Quantitative Literacy and Co-Construction in a High School Math Course

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Numeracy, Vol: 8, Issue: 1

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Russo, Mark
University of South Florida Libraries
Quantitative Literacy; co-construction; high school; Curriculum and Instruction; Science and Mathematics Education
article description
This article reports some of the key findings from a practitioner-action research study that analyzed the impact of co-construction on students’ quantitative literacy (QL) and attitudes towards mathematics. Co-construction is a process where students work alongside their teachers to plan units, lessons, and assessments, and this approach was chosen because of its potential to help students advocate for the specific mathematical contexts that would best develop their QL. This yearlong study took place in a public high school, with forty-five students in two different classes participating. Students formally contributed to the development of the course by completing written questionnaires and participating in large- and small-group discussions, and they contributed informally through their participation in class, performance on assessments, and reflections on various assignments, which I considered in field notes and a research journal. I used the constant comparative method to analyze these data, and I arrived at three key themes: (1) co-construction recast traditional roles in the classroom, while still serving as an important form of instruction in itself; (2) developmentally appropriate assignments triggered students’ situational interest, while individualized co-construction proved somewhat effective at developing individual interest; and (3) the co-construction process challenged the way I used to think about mathematics teaching, as students and I reconsidered the content, technology, and classroom practices that would best develop students’ QL. This study fills an important gap in the QL and co-construction literature, and it also has important implications for mathematics practitioners, and for practitioners who want to give students more of a voice in the classroom.