Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum & Instruction

First Advisor

Dr. James A. Telese

Second Advisor

Dr. Laura Jewett

Third Advisor

Dr. Jair J. Aguilar


Due to its centrality in the curriculum, research on proportional reasoning (PR) has seen a resurgence of interest. Recent research examined students’ patterns, strategies, and achievement when solving PR problems. Other studies explored PR learning trajectories. Additional studies focused on instructional interventions such as the effect of number structure, continuous, discrete, and intensive quantities to promote the development of proportional reasoning skills (PRS). The subjects of these studies have been United States white middle school students, Icelandic grade 5 girls, Spanish secondary school students, Turkish middle school students, as well as Scottish and Korean upper primary grades’ students. Few studies examined the factors that explain how instructional experiences influence Latino, middle school students’ PRS proficiency. This study aims to contribute to the literature by examining the impact of instruction that involves manipulatives, representations, and discourse to foster the strategic competence of Latino middle school students on proportional reasoning tasks (PRT).

Subjects were 80 sixth-grade Latino students with low socioeconomic background. A quasi-experimental, comparison group design was used involving two mathematics classrooms as the treatment and two classrooms as the comparison group. Each group was administered a

pretest of mathematics ability and PR posttest. The teacher was a Mexican-heritage public school educator. Students varied in their mathematics ability and engaged in distinct curricula and pedagogical approaches to promote their PR development. Two treatment classrooms experienced tasks involving concrete manipulatives, multiple representations, and negotiation of meaning and two comparison classrooms received teacher-centered textbook instruction that consisted on a teacher explaining definitions and examples from the notes from the textbook, followed by individual problem-solving of worksheets from the textbook.

Analysis of Covariance and Pearson Chi-Square tests reported statistically significant differences in performance and use of representational reasoning when solving proportional reasoning tasks. A significant impact was also observed on the performance in PR tasks involving one-step partitioning and non-integer relationships.

Social constructivist experiences resulted in a meaningful understanding of PRS empowering Latino middle school students with stronger connections between the central ideas of PR. Participants receiving social constructivist instruction used significantly greater representational reasoning that resulted in statistically significantly higher PR strategic competence.


Copyright 2020 Victor M Vizcaino. All Rights Reserved.