This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Rich Instruction of Mathematical Academic Vocabulary to Enhance Mathematics Achievement of Elementary School Students




Tarpley, Carol

Type of Degree



Curriculum and Teaching


Mathematics scores on national and international tests for students in the United States have indicated that students in the United States have procedural understanding of mathematics but lack conceptual understanding (TIMMS, 2012; U.S. Department of Education, 2013). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if an added enrichment of rich instruction of mathematical vocabulary would result in greater improvement of conceptual understanding in mathematics than the enrichment of non-digital games. A total of 134 students in the fourth grade provided complete data for this study. Sixty-three students received approximately 15 minutes of daily mathematics vocabulary instruction while 71 students spent a comparable amount of time playing non-digital mathematical games. Data consisted on pre- and post-tests scores for both mathematics and vocabulary tests. The findings suggested that the variable of group, vocabulary or game, was not significant. This study also investigated how the mean mathematics scores of the vocabulary group differed for students designated as achieving or underachieving in mathematics and in reading using ASPIRE (ACT, 2014) test benchmarks. Results suggested that the increase in mean scores for both the students considered achieving and underachieving in math were statistically significant with achieving students making twice the gains of the underachieving students. The increases in mean scores for both the students considered achieving and underachieving in reading were also statistically significant but there was not a statistically significant difference between the groups. The results of this study can help mathematics educators, school administrators, and policy makers interested in mathematics reform understand the possible supplemental supports for effective mathematics instruction that may benefit students' increased mathematics achievement. These findings provide information specifically for educators focused on providing supplemental instruction for differentiated instruction for students in mathematics.