Title

Beyond Skill: Students' Dispositions Towards Math

Publication Date

Winter 2021

Document Type

Article

Department

Mathematics and Statistics

Disciplines

Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Science and Mathematics Education

Publication Title

Journal of Developmental Education

Volume

44

Issue

2

First Page

18

Last Page

25

Abstract

Universities have been forced to confront the increasing placement of students into developmental courses and the subsequent lack of success students encounter. In an effort to better understand how students' attitudes and dispositions towards mathematics impact this trend, we explored the differences in nine characteristics between students in developmental and college-level mathematics courses from a sample of 676 freshmen ata large, public university. Findings showed that students in developmental math did have significantly less-favorable dispositions towards mathematics. However, a cluster analysis revealed that the students were not as homogeneous as may first have appeared, showing a mix of favorable and less-favorable attitudes and dispositions. Further, a regression analysis revealed three student characteristics significantly predicted students' placement into developmental courses: their perspective on the applicability of math to the world around them, low confidence, and a limited view of what constitutes validmathematicalsolutions. Taken together, these results challenge traditional, skill-based assessments of postsecondary mathematics preparedness.

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