Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Julie G. Alemany

Committee Member

David Weintraub

Committee Member

Kimberly Durham


education, end-of-year exams, fractions, mathematics education, rational numbers, secondary education, small group instruction


In Florida, passing the Algebra I end-of-course examination (EOCE) is a graduation requirement. The test measures knowledge of basic algebra. In spring 2015, the Department of Education introduced a different version of the test. For the first two administrations of the new test, the failure rate for 9th-grade students in the state was almost 50%. In contrast, the failure rate for students in the school where this study was implemented exceeded 70%. The purpose of this study was to determine the outcome of small group intervention focusing on operations with rational numbers of high school students’ performance on the Algebra I EOCE.

After analyzing several potential methods of instruction, small group instruction with the incorporation of the use of manipulatives, visuals, and guided inquiry was selected. In addition, the focus of the study was chosen to be operations with rational numbers, an area many researchers have identified as critical for student understanding of algebraic concepts. Twenty students from the target population of 600 10th and 11th grade students volunteered to participate in the study. These participants received three to six small group instruction sessions before retaking the test. In Sept 2016, all the students in the target population were administered the Algebra I EOCE again. A t-test yielded no significant difference in the learning gains of those who participated in the study and the other students in the target population. The implications of the results were that the interventions had no significant impact on student achievement. A possible reason for the lack of success could have been that six intervention sessions were not enough to produce significant results. It is recommended that future research includes a substantially larger number of interventions.

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