Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Cathryn White

Abstract

In a Colorado school district, school personnel and parents were concerned that middle school math proficiency levels were low for 2011-2014 and math teachers were not using manipulatives in their classes to increase math performance. The district's math coordinator did not foresee providing specific professional development (PD) for math manipulative use to address these concerns. Without this PD, math teachers may be ill-quipped to teach math concepts when using manipulatives, which, in turn, could lead to further poor math performance. The purpose of this qualitative bounded collective case study was to explore middle school teachers' perceptions of PD and perceived self-efficacy regading the implementation of manipulatives. Knowles's andragogy and Piaget's cognitive development theories framed this study. A homogeneous sample of 12 voluntary participants with more than 5 years teaching middle school math, both with and without access to manipulatives, volunteered to participate in this study. Data from observations, interviews, and archival documents were analyzed using comparative and inductive analyses and were analytically coded. Participants reported a need for PD that focused on physical and virtual manipulatives (PM and VM) and a low perceived self-efficacy regarding manipulatives use during math instruction. A blended PD using face-to-face and distance learning formats was designed to increase math teachers' knowledge of and perceived self-efficacy with PM and VM for math instruction. This endeavor may contribute to positive social change by reforming PD opportunities to support teachers' practice and self-efficacy using manipulatives during math instruction, ultimately increasing student performance.