Date of Award/Publication

4-2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education

First Supervisor

Diane Barrett

Abstract

Many students struggle on standardized tests simply because they do not have the reading skills or vocabulary knowledge base to understand what a test question is asking them to do. This is particularly true with standardized mathematics testing. This study examines vocabulary instruction and its connection to improving mathematical literacy and improving standardized test performance. A vocabulary strategy was implemented that required students to connect mathematical terms, with common everyday language, formalized mathematical definitions, and mathematical symbols. After being exposed to this new strategy, students were given assessments that tested their knowledge of vocabulary and ability to perform on a standardized test. The results provided important insight into how effective traditional memorization techniques for learning vocabulary is versus a technique that forces students to make connections between formal mathematical language, common language, and mathematical symbols.

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