An Analysis of Grade 4 Teachers' Mathematical Instructional Strategies

Dedra L. Wilson-Patrick, Walden University


The standardized math test scores of approximately 48 African American and Hispanic students from 4 different classes at a rural Title I elementary school located in the southern United States decreased by10 points on the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards Test. For this qualitative case study, purposive sampling was used to recruit four Grade 4 mathematics teachers from this school to participate in face-to-face interviews to respond to questions relative to this sample of students. The conceptual framework for this study was guided by Vygotsky's social constructivism theory and Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. The research question queried what instructional strategies Grade 4 teachers used to teach African American and Hispanic students mathematics. Inductive analysis included listening to interview recordings, reviewing lesson plans, and repeatedly reading and then color-coding interview and observation transcripts to generate themes. Themes were identified by the repetition of similar words and phrases in the interview transcripts, observation notes, audio recordings, and lesson plans. The findings revealed that the four participants cited cooperative learning, peer tutoring, music/chants, and the use of technology as the instructional strategies used to improve African American and Hispanic students' proficiency on the mathematics tests. A position paper was developed to offer policymakers recommendations to help teachers incorporate strategies to improve students' academic performance in mathematics. This study's social change implications include using research-based instructional strategies to increase student achievement at the local site and providing quality information to improve the staff's pedagogy and math program.