• An Exploration of Aspects of Language Proficiency and Algebra Learning

    Mollie MacGregor, Elizabeth Price
    We have attempted to investigate whether 3 cognitive components of language proficiency--metalinguistic awareness of symbol, syntax, and ambiguity--are associated with students' success in learning the notation of algebra. Pencil-and-paper tests were given to assess students' metalinguistic awareness and their ability to use algebraic notation. In a total sample of more than 1500 students, aged 11 to 15, who were in their 1st to 4th years of algebra learning, we found that very few students with low metalinguistic awareness scores achieved high algebra scores. We discuss implications of this finding for the school algebra curriculum.