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Theses Doctoral

The Effects of Number Theory Study on High School Students' Metacognition and Mathematics Attitudes

Miele, Anthony

The 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.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Mathematics Education
Thesis Advisors
Vogeli, Bruce R.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 7, 2014