Correlation Between Piagetian Theory of Cognitive Development and College Mathematics Proficiency

by Jennifer Campbell

Institution: University of Akron
Department: Mathematics
Degree: MS
Year: 2014
Keywords: Mathematics Education; Psychological Tests; Educational Psychology; Mathematics Education; Piaget; Cognitive Development
Record ID: 2024526
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=akron1407840377


In our culture, which places such importance on technology, science, engineering, and mathematics, student success in mathematics courses continues to be a priority. However, many students are required to enroll in remedial or developmental mathematics courses during their post-secondary education. Many studies have been produced which show a wide variety of conclusions as to whether these remedial courses are effective. The fact is that, regardless of their effectiveness, the number of students who need to take these courses is unacceptable to education professionals. Built on concepts from developmental psychology, especially those of Jean Piaget, we formulated a hypothesis that the cause of these mathematical deficiencies in students is correlated to the students' cognitive development. We created an assessment consisting of a mathematical portion to test a student's proficiency and a psychological portion to determine at which stage of development a student is. It is the goal of this study to show a correlation between the levels of proficiency and cognitive development. While we did not find that correlation in our results, we did find a correlation between mathematical proficiency and college success as measured by grade point average. We also found a significant difference between one of the types of mathematical concepts assessed and the other two types of mathematical concepts. The specific concept is addition of fractions and the difference we found leads us to the conclusion that this portion of the assessment can be used in the future as a good discriminator of developmental level.