Date of Conferral







Wellesley Foshay


I investigated why math capable students are not entering science, technology,

engineering, and math (STEM) careers. To research the problem, I explored how highly

effective elementary math teachers (HEMT) create student interest in mathematics using the self-

efficacy (SE) theory and information and communication technology (ICT). The purpose

of the study was to discover if teacher training and instructional strategies can influence

student interest in mathematics to improve STEM career entry. The theoretical

framework adopted for this study was the SE theory, and the 4-phase model of interest

development was the conceptual framework. Participants in this multi-case qualitative

study included 5 HEMT who work in a southern ICT-based urban school. The data

gathered were individual teacher observations, interviews, and discussions about student

artifacts, which were then analyzed for themes and patterns using NVivo software. The

results indicated that the teacher participants use vertical curriculum experiences to

improve student SE in 4th and 5th-grade students to fill-in curriculum gaps. Also,

problem-solving math equations based on real-world simulations are used to stimulate

and sustain a perceived student interest in mathematics. Additionally, ICT was used to

augment math lessons and to personalize learning. Society will benefit from this

information when educational stakeholders implement instructional strategies that

improve student interest through the use of real life scenarios. Real-world math

applications can influence elementary student interest in taking higher levels of math

education that lead to STEM careers.