Kyle IrelandFollow




School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Jennifer Courduff


Mastery Goals, Mathematics, Performance Goals, Remedial Education, Self-Efficacy, Utility


Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Educational Psychology | Science and Mathematics Education


The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study was to describe how students experience success in mathematics remediation at a four-year private institution in the central United States. Success in a remedial mathematics course was defined as one’s completion of a required remedial mathematics course having earned an overall grade of 90% or higher. The theories guiding this study were achievement goal theory and expectancy-value theory grounded in Bandura’s social cognitive theory. This theoretical framework provided a motivational framework for student success in a post-secondary, remedial mathematics course based on individual goals for completing the task, student self-efficacy beliefs, and the individual task-value beliefs towards the course. A total of 10 participants were included to describe and interpret experiencing success in a remedial mathematics course. Data-collection techniques included the Self-Description Questionnaire III items with open response prompts; audio-recorded focus group interviews; audio-recorded, face-to-face, semi-structured interviews; and audio-recorded follow-up interviews. Analysis took place through thematic isolation via data immersion by the researcher using holistic, selective, and line-by-line approaches as described by van Manen (1990). Significant themes that emerged from data analysis included: (a) previous math outcomes; (b) quality of the teacher prior to remediation; (c) emphasis on academics by influential people; (d) belief in the value of remediation; (e) belief in the value of higher education; (f) sense of community; (g) change in attitude; (h) motivation due to mastery and performance; (i) quality of instructor; (j) exhaustion of available resources; and (k) persistence.