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The Urban Math Project

School of Education

The Urban Math Project


Despina Stylianou (, PI

The Urban Math project is aiming to address the development of mathematical practices in urban middle school classrooms. Over the next five years this study will trace the development of middle school students' competencies in the mathematical practices of representation and justification and will identify conditions that influence that development. We first begin with a broad analysis of a large number of urban students' conceptions of mathematical practices. This will be followed by a focused and detailed analysis of the development of 6th to 8th grade students, using a variety of instruments and classroom observations. The goal is to go beyond documentation of the current conditions, and to trace and understand changes in students' competencies over time. Furthermore, the study will analyze classroom teaching practices that influence these changes. To achieve this, the students' teachers will participate in concurrent professional development activities designed to enhance their understandings of middle school students' development of mathematical reasoning and classroom practices that promote that development, and will also be studied in parallel with their students.
Funding: National Science Foundation, CAREER and REESE


Publications (selected): 

  • Imm, K. & Stylianou, D. (2012). Talking mathematically: An analysis of discourse communities with respect to students' identity development. Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 31, 130-148.
  • Stylianou, D. (2011). The process of abstracting in children's representations. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 17 (1), 8-12.
  • Stylianou, D. & Blanton, M. (2011). Developing students' capacity for proving – focus on classroom discourse. Mathematics Teacher, 105 (2), 140-145.
  • Stylianou, D. A. (2011). An examination of middle school students' representation practices in mathematical problem solving through the lens of expert work: Towards an organizing scheme. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 76, 265-280.
  • Stylianou, D. A. (2010). Teachers' Conceptions of Representation in the Context of Middle School Mathematics. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 13 (4), 325-343.
  • Blanton, M. & Stylianou, D. (2009). Behind the Veil of Academic Freedom: Challenges in Building a Mathematics Faculty Community of Practice. Journal of Innovative Higher Education, 34 (2).
  • Imm, K. & Stylianou, D., & Chae, N. (2008). Student Representations at the Center: A Consideration of Equity. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 13, 458-463