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Assessment of a Problem-Centered Second-Grade Mathematics Project

Paul Cobb, Terry Wood, Erna Yackel, John Nicholls, Grayson Wheatley, Beatriz Trigatti and Marcella Perlwitz
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education
Vol. 22, No. 1 (Jan., 1991), pp. 3-29
DOI: 10.2307/749551
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/749551
Page Count: 27
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Assessment of a Problem-Centered Second-Grade Mathematics Project
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Abstract

Ten second-grade classes participated in a year-long project in which instruction was generally compatible with a socioconstructivist theory of knowledge and recent recommendations of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. At the end of the school year, the 10 project classes were compared with 8 nonproject classes on a standardized achievement test and on instruments designed to assess students' computational proficiency and conceptual development in arithmetic, their personal goals in mathematics, and their beliefs about reasons for success in mathematics. The levels of computational performance were comparable, but there were qualitative differences in arithmetical algorithms used by students in the two groups. Project students had higher levels of conceptual understanding in mathematics; held stronger beliefs about the importance of understanding and collaborating; and attributed less importance to conforming to the solution methods of others, competitiveness, and task-extrinsic reasons for success. Responses to a questionnaire on pedagogical beliefs indicated that the project teachers' beliefs were more compatible with a socioconstructivist perspective than were those of their nonproject colleagues.

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