Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Surviving Intermediate Algebra: Perspectives and Practices of Students at a Community College
by Delas Armas, Brian, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2020, 109; 28028556
Abstract (Summary)

Intermediate Algebra is often a gateway course that students are mandated to take in order for them to enter various areas of study. Mejia, Rodriguez, and Johnson found that 56% of California community college students who began a developmental math sequence did not complete it. This thesis explored how students at a small urban-suburban community college in Southern California attempted to make it through one semester in an Intermediate Algebra classroom. Over a period of two months in Spring 2018, I utilized a case study approach, which included participant observation, interviews, and surveys, to investigate the perspectives and practices of one instructor and five (5) students in a class that consisted of 34 students. Drawing from a ‘figured worlds’ framework, I found that the instructor required what I conceptualize as a proactive/systematic reactivity outside of class, which most students found themselves unable to attain. I found that most students were novices who were already positioned at the periphery within the field of mathematics and relied upon an approach I refer to as improvisational reactivity. Three different themes emerged in the analysis of the students’ data: 1) passive participation with peers and the instructor; 2) a passive use of course materials combined with a proactive use of the internet; and 3) challenges with making self-assessments. The thesis concludes with recommendations for addressing these issues.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Klein, Wendy
Commitee: Wilson, Scott, Quntiliani, Karen
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 82/6(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Mathematics education, Community college education, Higher education, Educational administration, Educational leadership, Education Policy, Curriculum development
Keywords: Curriculum implementation, Improvisational reactivity, Learning community, Proactive reactivity, Study habits, Intermediate Algebra, Southern California, Course material development
Publication Number: 28028556
ISBN: 9798698595205
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