Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Education


Middle Level Education - Science / Mathematics

Research Sponsor

Dr. Laurie Dunlap

First Reader

Dr. Ethel Wheland

Second Reader

Dr. Linda Saliga


The mathematical skills students learn from kindergarten through eighth grade are the foundational skills upon which all higher level mathematics courses build. It is highly beneficial that students master previous mathematics concepts, applications, and skills, prior to learning algebra and other higher level mathematical courses. Mastering elementary and middle level mathematics before learning algebra increases students’ chances for success when taking an algebra course. This study tested 39 ninth and tenth graders, from the college preparatory program Upward Bound, on the mathematical domains of fractions and ratios/proportions. Participants took one of two tests, each composed of three questions increasing in difficulty. Calculators were not permitted. The fractions test was composed of a third, fourth, and fifth grade question and only 5 of 20 participants were able to pass the assessment. The ratios/proportions assessment was composed of a sixth grade question and two seventh grade questions and only 2 participants out of 19 were able to pass the assessment. To better aid in the creation of strong mathematical foundations educators should strive to assess student understanding prior to instruction and teach students based off their current understanding and not their current grade level. Educators should also be sure to not only teach procedural knowledge but also conceptual understanding.