ERIC Number: ED436354
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-May
Improving Student Attitudes and Performance in Mathematics.
Olson, Kirsten Ann
This report describes a program for improving attitudes towards mathematics and problem solving in order to improve performance in these areas. The targeted population consists of two high school geometry classes. The school is located in a western suburb of a major mid-western city. The problems of negative attitudes towards mathematics and problem solving and poor performance were documented using both student surveys and homework application problems. An analysis of probable cause indicates that both societal beliefs and parental attitudes adversely affect the students' attitudes about mathematics and problem solving. In addition, many of the traditional math programs including textbooks and curriculums are outdated and do not represent the current standards in the field of mathematics. Prior learning experiences of both the student and the teacher including pre-service training and professional development can affect the attitudes of the students. A review of solution strategies suggested by knowledgeable others and an analysis of the problem setting resulted in the development of a three-pronged intervention utilizing an increase in realistic application problems, an increase in writing both reflective and content journals, and the use of cooperative groups. The benefits of these aspects of the intervention are to increase student interest and motivation as well as encourage students to solve problems not by memorization and regurgitation but by understanding the concepts and how to apply them. Post intervention data indicated an improvement in both student attitudes and student level of performance in mathematics. Teacher anecdotal records and post intervention student surveys support the change in student attitudes. The increased level of performance was documented through application problems and content journals. The program described in this report was successful in achieving both of its desired outcomes. (Contains 31 references.) (Author)
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Master's Action Research Project, Saint Xavier University and IRI/Skylight.