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This article focuses on two ways in which math language could be improved in middle school. First, educators can use formal language instead of informal language. Second, educators can be more precise with math terms that are closely related but have distinct meanings and characteristics. These terms may cause confusion for students because of similar concepts shared among related terms, and so these terms require a high degree of precision and specificity. This supports students in discriminating among terms that are related but have different math meanings.


Powell, S. R., Stevens, E. A., & Hughes, E. M. (2019). Math language in middle school: Be more specific. Teaching Exceptional Children, 51, 286–295. doi:10.1177/0040059918808762

Related Institute

Published Date


Funding Source

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs


Mathematics Instruction

Type of Resource

Journal Article/Book Chapter


General Education Classroom Teacher
Instructional Coaches
Preservice Teacher
Special Education Teacher
Technical Assistance Provider

Grade Level

Middle School