathematics classrooms, playing a significant role in determining a teacher's classroom practices as well as student activities. A rubric was developed to analyze the presence of reasoning and proof in algebra textbooks, and an analysis of the coverage of various topics was performed. The findings indicate that, roughly speaking, students are only exposed to justification of mathematical claims and proof-type thinking in 38% of all sections analyzed. Furthermore, only 6% of coded sections contained an actual proof or justification that offered the same ideas or reasoning as a proof. It was found that when there was some justification or proof present, the most prevalent means of convincing the reader of the truth of a concept, theorem, or procedure was through the use of specific examples. Textbooks attempting to give a series of examples to justify or convince the reader of the truth of a concept, theorem, or procedure often fell short of offering a mathematical proof because they lacked generality and/or, in some cases, the inductive step. While many textbooks stated a general rule at some point, most only used deductive reasoning within a specific example if at all. Textbooks rarely expose students to the kinds of reasoning required by mathematical proof in that they rarely expose students to reasoning about mathematics with generality. This study found a lack of sufficient evidence of instruction or modeling of proof and reasoning in secondary school algebra textbooks. This could indicate that, overall, algebra textbooks may not fulfill the proof and reasoning guidelines set forth by the NCTM Principles and Standards and the Common Core State Standards. Thus, the enacted curriculum in mathematics classrooms may also fail to address the recommendations of these influential and policy defining organizations.Mathematics education, Mathematics, Educationpcd2102Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsAnalysis of Mathematical Fiction with Geometric Themes
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:153198
Shloming, Jennifer Rebeccahttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:14870Wed, 10 Oct 2012 10:25:57 +0000Analysis of mathematical fiction with geometric themes is a study that connects the genre of mathematical fiction with informal learning. This study provides an analysis of 26 sources that include novels and short stories of mathematical fiction with regard to plot, geometric theme, cultural theme, and presentation. The authors' mathematical backgrounds are presented as they relate to both geometric and cultural themes. These backgrounds range from having little mathematical training to advance graduate work culminating in a Ph.D. in mathematics. This thesis demonstrated that regardless of background, the authors could write a mathematical fiction novel or short story with a dominant geometric theme. The authors' pedagogical approaches to delivering the geometric themes are also discussed. Applications from this study involve a pedagogical component that can be used in a classroom setting. All the sources analyzed in this study are fictional, but the geometric content is factual. Six categories of geometric topics were analyzed: plane geometry, solid geometry, projective geometry, axiomatics, topology, and the historical foundations of geometry. Geometry textbooks aligned with these categories were discussed with regard to mathematical fiction and formal learning. Cultural patterns were also analyzed for each source of mathematical fiction. There were also an analysis of the integration of cultural and geometric themes in the 26 sources of mathematical fiction; some of the cultural patterns discussed are gender bias, art, music, academia, mysticism, and social issues. On the basis of this discussion, recommendations for future studies involving the use of mathematical fiction were made.Mathematics education, Mathematicsjrs2137Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsThe Use of Cartoons as Teaching a Tool in Middle School Mathematics
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:149393
Cho, Hoyunhttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:13930Mon, 09 Jul 2012 10:57:45 +0000This dissertation focuses on examining the use of mathematical cartoons as a teaching tool in middle school mathematics classroom. A mixed methods research design was used to answer how the use of cartoon activities affects teacher and student perceptions of teaching and learning and student intrinsic motivation, interest, and mathematics anxiety in middle school mathematics. 17 students in 7th grade pre-algebra class and one teacher participated in this study. Eight cartoon activities were provided over a 10-week period, but no more than one cartoon activity per class period was given to them. Student surveys were analyzed using quantitative method, such as mean score, frequency, and percentage, and student mathematics journal and teacher journal were analyzed using descriptive analysis. The results of this study revealed that both students and teacher reported positive results from using cartoons in the mathematics classroom. Students became more open as time went on and it was possible to see their mathematical insights as the study progressed. They did not enjoy easy cartoon activities, but relished challenging ones. Their frustration at difficult-to-understand activities shows the importance of carefully matching cartoon activities to student abilities. When cartoon activities have appropriate levels of difficulty and are clearly understandable, students' intrinsic motivation and interest increased, and mathematics anxiety decreased. The teacher reported that students gave up less easily, participated more readily, and were more focused in classes with cartoon activities. Mathematics instruction with cartoon activities has shown the students that they can enjoy learning mathematics, mathematics can be fun, and they do have the ability to be successful in mathematics. The use of cartoon activity proved to be a valuable instructional tool for improving the quality of mathematics instruction in a 7th grade classroom.Mathematics education, Teacher education, Educationhc2483Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsA Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities at Teachers College: David Eugene Smith's Collection
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:185885
Murray, Diane Rosehttp://dx.doi.org/10.7916/D8RV0MPWMon, 30 Apr 2012 12:09:16 +0000This dissertation is a history of David Eugene Smith's collection of historical books, manuscripts, portraits, and instruments related to mathematics. The study analyzes surviving documents, images, objects, college announcements and catalogs, and secondary sources related to Smith's collection. David Eugene Smith (1860 - 1944) travelled the world in search of rare and interesting pieces of mathematics history. He enjoyed sharing these experiences and objects with his family, friends, colleagues, and students. Smith's collection had a remarkable journey itself. It was once part of the Educational Museum of Teachers College. This museum existed from 1899 - 1914 and was quite popular among educators and students. Smith was director of the museum beginning in 1909, although, he had a major influence on the museum from the moment he began his professorship at Teachers College in 1901. After the Educational Museum of Teachers College disbanded, the collection was exhibited in numerous venues. George A. Plimpton (1855 - 1936) created the Permanent Educational Exhibit that housed both modern educational items, as well as, historical pieces for display. Since Smith and Plimpton were great friends and fellow collectors, Smith's collection was included in the historical section of Plimpton's establishment. Unfortunately, due to the hard times of the world at this moment, the Permanent Educational Exhibit closed in 1917. Smith continued to exhibit his collection of mathematical artifacts through the Museums of the Peaceful Arts, founded by George F. Kunz (1856 - 1932), the New York Museum of Science and Industry, Teachers College, and Columbia University. Smith's research, teaching, and publications were directly influenced by his collection. Throughout most of his published works are images and photographs of items in his collection. He also believed in the importance of having primary sources included in mathematics education. This view he followed in his own teaching, which included research in his collection. David Eugene Smith's collection could never be replicated and thus is quite unique and valuable. Smith donated his collection to Columbia University's Libraries in the 1930s. Various exhibits of his collection have occurred since then, the most recent concluded in 2003. The history of Smith's mathematical collection is important to the history of mathematics education as it displays the importance of preserving mathematical books, manuscripts, portraits, and instruments for future generations to research.Mathematics education, History of education, Museum studiesdrm2132Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsAsian American college students' mathematics success and the model minority stereotype
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:146308
Jo, Lydia Hyeryunghttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:13045Thu, 19 Apr 2012 14:18:35 +0000The often aggregated reports of academic excellence of Asian American students as a whole, compared to students from other ethnic groups offers compelling evidence that Asian Americans are more academically successful than their ethnic counterparts, particularly in the area of mathematics. These comparative data have generated many topics of discussion including the model minority stereotype: a misconception that all Asian Americans are high academic achievers. Research has shown that this seemingly positive stereotype produces negative effects in Asian students. The aim of this study is to examine differences in mathematics success levels and beliefs about the model minority stereotype among different generations of Asian American college students. This study focuses on comparing three different generations of Asian American students with respect to: (1) their success and confidence in mathematics, (2) their personal views on the factors that contribute to their success, (3) their perceptions of the model minority stereotype and (4) how they believe the stereotype affects them. In this mixed methods study, a sample of n = 117 Asian American college students participated in an online survey to collect quantitative data and a subsample of n = 9 students were able to participate in a semi-structured interview. The results of the study indicated that there were almost no differences in either the mathematics success and confidence level, or in the perceptions and perceived effects of the model minority stereotype across generations. Quantitative results showed that all generations of Asian Americans generally are confident in their mathematics abilities. Qualitative analysis showed that the students felt that there were three reasons for their level of success: parental influence, differences in the education system between the U.S. and their home country, and using mathematics and science to get ahead academically as their native English speaking peers tend to be ahead of them in the liberal arts due to language barriers. Though there were mixed feelings among the sample subjects about the validity of the model minority stereotype, all three generations of Asian American students felt peer pressure from the stereotype to excel in mathematics, more frequently in high school than in college.Mathematics educationlhj2107Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsStatistics for Learning Genetics
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:146201
Charles, Abigail Sheenahttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:13015Tue, 17 Apr 2012 12:24:27 +0000This study investigated the knowledge and skills that biology students may need to help them understand statistics/mathematics as it applies to genetics. The data are based on analyses of current representative genetics texts, practicing genetics professors' perspectives, and more directly, students' perceptions of, and performance in, doing statistically-based genetics problems. This issue is at the emerging edge of modern college-level genetics instruction, and this study attempts to identify key theoretical components for creating a specialized biological statistics curriculum. The goal of this curriculum will be to prepare biology students with the skills for assimilating quantitatively-based genetic processes, increasingly at the forefront of modern genetics. To fulfill this, two college level classes at two universities were surveyed. One university was located in the northeastern US and the other in the West Indies. There was a sample size of 42 students and a supplementary interview was administered to a select 9 students. Interviews were also administered to professors in the field in order to gain insight into the teaching of statistics in genetics. Key findings indicated that students had very little to no background in statistics (55%). Although students did perform well on exams with 60% of the population receiving an A or B grade, 77% of them did not offer good explanations on a probability question associated with the normal distribution provided in the survey. The scope and presentation of the applicable statistics/mathematics in some of the most used textbooks in genetics teaching, as well as genetics syllabi used by instructors do not help the issue. It was found that the text books, often times, either did not give effective explanations for students, or completely left out certain topics. The omission of certain statistical/mathematical oriented topics was seen to be also true with the genetics syllabi reviewed for this study. Nonetheless, although the necessity for infusing these quantitative subjects with genetics and, overall, the biological sciences is growing (topics including synthetic biology, molecular systems biology and phylogenetics) there remains little time in the semester to be dedicated to the consolidation of learning and understanding.Mathematics education, Statistics, Geneticsasc2119Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsKnowledge-as-Theory-and-Elements
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:174305
Munson, Alexander Anhttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:12408Tue, 31 Jan 2012 11:51:48 +0000This dissertation will examine the Knowledge-as-Theory-and-Elements perspective on knowledge structure. The dissertation creates a set of theoretical criteria given within a template by which lesson plans can be designed to teach mathematics and the physical sciences. The dissertation also will test the Knowledge-as-Theory and-Elements theoretical perspective by designing lesson plans to teach a branch of mathematics, graph theory, by using the new template. The dissertation will include a comparative study investigating the effectiveness of the lesson plans conforming to the new template and the lesson plans designed by the traditional theoretical perspective Knowledge-as-Elements.Mathematics educationaam2173Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsDiagrammatic Reasoning Skills of Pre-Service Mathematics Teachers
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:143877
Karrass, Margarethttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:12378Fri, 27 Jan 2012 15:13:57 +0000This study attempted to explore a possible relationship between diagrammatic reasoning and geometric knowledge of pre-service mathematics teachers. Diagrammatic reasoning skills, as a sequence of steps from visualization, to interpretation, to formalisms, are at the core of teachers' content knowledge for teaching. However, there is no course in the mathematics curriculum that systematically develops diagrammatic reasoning skills, except Geometry. In the course of this study, a group of volunteers in the last semester of their teacher preparation program were presented with "visual proofs" of certain theorems from high school mathematics curriculum and asked to prove/explain these theorems by reasoning from the diagrams. The results of the interviews were analyzed with respect to the participants' attained van Hiele levels. The study found that participants who attained higher van Hiele levels were more skilled at recognizing visual theorems and "proving" them. Moreover, the study found a correspondence between participants' diagrammatic reasoning skills and certain behaviors attributed to van Hiele levels. However, the van Hiele levels attained by the participants were consistently higher than their diagrammatic reasoning skills would indicate.Mathematics educationrp2141Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsDiagrammatic Reasoning Skills of Pre-Service Mathematics Teachers
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:143601
Karrass, Margarethttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:12335Wed, 25 Jan 2012 11:23:21 +0000This study attempted to explore a possible relationship between diagrammatic reasoning and geometric knowledge of pre-service mathematics teachers. Diagrammatic reasoning skills, as a sequence of steps from visualization, to interpretation, to formalisms, are at the core of teachers’ content knowledge for teaching. However, there is no course in the mathematics curriculum that systematically develops diagrammatic reasoning skills, except Geometry. In the course of this study, a group of volunteers in the last semester of their teacher preparation program were presented with “visual proofs” of certain theorems from high school mathematics curriculum and asked to prove/explain these theorems by reasoning from the diagrams. The results of the interviews were analyzed with respect to the participants’ attained van Hiele levels. The study found that participants who attained higher van Hiele levels were more skilled at recognizing visual theorems and “proving” them. Moreover, the study found a correspondence between participants’ diagrammatic reasoning skills and certain behaviors attributed to van Hiele levels. However, the van Hiele levels attained by the participants were consistently higher than their diagrammatic reasoning skills would indicate.Mathematics educationrp2141Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsA History of Trigonometry Education in the United States: 1776-1900
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:132221
Van Sickle, Jennahttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:10377Mon, 16 May 2011 17:12:52 +0000This dissertation traces the history of the teaching of elementary trigonometry in United States colleges and universities from 1776 to 1900. This study analyzes textbooks from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, reviews in contemporary periodicals, course catalogs, and secondary sources. Elementary trigonometry was a topic of study in colleges throughout this time period, but the way in which trigonometry was taught and defined changed drastically, as did the scope and focus of the subject. Because of advances in analytic trigonometry by Leonhard Euler and others in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the trigonometric functions came to be defined as ratios, rather than as line segments. This change came to elementary trigonometry textbooks beginning in antebellum America and the ratios came to define trigonometric functions in elementary trigonometry textbooks by the end of the nineteenth century. During this time period, elementary trigonometry textbooks grew to have a much more comprehensive treatment of the subject and considered trigonometric functions in many different ways. In the late eighteenth century, trigonometry was taught as a topic in a larger mathematics course and was used only to solve triangles for applications in surveying and navigation. Textbooks contained few pedagogical tools and only the most basic of trigonometric formulas. By the end of the nineteenth century, trigonometry was taught as its own course that covered the topic extensively with many applications to real life. Textbooks were full of pedagogical tools. The path that the teaching of trigonometry took through the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries did not always move in a linear fashion. Sometimes trigonometry education stayed the same for a long time and then was suddenly changed, but other times changes happened more gradually. There were many international influences, and there were many influential Americans and influential American institutions that changed the course of trigonometry instruction in this country. This dissertation follows the path of those changes from 1776 to 1900. After 1900, trigonometry instruction became a topic of secondary education rather than higher education.Mathematics education, Higher education, History of educationjrv2107Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertationsBeginning mathematics teachers from alternative certification programs : their success in the classroom and how they achieved it
http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:129624
Ham, Edwardhttp://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:9834Fri, 25 Feb 2011 15:24:18 +0000This dissertation focuses on beginning mathematics teachers from alternative certification programs and their perceptions of what is required to be successful. A mixed - methods research study was completed with several goals in mind: (1) identifying how beginning mathematics teachers define success in the classroom during their earliest years, (2) identifying what important factors, attributes, or experiences helped them achieve this success, and (3) determining where these beginning mathematics teachers learned the necessary attributes, or experiences to become successful in the classroom. A sample of beginning mathematics teachers (n = 28) was selected from an alternative certification program in California for a quantitative survey. A subsample of teachers (n = 7) was then selected to participate further in a qualitative semi-structured interview. The results of the study revealed that beginning teachers defined success in their beginning years by their classroom learning environment, creating and implementing engaging lessons, and a belief in their own ability to grow professionally as educators. Mathematics content knowledge, classroom management, collaboration with colleagues and coaches, reflection, a belief in one's ability to grow professionally as a teacher, a belief in the ability to have a positive impact on students, personality, and previous leadership experiences were several of the factors, attributes, or experiences identified as most important by the participating teachers. The participating teachers also felt that before and after, but not during, their teacher preparation program were the stages of teacher development that best instilled the necessary factors, attributes, or experiences to become successful in a mathematics classroom.Mathematics educationeh2351Mathematics Education, Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyDissertations