School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Lucinda Spaulding


Mathematics Fact Fluency, Mathematics Learning Disability, MLD, Dyscalculia, Accuracy, Automaticity, Teacher’s Decision-making, Teacher Autonomy


Education | Special Education and Teaching


The purpose of this systematic grounded theory study was to explain the process teachers undergo when making instructional decisions on mathematics fact fluency for students with a learning disability in mathematics (MLD). The study focuses on revealing the factors, influencers, and knowledge that teachers negotiate to make instructional decisions. These constructs are necessary to understand and explain as the field of mathematics looks to improve the use of evidence-based instructional practices for students with MLD. There are currently no studies that provide an in-depth understanding of teachers’ decision-making within the construct of instructional decisions in mathematics fact fluency for students with MLD. Furthermore, there is no model or theory that explains decision-making in special education mathematics practices. The conceptual framework that guides this study is a synthesis of the theories used to explain decision-making in education: behaviorism, affirmation theory, concerns-based adoption model, and growth mindset. The study was open to licensed educators and tutors who teach mathematics to students with MLD in the United States. Data was collected from interviews, responses to vignettes, and student profile examinations. Data was analyzed using systematic grounded theory data analysis procedures and themes of the model form the structure of the theory, which was developed from the data. The resulting theory explains teachers’ decision-making as a process focused on students passing the end of year test. All teachers experience the same influencers (i.e., curricula, pacing guides, school and district initiatives): however, the difference in their decision making lies on their perceived autonomy or perceived diminished autonomy. Implications for further research are also included.