Fall 2020



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

James Brickwedde

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Jennifer Beimer

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Adam Hovde


The research question addressed in this study was: does the mathematics class level affect student success in high school physics? Topics explored in the literature review include the context of science course sequencing, the history of physics education in the United States, the disconnect between mathematics and physics in education, the mindsets of parents, students, and teachers about mathematics and science curriculum, and educational policies that affect state standards for curriculum, and graduation. Participants’ previous mathematics class level and success in their high school physics course were studied to find any correlation. To accomplish this, participants’ previous mathematics course and grade were needed, as well as data from their physics courses to find the average at the end of the semester. This study used a mixed methods approach in order to track growth. Both quantitative and qualitative tools were used including student surveys, teacher surveys, teacher observations, mathematics course and grade data, and student test data. The data revealed that students who took Geometry before taking Regular Physics received a lower grade letter in physics than in their previous mathematics course. Data also revealed that students who took PreAP Algebra 2 before taking PreAP Physics received the same letter grade in both courses. Data also revealed that no conclusive evidence could be drawn from those in AP Physics. The results showed that changes need to be made to the curriculum, as well as teacher professional development, in order to better prepare educators for the content they will be teaching. Limitations, implications, recommended changes, and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Research Methodology

Field Study, Interview, Survey (attitude scale, opinion, questionnaire)


Curriculum, Interdisciplinary Teaching, Mathematics, Science








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