Fall 12-12-2016



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Feride Erku

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Angela Mansfield

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Christine Hubred


This study seeks to determine how often math word problems used by teachers to assess student learning contain unnecessary linguistic challenges for English Language Learners. It examines a question bank of math word problems used by a group of schools to develop internal assessments based on the six principals of Universal Design (UD), a set of linguistic modifications adopted on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment. Key influences included peers, EL teachers seeking to support their students in math, formal and current students, and authors such as Bambrick-Sontoyo, Abedi, Sato, etc. The research method was text analysis using both qualitative and quantitative data: a qualitative examination of 60 questions against each of the six principals of UD and a quantitative study of the number of questions that violated each of the six principals and the percent these held of the whole. The study concluded that the math word problems most significantly violated the use of universal contexts in which all students would be familiar to assess math skills.

Research Methodology

Text Analyses


Assessment, Mathematics

Included in

Education Commons