Professional Development Focused on Children's Algebraic Reasoning in Elementary School

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  • 1 San Diego State University
  • 2 University of California, Los Angeles
  • 3 University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • 4 Arizona State University

A yearlong experimental study showed positive effects of a professional development project that involved 19 urban elementary schools, 180 teachers, and 3735 students from one of the lowest performing school districts in California. Algebraic reasoning as generalized arithmetic and the study of relations was used as the centerpiece for work with teachers in Grades 1–5. Participating teachers generated a wider variety of student strategies, including more strategies that reflected the use of relational thinking, than did nonparticipating teachers. Students in participating classes showed significantly better understanding of the equal sign and used significantly more strategies reflecting relational thinking during interviews than did students in classes of nonparticipating teachers.

Contributor Notes

Victoria R. Jacobs, School of Teacher Education and Center for Research in Mathematics and Science Education, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182;

Megan Loef Franke, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095;

Thomas P. Carpenter, Diversity in Mathematics Education Center for Learning and Teaching, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, WI 53706;

Linda Levi, CGI Professional Development Initiatives, Teachers Development Group, West Linn, OR 97068;

Dan Battey, College of Education, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287;

(Corresponding author is Jacobs author is Franke author is Carpenter author is Levi author is Battey
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education


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