Descript 
205 p 
Note 
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 6804, Section: A, page: 1363 

Adviser: Sarah J. Fishback 

Thesis (Ph.D.)Kansas State University, 2007 

This study explored the effects of personal epistemological beliefs about mathematics and beliefs about the ability to do well in mathematics on achievement in a collegelevel, developmental mathematics class. The influences of gender, age, and ethnicity on these beliefs as they relate to mathematics achievement were also explored. The Mathematics Belief Scales (MBS) was adapted from the Indiana Mathematics Belief Scales and SelfDescription Questionnaire III to measure beliefs about the time it takes to solve mathematics problems, the importance of conceptual understanding in mathematics, the procedural emphasis in mathematics, the usefulness of mathematics, and selfconcept about mathematics. MBS was administered to 159 participants enrolled in Intermediate Algebra over two semesters at an urban, statesupported midwestern university and two small private midwestern universities. Responses to the surveys and scores on the final exams for the Intermediate Algebra courses were analyzed using descriptive statistics, the Pearson productmoment correlations, analysis of variance techniques, and hierarchical regression analysis 

Results indicated that students generally held nonavailing beliefs about mathematics and mathematics selfconcept. Students typically believed that mathematical problems should be solved within ten minutes. Students generally did not believe that math problems can be solved with logic and reason instead of learned math rules. Over 40% of the students did not believe that mathematics beyond basic mathematics was useful to everyday life. Students were also generally not confident in their ability to solve mathematics problems 

Additionally, men's selfconcept was significantly higher than women's selfconcept. Adult learners' selfconcept was also significantly higher than traditional age students' selfconcept. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that the importance of understanding mathematical concepts positively influenced final exam scores for men more so than women and selfconcept positively influenced final exam scores for women more so than men. These results indicate a need for academic experiences at the collegelevel that will challenge students' current belief system and provide an environment that is supportive and conducive to building individual selfconfidence 

School code: 0100 

DDC 
Host Item 
Dissertation Abstracts International 6804A

Subject 
Education, Mathematics


Education, Higher


0280


0745

Alt Author 
Kansas State University. Department of Educational

