Date of Award:

2014

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Advisor/Chair:

Spencer Clark

Abstract

This qualitative study looked for barriers to curricular change in general education mathematics at a large public university (LPU) in the Western United States. The literature showed that a number of national organizations dealing in math education have recommended alternatives to the traditional algebra-intensive curriculum. LPU still relies predominantly on traditional College Algebra as its quantitative literacy (QL) course. With such an algebra-heavy emphasis, students may be missing more relevant and useful mathematics. In addition, the College Algebra course has a low success rate, which becomes a barrier to student retention and graduation. Interviews were conducted with 14 participants who included faculty, staff, and administrators. Analysis of the data showed 12 barriers that were grouped into four clusters: goals, control, quality, and communications. Finally, recommendations in each of the four clusters are offered for removing barriers, considering alternative curricula, and designing an intentional curriculum around QL learning outcomes.

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