Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Evaluating the efficacy of the Developing Algebraic Literacy model: Preparing special educators to implement effective mathematics practices
by Ray, Sharon N. E., Ph.D., University of South Florida, 2008, 430; 3376241
Abstract (Summary)

For students with learning disabilities, positive academic achievement outcomes are a chief area of concern for educators across the country. This achievement emphasis has become particularly important over the last several years because of the No Child Left Behind legislation. The content area of mathematics, especially in the higher order thinking arena of algebra, has been of particular concern for student progress. While most educational research in algebra has been targeted towards remedial efforts at the high school level, early intervention in the foundational skills of algebraic thinking at the elementary level needs consideration for students who would benefit from early exposure to algebraic ideas. A key aspect of students’ instruction with algebraic concepts at any level is the degree and type of preparation their teachers have received with this content.

Using a mixed methods design, the current researcher investigated the usage of the Developing Algebraic Literacy (DAL) framework with pre-service special education teacher candidates in an integrated practicum and coursework experience. Multiple survey measures were given at pre-, mid-, and post-junctures to assess teacher candidates’ attitudes about mathematics, feelings of efficacy when teaching mathematics, and content knowledge surrounding mathematics. An instructional knowledge exam and fidelity checks were completed to evaluate teacher candidates’ acquisition and application of algebraic instructional skills. Focus groups, case studies, and final project analyses were used to discern descriptive information about teacher candidates’ experience while engaging in work with the DAL framework.

Results indicated an increase in preservice teachers’ attitudes towards mathematics instruction, feelings of efficacy in teaching mathematics, and in the content knowledge surrounding mathematics instruction. Instructional knowledge also increased across preservice teacher candidates, but abilities to apply this knowledge varied across teacher candidates’, based on their number of sessions working with students within their practicum site. Further findings indicate the desire of pre-service teachers to increase the length and number of student sessions within the DAL experience, as well as the need for increased levels of instructional support to enhance their own experience. This study provides preliminary support for utilizing the DAL instructional framework within pre-service teacher preparation experiences for future special educators.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Allsopp, David
School: University of South Florida
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 70/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mathematics education, Special education, Teacher education
Keywords: At risk, At-risk students, Content area instruction, Developing Algebraic Literacy, Instructional framework, Mathematics, Mixed methods design, Pre-service teacher preparation, Preservice teachers, Special educators
Publication Number: 3376241
ISBN: 978-1-109-40602-3
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