Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

Committee Chair

Sandra Atkins.


In this study, fourth and fifth grade students at River View Elementary participated in mathematics activities requiring written and oral dialogue. These dialogues were analyzed to determine how their mathematical understandings were reflected in their written and oral discussions. An examination of pre and post mathematical writing occurred to determine the effect the dialogue had on students' mathematical writing. Students were given a mathematics problem to solve. After reading the mathematics problem, each student wrote questions they had regarding the problem as well as a request for additional information that they felt was needed to solve the problem. Students exchanged their writing with a classmate and responded to their questions and/or requests. After several repetitions of this sequence, each pair of students dialogued with another pair of students and discussed remaining questions and concerns regarding the problem. Students independently solved the story problem and justified their answer in writing. A class discussion was held and answers and justifications shared. This process resulted in significant gains in students' ability to complete Brief Constructed Responses items modeled after the Maryland School Assessment. In addition, students' beliefs about mathematics evolved from math as simply computing and a silent activity to math involving strategies and being a sensible activity.