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ERIC Number: EJ888299
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 8
ISSN: ISSN-1073-5836
Promoting Equity through Reasoning
Mueller, Mary F.; Maher, Carolyn A.
Teaching Children Mathematics, v16 n9 p540-547 May 2010
Many educators share the vision of the Equity Principle--teachers holding high expectations for all students. However, according to National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reports, minority students continue to lag behind white students in mathematics achievement. Furthermore, the discrepancies are more pronounced on the extended, constructed-response items, which measure students' problem-solving and critical-thinking abilities. Recognizing the importance of equitable practices in classrooms suggests optimism for achieving a classroom community where all students are engaged in meaningful and thoughtful mathematical problem solving. To accomplish this goal, certain classroom norms must be established in which teachers and classmates learn to listen to the ideas of all students and to recognize, respect, and value their contributions. The authors implemented such equitable practices during an informal mathematics learning program. Twenty-four African American and Latino student participants volunteered to work on open-ended mathematical tasks as an extra after-school activity. The authors' strategies significantly engaged them in justification and reasoning during problem solving. In this article, the authors offer two representative episodes to show how students' reasoning was made public in justifying problem solutions as well as in responding to and challenging the ideas of others. The sixth graders' reasoning took the form of both direct and indirect proof. (Contains 3 tables and 4 figures.)
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 6
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A