Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Instruction and Teacher Education


College of Education

First Advisor

James Kirylo


The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of journal writing on eight seventh grade math students’ understanding of rational numbers in a public school in South Carolina. The literature on mathematical understanding and achievement suggests that students should be taught to write about their mathematical thinking to learn the concepts or reasons behind the procedure to consistently and accurately perform operations with rational numbers (Countryman, 1992; Anderson & Little, 2004; Borasi & Rose, 1989; Ganguli, 1989; Johanning, 2000; Lim & Pugalee, 2004; McCormick, 2010; McIntosh & Draper, 2001; Miller, 1991).

During the course of the study, participants wrote about their math thinking and worked to justify the action steps they took to solve problems involving operations of rational numbers. The researcher analyzed the journal entries of the participants, carefully examined both the formal and informal interview data, read and reread field notes, and thoroughly analyzed artifacts that were submitted by the participants.

The results of the study revealed the struggles among the participants with mathematics terminology, misconceptions, application, and written expression. It appears from the data that journal writing had a positive impact on the understanding of rational number operations among the eight seventh grade math students.


© 2017, Amanda Marie Smoak