ERIC Number: ED460861
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-Apr
Class, Ethnicity, Culture and Mathematical Problem Solving (One U.S. Perspective).
Lubienski, Sarah Theule
This paper summarizes and extends a study of SES (socioeconomic status) related differences in a mathematics classroom aligned with current U.S. reforms. Qualitative analyses compared the lower- and higher-SES students' experiences with whole-class discussion and contextualized, open-ended mathematics problems. The higher-SES students tended to have confidence in their abilities to make sense of the mathematical discussions and problems, whereas the lower-SES students desired more specific direction from the teacher and text. Additionally, while the higher-SES students seemed to approach the real world problems with an eye toward the larger, abstract, mathematical ideas, the lower-SES students often missed the intended mathematical point. An examination of sociological literature revealed ways in which these patterns in the data could be related to more than individual differences in temperament or achievement among the children. The results suggest that reform-oriented instruction could assume and reward middle-class students' preferred ways of thinking and knowing in some unanticipated ways. After a short summary of the study is given, several questions and dilemmas related to the findings of the study are considered. Integrated into this discussion are a variety of current issues, such as the latest NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) Standards document, class- and race-based gaps in U.S. student achievement since 1990, and the current emphasis on strictly positive aspects of diversity. Links with research on ethnicity and implications for teachers and researchers are also discussed. (Contains 59 references.) (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Seattle, WA, April 10-14, 2001).