MathEd Forum

April 19, 2014

THEME: Annual Research Day: Presentations

January 29, 2011, 10AM – 2PM
Fields Institute, 222 College Street, Toronto


10:00 a.m. – 10:10 a.m.
Reports: OAME, OMCA, OCMA, CMS, and other.

10:10 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Gregory Belostotski (Secondary Education, University of Alberta):
Student Questions in Mathematics Classrooms: Teacher Interpretation and Student Repair

There exists a shared understanding among mathematics educators of the inherent value of student questions in the learning of mathematics. However, present research has focused on the individual aspects of student question-asking rather than the contextual experience of students in secondary and post-secondary mathematics classrooms. Using the method of discourse analysis, I present an exploration of the nature of student questions with particular attention to the role of teacher interpretation and student question repair. This exploration is based on an analysis of mathematics classroom video.

10:40 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Lorraine Dame & Gary MacGillivray (Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University
of Victoria, University of Victoria):
Student Readiness and Success in Entry Level Undergraduate Mathematics

Which elements of a student's preparation are predictors of success in entry level undergraduate math (ELUM) courses? This report describes recent research at the University of Victoria (UVic), which includes studies of the relationships between ELUM course outcomes, high school grades, remedial preparation and diagnostic test scores. It shows that higher grades in secondary school English and Math go together with a greater probability of retention and higher grades in ELUM courses. The results of an in-house developed diagnostic test show that students identified as at-risk were significantly more likely to fail or drop an ELUM course.11:10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Patricia Byers (Georgian College):
An Investigation of Trigonometric Representations as a Source of Student Difficulties

This Ontario-based, qualitative study examined secondary school and college textbooks’ treatment of trigonometric representations in order to identify potential sources of student difficulties in the transition from secondary school to college mathematics. Using a theoretical framework based on representation and views about networks, I constructed networks comprised of trigonometric representations. The analysis of these networks identified numerous issues around the treatment of trigonometry in selected secondary and college textbooks that may contribute to a lack of coherence for the learner. These ranged from relationships between Euclidean and Cartesian representations to the treatment of inverse and reciprocal functions. In addition, a number of broader issues were identified; for example, the lack of support for prior learning, and the disparities in notation.11:40 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Vanessa Vakharia (University of British Columbia):
Peace, love, and pi: Imagining a world where Paris Hilton loves mathematics

This is a conceptual piece that explores how incorporating marketing theory and notions of ‘cool’ into the realm of mathematics education may help to prevent qualified female students from self-selecting out of mathematics. It begins by exploring current perspectives on the problem of female attrition in educational and career trajectories involving math. Focusing on girls from Toronto, Ontario, who generally see themselves as part of the mainstream culture, my work speculates as to how these girls understand mathematics and their relationship to mathematics. The central purpose of this research is to understand whether these girls choose not to pursue math beyond the compulsory level because they are selecting courses to construct their identity on the basis of cool, using the same evaluation process they would when selecting products for consumption.12 p.m. -1:00 p.m. LUNCH BREAK and POSTER PRESENTATIONS (see the list of poster presentations)
(Light refreshments provided)

1:00 p.m. to 1:20 p.m.
Jenny Sealy Badee (Mathematics Education Consultant):
Teachers’ Opportunities to Learn to Use Multiple Representations of Mathematical IdeasUsing multiple representations is a key component of doing, learning, and teaching mathematics. It presents a significant challenge to teachers to do so effectively. In this study I analyze four widely-used professional development curricula to determine the extent to which they provide opportunities for middle school mathematics teachers to learn about using multiple representations of mathematical ideas. While the curricula provide teachers with many opportunities to use and connect symbols and diagrams with verbal descriptions, there is scarce use of graphs and no opportunity to link graphs and symbols. The implications of these results are discussed.1:30 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Cathy Bruce, Tara Flynn (Trent University), & Laurie Moher (Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB):
Collaborative Action Research as an Effective Model for Professional Development in Mathematics: Exploring Early Algebra Concepts

Collaborative action research is a powerful professional learning strategy for engaging a range of teachers with different levels of experience, not only to build Mathematics Knowledge for Teaching (Hoover and Ball, 2010), but also to build teacher confidence in teaching challenging mathematics to young children. A group of 5 primary grade teachers from three different schools in Ontario, Canada, worked together to conduct collaborative action research in their classrooms over two years. In the first year, the team goal was to investigate the teaching and learning of early algebra using an inquiry based approach to mathematics. With the support of a district mathematics coach and university mathematics research partners, the teachers decided to co-plan and co-teach lessons on repeating and growing linear patterns to effect change in their mathematics instruction. The team examined student learning from a developmental perspective, generating a learning trajectory in early algebra based on student evidence, primarily in the form of photos of student work and videos of student performance tasks. Researchers found evidence of significant teacher learning (including deeper understandings of patterning and algebra) and shifts in teacher beliefs about their math teaching (such as raised expectations for students and higher teacher confidence).

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