Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Benerd School of Education

First Advisor

Rachelle Kisst Hackett

First Committee Member

Anne Zeman

Second Committee Member

Laureen Riddick


This research focuses on middle schools where more than 90% of the students are socioeconomically disadvantaged and where mathematics scores are below the state and national average. The study was conducted to better understand how students experience various instructional strategies and perceive these classroom practices to impact their learning and self-efficacy in mathematics. A hybrid mixed methods research design, with both embedded and explanatory sequential components, was employed. Quantitative results are based on survey responses from 94 seventh grade students. Qualitative results are based on five teacher and eight student interviews.

Informed by teacher interviews, the Instructional Strategies Impact Survey (ISIS) was developed by the researcher then administered in four 7th grade classes. Of the 21 instructional strategies included on the ISIS, those reported by at least 70% of students to increase mathematics self-efficacy are “defining vocabulary,” “guided practice,” and “reteach/review.” The data also shows that the instructional strategies “student presentations” and “random selection” were reported to be least helpful for increasing students’ mathematical self-efficacy. The instructional strategies with the largest variation in student mathematics self-efficacy impact ratings were “teacher scanning,” “student presentations,” “weekly quizzes,” “independent practice,” and “random selection.”

The instructional strategies reported by at least 70% of students to increase their learning in math are “defining vocabulary,” “guided practice,” “teacher demo” and “reteach/review.” “Student presentations” and “random selection” were instructional strategies reported to be least helpful for increasing learning. Student responses varied most when reporting the impact that “independent practice” and “student presentations” had on their learning. Across the 21 instructional strategies, the correlation between MSE impact and math learning impact was strong and positive.

Based on the survey results, strategies were selected to focus on while interviewing students. Quotes from the students are provided to help explain findings related to the impacts of these selected strategies (i.e., random selection, student presentations, weekly quizzes, encouragement, and independent practice). The quantitative and qualitative findings were jointly considered and are discussed using Bandura’s self-efficacy theory and Vygotsky’s theory of cognitive development.

The results of this study suggest implications for teachers, site leaders, and district administrators. Implications regarding teacher professional development and instructional supports are discussed. Incorporation of student voice and feedback from learners is recommended for ensuring equity-focused teaching practices.



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