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Opportunities to Learn Fractions in Elementary Mathematics Classrooms

Maryl Gearhart, Geoffrey B. Saxe, Michael Seltzer, Jonah Schlackman, Cynthia Carter Ching, Na'ilah Nasir, Randy Fall, Tom Bennet, Steven Rhine, Tine F. Sloan 

May 1999, Volume 30, Issue 3, Page 286

In this study we addressed 2 questions: (a) How can we document opportunities to learn aligned with the NCTM Standards? (b) How can we support elementary teachers' efforts to provide such opportunities? We conducted a study of the effect of curriculum (problem solving vs. skills) and professional development (subject-matter focused vs. collegial support) on practices and learning. From analyses of videotapes and field notes, we created 3 scales for estimating students' opportunities to learn. Analyses of fractions instruction in 21 elementary classrooms provided evidence of the technical quality of the indicators and indicated that support for teachers' knowledge may be required for a problem-solving curriculum to be beneficial.

Case Study Methods
Grades 3-5
Curriculum Developer
Conceptual Development
Numbers and Operations
Problem Solving / Problem Posing
Professional Development / Teacher Education