PRIMUS: Cultivating a Productive Disposition Toward Mathematics by Engaging in Service-Learning

I have had the good fortune of being recently published in the journal PRIMUS (Problems, Resources, and Issues in Mathematics Undergraduate Studies).

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The article stems from my dissertation research and the examples of service-learning that I have shared on this site. I hope it presents a convincing case for the benefits of implementing service-learning in your classes.

If you don’t have access to PRIMUS and would like a free copy of the article, please feel free to email me at jwilkerson<at>regentsaustin<dot>org.


This research explores the positive impact of service-learning on the disposition of students in mathematics. This was a qualitative case study of high school AP Statistics students who completed a service-learning project. Data were gathered from student interviews, reflection journals, and field observations. The framework for the analysis follows the definition of “productive disposition” offered by the National Research Council and that remains foundational to the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice. The major themes that emerge from the data indicate that through service-learning, students see math as sensible, useful, and worthwhile. This supports the potential of service-learning as a pedagogical tool that can be utilized to develop a productive disposition in students; addressing at a practical level how the affective objectives of national policy documents can be achieved.


NCTM Research Conference 2018

I was honored to present my dissertation results at the 2018 NCTM Research Conference in Washington D.C. The paper I submitted was entitled “Cultivating Mathematical Affections through Engagement in Service-Learning.”

You can view the presentation below:

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My Dissertation Proposal Defense

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For those who are interested, I will be defending my dissertation proposal in a few weeks (I guess even if you aren’t interested I will still be defending in a few weeks). In brief I will be examining how service-learning in high school mathematics might serve as a vehicle for instilling in students what is often discussed as simply an abstract notion: getting students to habitually appreciate the truth, beauty, and goodness of mathematics.

For those who are REALLY interested, here is a copy of my submitted proposal.