Professional development focused on children's algebraic reasoning in elementary school

Victoria R. Jacobs, Megan Loef Franke, Thomas P. Carpenter, Linda Levi, Dan Battey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


A yearlong experimental study showed positive effects of a professional development project that involved 19 urban elementary schools, 180 teachers, and 3735 students from one of the lowest performing school districts in California. Algebraic reasoning as generalized arithmetic and the study of relations was used as the centerpiece for work with teachers in Grades 1-5. Participating teachers generated a wider variety of student strategies, including more strategies that reflected the use of relational thinking, than did nonparticipating teachers. Students in participating classes showed significantly better understanding of the equal sign and used significantly more strategies reflecting relational thinking during interviews than did students in classes of nonparticipating teachers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-288
Number of pages31
JournalJournal for Research in Mathematics Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mathematics (miscellaneous)
  • Education


  • Algebra
  • Arithmetic
  • Children's strategies
  • Connections in mathematics
  • Elementary, K-8
  • Large scale studies
  • Professional development
  • Teacher knowledge


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