Experiencing mathematics classes: how ability grouping conflicts with the development of participative identities.

Solomon, Y. J. (2007) Experiencing mathematics classes: how ability grouping conflicts with the development of participative identities. International Journal of Educational Research, 46 (1-2). pp. 8-19. ISSN 0883-0355

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Mathematics education reform emphasises the need to move away from transmission models of teaching to discursive classroom practices in which students negotiate and justify solutions to problems. This shift has potential, but not inevitable, implications for students’ mathematical identities with respect to their sense of ownership and participation in mathematics as a creative activity, and is particularly pertinent in the UK context where ability grouping is prevalent. This paper presents an analysis of 13–15-year-old British pupils’ accounts of learning and doing mathematics, and shows that the pedagogic practices of ability grouping do indeed play a major part in the development of participatory identities for some pupils but not for others. The data also show that learning is more than participation: it is also dependent on the discursive positions that individual pupils take up. The paper theorises further about the role of self-positioning in the development of individual mathematics identity trajectories.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
International Journal of Educational Research
Additional Information:
Invited to contribute to this special issue on Subjectivities in school: Socio-cultural and Activity Theory perspectives, guest edited by Williams, Davis & Black, Manchester University. The paper opens the issue and focuses on an analysis of 13-15-year-olds' accounts of learning and doing mathematics. A qualitative analysis examines pupils' perceptions of the differences in classroom interaction between ability groups and hence the impact of ability grouping on mathematics engagement. Main theoretical focus is on the interaction of neo-Vygtoskian theory, socio-cultural theory and discursive positioning through narrative, providing a starting point for the rest of this issue. This paper was reviewed by two expert referees in addition to the special issue editors and the journal editorial board. RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Education
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Deposited On:
07 Mar 2008 11:11
Last Modified:
20 Sep 2023 00:08