Quantitative Preparation in Doctoral Education Programs: A Mixed-Methods Study of Doctoral Student Perspectives on their Quantitative Training
The purpose of the current study is to explore student perceptions of their own doctoral-level education and quantitative proficiency.
The challenges of preparing doctoral students in education have been discussed in the literature, but largely from the perspective of university faculty and program administrators. The current study directly explores the student voice on this issue.
Utilizing a sequential explanatory mixed-methods research design, the present study seeks to better understand doctoral-level education students’ perceptions of their quantitative methods training at a large public university in the southwestern United States.
Results from both phases present the need for more application and consistency in doctoral-level quantitative courses. Additionally, there was a consistent theme of internal motivation in the responses, suggesting students perceive their quantitative training to be valuable beyond their personal interest in the topic.
Quantitative methods instructors should emphasize practice in their quantitative courses and consider providing additional support for students through the inclusion of lab sections, tutoring, and/or differentiation. Pre-testing statistical ability at the start of a course is also suggested to better meet student needs.
The ultimate goal of quantitative methods in doctoral education is to produce high-quality educational researchers who are prepared to apply their knowledge to problems and research in education. Results of the present study can inform faculty and administrator decisions in doctoral education to best support this goal.
Using the student perspectives presented in the present study, future researchers should continue to explore effective instructional strategies and curriculum design within education doctoral programs. The inclusion of student voice can strengthen and guide future work in this area.