"Let us discuss math"; Effects of shiftproblem lessons on mathematical discussions and level raising in early algebra

S.M. Calor, R. Dekker, J.P. van Drie, B.J.H. Zijlstra, M.L.L. Volman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

We investigated whether Early Algebra lessons that explicitly aimed to elicit mathematical discussions (Shift-Problem Lessons) invoke more and qualitatively better mathematical discussions and raise students’ mathematical levels more than conventional lessons in a small group setting. A quasi-experimental study (pre- and post-test, control group) was conducted in 6 seventh-grade classes (N =160). An analysis of the interaction processes of five student groups showed that more mathematical discussions occurred in the Shift-Problem condition. The quality of the mathematical discussions in the Shift-Problem condition was better compared to that in the Conventional Textbook condition, but there is still more room for improvement. A qualitative illustration of two typical mathematical discussions in the Shift-Problem condition are provided. Although students’ mathematical levels were raised a fair amount in both conditions, no differences between conditions were found. We concluded that Shift-Problem Lessons are powerful for eliciting mathematical discussions in seventh-grade Shift-Problem Early Algebra Lessons.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)743-767
JournalMathematics Education Research Journal
Volume32
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2019

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