Elementary Mathematics Specialist Coaches' Construction of a Hypothetical Learning Trajectory for Rational Number Equipartitioning



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This qualitative study investigates how mathematics coaches use and refer to different sources of learning trajectories when examining written artifacts of student thinking. As an aspect of horizon mathematical knowledge for teaching, knowledge of learning trajectories reflects the mathematics coach’s personal amalgamation of different learning trajectories, which is used as a road map for student learning. Using the framework of professional noticing and Confrey’s (2012) framework for unpacking learning trajectories to guide the study design, mathematics coaches discuss and sort artifacts of student thinking and are then asked about their interpretation of student thinking. A qualitative design explores what features of the work mathematics coaches attend to, interpret, and plan to address in their coaching practice. A thematic network analysis method was used to map the coaches’ actions against references they make to existing learning trajectories. This study adds to the body of knowledge of how learning trajectories guide educators’ planning and assessment decisions and with implications for understanding the identity language coaches use when discussing student work. The variety and richness of justifications coaches cite for pairing and grouping students based on their work is an unexplored area of research that warrants further study.