Date of Award:

2013

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Special Education and Rehabilitation

Advisor/Chair:

Robert Morgan

Abstract

Students with mild/moderate disabilities frequently experience difficulty in mathematics in high school, and thus are often unprepared for math in college. The student researcher conducted a survey examining the perceptions regarding mathematical readiness of such students by professionals who work with them in high school. Participants included 47 high school special education teachers who completed an online questionnaire about the preparedness of students with disabilities in various mathematical constructs (i.e., algebra, geometry, number sense, calculator skills, and study skills) and the importance of those constructs using Likert-type rankings, as well as perceptions of barriers for transitioning to college. Ratings of student preparedness were low, with a variety of perceived barriers related to family, student, system, and teacher factors. A wide range of potential solutions was also offered, including more parent involvement, more study time and perseverance, better teaching/greater accountability from teachers in younger grades, more co-teaching/less pull-out classes, more math labs in upper grades, more math exposure and practice/math every day, and making math more interesting and applicable/gain student buy-in. Results have implications in terms of the need for greater mathematical preparation for students with disabilities transitioning to college, the importance of teacher perception, and for greater communication and collaboration between high school special education teachers and college disability resource center personnel to increase that preparation.

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