Date of Conferral







Meca Williams-Johnson


Rural high school graduates in the United States lag behind in college math preparedness, therefore prompting researchers to identify instructional practices that would advance student math performance. This quantitative research study investigated specific teacher practices and their correlation with student gains in college math preparedness on the American College Test (ACT). Data were collected using a teacher questionnaire to quantify the level of reform practices among a sample of six math teachers and used ACT pre and posttests to assess 312 11th grade students' gains in college math readiness in a public rural high school in Southeast Tennessee. Correlation analysis of reform indicators from the teacher questionnaire compared the interrelatedness of six predictor variables on student math gains. The level of reform practices of the teacher was insignificant when correlated with student gains on the ACT Math subtest, r < .1, yet yielded important insights into rural teaching practices at the sample school. Teacher questionnaire responses indicated consistently low scores in teacher conceptual beliefs and rural connectedness, suggesting room for reform in those areas. The average Math ACT gain was 1.97 points with an average math score of 19.3. This suggests the 2016 school average will exceed the 2015 school average of 19.1 since students in the study have another year of math instruction prior to graduation. Extending the current study through college may reveal a correlation between specific teacher practices and rural student math gains.