Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A SMART approach to THRIVE in mathematics: A study of the relationship of attitude and achievement
by Cleaver, Vanessa E., Ed.D., University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 2010, 151; 3465683
Abstract (Summary)

A mixed-method study was conducted to examine the impact of two locally developed programs, SMART and THRIVE, on student attitudes toward and achievement in Algebra I. SMART is a summer program for students (grades seven through nine) who enrolled in Algebra I the upcoming school year. THRIVE, the follow-up component of SMART, is a Saturday program for students who are concurrently enrolled in Algebra I. Archival data from achievement tests, surveys, and records of students who completed Algebra I during the 2008–2009 school year were collected and analyzed to answer the research questions. The researcher also collected results from two focus group discussions to further enhance the study.

Results of an attitude survey administered twice (pretest and posttest) to SMART 2008 participants (N = 216) revealed statistical significance for two of the six mathematics scales tested, self-concept (p = .003) and motivation (p < .001). SMART 2009 students along with their parents were randomly selected to participate in separate focus group discussions. Responses from both groups revealed that students had a positive experience in SMART and gained knowledge and skills that helped them excel in Algebra I. Scores from the SMART 2008 and THRIVE 2009 pretests and posttests increased for students who participated in SMART only, THRIVE only, and SMART/THRIVE. Paired samples t-test revealed the differences were highly significant and strongly effective for all three groups.

Finally, the researcher utilized a logistic regression to determine the greatest predictor of proficiency in Algebra I. Possible predictor variables included gender, SES, participation in SMART, participation in THRIVE, participation in SMART/THRIVE, or Algebra I taken before the 9th grade. Multivariate matched sampling was used to choose a closely matched comparison group of students who did not participate in SMART or THRIVE. Results revealed that students who participated in SMART/THRIVE were five and one-half times more likely to score proficient or advanced in Algebra I than students in the control group. Findings from this research highlighted the need for mathematics educators to not only incorporate new strategies for improving students' achievement in mathematics but also to seek ways of improving students' attitudes toward mathematics.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hughes, Gail D.
Commitee: Tsemunhu, Rudo S., Vaughn-Neely, Elizabeth, Williams, Ed R.
School: University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Arkansas
Source: DAI-A 72/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mathematics education, Educational psychology
Keywords: Academic achievement, Attitude, Extended year learning, High school algebra, Mathematics, Motivation
Publication Number: 3465683
ISBN: 978-1-124-77921-8
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