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Interview question revision

We have a question in student interview trying to unpack students perceptions of what a mathematics student does to be successful. The wording of this question is problematic. Suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Question:

Is learning math the same as being good at math?

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Kyndall Brown — General

If you want to understand student perceptions of what a mathematics student does to be successful, why don't you ask them that question directly?

2 years ago

Joan Easterday - Thank you for responding. In Make the Way we discovered several things from K-8 surveys and interviews. 50% of students responded that you know if you're a good math student if an outside agent (teacher, test) tells you, 36% responded if good behavior, and 22% responded if quick and accurate. This sets the stage, provides a beginning measure, for a research theme that moves students towards seeing behaviors aligned with the math practices.

There are a series of questions both in survey and follow-up interview questions trying to get to student's understanding of their role as a math student. "Think of a good student, what do they do?" "Do you need to answer questions quickly?" "Is is OK to make mistakes?" "Do you have time in class to talk before answering a question?" We have found that students know the expected answer for some questions i.e., it's OK to make mistakes, but they also answer a "good math student answers quickly and accurately." Finding the right questions to unpack their definitions of what mathematics is and what it takes to learn math has been challenging. However, it gives us some important issues to address.

This specific question about learning and being good comes from interviews Maria Zavala described. It introduces the notion that perhaps you don't have to know everything to be "good". But if the wording is an issue, we should change it or drop it.

2 years ago

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