Advancing Equity Goals in Secondary Classrooms by Incorporating Mathematical Justification in Teaching
Effective Years: 2022-2024
Creating and justifying mathematical claims is an essential learning goal and valued outcome of a mathematics education. To advance equitable learning outcomes, it is essential that teachers pursue this goal in ways that ensure every student has opportunities to develop and share justifications in their classrooms. The intended outcomes of this pilot study are: (1) practice-grounded, foundational knowledge about how students’ participation in mathematical justification can advance equity outcomes, and (2) an initial framework for design principles and teaching moves that engage students in mathematical justification to advance equity goals.
The fundamental contribution of this project is bringing together research about mathematical justification and equitable learning in mathematics classrooms. Students’ engagement in mathematics depends on their sense of agency and access to complex mathematics. Discussions of mathematical justification can provide a context for students to develop agency and for teachers to provide students with access to understanding mathematical ideas. The project explores two research questions. First, in what ways is the practice of mathematical justification an affordance for teachers to promote access and agency? Second, how do teachers engage students in justification in their classroom to advance toward more equitable instructional outcomes? There are two research sites at high schools in Connecticut and Michigan. Teachers will work in study groups to explore mathematical justification and equity. Data collection includes recordings of study group meetings, interviews, and video-recorded lesson observations. Data analysis will include creating an annotated timeline to document the progress of teachers’ conversations about equity and mathematical justification. A framework will be developed to document teacher moves that support students’ access and agency in mathematical justification.
This project is supported by NSF's EHR Core Research (ECR) program. The ECR program emphasizes fundamental STEM education research that generates foundational knowledge in the field. Investments are made in critical areas that are essential, broad and enduring: STEM learning and STEM learning environments, broadening participation in STEM, and STEM workforce development. The program supports the accumulation of robust evidence to inform efforts to understand, build theory to explain, and suggest intervention and innovations to address persistent challenges in education.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.