As university instructors update modes of teaching and student engagement in STEM classes, concerns often arise about student resistance to different methods of teaching and learning. This research examines what it looks like from a student perspective to experience a shift in attitude by exploring the case of Dane, a white male student who changed his perspective from opposition to support of group exams in calculus. Part of this shift included a change in Dane’s view of his relation to others, as he began to see how working with others benefited himself, consider others’ experiences, and recognize how group exams can be helpful to everyone. We consider how Dane’s experience and attitudes are likely influenced by the racialized and gendered nature of mathematics, and we explore factors of Dane’s calculus classes that contributed to his shift in beliefs. Dane’s story raises questions about instructors’ role in not only working to garner student support for new teaching and learning practices, but interrogating deeper beliefs about what it means to do mathematics and the role of others in students’ mathematics engagement. This research also highlights the importance of exploring students’ experiences and attitudes in relation to the larger sociopolitical context of mathematics.
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A student did not show up for one of the focus groups, resulting in one “group” with only one participant.
As Dane said the words “air quotes,” he used his fingers to make quotes in the air.
All examples in this section come from the interview. Since the instructor conducted the focus group, reflections on the impact of the instructor primarily emerged during the interview.
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Dobie, T.E., MacArthur, K. Exploring Shifts in Student Attitudes Toward Group Exams in College Calculus: The Case of Dane. Int. J. Res. Undergrad. Math. Ed. (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40753-021-00148-7
- Collaborative testing
- Group exams
- Student attitudes
- Undergraduate mathematics education
- Sociopolitical context