Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Secondary Education - Mathematics (Ed.D)



First Advisor

Dr. Nita Paris

Second Advisor

Dr. Patricia Bullock

Third Advisor

Dr. Mei-Linn Chang


A quantitative, correlational, survey design with anecdotal qualitative data was used to investigate the relationships among mathematical anxiety, attitude toward learning math, gender, ethnicity, and separate and connected ways of knowing within the context of the mathematics classroom. Participants were 88 student volunteers enrolled in undergraduate mathematics classes at an open admissions technical college in the southeastern United States. Survey data consisted of demographic self-report items, Likert scale items, semantic differential scale items, and one qualitative free-response question. Quantitative data were analyzed by use of either a Spearman Rho, Pearson product moment correlation or an independent samples t-test of significance. These data were supplemented by participants’ qualitative responses which were categorized. The results indicated that there was a significant positive relationship between attitudes toward math and separate knowing in that those who had more positive attitudes toward math were more likely to be separate knowers. Results also indicated that gender is related to one’s way of knowing in that connected knowing correlated strongly with the female gender, and a significant difference existed between males and females with regard to connected knowing. However, results indicated that males’ mean score on connected knowing was significantly higher than their mean score on separate knowing. Furthermore, results indicated a significant correlation between ethnicity and ways of knowing with historically underrepresented and marginalized individuals more likely to be separate knowers. Finally, results indicated that the mean scores for females differed significantly from those of males on two out of eight factors related to mathematical ways of knowing as measured by the Mathematical Dialectics Measure which was designed specifically for this study. The present findings indicate that relationships do exist among attitudes, anxiety, gender, ethnicity and ways of knowing in mathematics. Since this study was correlational, statements cannot be made about the causal effect of any of these variables on one another. Further research should use an experimental or quasi-experimental design to more thoroughly examine the impact of these variables on one another and on mathematics achievement in particular.