Document Type



Doctor of Education


Educational Administration

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Lloyd Richardson, Ph.D.


Kathleen Sullivan Brown, Ph.D.

Cody Ding, Ph.D.

Richard Friedlander, Ph.D.

Thomas Schnell, Ph.D.


This study examined the relationship between student course taking, specifically the year of Algebra completion (grade 8, 9, 10, or not completed), and performance on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) mathematics test in grades 8 and 10. Data collected were student scores on the MAP tests, TerraNova tests in Communication Arts and Mathematics, student math grades, and demographic factors of gender and race. The sample of 512 students was taken from one school district in east central Missouri.

The MAP mathematics tests contain 3 item types. Item type was statistically significant with both males and females scoring highest on Multiple Choice followed by Constructed Response and Performance Event items. Males and females had similar profiles for item types at both grade levels with males performing better than females on each item type at grades 8 and 10. The only statistically significant gender difference was on Multiple Choice items in grade 10.

Course taking was significantly related to performance on the six MAP mathematics content strands. Number Sense, Geometry and Spatial Sense, Data Analysis and Probability, Patterns and Relationships, Mathematical Systems, and Discrete Mathematics organize the MAP content. Number Sense and Mathematical Systems content strands both found males performing significantly better than females. Geometry and Spatial Sense was the only strand that yielded a significant interaction effect of gender by course taking with males gaining significantly in advantage over females as Algebra was completed earlier.

Course taking was significantly related to overall MAP and TerraNova mathematics scores. ANCOVA analyses used TerraNova language scores as a covariate to isolate the effect of course taking on MAP performance. The ANCOVA employed course taking and gender as independent variables and explained 70% of the variance in MAP 8 scores and 53% of the variance in MAP 10 scores. Both course taking and gender were significant main effects.

A logistic regression analysis revealed significant predictors of MAP 10 mathematics performance to be MAP 8 mathematics performance, Math GPA in grades 8 through 10, gender, and completion of an Algebra course in grade 8. Qualified students should be encouraged to take Algebra in grade 8.

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