ERIC Number: ED386368
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Apr
Middle-School Mathematics for Students of Mexican Descent: A Thematic Approach to Contextualization of Instruction.
Henderson, Ronald W.
This paper examines conditions influencing achievement in and attitudes toward mathematics among middle-school Latino students. Observations were carried out in a rural California middle school that served a largely Mexican American student population and that was in the process of implementing a new thematic mathematics curriculum in heterogeneously grouped classrooms. The thematic approach was characterized by a hands-on emphasis, use of small-group learning activities, and the integrated use of a wide range of mathematics skills and concepts. Students were placed in three groups that received thematic instruction in heterogeneous groups, traditional textbook-based instruction in homogeneous groups, or blended instruction in heterogeneous groups. Perhaps because of the dedicated involvement of all teachers in improving mathematics instruction in this school, students in all three groups made significant normal-curve-equivalent gains in mathematics achievement on standardized tests. Achievement gains did not differ between groups, but in all groups girls made larger gains than boys. The three treatment conditions did not differ in effectiveness for low-achieving students, but high-achieving students did best in the homogeneous group. At the level of implementation reached during this first year, the thematic approach appeared to exert little influence on mathematics attitudes or students' motivation-linked self-perceptions. A primary lesson from the year was that real change in instructional approaches comes very slowly, even among teachers committed to reform. Contains 29 references and 10 figures. (SV)
Descriptors: Achievement Gains, Curriculum Development, Educational Change, Grade 7, Heterogeneous Grouping, Junior High Schools, Mathematics Achievement, Mathematics Instruction, Mexican American Education, Mexican Americans, Middle School Students, Middle Schools, Student Attitudes, Teaching Methods, Thematic Approach
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: California Academic Partnership Program.; Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center for Research on Cultural Diversity and Second Language Learning, Santa Cruz, CA.
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 1995). Figures may not reproduce adequately.