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Modeling presentations: toward an assessment of emerging classroom cultures of modeling


Though there is an extensive research literature on understanding and assessing individual modeling competencies, less attention has been given to characterizing the social context of the classroom in which modeling occurs. Yet a classroom’s culture of modeling—its negotiated system of beliefs and values about the nature of modeling and what constitutes a complete, satisfactory solution to a modeling problem—has a shaping influence on its members’ participation in modeling activities. Devising a means of assessing classroom modeling cultures is thus a crucial task for both research and praxis. In this article, we present an approach to operationally defining and assessing classroom modeling cultures, which is (a) based in quantitative analyses of discourse during whole-class presentations of modeling solutions, and (b) grounded in research in individual modeling competencies. We show how our assessment distinguishes the classroom modeling cultures of different classrooms and how it captures shifts over time in the modeling culture of a given classroom. Finally, we accompany our quantitative results with interpretive analyses of presentation discourse, to triangulate and to attribute meaning to the patterns our assessment detects. Our primary data sources include video recorded presentation and Q&A sessions for three modeling activities in each of two US middle school (Grades 5–8) classrooms. Our assessment approach is a significant contribution because it operationalizes the construct of a classroom’s modeling culture, in terms that highlight potential connections with the research literature of individual modeling competencies. It therefore invites modeling research that coordinates learning and development across individual and social levels.

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Full electronic versions of the model-eliciting activity problems used in the study to be included as electronic supplementary materials.


This material is based upon work supported by the US National Science Foundation under Grant #1652372 and #1615207, by Marquette University under an Explorer Challenge grant, and by the departmental support at the University of Florida.

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Brady, C., Jung, H. Modeling presentations: toward an assessment of emerging classroom cultures of modeling. Educ Stud Math (2021).

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  • Classroom modeling culture
  • Assessment
  • Practices
  • Sociocultural perspectives
  • Modeling actions
  • Presentations