Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award

Fall 12-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership (Ed.D)


Teacher Leadership for Learning

First Advisor

Dr. Susan Stockdale

Second Advisor

Dr. Marla Bell

Third Advisor

Dr. Nikita Patterson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Ugena Whitlock


The purpose of this study is to determine what relationships or differences exist between males and females in calculator self-efficacy and calculator achievement, and if social learning groups better support females in calculator achievement and efficacy. To accomplish this purpose, this quasi-experimental study examined pre-test and post-tests using a teacher developed Calculator Self-Efficacy Instrument and a Calculator Achievement Test. The study involved three treatment classes that were arranged into social learning groups according to Vygotsky’s social learning theory and one control class that was arranged in traditional rows. Four major findings emerged. Males scored significantly higher than females on the post- Calculator Achievement Test (CAT), however there was no significant difference between males and females in the net gain in calculator achievement. Males scored significantly higher than females on two-step calculator tasks and multi-step calculator tasks. There were no apparent gender related themes among calculator efficacy and calculator achievement except when students predicted their ability to program. Students were able to accurately predict their ability to program the calculator. Males’ predictions were higher than females’, but this positive correlation was statistically significant. Finally, students in the treatment group (Vygotsky’s social learning groups) scored higher than the control group on the post-CAT and on net gain in calculator achievement and these differences were statistically significant. Females in the treatment group also scored higher on all measures than students in the control group, though all differences were not statistically significant. Recommendations include a teacher workshop on Vygotsky’s learning theories and how to apply them to the mathematics classroom and to graphing technology; release time and funding for teachers who are not comfortable working with calculators to attend workshops so they may become proficient with the calculators; and further education on gender equity and technology for teachers. Recommendations for further research includes a longitudinal study on calculator self-efficacy and calculator achievement, developing an instrument to determine if a teacher is a “Vygotskian” type teacher and creating a study that includes a diverse number of teachers and students, and adding a qualitative component to the research study.