June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) national study of Characteristics of Successful Programs in College Calculus revealed that introductory calculus still occupies a gatekeeper role for STEM majors across the country. Even if students persist through Calculus I, they leave the class with a diminished confidence and enjoyment of mathematics and a decreased desire to continue pursuing further mathematics. Thus, the goal of this research study was to provide a better understanding of the relationship between learning environments and student motivation in introductory college calculus. Results of this work will help guide mathematics faculty and administrators to create environments that are most conducive to fostering students’ motivation, thus supporting their academic achievement in calculus.
The theoretical framework of self-determination theory (SDT) was used to guide this study. SDT is a macro-theory of motivation and has been widely used to study the social factors of an environment under which people thrive. According to SDT, three basic psychological needs are essential to fostering a student’s motivation and engagement: competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Competence refers to students feeling confident and effective in the classroom, autonomy means they have a sense of agency and authority, and relatedness incorporates students’ need to feel a sense of belonging in the classroom. Only when students’ basic psychological needs are supported by the classroom structure can they internalize their motivation to learn.
This paper will report a piece of a larger sequential explanatory mixed-methods design that investigated the interaction of course structures, students’ basic psychological needs satisfaction, and motivation. Three different course types of Calculus I were sampled at a large research university, which included traditional methods, hybrid online, and a large-enrollment active learning classroom. The Basic Psychological Needs Scale (BPNS) and the Situational Motivation Scale (SIMS) were administered to students in the three course types (N=323). This quantitative phase involved analyzing survey data from all students in the selected classes to determine if students’ perceptions of their competence, autonomy, and relatedness and motivation types differed between the course structures. Preliminary analysis revealed that students’ perceptions of their competence, autonomy, relatedness and intrinsic motivation significantly differed between the three course types, with the hybrid online class having significantly lower mean scores than the other two course types. Implications for mathematics faculty will be discussed.
Norton, P. R., & High, K. A., & Bridges, W. (2019, June), Exploring the Relationship Between Course Structures and Student Motivation in Introductory College Calculus Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32816
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