Developing and Refining Usable, Accessible, and Culturally Relevant Materials to Maximize Parent-Child Interactions in Mathematics


  • Pooja Shivraj Coppell Independent School District
  • Dr. Leanne R. Ketterlin-Geller Southern Methodist University
  • Dr. Deni Basaraba Bethel School District #52
  • Josh Geller Research in Mathematics Education, Southern Methodist University
  • Cassandra Hatfield Research in Mathematics Education, Southern Methodist University
  • Emma Ingrid Helena Naslund-Hadley Inter-American Development Bank


home-based intervention, design-based research (DBR) methods, Jamaica, mathematics learning materials, early mathematics


Research indicates that parent involvement in their child’s education is positively related to academic achievement. The purpose of this manuscript is two-fold. First, we describe a home-based intervention designed to support parents’ involvement with their children in mathematics. The intervention was implemented with parents of children in Grades 1 and 2 in two rural parishes in Jamaica. Key components of the intervention included (a) six sets of mathematics learning materials, each covering foundational early mathematics concepts, and (b) educator-led workshops to implement the mathematics learning materials intended to support parents’ conceptual understanding of the mathematics concepts. Second, we describe the iterative development process used to create the sets of mathematics learning materials. Research and development activities included focus groups conducted with parents, teachers, members from the Ministry of Education, and community members; an external review for mathematical accuracy and cultural relevancy; and a feasibility study implemented with a small group of Jamaican parents. We detail the process used to refine the materials after each of these research activities to improve their usability, accessibility, and cultural relevancy. We hypothesize that parents’ involvement with their children will increase if they have access to accessible and culturally relevant mathematics learning materials.

Author Biographies

Pooja Shivraj, Coppell Independent School District

Dr. Pooja Shivraj is a Psychometrician and Researcher at the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Her work emphasizes the use of measurement and statistics to enhance the reliability and validity of exam scores in credentialing. She also designs and leads research projects related to assessments and their intended use.

Dr. Leanne R. Ketterlin-Geller, Southern Methodist University

Dr. Leanne Ketterlin-Geller is the Texas Instruments Endowed Chair in Education and professor in the Simmons School of Education and Human Development at Southern Methodist University. Her research focuses on supporting student achievement in mathematics through developing technically rigorous formative assessment procedures and effective classroom practices. Her work emphasizes valid decision-making systems for students with diverse needs.

Dr. Deni Basaraba, Bethel School District #52

Dr. Deni Basaraba is the data analyst for the Bethel School District in Eugene, OR whose primary responsibilities include analysis of student performance data, survey and observation development, securing external funding, and dissemination. She also holds research affiliate positions with the Research in Mathematics Education unit at Southern Methodist University and the University of Oregon through which she collaboratively explores issues related to bilingual education programs and second language acquisition, the role of language in mathematics, and the technical adequacy of published and teacherdeveloped assessments.

Josh Geller, Research in Mathematics Education, Southern Methodist University

Josh Geller holds a Master’s degree in Special Education, and has served as a research specialist for state- and federally-funded research projects since 2001. His work focuses on designing mathematics assessments to support all students, primarily through writing accessible items. Most of his work centers on early grades mathematics. He supports multiple phases of project implementation and coordination, paying particular attention to incorporating the needs of different stakeholders.

Cassandra Hatfield, Research in Mathematics Education, Southern Methodist University

Cassandra Hatfield is a Research Project Manager at Southern Methodist University’s Research in Mathematics Education. She has previous experiences as a middle school math teacher and elementary mathematics coach and specialist. Cassandra’s research interests include the impact that systematic teacher training and coaching has on student achievement.

Emma Ingrid Helena Naslund-Hadley, Inter-American Development Bank

Dr. Emma Näslund-Hadley is a lead education specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) where she coordinates the Bank’s efforts to improve STEM education in Latin America and the Caribbean. Her research looks at what happens inside mathematics and science classrooms, exploring what works to improve teacher skills and student learning. She has a master's degree in international economics and finance from the University of Linkoping and a master's degree in public affairs from Princeton University.