mathematics, middle school students, career paths, curriculum
This study is an examination of whether a project-based mathematics curriculum would influence students' intended career paths related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) endeavors; perceived usefulness of mathematics; and perceived competence in doing mathematics. A review of the literature revealed that there are many shortages of professionals in STEM fields. United States women and men are not pursuing STEM endeavors in great numbers and the U.S. relies heavily on international students to fill this gap. The literature revealed that the girls who do not pursue STEM endeavors in great numbers do not perceive mathematics as a useful endeavor and do not think they are competent in doing mathematics. Boys who do not pursue STEM endeavors in great numbers also do not perceive mathematics as a useful endeavor. The study involved 7th and 8th grade school students enrolled in algebra classes in a private college-preparatory school. The students in the experimental group participated in a problem-based curriculum that integrated lecture-based methods with four major projects designed to have students apply mathematics out of the context through hands-on real-life problems. This particular quasi-experimental design was a nonequivalent pre-test/post-test control group design. Statistical analyses were done using a general linear model repeated measures. The results of the statistical analyses indicated that the students in the project-based group showed a statistically significant positive change in their perceived usefulness of mathematics when compared to the control group. A t-test revealed no statistically significant differences in academic achievement. Qualitative data analysis uncovered three emergent themes. Students indicated that they saw the usefulness of mathematics more clearly; students' independence from the teacher while doing the projects was unsettling; and students enjoyed the change of pace in class. The results of the study indicated that a project-based mathematics curriculum can help students see the usefulness of mathematics and can help students enjoy the pursuit of mathematics by this particular change of routine.
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
College of Education
Curriculum and Instruction
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Clanton, Barbara, "The Effects Of A Project-based Mathematics Curriculum On Middle School Students' Intended Career Paths Related To Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics" (2005). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 542.