Date of Award



© 2020 Jaclyn S. Vitale

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Heather Wilmot

Second Advisor

Darren Akerman

Third Advisor

Matthew Beyranevand


This mixed methods study examined the factors and experiences junior level (e.g., 11th grade) public high school students enrolled in a college-prep mathematics course perceived as influencing the development of their mindset associated with mathematics. Current research defines mindset as the set of attitudes and beliefs held by an individual (Dweck, 2008b) and a determining factor in student success (Mosley, 2017). With educators at the study site noticing an increase of fixed mathematical mindsets among students and a lack of student perspective contained within current literature, further investigation and understanding was needed. This study addressed research questions related to student beliefs about their individual mathematical mindset as well as the factors and experiences they believed were most influential to the development of their mathematical mindset. Data was collected through the use of a mindset scale and individual interviews. The mindset scale was used to classify student participants’ mindsets. Individual interviews were conducted to encourage conversation and sharing of personal stories and experiences to distinguish recurring themes. In this study, through the collection and analysis of student participants’ data, three major themes were identified:

1. teacher influence on a student’s mathematical mindset

2. influence of a student’s prior mathematical experiences on their mathematical mindset, and

3. family influence on a student’s mathematical mindset.

Findings and dissection of these themes concluded that there is a need for additional professional development related to mathematical mindsets for all educators who interact with students in relation to the subject. There is also a need to develop and implement family resources for helping students through mindset-focused strategies. The goal of this research was to provide further information, investigation, and understanding of high school students’ perceptions about the factors and experiences that contribute to their mathematical mindset in an effort to continue the conversation on mindset development and its ability to impact a student’s mathematics successes and education.


Ed.D. Dissertation