Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


College of Education

First Advisor

Christopher Bogiages


This investigation describes a problem of practice with the academic achievement of students who struggle in Algebra I by means of an action research design. Students regularly struggle academically for a variety of reasons, as described within and are frequently identified as at-risk due to this struggle. This investigation seeks to determine if the utilization of application-based homework serves to increase achievement and student engagement in a course with such significant importance for future success as Algebra I. An example of application-based would be the use of specific content outside of the classroom, such as parabolic functions to model projectile motion. The overarching research question, “What is the impact of implementing application-based homework on the engagement and achievement of students who struggle in Algebra I?” was developed. In order to address this question, students were provided with a treatment that consisted of homework and support that connected the Algebra I concepts that they are learning in class to the world around them. The investigation sought to increase the meaningfulness of the content thus increasing student engagement and achievement due to homework.

This action research design utilized a Piggot-Irvine action research approach. In this approach, the researcher followed a cycle of plan, act, observe, and reflect to determine if the treatment influenced engagement and achievement. In the plan phase, the researcher collaborated with instructional professionals to establish the application-based homework samples that connected to the unit of study. The observe and act phases included administration of the application-based homework, a focus group examination of student work submissions, and semi-structured interviews of students, while the revision phase served to utilize findings to modify subsequent iterations. After three iterations, post-assessment data was collected regarding students’ impressions. The accumulation and analysis of data from all sources demonstrated positive connections to engagement and achievement for the purposefully selected population of students in this study relative to the ACE homework. Although there were positive results, additional considerations were developed based on the three iterations and the post-ACE survey. The triangulation of data and researcher reflections were also used to develop implications for future study and action steps for the future.


© 2018, Charles Seipp