Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award


Degree Type



Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Mary Garner

Second Advisor

Dr. Belinda Edwards

Third Advisor

Dr. Mark Warner


In 2000, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) included communication in the standards encouraging students to develop their mathematical language to sufficiently and accurately explain their ideas through discourse. For years, there has been a growing movement for students to attain abilities to articulate problem solving methods utilizing mathematics vocabulary (Pierce & Fontaine, 2009).

In this study, a mixed method design was utilized to examine the relationship between middle school students’ understanding of mathematics vocabulary and their success in mathematics. The quantitative study was conducted to determine if there is a correlation between eighth grade mathematics vocabulary acquisition and students’ achievement on Georgia’s Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT). Using Ericsson and Simon's (1980) think-aloud protocol, the qualitative study was conducted to examine whether conceptual understanding of mathematics vocabulary impacts students’ ability to problem-solve. The results from both studies indicated an association between students’ acquisition of mathematics vocabulary, student achievement, and their problem solving abilities.