Understanding Language releases resources around language and ELL issues in mathematics education. To be notified, please sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Twitter or Facebook. Here are a few resources, available online, that have informed our work.
Papers and Briefs
Using the perspectives of bilingualism, psychometrics, and educational policy, this paper, Assessing Students in Their Home Language, discusses the possibilities and limitations of home language-based assessment. It discusses the factors that are critical to properly operationalizing home language-based assessment, and the sets of realistic expectations that policy and decision makers should have concerning policy and practice as critical to fair and valid assessment of ELs. Whether testing ELs with translated instruments is appropriate depends on whether they have received instruction in their first language, the type of translation, the availability of qualified translators, and the content assessed.
The Principles for the Design of Mathematics Curricula: Promoting Language and Content Development framework provides guidance to mathematics teachers for recognizing and supporting students' language development processes in the context of mathematical sense making. While the framework can and should be used to support all students learning mathematics, it is particularly well-suited to meet the needs of linguistically and culturally diverse students who are simultaneously learning mathematics while acquiring English.
The following papers were written by Judit Moschkovich, an Understanding Language founding partner and member of our math workgroup.
For a general summary of research on bilingual mathematics learners, see this 2009 brief issued by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
For elementary teachers, see this short paper on mathematical Discourse practices, published in the journal For the Learning of Mathematics.
For secondary teachers, see this piece on assessment of ELLs in mathematics, published in the 2007 book Assessing Mathematical Proficiency, edited by Alan Schoenfeld.
Here's the video clip from our math webinar of the elementary school classroom titled "Never Get Together." This is the same video clip used in the Understanding Language paper "Math, the Common Core, and ELs." The transcript and short anaylsis of this clip is in the math appendix. For an analysis of a longer excerpt from this lesson, see this short paper "Supporting the participation of ELLs in mathematical discourse" published in the journal For the Learning of Mathematics. Download this paper here: Moschkovich 1999 FLM.pdf
Inside Mathematics also hosts a series of videos. In their Number Talks series, there is a video titled, "How do we add?" Katie Arrillaga engages her 2nd grade Spanish bilingual students in a discussion about strategies for mentally solving a problem involving two-digit addition with regrouping. The students share their strategies and evaluate each other’s approaches for solving the problem.
We hope these resources prove helpful. We will be updating this page continually through 2013 with additional resources.