Date of Award

Fall 12-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Valeri R. Helterbran, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Edel M. Reilly, D.Ed.

Third Advisor

Kelli R. Paquette, Ed.D.

Abstract

This study investigated the correlation between instructional practices, teacher beliefs, and teacher mindset on elementary student growth in mathematics. Growth was considered as the Average Growth Index (AGI), a value-added metric derived from the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment. The study exclusively focused on Pennsylvania elementary schools responsible for teaching mathematics in Grades 3, 4, and 5 only. Publicly available AGI scores for the 2014-2015 school year were identified as the measure of student growth in mathematics. School district superintendents, elementary school principals, and classroom teachers were identified and linked to preexisting AGI scores. Three existing, validated surveys designed to quantify school-wide levels of instructional practices, teacher beliefs, and growth mindset were administered to elementary teachers who provided permission and agreed to participate in the study. Results were correlated to AGI using statistical regression models to ascertain the extent each independent and interdependent block of variables was predictive of AGI.

Although the sample size fell short of the recommended size for the statistics utilized, the data set showed little indication of failing to meet assumptions of linearity, homoscedasticity, and multicollinearity. Because of the normality of the sample, it can be inferred that a more robust sample size may have reached significance for some or all of the regression analyses. Pearson correlations revealed several important positive relationships existed among the 6 independent variables identified for this study. For all 4 research questions, the null hypothesis failed to be rejected, demonstrating that not enough evidence was available to suggest the null hypotheses were false at the 95% confidence level.

Based on analysis of variance adjusted R-squared effect size for each regression, it can be gleaned the 6 independent variables studied were positively correlated to student growth in mathematics. To varying degrees, instructional practices (Social Constructivist Orientation and Transmission Orientation), teacher beliefs (Teacher Allowance for Student Struggle with Problems, Teacher Modeling for Incremental Mastery, and Teachers’ Awareness of their Students’ Mathematical Dispositions), and teacher mindset (Growth or Fixed Mindset) were either interdependently, or independently, positively correlative and predictive of AGI.