Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Salina M. Shrofel


Low math achievement among elementary school students is a concern because students who lack a strong early foundation in mathematics may experience difficulty learning in future mathematics classes. Students in 2 rural southeastern school districts demonstrated low math achievement in 5th grade and their scores declined from 3rd to 5th grade. In this quantitative study, teacher-related factors that research has shown to predict student achievement were examined using Bandura's theory of self-efficacy and Ball and McDiarmid's emerging theory of subject matter content knowledge. The research question asked whether the teacher factors, years of teaching experience, hours of professional development in math pedagogy, college math courses completed, math teacher preparation courses, and teaching efficacy, predicted student math achievement in the 2 districts. Data were collected from 29 3rd grade teachers and 32 5th grade teachers and analyzed using binary logistic regression. The findings showed that the combination of predictors did not significantly predict math achievement of 5th grade students. However, teachers who had 1 to 9 years of teaching experience were more likely to have students with higher math achievement than those with more than 20 years of experience (OR = 4.96; p = .048). The inconclusive results indicate that additional factors that might influence students' math achievement have to be explored and additional professional development has to be offered, especially for teachers who have been teaching for 2 decades as they might have learned curriculum and pedagogy different from current practice. Positive social change will occur when all elementary teachers are able to facilitate students' learning of mathematics and the students successfully master math concepts.