Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Kevin Sutherland, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Paul Gerber, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Terri Sullivan, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Yaoying Xu, Ph.D.


Mathematics is essential in everyday life activities and most educational opportunities and careers require mathematical knowledge, thus it is vital that students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) receive sufficient instruction that leads to proficiency in the subject. Performing poorly in mathematics can result in dire future outcomes. This is particularly true for students with EBD, who already experience significant difficulties throughout and after their educational career. While studies have documented the academic and behavioral problems of students with EBD, not until recently have studies begun to concentrate on academic interventions that may aid in preventing some of the academic challenges these students face. It is of great importance that researchers continue to identify effective and efficient strategies of providing academic instruction, particularly in mathematics, to students with EBD. The current study examined the extent to which a technology-based intervention was effective in math instruction for students with EBD. In addition, to address the social/behavioral issues typically prevalent in students with EBD, students’ task engagement was also examined and a social validity survey was used to examine their attitudes toward mathematics and technology-based instruction.

A single-subject multiple-probe design across six participants was selected for this study. The computer-assisted instruction (CAI) intervention, I CAN Learn computer software program, was implemented in a high school mathematics classroom. The overall results of the study indicated that the intervention improved the adolescents’ mathematics achievement, but findings revealed that the intervention was more effective with some participants than others. In addition, results indicated that the intervention may not be associated with the participants’ task engagement. The study’s social validity survey showed that the participants had varying attitudes toward mathematics and CAI at the end of the study.


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