# Questions about questions : promoting productive mathematical questions from middle school students

## Abstract/Contents

- Abstract
- Question asking is an important part of the learning process. The NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (2000) states that "students gain insights into their thinking when they formulate a question about something that is puzzling to them." Studies show that students who ask questions retain material better than those who do not (Marbach-Ad & Sokolove, 2000) and that asking questions in mathematics lessons is linked with motivation (Stipek, Salmon, Givven, Kazemi, Saxe, & MacGyvers, 1998). Still other research finds that student questions can be used by teachers to fine-tune their lessons to better meet student needs (Rop, 2002). This dissertation seeks to understand the factors involved in student question asking in mathematics lessons. Webb, Franke, De, Chan, Freund, & Shein (2009) showed that students' classroom dialogue is related to teachers' instructional practices. They write, "It is imperative not only to analyze the dialogue among students, but also to examine student participation in relation to teacher participation and the context of the classroom" (p. 66). Hufferd-Ackles, Fuson, & Sherin (2004) showed that math talk among students changes as teachers change their teaching. Similarly, this study attempts to understand the relationship between teachers' instructional practices and the questions their students ask in mathematics lessons. There are different types of questions students ask in mathematics classrooms—there are questions asked to know the right answer or right form of an answer, questions that are focused on getting a good grade, questions about possible visual representations of the problem, questions that seek to make connections between mathematical ideas, and many other types of mathematical questions. Different types of questions have differing degrees of utility for supporting student learning, and in order to help teachers learn to promote productive and conceptual question asking among their students, we must (a) more clearly identify the types of questions students ask in mathematics lessons, and (b) examine the role of the teacher in encouraging or discouraging different types of student questions. This dissertation first presents a categorization for student questions within mathematics classrooms. It then looks at three purposefully chosen (Marshall, 1996; Small 2009) middle school mathematics classrooms in the United States. These classrooms were chosen to offer a variety of instructional styles, which enabled me to compare, contrast, and synthesize student questions across the cases (Miles and Huberman, 1994). I collected data in each classroom for one month. Data collected included video records of the mathematics lessons, field notes, interviews with teachers and students, and survey results from students. Results from this dissertation show that the nature of mathematical engagement teachers provide for their students, i.e. the ways teachers ask students to spend time, the types of problems teachers ask students to work on, and the assignments teachers require of their students, affect the categories of questions students ask in mathematics lessons. Results also show that the assessment procedures teachers utilize in their classrooms as well as their attitudes and communication around those assessments affect the categories of questions students ask in mathematics lessons. Finally, results indicate that the distribution of authority among the teacher and students in mathematics classrooms affect the categories of questions students ask in mathematics lessons.

## Description

Type of resource | text |
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Form | electronic; electronic resource; remote |

Extent | 1 online resource. |

Publication date | 2016 |

Issuance | monographic |

Language | English |

## Creators/Contributors

Associated with | Kemmerle, Melissa |
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Associated with | Stanford University, Graduate School of Education. |

Primary advisor | Boaler, Jo, 1964- |

Thesis advisor | Boaler, Jo, 1964- |

Thesis advisor | Aukerman, Maren (Maren Songmy) |

Thesis advisor | Langer-Osuna, Jennifer |

Thesis advisor | Murata, Aki |

Advisor | Aukerman, Maren (Maren Songmy) |

Advisor | Langer-Osuna, Jennifer |

Advisor | Murata, Aki |

## Subjects

Genre | Theses |
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## Bibliographic information

Statement of responsibility | Melissa Kemmerle. |
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Note | Submitted to the Graduate School of Education. |

Thesis | Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2016. |

Location | electronic resource |

## Access conditions

- Copyright
- © 2016 by Melissa Kemmerle
- License
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).

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