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Title page for ETD etd-07112016-152921

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Chow, Jason C.
URN etd-07112016-152921
Title Contribution of Nonsymbolic Representation Beyond Symbolic Equal Sign Instruction in Second-Grade Classrooms
Degree PhD
Department Special Education
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Joseph H. Wehby Committee Chair
Blair P. Lloyd Committee Member
C. Melanie Schuele Committee Member
Emily E. Tanner-Smith Committee Member
Lynn S. Fuchs Committee Member
  • symbolic
  • nonsymbolic
  • equivalence
  • mathematics
  • intervention
  • language
Date of Defense 2016-06-13
Availability unrestricted
Children who exhibit language deficits and behavior problems often underachieve. However, interventions that target children with behavior problems primarily focus on changing behavior, and interventions that aim to improve achievement outcomes for school-age children with language deficits are scarce. The purposes of this dissertation were to (1) improve equal-sign understanding and problem solving in second-grade classrooms via class-wide symbolic equal-sign instruction, (2) contrast symbolic and nonsymbolic representation, and (3) test for interactions between treatment and individual differences in language, behavior, and attention. Second-grade students (n = 195) in 21 classrooms were randomly assigned to symbolic intervention, nonsymbolic intervention, or business-as-usual control. Both intervention conditions significantly outperformed control on all outcome measures, but there were no differences between conditions. Language moderated the symbolic intervention condition, but not the nonsymbolic condition. This suggests that language skill predicts response to symbolic, numerical instruction, while nonsymbolic instruction may compensate for language deficits. Neither problem behavior nor inattention moderated treatment effects.
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