The University of Montana
Department of Mathematical Sciences

Technical report #1/2011

A quantitative study of the effects of informal mathematics activities on the beliefs of pre-service elementary school teachers

Matt Roscoe, The University of Montana

Bharath Sriraman, The University of Montana


This study sought to determine the relationship between participation in informal mathematics activities and the formal/informal beliefs of pre-service elementary teachers. Three classes of preservice teachers participated in the study through their enrollment in a content mathematics course for elementary education majors. Four informal mathematics activities were employed as part of the course requirements. Pre and post formal/informal beliefs about mathematics and mathematics instruction were measured using a Likert-scale beliefs assessment instrument used by Collier (1972) and Seaman et al. (2005). Changes in beliefs about mathematics and mathematics instruction were compared to a control group. Student reflections derived from participation in the activities was analyzed for formal and informal belief statements.

Keywords: Beliefs theory; Mathematics Beliefs instrumentation; Informal learning; Pre-service mathematics teachers; Quantitative analysis; Reflection; Reflective mathematical activities

AMS Subject Classification: 97

Preprint of paper submitted to ZDM- The International Journal on Mathematics Education [Special issue on beliefs] Pdf (1440 KB)