Honors Projects


Kaleb WourmsFollow


Ability tracking within mathematics education is commonplace in American high schools. Some feel that students’ ability tracks act as a predictor for their success in university mathematics. Research has shown that many factors, such as socioeconomic status and more, have substantial effects on student success. The purpose of this study was to further investigate variables related to success in university mathematics. Confidence in mathematics is one factor in student performance that is particularly under-researched. This research investigated the relationship between ability tracking in high school mathematics, student confidence level, and performance in university mathematics. Data was gathered via a survey. Findings indicated that high school ability tracks and collegiate mathematics performance were positively correlated with a correlation coefficient of .38. Furthermore, there was a correlation between confidence and performance, as well as ability tracking and confidence, with a correlation coefficient of .56 and .40 respectively. This means that students’ ability tracks, confidence levels, and performance all increase with each other. There was a stronger correlation between confidence levels and performance than ability tracks and performance. Because of this, there is no definitive evidence of what begets success. Still, ability tracking is not the ultimate precursor to success and there is more than mathematical content, specifically confidence, that teachers need to nourish in their students. All in all, confidence, ability tracking, and performance have positive relationships with each other, meaning that students need to learn mathematical content but also establish healthy levels of confidence in order to be successful.


Adolescent Young Adult


Integrated Mathematics Education

First Advisor

Dr. Daria Filippova

First Advisor Department

Mathematics and Statistics

Second Advisor

Dr. Gabriel Matney

Second Advisor Department

School of Teaching and Learning

Publication Date

Spring 4-20-2022