Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Committee Chair(s)

Jessica Shumway


Jessica Shumway


Katherine Vela


Michelle Frierson


Jody Clarke-Midura


Brynja Kohler


Nurses regularly use mathematics on the job, yet they often do not view their work as mathematical. This may indicate a lack of transfer from the nursing school mathematics context to nursing practice. Further, nursing students often perceive very little usefulness and relevance for learning mathematics beyond simple calculations. Expansive Framing (EF) is a theory and instructional technique that has been shown to foster transfer by establishing intercontextuality, or connections made between disparate contexts. This research explored whether creating intercontextuality created through broad framing also improved perceptions of mathematics value and transferability, and how intercontextuality functioned as the driver of changes in perceptions of mathematics value and transferability.

This embedded case study mixed-methods analysis investigated these constructs by collecting qualitative and quantitative data from undergraduate nursing students in a College Algebra course. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, a Wilcoxon Signed Rank test, and reflexive thematic analysis. Results varied; while quantitative analyses showed slight declines in positive value perceptions and a slight increase in negative value perceptions, the results were not statistically significant. Mixed and qualitative-focused analyses showed that participants experienced improved perceptions due to expansively framed activities in the course. The form of EF varied; while webinars showed mixed effectiveness, other expansively framed activities were identified as highly valuable for both groups. Overall, intercontextuality was an apparent motivator of changes in value and transferability perceptions.

Based on this research, I recommend that instructors seek opportunities to create intercontextuality by framing broadly across context during instruction, but also by applying EF to classroom activities through curricular integration of content. Future research across multiple classrooms, age groups, and cultural settings, is warranted to investigate the extent to which intercontextuality is the motivator of perception changes versus other factors and to further disentangle the individual roles of connecting settings versus student authorship in effective EF.



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