Investigating the Role of Collaboration on the Development of Student Ideas Using a Learning Progression for the Function Concept

In this project, the team will address questions about how collaborative problem solving, learning progressions, and facilitation interact in the development of students’ mathematical learning. The work affords an opportunity to advance equitable access to high-quality education for all students by enhancing the quality of instruction for students lacking opportunities to learn key concepts of mathematics because of the inequitable structures of education in the country.

Full Description: 

Collaborative problem solving is a valued 21st century skill that can enhance learning outcomes. Learning progressions, which are models of how student thinking develops within a domain, have potential to provide actionable information to teachers to guide instruction. Facilitation may support collaborative problem solving and make visible student thinking with respect to learning progressions. In this project, the team will address questions about how collaborative problem solving, learning progressions, and facilitation interact in the development of students’ mathematical learning. The work affords an opportunity to advance equitable access to high-quality education for all students by enhancing the quality of instruction for students lacking opportunities to learn key concepts of mathematics because of the inequitable structures of education in the country. The project team anticipates that their work will generate resources and findings for future work, such as a version of the learning progression that can be used by teachers to interpret student work and information about how students and facilitators can use online collaborative technology in support of mathematics learning and assessment.

The project team will integrate learning progression assessment tasks into an online collaborative learning and assessment platform. The tasks focus on the concept of function, a foundational area of mathematics, and are designed for students in Grades 9 through 12. Students will engage with the tasks in four phases: first, they will solve a task individually. Second, they will revisit that task as part of a 3- or 4- person team in a collaborative environment. Some team discussions will be facilitated by near-peer mentors. Third, the teams will present their results to the class. Students will engage in a whole class discussion with facilitation and wrap up by the teacher. Finally, students will respond individually to a conceptually similar task. Discourse will be coded using both domain-specific and domain-general coding schemes that identify cognitive, social, and facilitation practices during team collaboration and class discussion; results will attend to the both the focus and the development of ideas over the course of discussion. The project will also feature a professional development component for teachers and youth facilitators.

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