Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Committee Member

Sandra Odell

Second Committee Member

Jian Wang

Number of Pages



Students' mathematics achievement is believed to be influenced by a variety of factors (Brenner, Master of Engineering (ME), Herman S., Ho, H.Z. & Zimmer, J.M., 1999; Cai, C. 2000; Huntsinger, C. & J., P.E., 2000; Ma, 1999; Miura, 1987; Stevenson, L. & Stigler, J.W. 1986). As such, the performance gap in mathematics between students from different countries was attributed in turn, to the teachers' subject matter and pedagogical knowledge (Ma, 1999, Perry, 2000), curriculum development (Li, 2000; Valverde, Bianchi, Wolfe, Schmidt, Houang, 2002), native language (Miura, 1987), as well as parental raising and teaching strategies (Dornbush, Ritter, Leiderman, Roberts, & Fraleigh, 1987; Huntsinger, Jose, Larson, Krieg, & Shaligram, 2000); While these studies provide reasonable explanations for the performance gap, their limitation was to only analyze isolate factors rather than look into how these factors interact. This approach might have provided a more in-depth understanding of what enables Asian students to perform better than other nations in the international mathematics and science comparisons, and what prohibits U.S. students from performing at a similar level. Complexity (Maturana & Varela, 1984; Senge, 1990; Waldrop, 1992) may hold the answer to this dilemma, by analyzing how these factors work with each other in order to produce the end result, student mathematics understanding; This study aimed at gaining understanding about the way different factors interact in the Romanian educational system, by examining teaching strategies, curriculum, parental teaching styles, as well as teachers' interaction with students and parents and parents' interaction with their children. Participants were four first-grade teachers, their students and their students' parents; Findings revealed that overall, teachers who had both a conceptual and a procedural knowledge of place value concepts and who created the best learning opportunities for their students both in school and at home had students who possessed a more in-depth understanding of place value concepts. Moreover, the quality of home interaction was another success indicator success, as parents who were more knowledgeable developed their own assessment rubrics and reinforced classroom concepts more than parents who lacked the conceptual understanding of the topics and limited themselves to only modeling what the teacher did in class.


Comparative Study; Complexity Theory; Factors; Impact; Interactive; International Study; Place Value; Romanian; Romania; Students; Teachers And Parents

Controlled Subject

Curriculum planning; Mathematics--Study and teaching; Social psychology

File Format


File Size

3061.76 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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