The theme of this project is to find effective ways of learning about students’ attitudes and perceptions about the subject of mathematics. I am also trying to learn how best to ascertain what students’ perceptions are about themselves in the mathematics classroom. and where each student has felt most successful. Were these personal successes achieved through direct instruction, cooperative learning environments, personal exploration or other means. To have good information from the students it is also important to know what are the best types of questions to ask, how are they best presented, and the best ways for students to give their responses.
The students I have been working with are at a small private school serving students with neurobiological disorders such as Asperger’s syndrome and Tourette’s syndrome along with typical learning disabilities like dyslexia. The majority of students have more than one disability. Most students I teach are on the autism spectrum and function at or within a year of grade level. Each of the students in this survey has Asperger’s syndrome. For this study I have polled three ninth graders taking Integrated Algebra, four 11th graders taking Math B, and a Math A student who is extremely below grade level in mathematics. I handed out a second questionnaire to four of these students to see how the quality of the responses would compare.
The first questionnaire had three questions. Each question had been suggested to me. I gave it to all eight students. The questions were
1. What do you like about mathematics? Which applications such as in technology or the history of mathematics do you find interesting and why?
2. Why do you think math is important to study? Describe a situation where you used math, or where you think math could be useful to you.
3. Describe the kind of problem solver you are. What type of problems do you find easy of difficult to solve?
The results of this questionnaire I...