Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name



Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Thomas G. Edwards

Second Advisor

Kenneth R. Chelst


The study aimed to assess the impact of a professional development workshop at changing secondary mathematics teachers’ knowledge, beliefs, and practices related to real-world applications of algebra. It also addressed gaps in the research literature related to teacher knowledge of how algebra is used by professionals in non-academic settings and their beliefs about the relevance of algebra to their students’ lives. The observational study employed mixed methods. Principal components analysis was conducted on responses to an online questionnaire. Pre-test vs. post-test comparisons were made for workshop participants. Treatment vs. control comparisons were also made using a nationally representative random sample of secondary mathematics teachers as the control group. Results from the statistical analysis of the quantitative data showed the professional development program had a positive impact on teachers’ knowledge and practice related to real-world connections of algebra. Results from qualitative content analysis of semi-structured interview transcripts with treatment and control teachers revealed that teachers have limited knowledge of how algebra is used in the world outside of school. Further research is needed to better understand teacher knowledge about applications of the mathematics they teach, teacher beliefs about the relevance of their curricula, the impact these have on their instruction.

Included in

Mathematics Commons