id: 06430681
dt: j
an: 2015c.00094
au: Sonnert, Gerhard; Sadler, Philip M.; Sadler, Samuel M.; Bressoud, David M.
ti: The impact of instructor pedagogy on college calculus students’ attitude
toward mathematics.
so: Int. J. Math. Educ. Sci. Technol. 46, No. 3, 370-387 (2015).
py: 2015
pu: Taylor \& Francis, Abingdon, Oxfordshire
la: EN
cc: C25 D45 C75 U75 I15
ut: college calculus; mathematics attitudes; instructor pedagogy
ci:
li: doi:10.1080/0020739X.2014.979898
ab: Summary: College calculus teaches students important mathematical concepts
and skills. The course also has a substantial impact on students’
attitude toward mathematics, affecting their career aspirations and
desires to take more mathematics. This national US study of 3103
students at 123 colleges and universities tracks changes in students’
attitudes toward mathematics during a ‘mainstream’ calculus course
while controlling for student backgrounds. The attitude measure
combines students’ self-ratings of their mathematics confidence,
interest in, and enjoyment of mathematics. Three major kinds of
instructor pedagogy, identified through the factor analysis of 61
student-reported variables, are investigated for impact on student
attitude as follows: (1) instructors who employ generally accepted
‘good teaching’ practices (e.g. clarity in presentation and
answering questions, useful homework, fair exams, help outside of
class) are found to have the most positive impact, particularly with
students who began with a weaker initial attitude. (2) Use of
educational ‘technology’ (e.g. graphing calculators, for
demonstrations, in homework), on average, is found to have no impact on
attitudes, except when used by graduate student instructors, which
negatively affects students’ attitudes towards mathematics. (3)
‘Ambitious teaching’ (e.g. group work, word problems, ‘flipped’
reading, student explanations of thinking) has a small negative impact
on student attitudes, while being a relatively more constructive
influence only on students who already enjoyed a positive attitude
toward mathematics and in classrooms with a large number of students.
This study provides support for efforts to improve calculus teaching
through the training of faculty and graduate students to use
traditional ‘good teaching’ practices through professional
development workshops and courses. As currently implemented, technology
and ambitious pedagogical practices, while no doubt effective in
certain classrooms, do not appear to have a reliable, positive impact
on student attitudes toward mathematics.
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