Date of Award:

2013

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Agricultural Systems Technology and Education

Advisor/Chair:

Brian K Warnick

Abstract

Nationwide, mathematical scores have been a topic of concern among elementary and secondary educators for many years. Decreasing math skills are also trickling into post-secondary education, requiring universities to provide additional remedial math instruction in colleges and universities. Studies have been conducted to discover the most effective pedagogical methods of teaching math. Teaching contextualized math has been found to be effective and includes providing a direct application to real-life scenarios rather than teaching linear equations and algebraic principles outside of their application. A study was conducted measuring the effects of integrating mathematical skills in an animal science curriculum. Eight Utah schools participated in the research study. Students received a pretest measuring their existing mathematical skills and self-efficacy in math. All students were taught a unit of instruction about animal nutrition and feeding. The control group received a typical nutrition unit and the treatment group received the same unit of instruction with the addition of mathematical skill integration. Students were taught to use the Pearson Square to calculate feed rations as well as solve basic equations to balance rations. Following the unit of instruction, students completed a posttest survey, which included a math attitudinal scale, posttreatment self-efficacy scale, and posttreatment math skills quiz. There was no statistically significant difference in math self-efficacy or math skills between the control group receiving a typical nutrition unit and the treatment group which received the math-enhanced unit of instruction. Correlational statistics were gathered and showed a strong positive relationship between students' self-efficacy and math skills. Gender, grade level, highest completed math class, and grade received in highest-level math class were not found to be statistically significant predictions of math skills. Highest level of math completed and overall grade point average were statistically significant factors in predicting math self-efficacy.

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