Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Jesse Richter


In a South Carolina school district, approximately 45% of 3rd-5th grade students performed poorly on the state mathematics test. K-5 teachers attended district training to improve mathematics instruction and content mastery, but the training omitted teachers' affective domain in teaching. Teachers' affective relationships with mathematics (ARM) affects content delivery, instructional decisions, and teachers' confidence levels and motivation. The purpose of this sequential mixed methods study was to investigate whether teachers' years of experience, grade levels taught, or past mathematics experiences influenced K-5 teachers' ARM, as measured by the ARM survey, and to explore teachers' perceptions of their ARM in instruction. Bandura's theory of self-efficacy framed this study. A representative sample of 160 K-5 mathematics teachers in 11 schools completed surveys. A purposeful sample of 9 teachers with high, medium, or low ARM index were interviewed. One-way ANOVA tests determined there was no statistical significant difference between teachers' ARM index and years of experience or grade level. Simple linear regression determined there was a statistical significant difference between teachers' ARM and past mathematics experiences. Interview data were analyzed thematically using open, axial, and thematic coding strategies. Teachers revealed that their perceived past mathematics experiences and collaboration influenced their ARM and instruction. Based on the findings, a 3-day workshop was created to improve teachers' ARM featuring reflection on teachers' past mathematics experiences and collaboration. This endeavor may contribute to positive social change if district leaders assist teachers to improve their confidence in mathematics instruction and instructional decision making; thus, improving student mathematics achievement.