Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Howard Moskowitz


Math Teacher Perceptions of Professional Development

and Student Mathematics Performance


Michael Edward Smith

EdS, Tennessee Technical University, 2007

MA, Tennessee Technical University, 2006

BS, University of Tennessee Chattanooga, 2003

Doctoral Study Submitted in Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements for the Degree of

Doctor of Education

Walden University

February 2015

The standardized math test scores at a Tennessee high school have trended below the state and national averages. One strategy to improve math performance is a pedagogical structure that facilitates peer interaction and discovery learning. A program of professional development (PD) designed to foster such interactive learning was delivered to 9th grade math teachers, but no assessment had been undertaken to determine the program's effectiveness. Guided by Vygotsky's social development theory, which states that student learning is affected by the interactions and instructional activities within the classroom, this concurrent mixed method study investigated math teachers' perceptions of the PD and its effectiveness in raising student scores on the end-of-course exams (EOC). Qualitative data were gathered from 4 teachers in order to explore deeper understandings of the PD effectiveness. These data were open coded and thematically analyzed. Findings revealed teacher perceptions that the PD was not effective, along with many insights for improvement of PD. The quantitative research question determined if there was a statistically significant difference between test scores of non-PD and PD students. The analysis used the independent samples t test to compare student EOC scores before the PD (n = 112) with the scores that were earned after the PD took place (n = 187). There was no statistically significant difference between the test scores in the first and second year (p = .06). These findings informed the creation of an improved plan for Math PD, including components contributed by teachers. The implications for positive social change from this study include a better understanding of math PD and student achievement at the local site, along with stronger preparation for students and the school community to succeed on EOC testing.

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