Term of Award

Fall 2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Kymberly Drawdy

Committee Member 1

Yasar Bodur

Committee Member 2

Grigory Dmitriyev

Committee Member 3

George Shaver

Abstract

With the importance of math steadily increasing, researchers in the field of special education have made efforts to increase the performance of students with disabilities (Fuchs et al., 2008; Gersten, Jordan, & Flojo, 2005). Despite the deficits these students face, the trend has been for many years that most students with disabilities in math receive their instruction in the general education classroom. The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions that students receiving special education services have regarding the effectiveness of Classworks, a computer-assisted instructional program, in helping them gain equity in the general education math classroom. Critical Disability Theory (CDT) provided the theoretical framework for the study. One of the elements important to CDT is giving voice to persons with disabilities. Traditionally, the voices of persons with disabilities have been suppressed and marginalized when the person speaks out against the mainstream views of disability. CDT allows the voices of persons with disabilities to be heard and valued. Critical Pedagogy was a second theoretical framework for this study. Critical Pedagogy seeks to end the oppression and marginalization of specific groups of students. The researcher explored students; perspectives of Classworks through individual interviews and group observations.

This study found that students viewed Classworks as an effective method of improving computational math skills. Students appreciated the immediate feedback and self-paced environment that Classworks provided and reported that these features gave them more confidence in their math skills. Students also reported, however, that these features were not available to them in the general education classroom, causing them to fall behind their peers. Classworks also does not provide advanced problem-solving lessons to prepare students for the rigorous problems that the math curriculum requires them to solve.

From this study, it can be concluded that Classworks provides many elements that can lead to greater access to the general education mathematics curriculum. However, while Classworks’ focus on computational skills supports students’ learning of basic mathematical knowledge, there was little evidence to support students’ ability to generalize those skills to similar problems encountered in the general education curricula.

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