• An Examination of Commonly Used Fourth-Grade Mathematics Textbooks Through a LatCrit Lens

      Friedrich, Jami Cara; Tift College of Education
      The U.S. public school system is witnessing significant growth in English language learners (ELLs), since the Hispanic population is the largest and fastest-growing ethnic minority group in the country. Simultaneously, there is a persistent achievement gap in mathematics between the Hispanic population and their White, non-Hispanic peers. Mathematics instruction in K-12 classrooms has become more language-dependent due to the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in much of the United States and an increased focus on developing students’ conceptual understanding in mathematics. To better understand the impact of current policy on Hispanic ELL students’ academic achievement in mathematics, it is critical to investigate the language usage in mathematics texts used as instructional resources in K-12 schools. The purpose of this study was to analyze the language in commonly used mathematics textbooks to understand how Hispanic Latinx culture is represented within the texts. Using a critical Latinx (LatCrit) theoretical framework, this study sought to investigate how language is employed in three widely distributed fourth-grade mathematics textbooks, specifically, how language usage may act to include or exclude the Hispanic Latinx culture. The results of this study identified the relative strengths and weaknesses of the texts in regard to supporting ELLs. The relative strengths include the use of Hispanic names, topical themes, relatable terms (specifically school-related terms), and the use of tools to support learning. The relative weaknesses include exclusion of Hispanic historical figures and Latin American locations; variety in topics; the use of tables as a form of adding a layer of complexity rather than simplifying a word problem; and the lack of photographs, graphic organizers, or multiple-choice items. Recommendations for further research include using a research design in which the participants are students currently involved with the text and studying teacher-created word problems rather than textbook word problems.
    • Multi-Linear Regression of Georgia Milestones and English Proficiency Assessment Access 2.0 on Georgia’s Middle School English Language Learners

      Burke, Monica Hilrey; Tift College of Education
      During the academic year in the state of Georgia, EL students in public schools take the Georgia Milestones End-of-Grade and the ACCESS 2.0 assessments, which are in line with the state-mandated subject area standards in mathematics, science, language arts, and social studies, as well as English language proficiency standards (Georgia Department of Education [GaDOE], 2019a, 2019b). However, the Georgia Milestones End-of-Grade math test has not been assessed for its relationship with differences in ACCESS 2.0 overall literacy, reading, and composition scores for middle schoolers in Georgia. The purpose of this quantitative multi-linear regression study with ex post facto data was to examine the relationship between the Georgia Milestones End-of-Grade math assessment scores and the differences in ACCESS 2.0 overall literacy, reading, and writing scores (between the school years of 2017 and 2018) of middle school students in Georgia. The study was conducted within a school district in/of the state of Georgia. The collection process yielded 164 EL students in the sample. Fifty-nine percent (n = 97) of the sample were male, and forty-one percent (n = 67) were female. Middle grades were identified as sixth, seventh, and eighth grade levels. Sixth graders comprised 38% (n = 62) of the data set included sixth graders, seventh graders comprised 31% (n = 51) of the data set, and eighth graders comprised 31% (n = 51) of the data set during the 2017 academic year. The study found a relationship between increased writing skills and math achievement scores. Using linear regression, it also found a relationship between improved literacy and math achievement scores. A non-statistically significant relationship was found between difference reading scores as predictors for difference math scores and /or increased math score achievement. The study’s findings have implications for preparing ELs for college and career readiness by propelling them forward in language acquisition and academic achievement. To gain a broader perspective of ELs student achievement in varying regions of Georgia, the study may be expanded to include populations samples from the north and central school districts in the state of Georgia.
    • On the Shoulders of Giants: Helping Students Understand Mathematics through its History

      Henderson, David K; Tift College of Education
      The IDEAS curriculum and instruction model was designed to help secondary students better understand mathematics by incorporating the historical development of the subject into classroom instruction. IDEAS is an acronym that describes the components of the model: I (Introduce the concept through a hands-on activity); D (Discover the historical, cultural, and human context through biography); E (Examine the primary sources through inquiry); A (Actualize the learning through written reflection); and S (Synthesize the understanding through practice and application). This study examined the effectiveness of the IDEAS model in a secondary setting, with 107 students enrolled in a pre-calculus course at a large suburban Title I public school in the southeastern United States. The IDEAS model was studied in both a classroom (face-to-face) context and a digital (online) context. A mixed methods approach was used, employing a quasi-experimental design, to determine the effectiveness of the intervention (the implementation of the IDEAS model). Quantitative data included pre- and post-intervention questionnaires, content assessments, and written reflections. Qualitative data included written reflections and one-on-one interviews. The main findings of this study were that the IDEAS model (1) increased participants’ understanding of the nature of mathematics (p < .02; d = .66); (2) helped participants develop a more positive attitude toward mathematics and its history; and (3) increased participants’ academic achievement in mathematics (p < .05; d = .33). These results have implications for secondary students, teachers, administrators, and researchers.
    • The Effects of Math Literacy Utilizing a Reading Apprenticeship Framework on Math Achievement of Analytic Geometry Students

      Foster, Karonda Antwanette; Tift College of Education
      This study addresses the issue of a lack of math literacy skills that are necessary for academic achievement. The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine if the literacy intervention, Reading Apprenticeship (Schoenbach, Greenleaf, & Murphy, 2012), effects the student achievement of high school Analytic Geometry students. Previous research suggests that the Reading Apprenticeship (Schoenbach, Greenleaf, & Murphy, 2012) effects student achievement and self-efficacy of students and teachers in science, English, and history. However, no previous research study measured student achievement of Analytic Geometry students. In this study, data was collected and analyzed from 84 students from a suburban high school in Georgia. Due to preexisting schedules, students were conveniently placed into experimental and control groups. The experimental group received the Reading Apprenticeship (Schoenbach, Greenleaf, & Murphy, 2012) during classroom instruction, while the control group received traditional classroom instruction. Both groups of students were administered a pretest and posttest developed by USATestprep. The instrument used was closely aligned to the Georgia Milestones assessment. The posttest results were analyzed using an ANCOVA. There was a statistically significant difference in the mathematical achievement of Analytic Geometry students who receive a literacy intervention using the Reading Apprenticeship model (Schoenbach, Greenleaf, & Murphy, 2012). Recommendations for future research include increasing the sample size, balancing group sizes, implementing the study in a face-to-face classroom setting, and extending research to other topics in mathematics. Recommendations for future practice includes exposure to math text in math classes and an increase of math literacy skills used in math classes.