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Types of Mathematics-Language Reading Interactions that Unnecessarily Hinder Algebra Learning and Assessment

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English language learners (ELLs)—one of the lowest-achieving and fastest growing middle-school subpopulations—are challenged in the classroom by language components which could potentially jumpstart real mathematical growth for these and, eventually, all other students as well. Going beyond traditional word problems, this study documented and distinguished types of reading challenges that hinder middle-school ELLs (and some non-ELLs) when responding to a set of related, written algebra items about a linear pattern. Because just one reading misunderstanding or non-understanding can lead a student to create a logical, yet incorrect solution path to one item and apply that misconstruction when responding to other related items, the mathematics register should be expanded and explicitly integrated into daily classroom mathematics instruction.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of California, Santa Barbara, California, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2006

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