15 SES 08, Case Study (Part 3)
Paper Session continued from 15 SES 07
This study will examine school type differences in fifth-grade students’ fractional knowledge using data from a university-school partnership. The participants will be a total of 203 students from a public school and a private school in two districts willing to collaborate in the University within School Project.
International large-scale assessments generally show that private school students outperform public school students in mathematics, science, and reading (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD], 2009). While there is a strong theoretical impetus in the superiority of private schools, in more recent studies, after controlling for student and home background factors there appears to be little to no statistically significant school type differences in standardized test scores (OECD, 2013). In a related vein, Turkey had the largest variance internationally between schools in student performance: The overall achievement gap between the lower and higher achievers was large (OECD, 2007), and that this discrepancy was attributable to the between-school variation while controlling for family background and demographic characteristics (Alacacı & Erbaş, 2010).
The study of school type disparity in performances based on student assessments has assumed an increasing importance (Lubienski & Lubienski, 2006; Mahuteau & Mavromaras, 2014), also because it has many implications for equity in mathematics education that can be defined as “being unable to predict mathematics achievement and participation based solely upon student characteristics such as race, class, ethnicity, sex, beliefs, and proficiency of language” (Gutiérrez, 2002, p. 9). In the literature, particular attention is given to equity in mathematics education (see Journal for Research in Mathematics Education for the March 2013 special issue), which seems to have a relevant influence on the student achievement outcomes, treatment of students, and students’ access to educational resources (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics [NCTM], 2008). From this perspective, important features of equity include equity in students’ mathematics achievement outcomes that can be established by closing the achievement gap among various groups (Lubienski, 2008; Yetkiner Özel, Özel, & Thompson, 2013).
Clearly, achieving equity in the schools is very difficult for particularly in Turkish mathematics classrooms. For instance, although the mathematics curriculum itself does not vary, there are differences in the way mathematics is implemented. In Turkey, owing to the greater resources of private schools in financial and physical terms, mathematics education in private schools is much more effective, which is evidenced by a number of studies (e.g., Cinoglu, 2006). Similarly, international studies documented that private schools affected better mathematical outcomes than did public schools (Coleman, Kilgore, & Hoffer, 1981; Coleman & Hoffer, 1997; Jimenez, Lockheed, & Paqueo, 1991). However, more recent studies showed that mathematics achievement in public schools was slightly higher than that in private schools (Braun, Jenkins, & Gregg, 2006; Driessen, Agirdag, & Merry, 2016; Lubienski & Lubienski, 2006). Although most research strongly suggests that there are school type differences in mathematics achievement, there has been little progress in explaining these differences with respect to skills acquired through association with a particular content such as fractional knowledge. Few studies (Hallett, Nunes, & Bryant, 2010; Hallett, Nunes, Bryant, & Thorpe, 2012) attempted to explain grade level differences in conceptual and procedural knowledge while learning fractions. Researchers indicated that the existence of such differences could result from students’ school experiences which reflect differences across teaching practices, and in turn, knowledge of fractions.
The purpose of the present study was to explore school type differences in students’ fractional knowledge by using data from a university-school partnership, University within School. The main research question was “Is there a significant difference between the mean scores of fifth-grade students attending public and private schools in fractional knowledge?”
Alacacı, C., & Erbaş, A. K. (2010). Unpacking the inequality among Turkish schools: Findings from PISA 2006. International Journal of Educational Development, 30(2), 182-192. Aydın, U., Tunç-Pekkan, Z., Taylan, R. D., Birgili, B., & Özcan, M. (2016, in press). Impacts of a university-school partnership on middle school students' fractional knowledge. The Journal of Educational Research. Aydın, U., Birgili, B., Tunç-Pekkan, Z., Taylan, R. D., & Özcan, M. (2016). Improving fifth grade students’ fractional knowledge through university-school partnership. Presentation at the American Educational Research Association Meeting. April 8-12, Washington, DC, USA. Coleman, J. S., & Hoffer, T. (1987). Public and private high Schools: The impact of communities. New York: Basic. Coleman, J., Kilgore, S., & Hoffer, T. (1981). Public and private high schools. Washington, D.C.: National Center for Educational Statistics. Field, S., Kuczera, M., & Pont, B. (2007). No more failures. Ten steps to equity education. OCED Publishing. Frankel, J. R., & Wallen, N. E. (2003). How to design and evaluate research in education (5th ed.). New York: Mcgraw- Hill. Gutiérrez, R. (2002). Enabling the practice of mathematics teachers in context: Toward a new equity research agenda. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 4(2&3), 145-187. Özcan, M. (2013). Okulda Üniversite: Türkiye’de öğretmen eğitimini yeniden yapılandırmak için bir model önerisi. [University within School: A new model to re-structure teacher education in Turkey]. Ankara: TÜSİAD Yayınları [TÜSİAD Publications]. Steffe, L. P., & Olive, J. (2010). Children's fractional knowledge. New York: Springer. Taylan, R. D., Tunç-Pekkan, Z., Aydın, U., Birgili, B., & Özcan, M. (2016). Influence of a number line based model of instruction on 5th grade students’ use of mathematical language during clinical interviews. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Research Conference, April 11-13, San Fransisco, USA. Tunç-Pekkan, Z. (2015). An analysis of elementary school children’s fractional knowledge depicted with circle, rectangle, and number line representations. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 89(3), 419-441. Tunç-Pekkan, Z., Taylan, R. D., Birgili, B., Aydın, U., & Özcan, M. (2016). Academicians as teachers: Nurturing teacher experience. 13th International Congress on Mathematics Education (ICME). July 24-31, Hamburg, Germany. Yetkiner Özel, Z. E., Özel, S., & Thompson, B. (2013). SES-related mathematics achievement gap in Turkey compared to European Union countries. Education and Science, 38(170), 179–193.
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