Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Relationships between mathematics achievement and various English language proficiencies

  • 147 Accesses

  • 8 Citations

Abstract

The article suggests that correlational studies between English language proficiency and success in mathematics have not been specific. English is composed of many proficiencies which are not always closely related. The article examines correlations between mathematics success and various English language skills, including vocabulary, reading comprehension, reading speed, listening, structure, and expression. Tests of these skills were given to incoming science students at the National University of Lesotho in both 1978 and 1979, and the results were compared with the students' success in first-year mathematics. In all cases, correlations were low. But correlations in 1978 were higher than in 1979. Attempts are made to explain these differences. The possibility is explored that speakers of different languages may learn mathematics (in English) in various ways. Finally, implications for the teaching of Use of English courses are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Bibliography

  1. Buckingham Guy E.: Feb. 1937, ‘The relationship between vocabulary and ability in first year algebra’, Mathematics Teacher 30, 76–79.

  2. Buckingham Guy E.: Mar. 1937, ‘The relationship between silent reading ability and first year algebra ability’, Mathematics Teacher 30, 130–132.

  3. Call R. J. and Wiggin N. A.: 1966, ‘Reading and mathematics’, Mathematics Teacher 59, 149–157.

  4. Clark Mildred: 1939, ‘The effect of remedial work in reading comprehension upon algebraic achievement’, Mathematics Teacher 32, 65–67.

  5. Curry, J. F.: 1955, ‘The effect of reading instruction upon achievement in seventh-grade arithmetic’, Dissertation Abstracts 15, number 2059.

  6. Drake Richard M.: 1940, ‘The effect of teaching the vocabulary of algebra’, Educational Research 33, 601–610.

  7. Eagle Edwin: 1948, ‘The relationship of certain reading abilities to success in mathematics’, Mathematics Teacher 41, 175–179.

  8. Finck Edgar M.: 1935, ‘Relation of ability in reading to success in other subjects’, Elementary School Journal 36, 260–267.

  9. Forseth W. J.: 1961, ‘Does the study of geometry help improve reading ability?’ Mathematics Teacher 54, 12–13.

  10. Gay John and Cole M.: 1967, The New Mathematics and an Old Culture, Rinehart, New York.

  11. Henderson T. and Sharma R.: 1974, Psychological Service Report I: Numeracy at the Grade Three Level, Ministry of Education, Lusaka.

  12. Heron, Alastair, 1970, ‘The relative importance of reasoning ability and of English vocabulary and comprehension in first year university achievement by Zambian students’, in T.'P. Gorman (ed.), Language in Education in Eastern Africa, Oxford, Nairobi.

  13. Hinkelman E. A.: 1956, ‘Relationship of reading ability to elementary school achievement’, Educational Administration and Supervision 42, 65–67.

  14. Johnson Harry C.: 1944, ‘The effect of instruction in mathematical vocabulary upon problem solving in arithmetic’, Journal of Educational Research 38, 97–100.

  15. Jones, John: 1974, The Prediction of Academic Success in the First Year at the University of Malawi, MA Thesis, University of Malawi.

  16. London Schools Council: 1967, Standards in C.S.E. and G.C.E., Working paper 9, H.M.S.O., London.

  17. Macnamara John: 1967, ‘The effects of instruction in a weaker language’, Journal of Social Issues 23, 121–135.

  18. Marks, John: 1980, ‘1979 COSC Results Analysis’, National University of Lesotho Faculty of Science paper FOSP 80/16.

  19. Morris, R. W.: 1974, ‘Linguistic problems encountered by contemporary curriculum development projects in mathematics’, UNESCO document ED-74/CONF.808/10.

  20. Murphy, William, C.: 1963, ‘A study of the relationships between listening ability and high school grades in four major academic areas’, Dissertation Abstracts 23, No. 3693.

  21. Pitts Raymond J.: 1952, ‘Relationship between functional competence in mathematics and reading grade levels, mental ability, and age’, Journal of Educational Psychology 43, 486–492.

  22. Posamentier Alfred: 1966, ‘The effect of reading ability on performance on the Orleans Geometry Prognosis Test’, Graduate Research in Education and Related Disciplines 2, 184.

  23. Root, Paul: 1964, ‘Speed reading: its relation to high school achievements’, Dissertation Abstracts 25, No. 1791.

  24. Russell David H.: 1941, ‘An experimental comparison of algebraic reading practice and the solving of additional verbal problems in tenth grade algebra’, Mathematics Teacher 34, 347–352.

  25. Troxel Vernon: 1962, ‘The effects of purpose on the reading of expository mathematical materials in grade eight’, Journal of Educational Research 55, 221–227.

  26. UNESCO: 1974, Interactions Between Linguistics and Mathematical Education, UNESCO document ED-74/CONF.808, Nairobi.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Zepp, R.A. Relationships between mathematics achievement and various English language proficiencies. Educ Stud Math 12, 59–70 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00386046

Download citation

Keywords

  • Mathematics Teacher
  • Language Skill
  • Mathematics Achievement
  • Reading Speed
  • English Language Proficiency