Term

Spring 7-22-2015

Capstone

Dissertation

Degree Name

EdD

Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Dr. Charlayne Myers

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Dr. James Brickwedde

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Dr. David Pugh

Abstract

Widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) marks an unprecedented event in American education: nearly all students have an opportunity to learn the same mathematics content at the same stage of their K-12 educational experience. One goal of the CCSSM is to promote mathematics educational equity and excellence through common, rigorous standards. However, common standards may not translate to a common learning experience for all students. Teachers’ mathematical beliefs act as filters through which new information is interpreted and dispositions toward actions taken in the classroom. This study examined this beliefspractice relationship by asking two questions: First, what do teachers believe about mathematics, teaching mathematics, and learning mathematics? Second, how do teacher beliefs influence their interpretation and implementation of the CCSSM? In this twophase explanatory mixed methods study, the researcher administered a survey to assess K-6 teachers’ (n = 80) mathematical beliefs, using results to select interview participants (n = 6) and refine interview questions. Then, the researcher conducted semi-structured interviews to better understand the relationship between teachers’ mathematical beliefs and the professional practices of interpreting and implementing the CCSSM. Results from both research phases support the conclusion that teachers who hold different mathematical beliefs, categorized here as low- or high-constructivist, interpret and implement the same mathematics standards in different ways.

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