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An investigation of self-efficacy of students enrolled in a mathematics pathway course

Linda Zientek (Department of Mathematics & Statistics, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, USA)
Jennifer Dorsey (Charles A. Dana Center, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA)
Nancy Stano (Austin Community College, Austin, Texas, USA)
Forrest C. Lane (Department of Educational Leadership, College of Education, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, USA)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Article publication date: 12 April 2019

Issue publication date: 18 June 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine hypothesized links between the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways’ (DCMP) Foundations of Mathematical Reasoning curriculum and the four hypothesized sources of self-efficacy. The sample of developmental mathematics students who were taught with a curriculum that incorporates active and collaborative learning reported increased ratings on social persuasions from the beginning to the end of the semester.

Design/methodology/approach

The study examines changes in the four sources of self-efficacy. Students completed a pre- and post-survey. Non-parametric methods were conducted to measure changes.

Findings

The paper provides empirical insights into changes in the four sources of self-efficacy with the implementation of a new curriculum in developmental mathematics classrooms. Students in the DCMP Foundation course increased their ratings on social persuasions and mastery experiences and decreased their ratings on physiological states. The largest proportion of variability in the four sources that was accounted for by course grade was mastery experiences followed by vicarious experiences, social persuasions and physiological states.

Research limitations/implications

A control group was not included. Therefore, comparisons between students enrolled in the intervention course and a traditional course were not possible.

Practical implications

An implication of the study is that a curriculum that has an emphasis on face-to-face communication with collaborative learning activities might be linked to more positive measures of the sources of self-efficacy.

Originality/value

This paper fulfils a need to study how the implementation of an alternative curriculum in developmental mathematics classrooms can be linked to students’ self-efficacy.

Keywords

Citation

Zientek, L., Dorsey, J., Stano, N. and Lane, F.C. (2019), "An investigation of self-efficacy of students enrolled in a mathematics pathway course", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 636-652. https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-10-2018-0207

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited