Date of Award



© 2016 Katrina Hall

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Carol Burbank

Second Advisor

Michelle Collay

Third Advisor

Nancy Cook


The purpose of this mixed methods case study was to answer the following research questions via the lens of social-constructivism: How do middle school students describe their self-concept of ability in math? What teacher/classroom interventions are recognized by students as having an impact on their self-concept of ability? This study specifically addressed the utilization of student voice and the need to recognize self-concept of ability as a separate academic domain in research. The purposeful sampling for this case study consisted of 10 eighth-grade middle school students who participated in both an online survey and a semi-structured interview. The major themes that emerged from participant responses included 1) self-concept of ability, 2) multidimensionality of attitude, 3) significance of grades, 4) academic press (the pressure to achieve), 5) feedback and reinforcement, 6) social support and 7) modifying the learning environment. From these themes conclusions were drawn and recommendations were made those planning instruction to address the malleability and fluctuation of middle school students’ self-concept, the lack of consistency self-concept has in helping to define one’s positive mathematical disposition and the students’ identification of successful interventions deemed positive in their self-concept development. The conclusions are transferable to other mathematical settings and provide research that is foundational for future studies. Recommendations outline a need for changes in math education that students feel is necessary for their academic success.


Ed.D. Dissertation