Jancy Davis, M.A.
Education: Bachelor of Science in elementary education (May 2003)
Master of Arts in academic advising from Kansas State University
McNair Project: Increasing Instructional Focus on Problem Solving: Middle School Impact (2001)
Mentor: Jennifer Bay-Williams, Ph.D.
This study focused on the changes in student attitudes and problem solving skills in a one year time period. Students in the study were in classrooms with teachers who developed an Instructional Change Plan (ICP) to incorporate more problem solving and communication into their classrooms. Pre- and post- problem-solving instruments and pre- and post- attitude instruments were administered in four rural Kansas school districts to students ranging from 6th to 8th grade. The teachers kept records of student progress and strategies they used to improve student attitudes and problem-solving skills in mathematics. The compiled data were analyzed to see if a correlation between student attitudes and problem-solving skills existed. The attitude instrument provided three specific categories for analysis: willingness, perseverance, and self-confidence. Although most of the teachers reported significant improvements in student attitudes and problem solving skills the testing instruments, in most cases, showed only minimal changes.