HOW DOES Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) Help Math Writing & REASONING?

Title: Effects of a Mathematical Writing Intervention on Middle School Students’ Performance
Authors: Hughes, E.M; Lee, J.
Source: Reading & Writing Quarterly, Vol. 36, No. 2, 176-192, 2020

Abstract: It is widely accepted that content writing is beneficial to student interdisciplinary learning. Although few studies exist that examine the benefits and challenges of mathematical writing (MW) for students, this article does provide a review of research that suggests that students who write about math also improve in their mathematical understanding and performance. Most importantly, the study described investigated the effect of self-regulated strategy development (SRSD) intervention on sixth-grade students’ mathematical writing and performance. *SRSD is an approach that teaches writing strategies for genre-specific writing, general writing, and self-regulation strategies in order to help students write well-composed essays and maintain motivation during the entirety of the writing process. In the study, it was concluded that the intervention had a significant impact on MW outcomes: students who were taught the self-regulated MW strategy showed an improvement in their written expression of mathematical reasoning. Based on this study’s literature review, and by implication, not only is written expression improved, but so is mathematical reasoning.

Research Design: Quasi-Experimental

Participants: The study was conducted over three weeks in a public charter middle school with students from fifth through eighth grade. 25 sixth-grade students participated in the study. The treatment group consisted of 13 students (8 males and 5 females), and the control group consisted of 12 participants (5 males and 7 females). Pre-testing was conducted for math fact fluency, math calculation, and sentence writing fluency to determine differences in the treatment and control groups. (No significant difference between the groups was identified.) Students in the treatment group were taught MW strategy, while the classroom teacher taught the control group as he/she would normally.

Methods: What follows are useful charts that outline the SRSD methods used in the study.

Students were taught the PRISM strategy (p. 179, Hughes and Lee, 2020)

Authors’ instructional steps included (p.182, Hughes and Lee, 2020):

Implications: Mathematical writing can serve in improving students’ understanding of mathematics and helping teachers evaluate students’ mathematical reasoning. Current textbooks and teachers’ guide books, however, are ineffective in outlining how to teach and assess MW, so strategies for teaching MW and for examining its effectiveness should be developed. There is already significant research concerning SRSD in writing for students with disabilities. Because of the unique challenges that students with learning disabilities have in learning math, future research should explore the impact of SRSD on written expression of mathematical reasoning for students with learning disabilities.

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