Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Deborah L. West

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Second Advisor

Paul R. Erickson

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


According to the national Assessment of Educational Progress the national trend in mathematics achievement has not significantly changed from 1973 through 2012 for 17 year olds (National Center for Educational statistics, 2014). Student beliefs about mathematics learning are an important factor in determining the student's math achievement (Woodward, 2004). This qualitative dissertation explores college student perceptions of effective mathematics teaching and learning at the secondary level. Interview participants who are early in their college program were recruited from math classes at a southeastern university. Study participants reinforced the literature that knowing both the how and the why of mathematics is important to them. The desire for ongoing support of their math instruction learning was also identified as necessary by participants as well. Importantly, impediments to learning mathematics at the secondary level were reported by those interviewees in this study. The participant descriptions of effective math instruction support the current literature regarding effective math instruction; however, continued high school mathematics achievement in the United States fails to improve.