Influence of writing ability and computation skill on mathematics writing

Sarah R. Powell, Michael A. Hebert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Mathematics standards expect students to communicate about mathematics using oral and written methods, and some high-stakes assessments ask students to answermathematics questions by writing. Assumptions about mathematics communication via writing include (a) students possess writing skill, (b) students can transfer this writing skill to mathematics writing, and (c) mathematics writing is representative of a mathematics knowledge. We conducted a study in which we investigated the connections among general writing ability, mathematics computation skill, andmathematics writing. With 155 fourth-grade students in two regions of the United States, we administered a measure of essay writing, a measure of mathematics computation skill, and two mathematics-writing prompts. Results indicatemoderate correlations among general writing ability, computation skill, and mathematics writing. Additionally, general writing ability and computation skill are significantly related to mathematics-writing outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-335
Number of pages26
JournalElementary School Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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