Title

Map of MathWorld: Identifying Core Practices for Successful Supplemental Instruction of Community College Math Students

Date of Degree

8-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Program

Education

Advisor

Alfredo Ortiz

Advisor

Annette E. Craven

Advisor

Renita D Mitchell

Abstract

At its core, this study is about developmental math which has been a problem in the United States for decades. Math teachers, at different academic levels, have assisted students through struggles with math. Research suggests that although math is a necessary skill, some students often fare poorly in the subject. Because of that, many formal, math support programs have been developed to assist students.

MathWorld is a math support program at St. Philip’s College that is available to math students for the purpose of receiving assistance on study skills and gaining understanding of mathematical concepts. The overarching purpose of this study was to better understand and explore the impact of participation in MathWorld on student success in developmental math courses from the perspectives of math faculty and staff at a local community college. Through interviews, a survey, and student testimonials, the researcher sought to understand this from the viewpoints of the most relevant knowledge-holders: math faculty and MathWorld staff. They have a unique set of feelings and lessons learned from their experiences with the students that they serve.

Three key findings emerged from an examination of the results:

  1. Cultivating content-specific skills is a core practice by which the Bobs and instructors guide the students to a better understanding of various math subjects;
  2. Supporting life skills is a core practice by which the Bobs and instructors create an atmosphere of relatability and gauging the socioemotional well-being of the students; and
  3. Providing holistic interventions is a core practice by which the Bobs and instructors discern the academic and socioemotional needs of the students and utilize appropriate interventions.

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