Publications & Resources

Eliciting Student Thinking in Elementary School Mathematics Classrooms

Aug 2007

Megan L. Franke, Noreen M. Webb, Angela Chan, Dan Battey, Marsha Ing, Deanna Freund, and Tondra De

The importance of student talk in mathematics classrooms figures prominently in curriculum and teaching standards. Student talk is a vehicle for increasing student learning and for helping teachers monitor student understanding and inform student instructional practices. Although researchers have begun to study the moves teachers may make to support students in making their mathematical thinking explicit, sharing out with others and using it as the basis of conversation, much remains to be known about the teacher practices that help students clarify and communicate their mathematical thinking. To learn more about these teacher practices, we look closely at what teachers say and do as they engage with their students in mathematical conversation and how students participate in relation to what teachers say and do. In this report we examine the questions teachers ask and how those questions support students to detail their mathematical thinking. Although all teachers in this study asked students to explain how they solved problems, an important teacher practice for encouraging further student elaboration and giving complete and correct explanations was asking further questions about specific aspects of students’ answers or explanations. We describe the variety of teacher questioning practices and the differences in patterns of student participation that emerged.

Franke, M. L., Webb, N. M., Chan, A., Battey, D., Ing, M., Freund, D., & De, T. (2007). Eliciting student thinking in elementary school mathematics classrooms (CRESST Report 725). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).