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Liberty University

EDUC 518

DYSCALCULIA

Abstract

Dyscalculia is the inability to obtain an appropriate

capability in mathematics and the inability to build

mathematical relationships successfully. It is something

that could be affecting more of society, specifically school

aged children, than what has been found. The lack of

research and interest from the educational world causes

this to be a topic that is place in the background. Many

mathematics educator do not even know of the topic, thus

making us believe that students are lacking in drive and

ability, rather than having an actually learning disability.

This proposal seeks to find differences between dyscalculic

and non-dyscalculic children in hopes of being able to

further research and knowledge of this lost disability.

Purpose of Study

The purpose of my study is to define

what dyscalculia is and potential factors

that contribute to the development of it,

along with how it is diagnosed.

The second purpose will be to examine

what is being done to help students

overcome this disability and prosper in

the classroom.

Research Questions

What is the definition of dyscalculia?

What is the diagnosis process for this

learning disability?

Is this learning disability being

diagnosed properly in schools?

What are interventions for helping

children with this disability?

Hypotheses

Dyscalculia is not being properly

diagnosed, therefore students are being

left with a disadvantage, even into

adulthood.

Students who exhibit non-normal

difficulties in math should be tested for

dyscalculia.

Variables

Independent Variable

The control and experimental groups

Dependent Variable

Scores on standardized test

Key Terms

Developmental Dyscalculia

This is the name given to a math learning disability.

Cognitive Processes

This refers to the process of thinking that an

individual has. It can be anything from gathering

and storing information to applying information into

different situations.

Working Memory

This refers to the part of the memory that is

responsible for holding and processing information.

It is sometimes referred to at short-term memory.

Key Terms

Neuropsychology

According to American Neuropsychiatric Associations

website, neuropsychology is defined as psychology

that specializes in the assessment and treatment of

patients with brain injury or disease.

Number Processing

This refers to a persons ability to understand numbers.

The difficulty that comes with this can be as simple as

not understanding how numbers are communicated on

the number line to not being able to tell the differences

between numbers. In a sense, a lack of number

processing skills can be number blindness.

Key Terms

fMRI

This refers to functional magnetic resonance

imaging, which uses MRI technology to

measure brain activity by detecting changes

in blood flow.

DTI

This refers to diffusion tensor imaging, which

uses MRI technology to give information

about the white matter infrastructure without

invasive procedures.

Review of Literature

Montis, Kristine K. (2000). Language development and

concept flexibility in dyscalculia: A case study. Journal for

Research in Mathematics Education, 31(5), 541-557.

Retrieved April 1, 2015, from ProQuest (223498879).

Retrieved April 1, 2015, from

http://search.proquest.com/docview/223498879?accountid=

12085

This article looks at a case study with a 12 year old girl who has multiple

learning disabilities. Montis uses her as test subject for finding more

information out about dyscalculia. The article explains the research

design that is used to extract this information. Close observation of the

students grades and behaviors is essential to the study, but also surveys

from the students parents, teachers, etc are used to a large extent. The

article gives specific ways to intervene with this disability. The article also

relates language developments to the mathematical developments

children should perform through. It gives evidence that dyscalculia can

accompany other disabilities.

Review of Literature

De Castro, Marcus Vasconcelos, Bissaco, Marcia Aparecida

Silva, Panccioni, Bruno Marques, Rodrigues, Silvia Cristina

Martini, & Domingues, Andreia Miranda. (2014). Effect of a

virtual environment on the development of mathematical

skills in children with dyscalculia. PLoS ONE, 9(7), .

doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103354

This article shows the effects that technology has on dyscalculia. It

performs a study in which it gathers a group of students who fit into a

specific pattern based on testing, socioeconomic setting, etc. The group

of students are introduced to a virtual environment. It is found that

students suffering from dyscalculia, in general, begin performing better

on math testing after being introduced to this environment. The virtual

space consist of games and activities that develop working memory,

representation, reading and writing numbers, measurable quantities, and

calculations.

Review of Literature

Cangoz, Banu, Altun, Arif, Olkun, Sinan, & Kacar,

Funda. (2013). Computer based screening

dyscalculia: Cognitive and neuropsychological

correlates. The Turkish Online Journal of

Educational Technloogy, 12(3), 33-38.

This article examines the diagnosis of dyscalculia. The

researchers use a neuropsychological software that test

specific areas of mathematical thinking and then analyze

it to be of use in understanding dyscalculia. It also looks at

brain functioning and the amount of white matter that is

showing while children are doing these procedures. It

shows that dyscalculia is a primarily brain based disability.

Review of Literature

Dinkel, Philipp Johannes, Willmes, Klaus,

Krinzinger, Helga, Konrad, Kerstin, & Koten, Jr,

Jan Willem. (2013). Diagnosing developmental

dyscalculia on the basis of reliable single case fmri

methods: Promises and limitations. PLoS ONE,

8(12), . doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083722

This article looks at fMRI scanning to develop an understanding

of dyscalculia. It primarily focuses on the differences in the brain

structure and characteristics between dyscalculic and normal

children. The white matter shows a significant difference

between these children.

Review of Literature

Michaelson, Matthew T. (2007). An overview of

dsycalculia: Methods for ascentaining and

accomodating dyscalculic children in the

classroom. Australian Mathematics Teacher, 63(3),

17-22.

This article specifically focused on what the mathematics

teacher can do within the classroom to help students with

dyscalculia. The primary way for diagnosing this learning

disability is with the Dyscalculia Screener. It gives that this

is the best method for diagnosis at the moment.

Themes

Definition of Dyscalculia

Raja and Kumar (2011-2012) gives seven types of dyscalculia: verbal,

practogonistic, lexical, graphical, ideognostic, operational and sequential. Verbal

dyscalculia leads the student to be able to complete normal mathematic

computations on paper and in their head, but they cannot verbalize the procedures

and terms. On the other hand, practogonistic dyscalculia leads to an inability to

move from viewing arithmetic work to the concrete quantities and operations that

they represent. Lexical dyscalculia is a difficulty reading mathematic equations,

symbols, and directions. Graphical dyscalculia is a difficulty in writing all the

symbols that are unique to mathematics. Ideognostic dyscalculia expresses itself in

a difficulty comprehending the ideas and relationships of mathematics. Such as, a

child not understanding the concept of what slope on a graph is actually doing even

when they can work problems associated with it with guidance. Operational

dyscalculia students struggle to complete basic mathematical operations; taking

this a step further, they also struggle to follow the many rules that are specific to

mathematics within these operations. Sequential dyscalculia affects students much

beyond the classroom. These students struggle counting numbers in sequence,

which leads to a difficulty understanding measurements, time, and schedules.

Students may exhibit one or more of these forms of dyscalculia.

Themes

Diagnosis of Dyscalculia

Researchers have found that diagnosing

dyscalculia is very difficult. There are many

different ways that can lead to the diagnosis of a

child having dyscalculia, thus making is very

difficult to create a common assessment

framework (Cangoz, Altun, Olkun, & Kacar, 2013).

There are three main ways to diagnose

dyscalculia. The first is through brain imaging.

The second is through observation inside the

classroom. And the third is through the

Dyscalculia Screener.

Themes

Intervention

Intervention of dyscalculia is most seen

through teacher motivated changes in the

classroom to help these students to develop

a better understanding of the material. Other

interventions involving using technology and

virtual environments to improve

mathematical abilities.

Design Descriptive Research

Gall, Gall, and Borg (2015) refers to

descriptive research as "the collection

and analysis of quantitative data in order

to develop a generalizable, statistical

representation of a sample's behavior or

personal characteristics with respect to

predetermined variables." Specifically, I

believe that group-comparison research

could be a good design to use.

Sampling

Two comparison groups would be used.

One group would be average to above

average students in math

The second group would be student

displaying the normal characteristics of

dyscalculia (as defined through the literature

review)

Data Collection

Work from students in a specific classroom would be

examine and students would be placed into two

separate groups.

Teacher input, along with recorded data would influence

the grouping.

Students from both groups would begin the study by

taking a standardized test.

This provides a baseline for all the students.

Students would be tested in even intervals through

many grade levels.

Teacher and researcher observation within the

classroom.

Data Analysis

Descriptive statistics to examine the

data

Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) to

determine if there is a positive or

negative relationship

Ethics and Human

Concerns

Ethical concerns:

Privacy and confidentiality of participants.

Human Concerns:

Students leaving/entering the classroom

Parents and students will be informed of all

procedures and testing for this study

Timeline

3+ months prior: creation/adoption of

standardized test used, location of school for

study, parental and school approval of study

participants.

Beginning and end of each school year: testing

and analysis of data

This would continue through a minimum of 4 years

(through elementary school), maximum of 12

(through secondary education)

3 month post study: complete analysis of data

and completion of study

References

American Neuropsychiatric Association. (n.d.).

American neuropsychiatric association.

Retrieved May 3, 2015, from

http://www.anpaonline.org/what-is-

neuropsychology

Cangoz, Banu, Altun, Arif, Olkun, Sinan, &

Kacar, Funda. (2013). Computer based

screening dyscalculia: Cognitive and

neuropsychological correlates. The Turkish

Online Journal of Educational Technloogy,

12(3), 33-38.

References

De Castro, Marcus Vasconcelos, Bissaco, Marcia

Aparecida Silva, Panccioni, Bruno Marques, Rodrigues,

Silvia Cristina Martini, & Domingues, Andreia Miranda.

(2014). Effect of a virtual environment on the development

of mathematical skills in children with dyscalculia. PLoS

ONE, 9(7), . doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103354

Gall, M. D., Gall, J. P., & Borg, W. R. (2015). Applying

educational research: How to read, do, and use research

to solve problems of practice (7th ed.).

Michaelson, Matthew T. (2007). An overview of

dsycalculia: Methods for ascentaining and accomodating

dyscalculic children in the classroom. Australian

Mathematics Teacher, 63(3), 17-22.

References

Montis, K. K. (2000). Development and concept flexibility

in dyscalculia: A case study. Journal for Research in

Mathematics Education, 31(5), 541-556.

Raja, B. William Dharma, & Kumar, S. Praveen. (2011-

2012). Findings of studies on dyscalculia - A synthesis. i-

manager's Journal on Educational Psychology, 5(3), 41-

51.

Shalev, Ruth S., Manor, Orly, & Gross-Tsur, Varda.

(2005). Developmental dyscalculia: a propesctive six-

year follow-up. Developmental Medicine and Child

Neurology, 47(2), 121-125. Retrieved March 31, 2015,

from ProQuest Psychology Journals.

doi:10.1017/S0012162205000216

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