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May 2012, Volume 43, Issue 3


Obstacles to Addressing Race and Ethnicity in the Mathematics Education Literature
Amy Noelle Parks and Mardi Schmeichel
This Research Commentary builds on a 2-stage literature review to argue that there are 4 obstacles to making a sociopolitical turn in mathematics education that would allow researchers to talk about race and ethnicity in ways that take both identity and power seriously: (a) the marginalization of discussions of race and ethnicity; (b) the reiteration of race and ethnicity as independent variables; (c) absence of race and ethnicity from mathematics education research; and (d) the minimizing of discussions of race and ethnicity, even within equity-oriented work.

Opportunities to Learn Reasoning and Proof in High School Mathematics Textbooks
Denisse R. Thompson, Sharon L. Senk, and Gwendolyn J. Johnson
The nature and extent of reasoning and proof in the written (i.e., intended) curriculum of 20 contemporary high school mathematics textbooks were explored. Both the narrative and exercise sets in lessons dealing with the topics of exponents, logarithms, and polynomials were examined. The extent of proof-related reasoning varied by topic and textbook. Overall, about 50% of the identified properties in the 3 topic areas were justified, with about 30% of the addressed properties justified with a general argument and about 20% justified with an argument about a specific case.

Elapsed Time: Why Is It So Difficult to Teach?
Constance Kamii and Kelly A. Russell
Based on Piaget’s theory of logico-mathematical knowledge, 126 students in grades 2–5 were asked 6 questions about elapsed time. The main reason found for difficulty with elapsed time is children’s inability to coordinate hierarchical units (hours and minutes). The educational implications drawn are that students must be encouraged to think about durations in daily living and to do their own thinking rather than being taught procedures for producing correct answers to elapsed-time questions.

Measure for Measure: What Combining Diverse Measures Reveals About Children’s Understanding of the Equal Sign as an Indicator of Mathematical Equality
Percival Matthews, Bethany Rittle-Johnson, Katherine McEldoon, and Roger Taylor
Knowledge of the equal sign as an indicator of mathematical equality is foundational to children’s mathematical development and serves as a key link between arithmetic and algebra. The current findings reaffirmed a past finding that diverse items can be integrated onto a single scale, revealed the wide variability in children’s knowledge of the equal sign assessed by different types of items, and provided empirical evidence for a link between equal-sign knowledge and success on some basic algebra items.

Boole, Dewey, Schoenfeld—Monikers Bridging 150 Years of Thought: A Review of How We Think ...
Bharath Sriraman and Kyeong Hwa Lee
A review of Alan Schoenfeld’s book How We Think: A Theory of Goal-Oriented Decision Making and Its Educational Applications

New JRME Manuscript Submission Process and Review for JRME

Information about a new process for submitting manuscripts as well as becoming a reviewer for JRME.