ERIC Number: ED455120
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-May
Improving Students' Mathematical Thinking Skills through Improved Use of Mathematics Vocabulary and Numerical Operations.
Schoenberger, Kathleen M.; Liming, Lori Ann
This report describes a program for improving students' mathematical thinking skills through improved use of mathematics vocabulary and numerical operations. The targeted population includes sixth grade general education mathematics students and ninth grade special education mathematics students. The students' inabilities to effectively solve multi-step problems involving mathematical vocabulary and higher-order numerical operations were documented by story problem, vocabulary, and cue-word assessments. There are two schools in this study. Site A, a middle school, is located within a middle-class suburban community. Site B, a high school, is located within a middle-class urban community. Both sites are near a large mid-western city. Analysis of probable cause data indicated that a significant percentage of students had weaknesses in their thinking skills as related to their use of mathematics vocabulary and numerical operations. Review of the research literature suggested that some of the causes for this problem included: an emphasis on repetition and rules, inadequate language skills, a lack of prior knowledge of mathematics concepts, the amount of personal risk students will invest, and the students' decline in engagement with mathematics activities. A review of the solution strategies suggested by the researchers in the field of education combined with an analysis of the problem setting resulted in the development of a program for improving students' thinking skills as related to their use of mathematics vocabulary and numerical operations. This program involved the use of story problems that included elements of self-monitoring, pair-share strategies, direct instruction, and student-made glossaries of mathematical vocabulary. Post-intervention data indicated an increase in students' abilities to correctly use vocabulary words in literal and abstract sentences and identify the parts of mathematical equations, identify the correct cue words in story problems and operation needed to solve the problems, and an increase in students' abilities to accurately complete word problems and label their answers. (Contains 26 references.) (Author)
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Master of Arts Action Research Project, Saint Xavier University and Skylight Professional Development.