Date of Award

12-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education

Department

Education, Leadership and Public Service

Program

Learning Disabilities

First Advisor/Chairperson

Dr. Abby Cameron-Standerford

Second Advisor

Dr. Laura Reissner

Third Advisor

Dr. Stephen Smith

Abstract

As the nation transitions into a new national curriculum, the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM), educators face the challenge of meeting the needs of a diverse student population coupled with a change in standards. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand educators’ perceptions surrounding the implementation of these standards specific to students with learning disabilities in mathematics. Five rural, middle school educators were interviewed using a series of questions that investigated their experiences related to implementation of the CCSSM. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. Coding was used to identify emergent themes surrounding the phenomenon. Six emergent themes were identified: 1) disconnect between the focus on depth of knowledge and the unique learning characteristics of students with learning disabilities in math, 2) uncertainty surrounding teaching multiple strategies for problem-solving, 3) benefits from a streamlined set of standards 4) teacher and student challenges in transitioning to the CCSSM, 5) lack of professional development, and 6) acknowledgement of the cyclical nature of standards in education. The implication of this study suggests teachers acknowledge the benefits and limitations for implementing the CCSSM with students with learning disabilities in mathematics.

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