Student experience of achievement in second-year algebra classes

Joseph Edward Hook, University of Pennsylvania


This is a study of student perceptions of achievement, in three algebra II classes, as the students reveal their motivations during a school year. Seven students were selected for in-depth interviews and continuous interaction with the researcher. Interviews were conducted over the course of a full academic year with students, parents, the teacher, and counselors. The students were observed in class. A careful accounting was made of all pertinent data related to the students' grade records. Expectation for success or failure is a primary concern throughout the study and is investigated from a variety of perspectives. Student motivation, student achievement and educational reforms are analyzed as unifying components of the classroom. A mathematics attribution survey was administered to all participants and their classmates. Responses from participants are included as a vital component of the research. Journal writing and group interviews are used to supplement the need for individual responses over a full year of school. Mathematical anxiety was seen as the participants' initial concern, which was reduced by a comfortable classroom climate. Participants' attitudes of confidence and motivation toward mathematics were created in lower grades and remained constant during the course of this research. These attitudes influenced the time participants spent on homework. Confidence and motivation were long term feelings which played an important role in the overall attitude of each participant. Memorizing was identified as an ineffective learning strategy which was chosen more often by less proficient participants and less often by more proficient participants.

Subject Area

Mathematics education|Secondary education|Education

Recommended Citation

Hook, Joseph Edward, "Student experience of achievement in second-year algebra classes" (1996). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9632520.