Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Charles C. Warfield

Second Advisor

Dr. Uldis Smidchens

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Laing


This dissertation analyzes the entering and exiting beliefs of preservice elementary education students in three domains. The domains are: (1) the nature of teaching mathematics, (2) the nature of learning mathematics, and (3) the nature of the underlying source of their success or failure in mathematics. The data collection for this study was comprised of two questionnaires. The first questionnaire with 72 items used a five point Iikert scale. The second questionnaire took 10 of the Iikert items and formatted them as an open-ended response questionnaire. Students were to respond favorably or negatively to the statements and provide support for their answers. The students were surveyed during school year 1993-1994; entering students at the beginning of their mathematics coursework, and exiting students during the last week of their fourth course in mathematics. Their program consists of three content classes and one methods class in mathematics.

Each of the domains were composed of several sub-topics. The nature of teaching mathematics surveyed beliefs on manipulatives, instruction, classroom behaviors, testing, and good teaching practices. The nature of learning mathematics surveyed beliefs on problem solving, memorization of mathematics, and uses of technology. The nature of self regarding mathematics surveyed beliefs of one’s attitude toward being successful in mathematics and what are requirements for being good at mathematics.

There was support for the hypothesis that there is a change in beliefs of preservice elementary teachers after completion of their elementary mathematics coursework. Interpretation of the data originated from the open-ended written questionnaire and the difference of the mean scores of the two groups. The instruments used, mean scores, and written responses are displayed in the dissertation.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access