Title

K-12 FACTORS THAT AFFECT A STUDENT’S DECISION TO OBTAIN A MATHEMATICS DEGREE

Presenter Information

Brittany Wolf

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

Over the years, the number of students seeking a career in mathematics (and STEM fields in general – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) has decreased in proportion to other comparable countries (US House of Representative’s Committee on Education and Labor, 2009). This means that as a nation we are falling behind in the technical world, and need to start finding out why. Specifically, if it is known what happens during K-12 grades to impact (positively or negatively) a mathematics major choice, teachers, administrators, counselors, and policy makers will be able to understand what they need to do to successfully encourage students to pursue a degree/career in mathematics.

The purpose of this research is to determine different factors that affect a students’ decision to pursue a mathematics degree at The University of Montana. Of particular interest are the factors relevant to K-12 education, such as curriculum, teacher’s relationship with the students, participation in extracurricular math and science related activities, overall grades, etc.

Surveys were used to collect data. Anonymous surveys were given to students who enrolled in, and attended one of following mathematics courses (M 135, 136, 105, 151, 171, 326, and 429) in the spring of 2011 at The University of Montana. These different mathematics courses were chosen to target different majors – mathematics majors, elementary education majors, non-mathematics & non-education majors (Humanities, Liberal Arts, etc). Descriptive and linear regression was used in data analysis SPSS software.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 15th, 4:00 PM Apr 15th, 4:20 PM

K-12 FACTORS THAT AFFECT A STUDENT’S DECISION TO OBTAIN A MATHEMATICS DEGREE

UC 333

Over the years, the number of students seeking a career in mathematics (and STEM fields in general – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) has decreased in proportion to other comparable countries (US House of Representative’s Committee on Education and Labor, 2009). This means that as a nation we are falling behind in the technical world, and need to start finding out why. Specifically, if it is known what happens during K-12 grades to impact (positively or negatively) a mathematics major choice, teachers, administrators, counselors, and policy makers will be able to understand what they need to do to successfully encourage students to pursue a degree/career in mathematics.

The purpose of this research is to determine different factors that affect a students’ decision to pursue a mathematics degree at The University of Montana. Of particular interest are the factors relevant to K-12 education, such as curriculum, teacher’s relationship with the students, participation in extracurricular math and science related activities, overall grades, etc.

Surveys were used to collect data. Anonymous surveys were given to students who enrolled in, and attended one of following mathematics courses (M 135, 136, 105, 151, 171, 326, and 429) in the spring of 2011 at The University of Montana. These different mathematics courses were chosen to target different majors – mathematics majors, elementary education majors, non-mathematics & non-education majors (Humanities, Liberal Arts, etc). Descriptive and linear regression was used in data analysis SPSS software.