Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Committee Member

Linda Quinn

Second Committee Member

Jeffrey Shih

Number of Pages



This study explored the relationship between teachers' beliefs about mathematics and their instructional practices. The personal epistemology of the case study elementary mathematics teachers was documented and analyzed to provide evidence of the connection between teachers' beliefs and practice in an elementary school setting; This study was grounded in a theoretical framework of epistemological world views, particularly the comparison of belief across three epistemological world views: (1) the realist, (2) the contextualist, and (3) the relativist. Three areas of beliefs are addressed in this study: (1) beliefs about curriculum, (2) beliefs about pedagogy, and (3) beliefs about assessment. Through analysis of these beliefs specific to mathematics, this study identified which world view the case study teachers espouse and how this influenced each teacher's mathematical classroom practice. This study sought to answer the following research questions: (1) What are teachers' beliefs about curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment? (2) What practices provide evidence of teacher beliefs? (3) What is the relationship between teachers' beliefs in mathematics and their instructional practices?;This design of the study was a qualitative case study. Participants in this study were three third grade teachers from different schools in the same school district located in the southwestern United States. These teachers provided the unit of analysis for the study. The schools were selected because they support a standards-based approach to mathematics mandated by state and district standards. The teachers selected for the study use similar third grade resources to implement standards-based mathematics curriculum in the elementary classroom. The participants' perspectives are shared through interviews, observations, documents, and audio-visual materials. In this study, the teachers' epistemological world view was examined and compared to their implementation of mathematics practices; From the domain analysis, many factors supported and hindered practice based on the world view of the teachers. The researcher categorized these domains based on broad external factors to narrow internal factors. The following domains were examined based on the data: (1) domain one: school district factors, (2) domain two: school culture factors, (3) domain three: physical classroom factors, and (4) domain four: individual teacher beliefs; Implications from this study included a need to: (1) provide teachers with an understanding of mathematic content and an understanding of beliefs about curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment, (2) provide courses for pre-service teachers and teachers that incorporates a comparison of world views into the mathematics coursework, (3) support collaborative efforts between teacher educators and school districts in designing a shared vision for world views, and (4) inform the mathematics domain in regards to world views to improve teaching.


Beliefs; Epistemology; Exploring; Instructional Practice; Mathematics; Relationship; Teacher Beliefs; Teachers

Controlled Subject

Education, Elementary; Mathematics--Study and teaching; Educational psychology

File Format


File Size

3215.36 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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