Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Kimberly Alkins


Negative mathematics perceptions may affect how teachers teach the subject, how much time they spend on the subject, and how well they teach it. The problem that grounded this study was that although anecdotal evidence showed that teachers’ experience with professional development (PD) courses in mathematics teaching improved their perceptions of mathematics, there was a lack of data regarding how PD affects changes in teachers’ perceptions. The study purpose was to gain a deeper understanding of what elements of a PD course have the greatest effect on improving teachers’ perceptions of mathematics. Piaget’s constructivist and Vygotsky’s socio-constructivism theories made up the conceptual framework that guided this study. Teachers’ attitudes, perceptions, and experiences with mathematics; content and pedagogical knowledge; and understanding of effective instruction before and after attending a PD course were examined in this case study. Five teachers who attended a weeklong PD course focused on building their content and pedagogical knowledge were interviewed before and at the conclusion of the course to gauge how their perceptions of mathematics changed as a result of their experience. Data were analyzed using open coding to generate themes leading to 7 major findings. The findings indicated that the course had a positive effect on teachers’ perceptions of mathematics and gave insight into which elements were most effective, such as opportunities to engage in rich tasks in small groups while an experienced facilitator guides the learning. The findings from this study may affect positive social change by helping to design math PD that equips teachers with mathematical content and pedagogical knowledge in ways that relieve their anxiety about teaching mathematics and ensure better instruction for students.