Mathematical learning disability (MLD) research often conflates low achievement with disabilities and focuses exclusively on deficits of students with MLDs. In this study, the author adopts an alternative approach using a response-to-intervention MLD classification model to identify the resources students draw on rather than the skills they lack. Detailed diagnostic analyses of the sessions revealed that the students understood mathematical representations in atypical ways and that this directly contributed to the persistent difficulties they experienced. Implications for screening and remediation approaches are discussed.
Katherine E. Lewis
Kathleen Lynch and Jon R. Star
Although policy documents promote teaching students multiple strategies for solving mathematics problems, some practitioners and researchers argue that struggling learners will be confused and overwhelmed by this instructional practice. In the current exploratory study, we explore how 6 struggling students viewed the practice of learning multiple strategies at the end of a yearlong algebra course that emphasized this practice. Interviews with these students indicated that they preferred instruction with multiple strategies to their regular instruction, often noting that it reduced their confusion. We discuss directions for future research that emerged from this work.
Angeliki Kolovou, Marja van den Heuvel-Panhuizen, and Olaf Köller
This study investigated whether an intervention including an online game contributed to 236 Grade 6 students' performance in early algebra, that is, solving problems with covarying quantities. An exploratory quasi-experimental study was conducted with a pretest-posttest-control-group design. Students in the experimental group were asked to solve at home a number of problems by playing an online game. Although boys outperformed girls in early algebra performance on the pretest as well as on the posttest, boys and girls profited equally from the intervention. Implications of these results for educational practice are discussed.
David W. Stinson
This article shows how equity research in mathematics education can be decentered by reporting the “voices” of mathematically successful African American male students as they recount their experiences with school mathematics, illustrating, in essence, how they negotiated the White male math myth. Using post-structural theory, the concepts discourse, person/identity, and power/agency are reinscribed or redefined. The article also shows that using a post-structural reinscription of these concepts, a more complex analysis of the multiplicitous and fragmented robust mathematics identities of African American male students is possible—an analysis that refutes simple explanations of effort. The article concludes, not with “answers,” but with questions to facilitate dialogue among those who are interested in the mathematics achievement and persistence of African American male students—and equity and justice in the mathematics classroom for all students.
Na'ilah Suad Nasir and Maxine McKinney de Royston
This article explores how issues of power and identity play out in mathematical practices and offers a perspective on how we might better understand the sociopolitical nature of teaching and learning mathematics. We present data from studies of mathematics teaching and learning in out-of-school settings, offering a sociocultural, then a sociopolitical analysis (attending to race, identity, and power), noting the value of the latter. In doing so, we develop a set of theoretical tools that move us from the sociocultural to the sociopolitical in studies of mathematics teaching and learning.
Indigo Esmonde and Jennifer M. Langer-Osuna
In this article, mathematics classrooms are conceptualized as heterogeneous spaces in which multiple figured worlds come into contact. The study explores how a group of high school students drew upon several figured worlds as they navigated mathematical discussions. Results highlight 3 major points. First, the students drew on 2 primary figured worlds: a mathematics learning figured world and a figured world of friendship and romance. Both of these figured worlds were racialized and gendered, and were actively constructed and contested by the students. Second, these figured worlds offered resources for 1 African American student, Dawn, to position herself powerfully within classroom hierarchies. Third, these acts of positioning allowed Dawn to engage in mathematical practices such as conjecturing, clarifying ideas, and providing evidence.
Over the past decade, the mathematics education research community has incorporated more sociocultural perspectives into its ways of understanding and examining teaching and learning. However, researchers who have a long history of addressing anti-racism and social justice issues in mathematics have moved beyond this sociocultural view to espouse sociopolitical concepts and theories, highlighting identity and power at play. This article highlights some promising conceptual tools from critical theory (including critical race theory/Latcrit theory) and post-structuralism and makes an argument for why taking the sociopolitical turn is important for both researchers and practitioners. Potential benefits and challenges of this turn are also discussed.
Amy Noelle Parks and Mardi Schmeichel
This Research Commentary builds on a 2-stage literature review to argue that there are 4 obstacles to making a sociopolitical turn in mathematics education that would allow researchers to talk about race and ethnicity in ways that take both identity and power seriously: (a) the marginalization of discussions of race and ethnicity; (b) the reiteration of race and ethnicity as independent variables; (c) absence of race and ethnicity from mathematics education research; and (d) the minimizing of discussions of race and ethnicity, even within equity-oriented work.