Date of Award

6-2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Mathematics

First Advisor

Dr. Christine Browning

Second Advisor

Dr. Steven Ziebarth

Third Advisor

Dr. Ok-Kyeong Kim

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Yvonne Zubovic

Abstract

Over the last several decades, mathematics education researchers have given increased attention to students’ and teachers’ attitudes and beliefs toward mathematics and statistics, but no work has been done that examines practicing secondary mathematics teachers’ (SMTs’) attitudes and beliefs towards statistics in light of the GAISE framework and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM). This study begins to address this gap in the research by creating the Teacher Attitude and Beliefs toward Statistics Survey (TABSS), a synthesis of items taken from the Survey of Attitudes Toward Statistics (Schau, 2003), the Statistics Course Attitude Scale and newly developed items reflecting current trends in thinking about K-12 statistics education. The TABBS was emailed to a representative sample of SMTs in a Midwestern state for data collection. Using these data, the study investigated three questions: (1) the effectiveness of the items on the TABSS at describing attitudes and beliefs of secondary mathematics teachers; (2) the characterization of the affect system of practicing SMTs toward statistics; and (3) the differences in attitudes and beliefs between practicing secondary mathematics teachers who have taught a statistics course and those who have taught statistical concepts only as part of a regular mathematics class.

Validity and reliability measures for the TABSS using confirmatory factor analysis showed that the survey items provided reliable information about SMTs’ affect systems and that those systems were largely dependent on teaching experience with statistical topics. The teachers with experience teaching statistics indicated more general agreement with the survey items consistent with statistics teaching philosophies embraced by the GAISE framework than the teachers without such experience. In contrast, teachers without experience teaching statistics as a stand-alone course indicated higher levels of agreement with items related to the CCSSM document. While all teachers indicated confidence in their own abilities to learn statistics, the experienced teachers expressed higher levels of cognitive competence. This study will contribute to the body of work regarding attitude and belief (affect) systems of secondary mathematics teachers (SMTs) toward statistics. Further, there is now a reliable, compact survey tool exclusively created for studying the affect system of this population.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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