Date of Award

Summer 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


STEM Education & Professional Studies

Committee Director

Mary C. Enderson

Committee Member

Ginger S. Watson

Committee Member

Patrick O'Shea


Fashion Marketing and Fashion Merchandising (FMM) students should be prepared with a sound mathematics background as they graduate from programs and enter today’s workforce. Unfortunately, future employers within the fashion industry indicate that prospective employees often cannot pass entry level mathematics tests (Shirley & Kohler, 2012). This non-experimental descriptive study examined the mathematics proficiency of postsecondary students entering and completing FMM programs in order to determine if FMM students possess the mathematics skills needed for entry into the workforce. The Mathematics for Industry Test (MIT), a 40-item, timed, paper-and-pencil assessment was administered to 94 entering and 111 completing students enrolled in 13 university-based FMM programs in the East Central Region of the United States. Separate between-group t-tests were conducted to compare overall test scores and four subscales (number and computations, ratio and proportional reasoning, measurement, and statistics and graphing) for entering and completing students. No significant differences were found for post-secondary students entering and completing FMM programs on the overall test or on any of the four subscale scores. Test scores, subscale scores, and distributions of scores for entering and completing students were similarly low, indicating that the majority of FMM students do not possess the mathematics proficiency needed to function effectively in industry as measured by the MIT. While not significant, student performance on the number and computations and statistics and graphing sub-scales were slightly higher than on the ratio and proportional reasoning and measurement sub-scales. This study provides evidence that more work is needed to increase the mathematics proficiency of FMM students to meet workforce demands. Recommendations are made for future research and for possible curricular changes needed to meet industry and workforce demands.


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