School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Sharon Farrell


engagement, mathematics, high school, learning, achievement




The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to understand the methods high school seniors found engaging in mathematics classrooms at a private high school in Northern Florida. This study focused on engagement theory, which explains processes that help students learn based on attentiveness to presented content. Data collection for the phenomenological study consisted of interviews, focus groups, and journal entries as students shared their perspectives on engagement in their mathematics courses throughout upper school at a private Florida high school. Data collection took place by interviewing 15 students with the intention of students following into the other phases allowing individual thoughts (interview), group thoughts (focus group), and concluding thoughts (journal entry) to support the triangulation of the data. A larger sample size in the initial phase increased the probability of participants completing all three data-collection phases. Data triangulation occurred by creating a virtual code book and developing themes subject to adjustments throughout collection and analysis. The purpose centered on understanding the importance of engagement in learning from the student’s perspective. All stages of data collection occurred on a private high school campus containing students with similar experiences in their last four years of mathematics education. Three major themes developed from data analysis centered around variability in classroom set-up, positive emotional responses, and the creation of a learning community.

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