Investigating written expressions of mathematical reasoning for students with learning disabilities

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Abstract

Assessment results from two open-construction response mathematical tasks involving fractions and decimals were used to investigate written expression of mathematical reasoning for students with learning disabilities. The solutions and written responses of 51 students with learning disabilities in fourth and fifth grade were analyzed on four primary dimensions: (a) accuracy, (b) five elements of mathematical reasoning, (c) five elements of mathematical writing, and (d) vocabulary use. Results indicate most students were not accurate in their problem solution and communicated minimal mathematical reasoning in their written expression. In addition, students tended to use general vocabulary rather than academic precise math vocabulary and students who provided a visual representation were more likely to answer accurately. To further clarify the students struggles with mathematical reasoning, error analysis indicated a variety of error patterns existed and tended to vary widely by problem type. Our findings call for more instruction and intervention focused on supporting students mathematical reasoning through written expression. Implications for research and practice are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100775
JournalJournal of Mathematical Behavior
Volume58
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2020

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Applied Psychology
  • Applied Mathematics

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