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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Lisa Kasmer
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Educational Leadership, Research and Technology
Title: The Role of Prediction in the Teaching and Learning of Algebra
Dr. Louann Bierlein-Palmer, Co-chair
Dr. Ok-kyeong Kim, Co-chair
Dr. Kate Kline
Dr. Carol Crumbaugh
Date: Friday, March 14, 2008 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
3208 Sangren Hall
Research has shown that including prediction questions within reading and science instruction has been advantageous for students, yet minimal research exists regarding the use of such questions within mathematics instruction. In order to extend and build on our knowledge about the effects of prediction in mathematics instruction, this study explores the impact of this paradigm in the teaching of algebra. Specifically, this study probes whether utilizing prediction questions provides student opportunities for engaging in mathematical thinking, retrieving prior knowledge, and discussing related mathematical ideas, could increase such students’ conceptual understanding and mathematical reasoning in the content area of algebra.
To address the research questions, a longitudinal quasi-experimental study was conducted to explore to what extent and in what ways prediction questions could help students develop mathematical reasoning and conceptual understanding. In this research, instruction and learning for two groups of students were examined, whereby prediction questions were infused within the treatment class, while the control group received instruction devoid of such prediction questions. Both groups were taught by the same teacher and curriculum, with no initial significant differences between these two groups. During the course of one school year within this treatment group, the teacher employed prediction questions at the launch of each lesson and then revisited the student predictions at the closure of the lesson. In order to examine out-come based differences between the two groups, 1,178 responses from the unit assessments and 494 responses to Mathematical Reflections were examined along with videotaped sessions from both classes. In addition, 491 prediction responses from the treatment class were coded for levels of reasoning and characteristics of prediction responses.
The overall results suggest prediction was found to be a relevant and valid construct with respect to enhanced conceptual understanding and mathematical reasoning. The treatment class outperformed the control class on a number of measures. The benefits from a teacher’s perspective were also identified. Prediction questions became a catalyst for classroom discussions, increased student engagement, and an informal assessment tool for the teacher. Through this study, positive benefits for instruction, professional development, and curriculum design in relation to prediction became apparent.