Sean Larsen

Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Mathematics Education


Mathematics and Statistics

Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 244 pages)


Mathematics -- Study and teaching (Elementary) -- Case studies, Mathematics teachers -- Training of -- Case studies, Proof theory




Justification and argumentation have been identified as important mathematical practices; however, little work has been done to understand the knowledge and pedagogy teachers need to support students in these ambitious practices. Data for this research was drawn from the Justification and Argumentation: Growing Understanding in Algebraic Reasoning (JAGUAR) project. JAGUAR was a multi-year research and professional development project in which 12 middle school math teachers and a group of researchers explored the knowledge and pedagogy needed to support student justifications. This dissertation consists of three case study analyses. The first paper describes the development of teacher conceptions of justification, including their proficiency with justification and purpose of justification in the middle school classroom. The second paper examines the relationship between teacher understanding of empirical reasoning and their use of examples in their classrooms. The final paper describes the relationship between task scaffolding and student forms of reasoning in the context of a justification task. Collectively, this body of work identifies important relationships between teacher knowledge, practice, and student justification activity.

Persistent Identifier