Date of Graduation

Fall 2019


Master of Science in Education in Secondary Education in Mathematics



Committee Chair

Kurt Killion


The purpose of this study was to explore the problem-solving process and discourse in three high school Algebra 2 classes and analyze how discourse might be used to facilitate the problem-solving process. High school Algebra 2 students in this study were asked to engage in discourse with their peers in order to reach conclusions in open-ended problem-solving tasks. The teacher acted as the facilitator and encouraged students to act as the mathematical authorities. On two different days, students were given two different real-life problem-solving tasks and asked to reach possible conclusions to those tasks. Three research questions guided the study: the role of discourse in the problem-solving process, the role of the teacher in discourse, and students’ perceptions of discourse. The study found that students who were engaged in the discourse had the opportunity to use discourse as a part of the problem-solving process. The teacher had a role in creating a classroom environment focused on discourse, creating appropriate tasks, and facilitating student discourse. While some students did not engage in the discourse process or think the discourse process was helpful for their understanding, many students stated their learning was enhanced because they were able to hear from a variety of perspectives.


discourse, problem-solving process, high school, mathematical authority, teacher role

Subject Categories

Secondary Education


© Natalie J. Chism

Open Access