Journal for Research in Mathematics Education

  • Vol. 47, No. 3, May 2016

    Matthew E. Foster and Jason L. Anthony, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; Doug H. Clements and Julie Sarama, University of Denver; Jeffrey M. Williams, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
    This study evaluated the effects of a mathematics software program, the Building Blocks software suite, on young children’s mathematics performance. Participants included 247 Kindergartners from 37 classrooms in 9 schools located in low-income communities. Children within classrooms were randomly assigned to receive 21 weeks of computer-assisted instruction (CAI) in mathematics with Building Blocks or in literacy with Earobics Step 1. Children in the Building Blocks condition evidenced higher posttest scores on tests of numeracy and Applied Problems after controlling for beginning-of-year numeracy scores and classroom nesting. These findings, together with a review of earlier CAI, provide guidance for future work on CAI aiming to improve mathematics performance of children from low-income backgrounds.
    Gregory V. Larnell, University of Illinois at Chicago
    The purpose of this study was to shed light on the mathematics-learning experiences of students who were enrolled in non-credit-bearing remedial mathematics courses at a 4-year university. Non-credit-bearing remedial mathematics courses have a long curricular history in both 2-year and 4-year higher education institutions, but students’ mathematics-learning experiences in these courses have been largely unexplored. Furthermore, other recent studies have evinced the otherwise anecdotal supposition that African American learners, particularly, are disproportionately placed in these courses. In this study, students’ narratives are the primary unit of analysis, and the data are derived from semistructured interviews with then-enrolled students and observations in a non-credit-bearing remedial mathematics course at a public, 4-year university. The study’s findings center on two psychosocial phenomena amid these students’ mathematics-learning experiences: identity satisficing and racialized identity threat. The article closes with implications for future research regarding both non-credit-bearing remedial mathematics courses and mathematics-learning identities and experiences.
    Ian Whitacre, Florida State University; Susan D. Nickerson, San Diego State University
    This study examines how collective activity related to multiplication evolved over several class sessions in an elementary mathematics content course that was designed to foster prospective elementary teachers’ number-sense development. We document how the class drew on as-if-shared ideas to make sense of multidigit multiplication in terms of partial products and to reason flexibly about products. We document how the class overcame the challenge of accounting for partial products in multidigit multiplication, including particular activities and ways of reasoning that facilitated progress. The results provide insights into how prospective elementary teachers’ understanding of multidigit multiplication can develop during a content course and how a sequence of instructional activities and practices can productively leverage the resources that they bring in support of that development.
    Reviewed by Ylva Jannok Nutti, Sámi University College, Norway; Jrène Rahm, Université de Montréal, Canada
    A book review of Cultural Development of Mathematical Ideas: Papua New Guinea Studies by Geoffrey B. Saxe.
    Reviewed by Amanda L. Miller and Jeffrey E. Barrett, Illinois State University
    A book review of Reconceptualizing Early Mathematics Learning, edited by Lyn D. English and Joanne T. Mulligan.