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ERIC Number: ED512644
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Feb
Pages: 121
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
A Rural Community's Perceptions of the Importance of Math and Math Education in Appalachia. Summary Report. The Padua Project
Appalachian Collaborative Center for Learning, Assessment, and Instruction in Mathematics (ACCLAIM)
In an effort to discern the perceptions of the importance or value of mathematics education held by ordinary people in Appalachia, a qualitative research study was performed in accordance with an agreement with the ACCLAIM Research Initiative. The study engaged the qualitative research method known as "folknography" and targeted the community of Padua (a pseudonym), in a state in the Appalachian south. The study was conducted in late March, 2004, by undergraduate students previously enrolled in a related course taught by the principal investigator. This report was developed from data analyzed after the completion of the field work. The student researchers collected nearly 650 surveys and conducted nearly 250 interviews with informants in three age groups (youth, adults, seniors). Overall, Padua residents were quick to respond and eager to discuss mathematics and mathematics education. Informants were found to value mathematics principally for its utility, to esteem good mathematics teaching and good mathematics teachers, and few blamed any failure to understand mathematics on teachers. Many, however, appeared to believe that some mathematics teachers could be more sympathetic in their instructional role. Across age groups, informants easily related mathematics to other life experiences. Possibly because of the prevailing utilitarian outlook, many informants saw little use in the community or region for higher forms of math should the current economic decline persist in the region. Without improvement, youth were predicted to leave in search of more acceptable employment choices. Appendices include: (1) Padua Project Undergraduate Student Folknographers; (2) Perceptions of Math in Appalachia Interview Questions; and (3) Shadows of the River. A bibliography is included. (Contains 10 figures.) [This paper was presented by David M. Lucas.]
Appalachian Collaborative Center for Learning, Assessment, and Instruction in Mathematics (ACCLAIM). Research Initiative, McCracken Hall, College of Education, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45710. Tel: 740-593-9869; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: Ohio Univ., Athens. Appalachian Collaborative Center for Learning, Assessment, and Instruction in Mathematics.