Word-problem Instruction for English Learners: A Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Approach

Driver, Melissa, Education - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Trent, Stanley, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Word problems are prevalent on high-stakes achievement tests, and success on word problems has implications for promotion and graduation. English Learners (ELs) continue to perform significantly below their native English-speaking peers on mathematics achievement tests, which may be attributed to the linguistic complexity of mathematics instruction and standardized assessments. Little is known about the instructional needs and performance of ELs at-risk for mathematics difficulty (MD). A multiple-methods design (i.e., qualitative methods and single-subject multiple baseline methods) is used to investigate word-problem instruction for ELs in a culturally and linguistically diverse public elementary school. Specifically, I studied one teacher’s mathematics instruction for ELs over several months and empirically tested the efficacy of a word-problem intervention for ELs with MD (N=9) that combines culturally and linguistically responsive practices and schema instruction (CLR-SI). The study is unique in that it combines research on effective instruction for ELs and students with MD. CLR-SI has not been investigated for either ELs or students with MD. In addition, I studied teacher perceptions and beliefs regarding mathematics instruction for diverse learners. Findings from this study have implications for teachers, administrators, and researchers of ELs with MD.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
English Learners, culturally responsive teaching, mathematics difficulty, word-problem instruction, schema instruction
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