Brief Report: A Comparison of Symbol-Precedence View in Investigative and Conventional Textbooks Used in Algebra Courses

View More View Less
  • 1 Drake University
  • 2 Southern Methodist University

Recent reform movements have emphasized students making meaning of algebraic relationships; however, research on student thinking and learning often remains disconnected from the design of widely used curricular materials. Although a previous examination of algebra textbooks (Nathan, Long, & Alibali, 2002) demonstrated a preference for a symbols-first approach, research has demonstrated that Algebra I students' performance on verbally presented problems is better than on symbolic equations, consistent with cognitive theories suggesting the value of concreteness fading. The present study investigates whether current textbooks used in Algebra I courses demonstrate a formalisms-first approach using five different analyses. Results show that despite nearly 2 decades of research on student learning, the conventional textbooks used in most classrooms have been resistant to change and emphasize manipulation with symbols prior to making sense of verbal scenarios.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplemental Materials (PDF 217 KB)

Contributor Notes

Milan F. Sherman, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Drake University, 2507 University Ave., Des Moines, IA 50311; milan.sherman@drake.edu

Candace Walkington, Department of Teaching & Learning, Southern Methodist University, 3101 University Blvd., Ste. 345, Dallas, TX 75205; cwalkington@smu.edu

Elizabeth Howell, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, Southern Methodist University, 3101 University Blvd., Ste. 345, Dallas, TX 75205; ehowell@smu.edu

(Corresponding author is Sherman milan.sherman@drake.edu)(Corresponding author is Walkington cwalkington@smu.edu)(Corresponding author is Howell ehowell@smu.edu)
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 8 8 1
Full Text Views 3 3 0
PDF Downloads 6 6 0
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0