Collaborative Research: Classroom Practices that Lead to Student Proficiency with Word Problems in Algebra

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

We propose to explore the following two questions: (1) What instructional practices are frequently used by teachers judged to be doing an exceptional job of helping students to develop proficiency in solving word problems? and (2) What analytic procedures can be developed and used to characterize these promising teaching practices, with low enough cost so that connections between teaching and learning can be examined for a large number of classrooms?

Setting: 

This study is taking place at Michigan State University, in collaboration with a team led by Alan Schoenfeld at the University of California -- Berkeley.  Classroom observations and student assessments will take place in schools located in the San Francisco Bay area and in mid-Michigan

Research Design: 

In the 2010-11 project year, we will be using our observation scheme to observe algebra instruction in about 10 eighth-grade classrooms.  Each classroom will be observed several times over the school year.  Students in each class will complete a pre-assessment and post-assessment, designed to measure their robust understanding of mathematics for solving algebra word problems.  Data from this year will be used to make improvements in the observation scheme and in the tools for student assessment.

Findings: 

This project has not yet generated findings.

Publications & Presentations: 

 The project will be presenting initial results at PME-NA in Columbus, Ohio in October and at AMTE in Irvine, CA in January.

Other Products: 

This project expects to generate coding schemes that can be applied elsewhere.