Education Doctorate

Year Approved


First Advisor

Lindstrom, Michael


This study examined three hypothesized math-self efficacy (MSE) sources that inhibit adult basic education male prisoner mathematics achievement. Previous correctional studies indicated that United States prisoners tend to have low self-efficacy and therefore lower academic achievement (Greve & Enzmann, 2003). Adult education studies also indicated lower self-efficacy in adults older than age 20 who take coursework to complete their high school diploma (Jameson & Fusco, 2014). Survey studies of MSE factors from analysis showed that students who self-reported lower self-confidence, negative self-beliefs, increased math anxieties, and greater devaluation of math’s usefulness to their future employment have significant barriers to math achievement (Hendy, Schorschinsky, & Wade, 2014; Liew, et. al, 2014). One hundred and eighty-one males enrolled in Adult Basic Education programs incarcerated in the Wisconsin Department of Corrections volunteered for this study. A survey derived from previous research factor analysis and scale measures adapted MSE questions in a prison context to calculate prisoner MSE in order to compare to math achievement (Hendy, Schorschinky, & Wade, 2014). Academic performance indicators included math test scores and prisoners’ dropout year from K-12. Correlation and regression analyses from the scaled-scored TABE® data determined calculations of MSE significance for math academic achievement. The researcher categorized 52 prisoner free-responses into three MSE constructs. Correlational analysis revealed prisoners’ beliefs initially were statistically significant for math achievement. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed prisoners’ anxieties had a long lasting impact on low math achievement when correlated with prisoners’ dropout grade levels after they exited public school to when they were incarcerated and while enrolled in correctional adult basic education programming.

Degree Name

Education Doctorate

Document Type

Doctoral dissertation