Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wheeler, Robert F.||Khoury, Helen

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Mathematical Sciences


National Council of Teachers of Mathematics; Mathematics--Study and teaching (Secondary)--Standards--United States; Mathematical models


The relevance of mathematics to the real world is a concern for high school students. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics recognized this concern when writing the Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics. The first four standards—mathematics as problem solving, mathematics as communication, mathematics as reasoning, and mathematical connections— address this concern. The present study investigated the effects of mathematical modeling projects on students' attitudes regarding the first four standards. Mathematical modeling projects are complex problems from the real world that require a variety of mathematical skills to solve. The mathematical modeling projects were used with 22 beginning algebra students and 46 trigonometry/pre- calculus students from a rural northern Illinois high school. All students answered a pre-test attitudinal survey, completed all the mathematical modeling projects, wrote a summary for each project, and then answered a post-test attitudinal survey. Six of the students were also interviewed. The quantitative analyses of the student surveys showed no significant change in student attitudes regarding the standards as a result of the mathematical modeling projects. The qualitative analyses of the written summaries and student interviews indicated the students felt the mathematical modeling projects strengthened their understanding of the mathematical topic being studied, required them to really think, forced them to work together cooperatively, and piqued their curiosity about the world around them.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [91]-93)


v, 116 pages




Northern Illinois University

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