Does student-centered instruction engage students differently? The moderation effect of student ethnicity

Student-centered instruction is featured in reforms that aim to improve excellence and equity in mathematics education. Although research on stereotype threat suggests that student-centered instruction may have differential effects on racial minority students, the relationship between student-centered mathematics instruction and student engagement remains understudied. This study examined the relationship between student-centered mathematics instruction and adolescents’ behavioral, cognitive, emotional, and social engagement in mathematics and whether the relationship differed by ethnicity. The authors used a multilevel path analysis with data from 3,883 sixth- to 12th-grade students (52.1% girls, 38.2% eligible for free/reduced lunch, 66.1% Caucasian, 23.8% African American, 7.2% multiracial, and 2.9% Asian American). The results showed that student-centered instruction was positively related to all dimensions of mathematics engagement. However, the positive association between student-centered mathematics instruction and student engagement was weaker for African American students. This study provides empirical evidence for the benefits of student-centered instruction while suggesting differential effects based on students’ ethnicity.

Talbert, E. J., Hofkens, T. L., & Wang, M. T. (2018). Does student-centered instruction engage students differently? The moderation effect of student race. Journal of Educational Research, 1, 1-15.

Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2018
Short Description: 
This study examined the relationship between student-centered mathematics instruction and adolescents’ behavioral, cognitive, emotional, and social engagement in mathematics and whether the relationship differed by ethnicity.
Project or Group Affiliation: 
Assessing Student Engagement in Math and Science in Middle School: Classroom, Family, and Peer Effects on Engagement