Date of Award

Summer 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Ismahan Arslan-Ari


The purpose of this action research study was to identify and to describe the needs of students in the advisement process of mathematics course selections at a suburban high school in South Carolina, in order to make recommendations for effective advisement for mathematics course selections. This study addressed three research questions. The first research question explored students’ experiences in the advisement process of math course selections at a suburban high school. The second research question identified the factors affecting students’ math course selections. The third question investigated students’ needs and preferences in the mathematics course selection process. This action research study used explanatory sequential mixed methods design. Data sources included surveys, discussion board posts, and focus group interviews. There were 61 student participants in the survey, 45 respondents to the discussion board, and 20 volunteers in focus group interviews. Quantitative data were analyzed by descriptive statistics while qualitative data were analyzed by inductive analysis. In this descriptive study, students indicated teachers were the most sought and helpful sources for high school math course selections. Counselor knowledge, availability, and supportiveness were rated fair to good on average with the majority of students agreeing with counselor overall excellence and positively recommending them to friends. Overwhelmingly participants did not identify themselves as “math people”. However, they agreed with math usefulness, especially for college. Additionally, respondents ranked college attendance and high school graduation as their most vi significant motivators for selecting high school math courses. Most students indicated parents and counselors assisted them with developing college or career plans. Students rated themselves below the middle for self-efficacy while qualitative analysis revealed significant gaps in their school knowledge. Taken together, four themes emerged: (1) early and consistent advisement curriculum, (2) importance of student attitude and self-efficacy, (3) varied math course delivery options and scheduling, and (4) counselor quality and stakeholder influence on math course selections. Recommendations for effective advisement for high school math course selections were provided for parents, teachers, students, counselors, and school and district administrators.