Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version



A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies (Educational Leadership and Higher Education), Under the Supervision of Professors Sheldon Stick and Brent Cejda.
Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2011

Copyright 2011 Linda Kasal Fusco.


This mixed methods study sought to identify the impact that transition into the practice of teaching had on the autonomy of pre-service secondary teachers of Mathematics. It was based on the belief that a Mathematics teacher’s autonomy depended on: beliefs about Mathematics and how it was learned, reflections on the teaching practice, and social constraints of a secondary school culture. Data was collected between January 2009 and March 2010. In Phase I (Quantitative) the participants (N = 30), selected from ten State University of New York teacher preparation colleges and universities, completed five instruments to quantify the three factors of autonomy. The participants’ answers to the items on each survey, inventory, and questionnaire were analyzed using descriptive statistics, frequency counts, and percentages. A series of ANOVAS were conducted with the Phase I participants’ backgrounds as the independent variables and their beliefs about Mathematics and Mathematics teaching were the dependent variables.In Phase II (Qualitative) seven case studies were purposefully selected by gender and their Mathematics learning styles from the thirty Phase I participants. Each participant was interviewed prior to and subsequent to their student teaching experiences and the data was secured via 14 one-hour interviews. Juxtaposing of information from both phases occurred when Phase I artifacts were employed to support the analysis of autonomy for each of the multiple case studies. The results of the two phases were integrated in the discussion section of the study.Major consideration was given to the Phase Two findings and it was determined that the seven multiple case study analyses provided in-verification of the instruments used in Phase One. Interpretations of the cross-case studies provided a more thorough understanding of the relationships between factors of autonomy among the participants.The findings from this investigation hold implications for: postsecondary institutions preparing potential future professional practitioners who will be teaching Mathematics, collaborative arrangements between postsecondary training institutions and the cooperating schools willing to provide mentoring for future teachers of Mathematics, and departments of education within the 50 states responsible for implementing and ensuring compliance with the latest standards pertaining to Mathematics education.